There is nothing worse for me than when I ask a woman where her knickers are and she says “room at top of stairs on the left, cupboard on the right, open the left door and third drawer down under the greyish bras and there are my old knickers!!!” Phew by the time I get up the stairs I have forgotten the instructions!

For a homebirth I always reassure women that most items needed can be found around the home, as I don’t like to think they are put at extra cost or inconvenience. However most women like to get things ready and it appeals to their nesting instincts. I suggest putting a box together so it’s easy accessible. 

There are lots of things that women may want to have ready such as CD’s candles, nice foods, drinks, cool sprays etc but for the actual birth from a practical point these are the things I would like to see put together in one place. 

In the Birth Box
I suggest a few pieces of plastic sheet the size of a fire side rug and an old sheet to cover them. One can be for birthing on and another to put on sofa or bed for afterwards when blood loss may still be heavy. If having a water birth as many old towels as possible as women are often in and out. Towels then get wet and we constantly need dry ones. I reassure them they do not have to be new towels, try and borrow or use old ones. They wash perfectly well after, even if they get blood stained but best not to use pastel colours or they will look pretty dull after the wash. 

Although ever aware of the environmental issues and cost I just love disposable bed mats meant for incontinence in the young or elderly. They are the perfect size for birthing and fantastic at keeping new babies warm. They save on lots of work too. Can be bought in Boots, Mothercare, supermarkets etc 2 packets serve well. 

Container for placenta I always suggest an old 1 litre ice cream box and this is especially good if you are keeping your placenta. NHS midwives usually carry yellow bags for the placenta if they are taking it away for disposal.