Home Birth Checklist: The Essential Items You Need

Pregnant mama holds her belly during home birth

A comprehensive list of must-haves for birthing your pēpi at home.


Great news! You’ve decided you want to give birth at home, your midwife is on board so now you need to start checking the must-haves off your list.

It’s a good idea to run these things past your LMC to see if there’s anything else they recommend you have. Home birth midwives are well versed in knowing what works in certain spaces so discuss your preferences for a birthing pool and the practical requirements of that (such as filling and emptying the pool with ease) before you make your hire booking. Some midwives also have pools that you can borrow.


We suggest:
  • Birthing pool
  • Pillows
  • Swiss ball
  • Wheat bag
  • Birthing mat (such as an old duvet inner or sheet)
  • Tarpaulin, shower curtain or drop sheets to protect furniture and carpet
  • Electric jug for topping up the pool with hot water
  • Thermometer to check the water temperature
  • Plenty of old towels (10-12)
  • Bucket, in case of vomiting during labour
  • Sieve or similar, in case of poo in the pool
  • Puppy pads aka bed pads (Kmart has a 20 pack for $10)
  • Icecream container or other vessel for the whenua/placenta
  • Facecloths and flannels
  • Laundry basket lined with black rubbish bag for used linen and towels
  • Clamp or muka pito tie for the umbilical cord
  • Muslin for baby immediately after birth
  • Warm blankets for immediately after birth
Aquabubs birth pool for home birth hire in NZ
Aquabub Birth Pool Hire
Image supplied by www.aquabub.co.nz

If you plan on having a water birth at home, you may like to have the pool partially set up by around 38 weeks of pregnancy, so it’s ready to be fully inflated when labour begins.

Set the scene

It’s important that you feel safe and relaxed in your space. Think about things like privacy, tidiness and temperature to ensure the environment is conducive to labour and birth. Everyone has different preferences but here are some things you may like to consider:

  • Music playlist
  • Charged speaker
  • Ambient lighting such as tealight candles or fairy lights
  • Candles
  • Aromatherapy diffuser for essential oils
  • Affirmation cards
  • Birth vision board
  • Massage oil
  • Busy box filled with activities for a toddler
  • Chores out of sight (so they’re out of mind)
Nature's Touch Birth Massage Oil for Home Birth
Nature’s Touch Birth Support Massage Oil, $44.
The Warehouse Aromatherapy Diffuser for Home Birth
Living & Co Aroma Essential Oil Diffuser, $39, from The Warehouse.
Seasons Of Mama Birth Affirmation Cards for Home Birth
Seasons of Mama Birth Affirmation Cards, $36, from Wildwood Lane.
A pocket-sized reminder of how powerful you are as a birthing woman. This set includes 29 cards to positively and calmly guide you through your labour and birth.

Māmā After Birth

When it comes to what to wear during labour and birth, everyone is different. If you don’t want to be naked in the pool, you may want to wear an old bra, bikini top or t-shirt. It’s a good idea to have some hair ties within easy reach should you need your hair put up and some people find headbands helpful too.

Before you go into labour, put aside some fresh clothes to wear after your pēpi is born. If these are organised in advance and your birth partner knows where they are, they won’t need to spend time rummaging through your wardrobe to find the things you need after birth. We suggest black underwear, a dressing gown or night gown (depending on the season), a nursing bra or singlet, and some comfy pants.

You’ll also need maternity pads or adult diapers for your lochia afterwards.


Pēpi After Birth

For your pēpi, have their first newborn nappy ready to go, as well as their first outfit, including a woollen hat, socks or booties, a singlet, and a bodysuit and pants/onesie. Having coconut oil or baby oil on hand can help with cleaning up their first meconium poo.

Other Considerations

  • If you don’t feel like eating during labour, ice blocks can be useful for keeping up your hydration and sugars.
  • Whoever is in charge of keeping you hydrated should have a bendy straw in the bottle or glass for easy sipping.
  • Have fresh sheets on your bed so you can crawl into it feeling newly-made once everyone has gone home. The puppy pads come in super handy here too.
  • Keep some nourishing frozen meals stashed in the freezer to enjoy post-birth. Delicious!
  • Have some padsicles ready-made and your perineal healing spray on hand in case of any tearing or grazing.

For further support, advice and resources about home birth in New Zealand, visit the Home Birth Aotearoa website.