Have that bag packed well in advance (6 weeks before the due date is good) and as well as all the usual stuff you can find on anybody's list, try these. All tried and tested for my own labours, some of them might not be the first thing to spring to mind!
- Sandwiches and snacks you've kept in the freezer for the occasion. They will defrost slowly and you (or partner) can eat them as needed.
- Ice cubes in a flask. Fantastic for when the going gets tough. Wrap some in a flannel and use to mop your weary brow!
- Relaxing massage oil get your partner to massage your back. Lovely!
- Space hopper. Cheaper than your average birthing ball, it has handles for stability and the happy smiley face makes the midwives smile. OK you get some funny looks too but it generally lightens the atmosphere!
- A BIG Tshirt to give birth in. Nice and roomy so you're not restricted, and cheap so you can throw it straight in the bin afterwards!!
- Aromatherapy oils for massage during labour, or just put a couple of drops on a tissue to sniff. Lavender oil is relaxing. Clary sage takes you away with the fairies! Neroli oil helps combat fear and apprehension. Learn more about aromatherapy in pregnancy and labour in our Aromatherapy for Pregnancy book
- Ear Plugs Essential for that first sleep after the birth. Partner or grandparents will look after baby. Try and stop them!!
- CD of relaxing music, along with something to play it on. A lifesaver for me during long nights in hospital after a Caesarean, Baby didn't know what sleep was! If you're really clever, you've played this lots before Baby is born, too. They can hear sounds from 20 weeks in the womb, and a familiar sound will be soothing once they're out!
- More to follow....
- AND DON'T FORGET...The DAD BAG!! It's not just Mum who needs supplies. Dad obviously plays a very important supporting role and might be so busy worrying about the situation he'll forget about his own needs. Prepare for a long labour just in case. He may find useful: a change of clothes; Red Bull; a book; drinks; snacks; tissues; you add the rest!
Good luck! Let me know if you try any of these, and how you get on.
Let me know your own lifesavers so I can add them to the list!