5 Essential Tools for your Labor Bag
No matter what your birth plan is, having tools packed in your bag to that can help manage labor is always a good idea. Whether you’re planning for a natural birth or you know you’d like medications for pain relief, these basic tools and tricks can help you work through labor with a little more comfort and are a must for every labor bag!
Protein-packed small snacks are essential. We also suggest honey sticks for a quick burst of energy. Labor and birth are a lot of work! You likely won’t feel like eating a huge meal. To keep your energy up, having small snacks you can eat in early and active labor will help you to keep going. Think trail mix, almonds, and protein bars – they pack a nutritional punch but won’t spoil and have a neutral taste that are unlikely to cause nausea.
Temperature fluctuation in labor is common, and it’s normal to feel hot and break out into a sweat. Cooling towels can help you to keep from overheating. Wash cloths will work too, but cooling towels keep their temp without needing to be wet and are a nice option for those who do not want water on the upper part of their body or head.
Essential Oils and Vitamin E Oil
Aromatherapy can help with nausea, anxiety, and exhaustion during labor. As a doula, I pack essential oils and cotton balls together. Having a diffuser going may be appealing in one moment and repulsive in the next – and it’s difficult to get rid of a smell that has been pumped into the room, whereas a cotton ball with a few drops of oil can be tossed in the trash. Vitamin E oil is also great for the skin, with no odor, and can be used to massage sore backs or feet, or aid in a relaxing hand massage while you labor. Helpful essential oils include:
- Citrus – to boost energy
- Clary Sage – to stimulate contractions (use ONLY in labor, not during pregnancy)
- Lavender – to promote relaxation
Having a diffuser going may be appealing in one moment and repulsive in the next – and it’s difficult to get rid of a smell that has been pumped into the room, whereas a cotton ball with a few drops of oil can be tossed in the trash.
Water Bottle (with a Straw)
Staying hydrated during labor is essential. Small cups of water just won’t cut it. Bringing a large water bottle or tumbler will keep you hydrated and keep your partner from running for frequent refills. I highly suggest a straw because it’s much easier to lean your head to the side and sip water rather than exert mental and physical effort to lift a glass and drink.
“Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth.” This common mantra helps people prepare for labor and breathe through contractions. Deep breathing can help you through those sensations but often chap your lips in the process. Applying lip balm will prevent your lips from becoming dry during labor and instead keep them soft for those sweet baby cheeks you’ll soon be snuggled against and kissing!
If you’re hired a doula, she likely packed all of these tools in her bag. If you are giving birth without a doula, these items are easy, effective tools you can slip in your Baby Day bag! Be sure to also check out our list of ways to be a great birth partner!
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Doula, Babymoon Inn
Raquel is a mother to three boys and a certified Babymoon Inn Doula. She loves working in her community to reach and educate new parents on all things birth and postpartum care.