Doula Bag: Everything You Need to Know

Some heroes wear capes, and some heroes carry doula bags!

A fertility doula should be ready for everything at any time. She should have her bag prepared and ready for any emergency.

On the mention of a bag, what’s in a doula bag? Do they carry some sort of magical items that alleviate the pain?

People would love to believe so, but a doula bag is much simpler than this. Let’s see in detail what a doula carries in her bag!

What’s in my Doula Bag for Birthing People?

Your doula bag should include all the things you’ll need yourself and everything the birthing mother may need. Here’s a list of all the things you need for birthing people.

Rebozo

A rebozo resembles a shawl. It’s a long Mexican garment that has multiple uses, similar to a lap blanket. In birth, doulas usually use the rebozo for laboring birthing women. The flimsy garment is more useful than you think.

When wrapped around the mother’s belly, the rebozo will pressure her uterus, thereby pushing the baby into where it should be. In some cases, the baby will have rested outside, which will typically elongate the birthing process. My first experience of giving birth was longer than I’d like to admit, and I’d have loved to have a rebozo back then.

The tightness helps the baby get into position over the cervix, which helps fasten the dilution.

TENS machine

Doulas use the TENS device to relieve the pain for women who don’t want to use any drugs. It stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. The small machine helps immensely in the early labor stages when it’s most painful for the mother.

It’s a handheld device that’s battery-operated. It connects to four flat pads that stick to the mother’s back, and the pads are covered in a firm gel to feel soothing against the body.

The device sends safe electrical pulses to the skin, providing a buzzing sensation that numbs the pain a bit. Additionally, the simulation produces endorphins, which are natural pain relievers.

In my opinion, the TENS is essential in a doula bag; it’s literally a life-saver!

Massage tools

Massaging is vital for giving birth; some doulas use their hands, but some tools make a huge difference in the experience.

Massage Ball

A massage ball is ideal for applying sacral pressure on the mother’s back. While giving birth, you’ll want someone to grab your back and take it off your body!

It serves as a huge discomfort that you’re in no need of. A massage ball will help significantly with that. It made my experience much more comfortable than I expected.

Temperature Control

A massage isn’t perfect without temperature control items. The doula bag needs to include a heat pack and a washcloth for cold water. That way, you’ll be able to stimulate the mother’s body temperature if she needs to. You can also carry a handheld fan in case she starts sweating.

Massage Oil

Massaging on dry skin is outright painful. A doula should be ready for everything, massage included. Personally, I love lavender and coconut oils. Their soothing effects are uncanny; I believe they’re essential for a doula bag.

Essential Oils

A woman giving birth needs all the support she can get, scents included. You don’t know how much a comforting scene can help. That’s why a doula should carry an assortment of essential oils for the mother.

Some oils help with nausea, such as peppermint. Meanwhile, other oils are helpful for energy, such as grapefruit. The citrus aroma can also help awaken the mother’s senses.

Battery-operated Tea Lights

While some things are more important than light, the birth room ambiance is essential for the mother’s mood. You don’t want a grumpy mother giving birth next to you, believe me! A couple of dim candles can significantly improve the experience.

Battery-operated tea lights look like real candles, and they flicker like them. They provide subtle light that’ll comfort the mother at times of need. If you accompany them with an essential oil diffuser, I guarantee the mother will love it.

Tea lights can last up to 50 hours, so you won’t need to carry extra batteries.

Fan

Labour includes a lot of sweating, I’m telling you. Carrying a fan is vital to cool the mother down while pushing. That’s the only way a doula can help in this phase, anyway.

Honey Sticks

Labour sucks a lot of energy out of the body. I remember feeling like I got run down by a train afterward. Honey sticks are an excellent way to get some sugar into the body. The mother will highly appreciate it if the doula has some of it.

Mirror

Some mothers like to see what’s happening down there during labor. While that’s not my cup of tea, you got to respect every mother’s wishes. Therefore, a doula should carry a small handheld mirror in case the mother needs it.

Sometimes, seeing the baby almost going out will keep the mother going until the last push.

Snacks

Food helps humans in every situation possible, including giving birth. Some women will go into labor at 3 AM; where can you find food at that time? In a doula’s bag!

No mother wants to eat hospital snacks while giving birth; it’ll be a huge turn-off. If you carry some protein bars, applesauce packets, and some things to munch on, the mother will be eternally grateful.

Labour Handbook

I know doulas are already well-educated on labors, both theoretically and practically. However, it’s always nice to have a reference in cases of emergencies. No woman goes into labor like the other.

Sometimes, you’re met with twists that weren’t planned for. Having a manual for troubleshooting can be of great help then. Plus, you can find some ideas that’ll encourage labor if the mother gets tired.

Camera

Suppose the mother wants her birth photographed, needless to say, that this will be your task. In this case, you’ll need to carry a camera for the process. Some mothers will have it themselves, but it’s your job to provide what the mother won’t.

Disposable Straws

A mother giving birth will need constant hydration, and you’re going to be the one to do it. Sometimes, drinking from a cup will seem like a challenging task. During my first time giving birth, I poured a whole bottle down my front. It wasn’t a pleasant sight. I’m telling you!

That’s why it’s always best to carry a pack of disposable straws. You never know when you may need them.

What’s in my Doula Bag for the Doula?

Although the birth process is centered around the mother, you should carry some items for yourself as a doula. The labor can go on for a lot of hours, and you need to be prepared because you won’t find anyone around to get you something you need. Here’s a brief list of what you should carry.

Toiletries

If you want to stay fresh all day, you’re going to need some toiletries and cosmetics. You’ll want to carry a deodorant, a body splash, a toothbrush, and some face wipes. You’ll be in close proximity to the mother in a lot of moments, so you may get sweaty yourself.

You should also carry a small towel for your face. The hospital’s towels will likely be in the mother’s hands.

Snacks

Remember the snacks we mentioned earlier? The mother isn’t the only one who’ll need them. You’ll need to get some protein into your body if you want to keep going. You can carry some protein bars for easy access.

Alternatively, you can go bold and carry rice and chicken. You’ll get full, and you won’t need the hospital’s sad food!

Water

Not only water but lots and lots of water! Dehydration is a doula’s biggest enemy for her and the mother. You don’t want to feel lightheaded while helping a mother give birth. We already have one person getting dizzy; we don’t want to have two of them!

Change of Clothes

Labour includes a lot of unpleasant fluids. Needless to say, these fluids can end up on your clothes. That’s why you should carry a change of clothes in your doula bag.

They can save your life. Not literally, but you’ll thank me for the moment you need the clothes, and find them in your bag.

Tea Flask

If you like to have a warm drink amid helping the mother, you should carry an insulated flask. Fill it with tea, green tea, or coffee. You’ll be in dire need of them if the labor goes on for long, especially that you won’t be able to leave the mother to get some.

Final Thoughts

I doubt there’s anything else a doula can carry in her bag. Having all these items, you’ll hopefully be ready for anything coming your way!

As long you’re refreshed, energetic, and well-hydrated, you’ll be able to do just anything, and that’s exactly what a mother giving birth needs by her side.

If you think I’ve left something out of the list, leave me a comment!

 

 

Princila
 

I’m Princila, founder of Check Ovulation and a proud mom of two. I’m an alumna of James Lind Institute. After working in clinical jobs, my passion for writing took its toll, and I ended up switching careers to work in the medical publishing industry. I also have a passion for healthy food, which prompted me to take several online courses in nutrition and health offered by Wageningen University. (I still haven’t completed the courses thanks to my busy mommy schedule!). When I’m not writing/editing scientific and medical manuscripts or taking care of my family, I use my free time to research, learn, and write about healthy living. I have also authored a few books in the self-help niche using the pen names Princila Murrell or PN Murray.

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