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Feeling confused about what to prepare for your upcoming home birth? 

Here is a STEP BY STEP shopping guide to what you’ll need to purchase and prepare:

Have you decided where in your home you plan to give birth?  If you’re planning a water birth, then you’ll want to also view our Preparing for a water birth tutorial next!

It’s likely the your midwife has already given you a home birth supply list and you’ll need to have these purchased before 37 weeks to be sure you are ready.

Preparing for mess!

Many over dramatize the mess that a birth involves but actually, birth mess is usually well contained and your midwife is very skilled and preparing ahead for these things. 

Here are some essentials you just can’t go without!

Disposable underpads– also known as “chux pads”

15-20 x Small Blue Pads

5-10 x Large Green or Peach Pads

These are a must have for every birth.  They catch all the mess, and then you just throw them out.  They are used for leaking amniotic fluid, for the birth, for the delivery of placenta, just to name a few.  The amount you use will vary but you’ll want to purchase at least 15-20 of the smaller blue pads and 5-10 of the larger green or peach ones.  If you decide to purchase extra just incase, know you’ll find many other uses for them after the birth and they are unlikely to go to waste. 

Waterproof sheets  & Old Sheets that are ok to throw out after the birth 

2-3 Sheets

Waterproof sheets are 42 inches by 84 and are intended to protect your mattress during birth.  You’ll need them whether you plan to give birth in water or out since even with a waterbirth, you usually get out of the water to deliver the placenta on the bed. 


These paper/plastic sheets are nicer than covering with a painter’s plastic sheet or shower curtain since they breath better and don’t cause you to sweat. 

You’ll cover your mattress with it’s usual mattress protector, then use about 2 of these to cover the full bed, then put your old sheets over this. After the birth, you simply pull the old sheets and waterproof sheets off the bed and throw in the garbage.  Replace with new sheets. 

These can also be used to drape over couches or the floor in the event you end up giving birth in a different location than planned.

Garbage Bags & Zip Loc 

Most birth supply lists ask for about 2 garbage bags and one zip lock bag for the placenta.  You may also decide to cover your bed pillows with a garbage bag and an old pillow case as well and therefore need a few more.

Old Towels

Similar to the old sheets which may or may not need to be thrown away after due to blood stains, it’s best not to use your favourite towels for birth.  You can’t have enough but plan for at least 6-10 large  towels and 4-8 smaller wash cloths.  These should be washed twice but otherwise do not need to be sterilized or anything like that.

Also, handy would be an unopened new package of paper towels for various quick cleanup.

Large Bowl or Container for Placenta

Good to have closely during labour incase you feel nauseated and then after the birth for collection of the placenta until it has been inspected and then placed in zip-lock bag to be disposed of or transported later.


Hydrogen Peroxide

1 x bottle

Super handy for getting blood out of carpet or upholstery.


Home Birth Shopping Guide

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