Welcome to Birthing Ayurveda, where we follow one woman's pregnancy experience week by week—from a positive home pregnancy test all the way to delivery.
As I approach full term (37 weeks), it hit me how close I am to meeting Charlie (what we call the baby)! And with that, the urgency to put my delivery bag together dawned on me (in retrospect, I would probably encourage all mothers to put their bags together a few weeks earlier since you really never know when your little one will join you in the outside world).
There are many lists for getting a basic delivery bag together (just Google “delivery bag” and click on images for many handy lists). I am sharing my list at the end of this article. I used many of the lists that I saw for the basics, and then added items that would be helpful from an Ayurvedic point of view.
The delivery space should be as soothing to vata as possible. This means finding ways to bring in warmth—both mentally and in temperature. Traditionally, caregivers would light a fire in the corner of a delivery room. Softness, heaviness, and oiliness will also calm vata and assist the downward energy vector (apana vayu) which is crucial to the delivery of a child.
And lastly, consider bringing familiarity into the space to combat the coldness and anxiety that can arise from foreign environments (if you are not planning a home birth). Also plan to surround yourself with family members and friends that give you comfort. In the ancient tradition, there were mostly women (that had given birth) in the room because of the unique camaraderie and support that they can provide.
For these reasons, in addition to the traditional delivery bag, I added pictures and a couple statues of deities that my husband and I have a personal connection with. I also packed my own bedsheets and pillow and some candles and incense that bring warmth and a feeling of home to me. Check beforehand to make sure that candles and incense are allowed.
I chose a blend of essential oils that ground vata from Floracopeia for my diffuser (it has a beautiful blend of Palo Santo, Clary Sage, and Rus Khus). Eucalyptus was also in the mix in case I needed something to clear my mind, give a slight boost in energy, and reinvigorate prana.
And don’t forget about oils! Touch and massage ease sensations of anxiety and discomfort. In Ayurveda we combine this therapy with the grounding and heavy qualities of warm oil. For me, my pain usually responds very well to heat (while my mind is very pitta, my body tends to get vata imbalances!). So, I chose to pack some Ashwagandha Bala Oil (oil that I will later use for the baby’s massage) and Mahanarayan Oil for mild muscle tension. I packed these with an oil warmer and a large sock filled with rice to use as a heating pad. If your constitution or imbalance tends to respond better to a cooler temperature, consider packing the more mild Pitta Massage Oil or a more neutral Daily Massage Oil.
What are you packing? Please comment below to share ideas!
- Loose-fitting tops
- Pajama pants
- Loose pants to go home in
- Tank top
- Nursing bra
- Nursing pads
- Beauty Balm (for the nipples)
- Jacket (optional)
- Belly band (postpartum band to wrap the belly)
- Music speaker
- Phone chargers
- Ready-to-go playlist on your phone or iPod.
- Diffuser and essential oils
- Bedsheets (1)
- Deity pictures and statues
- Heating pad/sock with rice
- Hot water kettle
- Wash cloths
- Massage Oils
Snacks and Miscellaneous:
- Granola bars
- Fresh cut fruit
- Clear broth soup
- Thank you cards
- Extra bags (for any additional items to bring back home)
- Towels for the car (to keep the seat tidy)
- Items for birth ceremonies
- Warm gown
- Receiving blanket
- Warm blanket
- Cotton for the ears (helps reduce vata and noise)
- Sweat pants
- Copy of birthing plan
- Copy of driver’s license
- Copy of insurance card