All the Supplies You Need for a Home Birth

Doula helping mom push

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When you are having a home birth, you know that you don't have everything that the hospital or a birth center offers. This may even be why you're having a home birth.

One thing that the hospital provides is basic medical supplies that are used during the birth. To get that in a home birth, the midwives could go through the expense and hassle of purchasing it in bulk, but transportation and money become an issue. It is much simpler to have each family order a birth kit which contains the basic supplies needed for the birth.

A birth kit contains items like cord clamps, sterile gloves, mesh underwear, plastic-backed pads, and other basic medical supplies. Your midwife will carry reusable, sterilized supplies to supplement what you have purchased. In addition to this birth kit, there are some other household items that can aid in the birth process.

Home Birth Supply List

This is a sample list used by some midwives for the things parents will need to gather for a home birth.

  • 2 fitted bed sheets to fit your bed
  • 2 flat bed sheets to fit your bed (4 flat sheets is acceptable)
  • 4 bath towels
  • 4 washcloths
  • 8 receiving blankets
  • Bottle of isopropyl rubbing alcohol (70%)
  • Clothes for the baby (2 pair socks or booties, 2 onesies, 2 sleepers)
  • Clothes for you for during and after the birth (such as a gown and panties)
  • Cotton balls
  • Diapers for the baby
  • Extra toilet paper (at least 2 6-roll packs)
  • Large cookie sheet
  • Large mixing type bowl
  • Pint of 91% alcohol (or 99% alcohol, grain alcohol, or 180 proof Golden Grain)
  • Plastic drop cloth or plastic sheet (an old shower curtain or large plastic tablecloth works wonderfully)
  • Plastic trash bags (at least 4 large), dark-colored
  • Several kinds of juice (at least one citrus and one non-citrus)
  • Small mixing type bowl (prefer bowls not be glass)
  • Working flashlight and extra batteries
  • One extra bag of ice
  • Protein you like that is easy to prepare (peanut butter, cheese, or eggs for example)
  • Silver duct tape (preferably new roll)
  • Thermometer (if digital, include probe covers)

Most of these things have a very obvious use (hello, bed sheets). The cookie sheets? They double as trays for the midwives to carry their things on should you decide to change rooms quickly.

Instructions for Preparation

Linens and clothes may be old or new. All should be freshly washed and dried in a hot dryer 10 extra minutes. Bag items in brown paper bags (not plastic bags), tape shut, and label clearly in large letters. This helps to ensure that they are clean and as close to germ-free as possible.

Bag in this combination:

  1. Sheets
  2. Towels and washcloths
  3. Receiving blankets
  4. Baby clothes
  5. Mother’s clothes

Have your birth kit and other supplies purchased, prepared, and ready for three weeks before your due date. Have everything in one place in the room you plan to give birth.

A Word From Verywell

If you are unsure about the type of birth you would like to have, be sure to discuss with your healthcare providers to discuss your options. A home birth is not for everyone, so it's important that you know all the facts before making a decision.

Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

By Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH
Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH is a professor, author, childbirth and postpartum educator, certified doula, and lactation counselor.