What’s in my Doula Bag?
I have officially been accepting clients as a birth doula for one year, and I have learned so much from all of the births I have attended. In doing so, I have also refined what I bring in my doula bag. If you have ever witnessed a doula in action, you have likely seen them pull an item out of their doula bag at the perfect time to expertly care for the laboring person. Most doulas bring a bag of tricks to every birth they attend, and these bags tend to greatly reflect their personalities and characteristics. To help you better get to know me as a doula, I wanted to share with you guys what is currently in my doula bag!
So, here are the things I bring to every birth.
For the laboring person:
Peace and Calming can help calm and uplift the spirits of everyone in the room, as well as promote relaxation and an overall sense of peace.
Clary Sage is not recommended during pregnancy. If you are near your due date, rubbing some Clary Sage on your belly, ankles or wrist can help stimulate contractions and aid in oxytocin production.
Peppermint can help give a boost of energy, as well as ease any symptoms of nausea.
Penny Simpkin’s Roadmap to Labor
This laminated Guide to Labor is especially helpful for first time parents who have never walked through the 3 stages of labor before. It can help parents understand what to expect during labor.
Pocket Guide to Comfort Measures
Evidence Based Birth came up with a laminated pocket guide that discusses the effectiveness, pros, and cons of 3 drug and 16 non-drug comfort measures that can be used during labor and birth. I love having this tool on-hand when any questions come up regarding possible interventions or comfort measures.
Oftentimes, I lend my birth ball out to my clients if I know that they do not already own a ball of their own. Birth balls can be a refreshing change for expecting women, as regular chairs can become uncomfortable later in pregnancy. Most hospitals and birth centers are now equipped with birth balls, so if I know ahead of time that they will have one, I will leave my ball in the car. But if not, I will bring it.
Rebozo means “shawl” in Spanish. This multicolored cloth has so many uses before, during, and after the birth of a baby. In labor, a Rebozo can be used for sifting and wrapping the belly, which can help relax tight ligaments, realign the pelvis, and provide back-pain relief.
I use my hands as a means of providing counter pressure A LOT, and oftentimes, this can be very tiring after a while. Keeping a massage tool like this one in my bag has proved to be super helpful when my hands need a break.
For myself: (When joining a client in their home, birthing center, or hospital, I prepare to be with them for as long as 15 hours at a time. These items help me care for myself so I can be at my best to take care of my clients.)
The actual bag
I have had a large black Longchamp bag for as long as I can remember. It easily slips over my shoulder and can be wiped down with a little soap and water. For the first birth I ever attended, I needed to pack a bag and grabbed this one first, and it’s been my go-to one ever since.
I tend to have a fast metabolism, so I am constantly snacking on something throughout the day. I always bring a ton of healthy snack options to a birth, such as cut up fruit, veggies, nuts, and a sandwich with protein. A pack of mints or gum is always helpful to have on hand, too.
My Canon Rebel T3i is one of my favorite items in my doula bag. (I am sure to get my client’s consent before taking any photographs of their labor or immediate postpartum.) The raw, vulnerable moments I am able to capture during my time with my clients are so sweet. I love being able to provide such memories for the families in my care.
A laboring person is oftentimes very sensitive to smells, and the last thing I want is for them to be bothered by any odors coming from me! I always keep deodorant and my toothbrush and toothpaste on hand in the event of a long labor.
Water + Coffee
Assisting a laboring person is not easy work! I can easily become dehydrated, so my Yeti cup is always full of water. And of course, coffee is always on hand as well because, well, coffee is life.
Well, that covers about everything I bring in my doula bag. But, more than anything, I use my voice for reassuring and encouraging, my hands for holding and squeezing, and my smile for comforting. What questions do you have about the contents of a doula bag? What else would you add to this list?