One optional item I have on my birth supply list is a crockpot. This always gets a lot of raised eyebrows from families. The crockpot can be set up, along with the many washcloths from your list, to provide warm compresses. Sometimes we might use these for your lower back or lower belly, but often they are used on your perineum. Though evidence is mixed regarding whether warm compresses help prevent 1st and 2nd degree tears, they probably do help prevent more serious lacerations. Regardless, birthing people often report that the warm compresses offer comfort and relief and sometimes even help provide some direction for pushing.
If you choose to have hot compresses available for your birth, you might consider:
- Using a crockpot with a removable crock so it can be washed in the dishwasher afterwards (some people might get one at a thrift store just for this purpose and keep it away from cooking ware altogether).
- Have a few extra washcloths–yes even a few more than what’s on the list already.
- Have some fresh ginger on hand–we’ll slice it up and add it to the crockpot during labor. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce muscle soreness.
- If you don’t have ginger on hand, you might like to use sitz bath herbs. Have a muslin “tea” bag handy so that we don’t have little bits floating around in the crockpot.
Whether or not you want a crockpot set up for hot compresses at your birth is entirely up to you. But I’ve never had anyone say it wasn’t worth the effort to have one available.