It's time to get ready for the big day. You're supporting your partner in life, love, and or friendship through their labour and delivery. This may be the birth of your baby, or you may be there to witness the birth of someone very special, either way, it's important to be well packed and prepared.
In terms of what to pack, you're really looking to pack mostly for your own comfort (I know it sounds a little selfish, but you won't be a good support unless you are well supported). The thing about labour is it's so unpredictable, you might be at the birth centre or hospital for a couple of hours, or you might be there for a full day or two!
Here's Spectrum's absolute essential things to pack in your support bag (click here for a full support bag packing list, and keep an eye out for our essential list for birth bag and postpartum bag)...
Since you're not the person birthing, you'll want to be sure that you dress in comfortable clothes that aren't too restrictive and you don't mind potentially getting a little messy, and bring at least one change of clothes. The key is to pack extra underwear and socks! It's amazing how just changing your knickers will make you feel like a whole new person.
Of all things you'll want to make sure are packed will be toothpaste, a toothbrush, deodorant, and breath mints. Smell is incredibly sensitive for those who are labouring, and there's nothing worse for your partner in crime (and labour) when you're holding them with unpleasant body odour and bad breath.
Think about what you might like for your comfort! In terms of what the hospital or birth centre supplies support partners is pretty minimal. With that in mind it is always a good idea to bring a pillow for you (in a coloured or unique pillow case so it doesn't get mixed with the generic white pillows the hospital/birth centre supplies), ear plugs if you have an opportunity for a wee cat nap, and some tissue (these are often never supplied, and always needed for both you and birthing person!).
Smart phones are great for labour. They become an all in one: camera, music player, and of course - a phone! Just remember your charger! And if you or the birthing person would like the moment captured, you might like to pack a proper camera.
You never know when you'll be called in to action, how long it'll take or when you'll have a chance for a breather. And the best way to ensure that the birthing person is well supported and taken care of is to ensure that you are well fueled! Bring nutrient packed snacks, and pre-cooked frozen meals. There are no restrictions on what you eat, but the only person that will ensure that you are staying nourished will be you!
There you have it! Now get packing!
If you've got some great packing tips, or some packing related questions, let us know by writing a comment, we would love to hear from you...!
The Spectrum Doula Team