Birthkit essentials – what do we really need at a birth?

This is my birthkit purse.

It has been all over the world, and has formed the basis of hundreds of conversations.

I made it myself, and I use it to show women, families, friends, students and colleagues how little one really needs to attend a straightforward birth.

So little that some of the things pictured are luxury items!

And yes, when I was attending home births I also had a whole car boot full of bags containing drugs, resuscitation and emergency equipment and all that important technical jazz.

I was always glad to have it, and sometimes it was needed. But most of the time, that stuff sat in the corner of the room.

And the stuff that’s really necessary – that takes up MUCH less space.


Because what do we REALLY need at a birth?

Soap and gloves, to ensure cleanliness?

Something to listen to the baby with?

Some way to cut and tie the cord … but not too soon? (And not at all in some cases. One size doesn’t fit all.)

What’s essential? What’s right for you? What do we really need?


Essential conversations

I have found that birthkit purses and the stuff that can be put in them are a great tool to spark discussion of what people might want to gather in preparation for birth.

You can unpack your miniature birthkit anywhere and use it to discuss all sorts of things.

Explain how little is really essential.

Create conversations about options.

Ask people what they would add; what they would consider essential and optional for them.


Not crafty? No worries!

And because so many other people liked mine, but not everyone is crafty, I now make them for others to buy and enjoy. We sell them in our seasonal Etsy shop to pay for the infrastructure of the Birth Information Project, which sends out our free information.

Our birthkit purses come in all sorts of designs and are also used to carry toiletries, make up, money, tea bags, sweets and treats. Even tiny craft projects.

Each one comes with a cardboard tube (to show that there are low tech ways of listening to the baby), a tiny bag (for gloves), a cord tie (for discussion of options) and a postcard full of tips to help you use your birthkit purse for teaching and conversation. Then the fun starts, because you can add your own essentials and luxury items!

You can see our birthkit purses here.

I hope you’ll go and grab some goodies for yourself, and/or as a gift. The money you spend on treats and gifts in our Etsy store pays for the tech that sends out these emails and our monthly Birth Information update, so thank you for supporting us.

And we’d love to hear how you use yours!


You might also enjoy these posts:

Twenty birth kit essentials

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