You may be wondering what on earth a crock pot has to do with preparing for your home birth, but rest assured, there is a good reason why it is on your birth supplies list.
One of the great things about midwifery care is that we care about protecting your perineum and minimizing tears during your baby’s birth. One of the techniques we may use is the application of a warm compress during the last part of the pushing phase, to provide support and warm the tissues as they stretch. While the data is mixed on whether warm compresses prevent 1st or 2nd degree tears, there is evidence to support that they help prevent more severe lacerations.
The crock pot is a fabulous tool for the preparation of warm compresses. Often, we will slice up some ginger to add to the warm water – ginger is great for this purpose due its anti-inflammatory properties – and soak a few washcloths in the warm water until we need them. Some people prefer to use healing herbs, such as those for a sitz bath (if you decide to use herbs, make sure to put them in a muslin bag, so that there aren’t particulates in your water.)
These wonderful warm compresses don’t just feel great on your perineum – we also use them to apply heat to your lower back or belly during labor, or other parts of your body where moist heat might help.
For the crockpot in question, it’s a good idea to use a medium-sized one with a removable crock, so that it can be washed in the dishwasher after the birth. Some people choose to purchase the crock pot for their birth at a thrift store.
After you have gathered your crock pot and ginger or herbs, simply place the crock pot with your birth supplies, set aside a few extra washcloths, put the ginger in the fridge, and we will take care of the rest when we arrive at your home for your birth.