Monday, April 09, 2007

What's in your "emergency" birth kit?

list updated April 10...

Tomorrow night I am giving a short presentation about emergency birth kits, as part of our church women's meeting about emergency preparedness. I will be displaying my birth kit and explaining what the items are for. I'll probably be giving a longer presentation about emergency birth preparedness in the next few months.

Here is a list of items in my kit:
  • 3 Emergen-C packets
  • energy bar
  • bottle of water
  • bendy straw
  • 4 Chux pads
  • 4 packs sterile gauze pads (useful for misc. cleanup/wiping)
  • umbilical cord clamp
  • sterile razor or scalpel blade
  • 2 pairs non sterile latex gloves (for handling the placenta, etc)
  • receiving blanket
  • old hand towel for drying baby/mom off
  • 1 pair cotton underwear for mom (preferably a dark color)
  • 4-6 sanitary pads
  • 2 newborn diapers
  • anti-hemorrhagic tincture (Wombstringe or Hem-Halt)
  • emergency birth manual
  • gallon-sized Ziploc: for the placenta
  • quart-sized Ziploc: for misc items
  • large trash bag
All inside a gallon ziploc bag.

Any other items I've overlooked?


  1. Four pads is pretty slim. I have heard people say to just tuck in a few extra size 1 disposable dipes to use as PP pads.

    (I don't know if that would work, I never tried it - we use cloth at home and whatever giant thing they gave me at the one hospital birth.)

  2. Sounds good. Which reminds me...I didn't include diapers!

  3. how about some witch hazel or rubbing alcohol? I would honestly include more than 4 chux pads...I know I went through a number of them birthing Zoe.

    maybe an energy bar or two to go along with the emergen-C, or some freeze dried fruit.

  4. maybe a bulb thing or dee lee suction. I know it's not usually needed, but if there's a lot of meconium I personally wouldn't want to help suck it out with my mouth at that point.

  5. Energy bar...good idea.
    I'll see how many Chux I can stuff in the gallon bag. I'm trying to fit everything inside, since this is an emergency birth kit, not a "planned home birth" kit.

    What would the witch hazel or alcohol be for? I didn't use either for my births, so it's new to me.

    I'm going to pass by the bulb suction thing. Too many reasons to mention right now because I'm tired, but if you read the post about hats and the link I included, you'll know some reasons why. Routine suctioning of mec doesn't improve outcomes, and I worry too much about a panicked parent (again, this is an emergency birth kit I'm helping people assemble) suctioning aggressively and creating an oral aversion. Birth gives babies a natural heimlich maneuver. That, in combination with placing the baby in the safety position (head slightly lower than body) to drain any other fluids out should be more than adequate for the purposes of this kit.

  6. "all inside a gallon ziploc bag"

    I'm trying to picture this, but I can't imagine how all these items can fit inside one gallon ziploc bag... am I wrong? If you have assembled the kit, could you post a picture?

    Also you might add a receiving blanket maybe. Unless the parents would know to keep baby skin to skin under adult clothing?

  7. Well I fit everything except the hand towel and the water bottle. Let's just say it's packed verrrrry tight.

  8. I use witch hazel with water in a peri bottle afterward. It feels so nice when you pee to clean off with the witch hazel and warm water...and if you tear a little it doesn't hurt (well I have never torn, but we all get stretched a little) like a standard antiseptic would, and it cleans you so you dont get an infection at all...

    but then again, that would be for a planned birth not emergency I suppose....

  9. what on earth is the razor/scalpel for? cutting the cord?

    i recommend cloth diapers too because they also double as pads slipped in the undies. in an emergency, i would think, you'd want reusable items.


    p.s. so cool about the church group!

  10. For cutting the can buy sterile, individually wrapped scalpel blades. You could pack scissors too.

    The point of this kit is to be compact, something people could have as part of their emergency preparedness supplies (such as a 72 kit). It's different from a planned home birth kit--much more pared down. The kind of thing you'd keep in your car, or you'd snatch if there were some natural disaster and you needed to leave the area immediately.

    I like the idea of cloth diapers too, so if people own them they could pack cloth instead of disposables. I'm trying to suggest a list of practical items they can easily find at home except for a few things which I am going to order in bulk for anyone who's interested.

    I also offered to put together complete kits (minus the underwear, receiving blanket, and old towel!) at cost, and so far I've had several people sign up.


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