FAQ Set up Clean up

Midwifery services
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Set up and Clean up

“Ugh!  Gross!  What about the blood?!?”

These are commonly heard comments from prospective clients, especially dads who know they will be doing most of the housework after birth.  You might be expecting to have to replace your carpet after the birth or buy a whole set of new bed linens.  It couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Read more about the preparations before birth to limit the mess and what the clean up done during the birth by the midwives.  There are photos from real births to show how things can be set up.  Rest assured, birth is not like it is portrayed in the movies or like the images you have in your head.

Preparations

Use the handy CHECKLIST of household items and to-dos

Rent your birth tub

Order your birth kit of disposable supplies

Home visit by midwife at 36 weeks

Make sure hosing for tub is working BEFORE labor

Make bed with sheets and plastic sheeting in early labor

You are probably thinking about all those births on TV where fluids spray across the room.  Or maybe you’re thinking about your kid’s birth where mom’s bottom hangs out over the big red biohazard bag and everyone has blue gowns and face masks.  This is MUCH different!  First, most of the birth generally takes place in the tub.  Second, we have lots of absorbent chux pads to help keep things clean.  Third, we’ve got a plan and lots of experience!  We’ll walk through it all with you.

How much plastic do I need??

Plastic is our friend, but only up to a certain point!  You will want 3 mm painter’s plastic to use 1) to protect your mattress and 2) on an 8’x8′ square under your tub.  Do NOT cover your entire floor as this causes a tripping and slipping hazard.  It is best to use bath mats or thick towels as a walkway from the bed to the bathroom since plastic slips.

Where should I plan to birth?

Most people prefer to birth in their master bedroom, either on the bed or in the tub.  Sometimes there’s a master bath attached–this is convenient and comfortable.  This keeps mom and baby close to the bathroom and the bed.  But sometimes due to space and preference, the birth tub is in bedroom close by (i.e. kid’s room) or living room.  You need to prep your bed and the tub area.

What do I need to prepare in my birthing space?

There’s a handy checklist of items and procedures over in the left column.  Most of the items you already have in your house or can get at a grocery store.  The procedures include how to cover your bed with plastic.  You’ll also buy a birth kit with disposable supplies we use at the birth.  It’s not expensive to get prepared for a homebirth.  It is best to have a clear surface available (such as the top of the dresser) for us to lay out our supplies and stack clean towels.  All these items should be stacked neatly near the birth space so we can access them easily.

How does the birth tub work?

After the birth, when mom and baby are resting in bed, we will drain the birth tub into your tub, laundry sink, or outside.  Then we dispose of the plastic liner.  You’ll leave the tub inflated for the tub company to come check, clean, and pack up.

What do I need to do to clean up after the midwives leave?

Part of the homebirth midwife’s job is to make it look like a birth didn’t even happen!  We empty and straighten the tub, remove the plastic liner from the bed, replace the sheets, and start a load of laundry.  Most of the time there are some supplies stacked on the dresser, 1-2 bags of garbage, 1-2 loads of laundry, and an inflated birth tub in your bedroom when we leave.  So you really don’t have much to do!

Most of the “mess” is where the birth actually takes place.  If it’s a waterbirth, then everything is contained in the water.  The water is pumped out down the drain and the plastic liner is thrown away.  If it’s a land birth, then it’s caught by the plastic sheeting, chux pads, and towels.  The towels go in the laundry and all the plastic is thrown away.

After a homebirth, it’s hard to tell a birth just happened there.  Well, except for the new mom and baby!