Skipping the epidural? Rock on, brave mama! As everyone will tell you, though, (count me as #7,832), “there’s a reason why they call it labor.” So if you are going to give birth drug-free, you will want to have some items on hand for your comfort, stamina and energy.
Like, err, an epidural. (Just kidding!)
Or vodka. (Still kidding!)
Now that I’ve gotten these bad jokes out of my system, here is our time-tested, midwife-approved list of drug-free items to have on hand during your home birth or birthing suite.
1. Raspberry leaf tea, a bedside essential for laboring women for centuries
2. Hard candy to suck on once active labor’s begun and food is off limits (though some hospitals might restrict you to ice chips)
3. Essential oils so your birthing partner can give you a soothing back or foot massage to get you through those contractions
5. A great, supportive pillow like the Bucky Buckwheat Hull Bed Pillow to make the birthing bed comfortable and cool (don’t rely on hospital pillows to be comfortable!)
6. If you don’t already have a balance ball, you’ll want to have one to stretch out on during labor (and you can use it for Pilates or yoga to get your abs back in shape post-baby!)
7. Other items that you find comforting to get you through those long hours: a warm blanket from home (if you’re not having a home birth), an eye mask, a soothing lotion
8. If your midwife or obstetrician approves, homeopathy such as King Bio Homepathic Birth Ease
9. Items to remind you of what you’re going through all of this for, like a teddy bear or little outfit from your baby’s layette
10. A celebratory post-labor meal—fettuccine, chocolate cake, whatever your heart desires! (You’ll be hungry for certain.)
You can do it, mama!
Jorie Mark is Vitacost.com’s Director of Marketing Communications and mom to three kids, ages 2 to 10.