Whether you’re having a home birth or delivering in the hospital, these five birthing aids will definitely make your delivery much easier to bear. Now, I’ll be totally honest with you; I didn’t get to have a natural delivery. I was still trying to decide which type of delivery to go with (totally natural versus epidural versus some sort of hybrid versus standing on my head singing the national anthem) when my body decided to go all bonkers. Circumstances forced me into an emergency c-section before I even had my baby shower.
So what, you ask, makes me qualified to talk about the birthing aids you want by your side? First, I’m a researcher. Before my body went nuts, I spent an insane amount of time planning for my storybook birth. Second, just because I didn’t get to have said fairy tale childbirth experience doesn’t mean I still didn’t go through a lot of the crazy aftershocks that come with any delivery. They just came with a few extras, like staples and infected incisions. Oh, the fun!
Plus, as we speak, my sister-in-law is like minutes (MINUTES) away from going into labor with my nephew. Minutes. Any time now. Jennie. Any. Time. Now. I like to be helpful, so I’m doing double duty here, telling you all about birthing aids and making a list of things she should take along with her to the hospital when it happens. Ready to check them out?
5 Birthing Aids You Really Want
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Not YOUR husband (should you have one), but A husband. It’s one of those backrest pillows with arms that you prop yourself up on when you’re reading in bed. My son has one. It’s funny to hear him say “Mom, where’s my husband?” These pillows may have other names, but none come with as much fun as yelling to your actual husband “get me my husband!” and watching the confused looks on the nurses faces. Hey, you’re in labor, you need to take your fun where you can get it. This pillow will save your back when you need to sit up during labor. Trust me.
I never got to the whole “bounce on a ball” part of the labor pain relief methods, but I hear that it works absolute wonders. You can’t use just any ball, though. The last thing you want is to pop the thing. Bad for your self-esteem and your tail bone. You don’t have to get a super fancy birthing ball, either (yes, apparently they make those). A really good exercise ball will do the trick!
A ginormous bean bag
I have this super awesome bean bag chair called the Big Boy that I lay on when I’m playing video games or watching movies with my son. It’s not so much a chair but a large, flat bean bag that can be squished into a ton of different shapes and positions. Get something similar. That way, you can support just about any part of your body without needing 500 different “positioners.”
It doesn’t have to be The Big Boy (he’s kind of pricey and big for a hospital birth, but you can use it long after delivery), but you want something that starts off relatively flat and can be positioned in many different ways. If you can’t find what you need and have sewing talents, but bean bag fill and strong fabric and just make your own. I can’t sew, so I can’t really help you with that. I’m sure Pinterest knows how to do it. Pinterest knows how to make everything.
Hot & Cold Herbal Pack
I never know what these things are actually called. Basically, they’re sacks filled with rice and herbs. You can either stick them in the microwave and heat them up or pop them in the freezer to chill them. Then lay them on the part of your body that hurts and wait for the magic. I used to have a whole collection. Basically, enough to cover every part of my body. Yes, I looked ridiculous sitting around with these things on my shoulder, back, neck and eyes. Who cares? I was oh so comfy! We have a great DIY for a lavender eye mask. You could use that tutorial to make larger DIY herbal packs. Or you could just buy a few. At least two: one to keep chilled and one to heat up.
Something to distract you
This one is different for everyone, but it should be something that YOU like. I’ve seen other’s recommend soothing music, like meditation tunes or something. That would drive me bonkers, to be honest. If you find it relaxing, go for it. If listening to loud punk rock music through your headphones does a better job of distracting you from your pain, by all means, crank it up. Maybe music isn’t your thing at all! Perhaps it’s scary movies, or sappy love stories or the hottest Hollywood gossip. Whatever distracts you- even for a few moments- is a-okay. If it’s reading, though, I’d probably bring a backup distraction. I know I can’t read when my uterus feels like it’s going to explode.
While these are the five birthing aids that top my list of things you really want to have with you, there are dozens of other potential items to put in your hospital bag. Everything from healthy snacks to soothing sprays for after birth. I didn’t include these because at some point the doctor is going to take away your snacks and the sprays are really for after delivery. One writer mentioned bringing along magnesium oil. I had preeclampsia and was on a mag drip for 3 days. Not fun. The very word “magnesium” sends shivers down my spine, but I hear helps calm you.
Let’s be totally honest: women have been delivering babies for like a zillion years without birthing aids. Still, since we do have these things in our modern times, why not take advantage? I’m all for anything that makes the process easier on mom so she can get to the good stuff: holding that sweet little bundle of joy!