What’s In My Bag? – Midwives Edition
I’m going to show you the contents of my bags in the hopes that you will see that birth, in all its complexities, is at it’s core, really simple. Mainly, I need something to listen to baby’s heart, sterile instruments, clean gloves, sterile gauze, a few medications, and a scale (because we’re all dying to know how big that baby is!). Midwifery is really about putting mother and baby’s health at center stage, but it takes little more than a watchful eye, and skilled (clean!) hands to do that.
I carry drastically less than other midwives do, mostly because I’m a minimalist at heart. I function better when things are streamlined and simple. This goes not only for my work, but for my kitchen, my closet, and even my kid’s toys. Other midwives, who I adore and admire, carry all of their equipment to the birth on a dolly.
With the things in my bags I have treated hemorrhages, compromised babies, repaired perineal tears, went through long, long labors, and more. I have never felt as if I were lacking in resources. So, curious to know what’s in there? Let’s get to it!
My prenatal bag comes with me to all of my prenatal and postpartum visits. It also comes to every birth.
- An automatic blood pressure cuff. I love this cuff. In labors it is swift and easy. It also gives me a pulse each time. Establishing the baseline pulse prenatally, helps me to diagnose blood loss, infections, or just normal heart rates during the birth and immediate postpartum.
- Fetascope. It’s like listening for a watch under a pillow, but it’s really the baby’s heartbeat. I can hear baby’s with this around 28 weeks and beyond.
- Footprinter. Because there’s little cuter than baby feet. And what else is there to do during those postpartum visits, but play with babies?!
- Measuring tape. Making sure that baby is growing well is one of the most important reasons for prenatal care. This tool and my hands tell me almost everything I need to know about that.
- Urinalysis or pee sticks. These are traditionally used to see if the mother has either protein or glucose in her urine, and I use them for that, but I also can tell how well a mother is hydrated and how well she’s eaten with these.
- Doppler and gel. I use a doppler to listen for baby’s heart beat in the first half of pregnancy and during labor. They do emit ultrasound to detect the heartbeat, so I am cautious in how long I listen for. In labor, I find it easier and more comfortable for mom to listen with the doppler rather than the fetascope.
- Charts. Because you never know who is going to go into labor and when!
This is the bag I carry with me to the births. It’s the table that the doctors use in the delivery rooms, but in a bag and portable. And in my case, colorful! Each family puts together a birth kit from a list I give them, or buys one. Here is the birth kit I put together for my families to purchase. Many mothers find it easier to have it all delivered to them. The birth kit contains absorbent chux pads, sterile gloves, pads, disposable underwear, bendy straws and more.
- Baby Scale. They’re soft, light, and as accurate as a postage scale. I’ve checked.
- Sterile instruments. These instruments help with cord cutting, perineal repairs and to help deliver placentas.
- Pediatric stethoscope. For listening to new hearts pump for the first time.
- Suture equipment and medications, cord ties, etc.. It has everything I need to suture a mother (besides the instruments), alcohol swabs, things to suction a baby, cord ties, an herbal cord care, another measuring tape to measure baby’s length postpartum, and an emergency warming blanket for a newborn.
- An ambu bag. This is for babies who need help breathing. It attaches to an oxygen tank which is not pictured here.
- Antihemorrhagic medications. It contains all of my antihemorrhagic medications. There are also herbs and homeopathic remedies for everything from backache during labor to a delayed placenta. My pushing oil is also in this bag. All of the herbs are either tinctured by me or from the best herb company, Herblore.
- Non-Sterile gloves. I go through tons of these at births. There’s an entire gallon sized bag of them.
- Oxygen tank
- Birth stool
- Heating pad
- Flat surface for resuscitation
- Various syringes
- Urine catheters
- Delee suction catheters
- Vitamin K shots and oral
- Amnicot hooks for rupturing membranes.
- Eldon cards for typing blood
So there you have it! I hope you enjoyed this edition of What’s in my bag? Mom and baby really are at the center of midwifery care, not technology or equipment. Interested in midwifery care? Want to see these bags at your birth? Contact me for more information on my services.