Updated: Sep 26, 2021
This is a popular question asked by new doulas and sometimes potential clients want to know too. Ask 100 different birthworkers, and you may receive 100 different answers. However, there are a few items most doulas carry in their bags. I may not carry all of these items to every birth. It really depends on the client.
Right now I currently just use a rolling suitcase I already owned. This Zuca bag is my dream bag though.
Herbs: I bring a variety of herbal preparations from my shop for the parents to use, if they desire. I also started bringing muslin drawstring bags to make the herbal after birth bath easier to prepare.
Healing Crystals: My crystal collection for my birth bag came from various small businesses. I only incorporate them if the parents desire me to. Most of my clients are thrilled to have the stones be a part of their birth.
Rescue Remedy: Rescue Remedy is a blend of five different Bach Flower Essences designed to promote calm, focus, and relax during stressful situations. It is available in drops, spray, pastilles, or pearls.
Arnica Cream/Oil: Arnica is a great herb to use topically for sore, aching muscles.
Essential Oils: The primary essential oils I keep in my bag are peppermint(good for nausea or to put a few drops in the toilet to encourage urination), lavender for calming, lemon for energizing, and clary sage for oxytocin boost. I always use a personal inhaler or tissue for inhalation so the scent can be quickly taken away if the birther finds it offensive to her senses. I order from Plant Therapy because I admire their transparency, quality, and ethical business practices.
Massage Tools: Clients vary in the type of touch they like so I keep a variety of massage tools such as scalp massager, spiky massage balls, massage roller ball, and peanut massager in my bag. I am especially fond of the peanut massager to apply counterpressure to the sacrum.
Rebozo: A rebozo is a woven shawl that is vital to everyday life and culture in Central America. It is a valuable tool for labor and can be used for belly sifting, hip sifting, as well as helping the birther into positions such as a squat. It is important to respect the culture and purchase authentic rebozos.
Birth Stool: I have a beautiful wooden birth stool gifted to me by a former client. It works well for home births. However, I wanted to find something more portable for my birthing center clients. The CUB is a sturdy, inflatable birth stool that can also be used in the shower. The birther can sit on it like a stool to open up the body or also use it to lean on as one would use a birth ball.
TENS Unit: A TENS Unit is handheld machine that sends small, safe pulses of electrical current via flat pads that stick to your back. The pulses give a gentle tingling or buzzing sensation into your muscles and tissues, and the intensity can be controlled by the wearer.
This surprising little tool is a big hit with clients because it gives them a greater feeling of control over managing through their surges. The birth holds the comb in her hand(or one in each hand) with the teeth facing toward the palm. It hits key acupressure points in addition to possibly working according to the Gate Control Theory of Pain.
Food Bars(for me): I keep these keto bars in my bag because I follow a low carb diet, and these bars had the best ingredients. Obviously, substitute the bar of your choice, trying to avoid artificial ingredients and processed sugar.
Honey Sticks: Many doulas keep honey sticks to give to hospital clients to keep the client's energy up because eating during labor is usually against the maternity ward's policy. I primarily attend out of hospital births and my clients eat freely. I keep some in my bag nonetheless.
Electrolyte Packets: I keep these electrolyte packets in my bag because they have decent ingredients. I use them if I or my client need to up our electrolytes.
For myself: In addition to the nourishment items, I pack a change of clothes, menstrual cup and cloth pads, a phone charger, hair ties, toothbrush and toothpowder, natural deodorant, an herbal tincture for headache, and an herbal tincture for energy.
Sometimes precipitous births happen so I keep items such as chux pads and a few pairs of gloves in my bag.
Small bottle of Force of Nature: I absolutely LOVE Force of Nature cleaner because it is non-toxic, but it is a clinically proven and EPA approved disinfectant. I use it in my home as well as to clean my birth items. I also use it on my hands in a pinch. You can use my code BYEGERMS20 for free shipping and 20% off starter kits.
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