I thought I’d give a little insight into the world of a community midwife – what the hell do we carry round in our bags? Do we need it all? Well, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. We all have slight variations of course, and things change all the time, but these are the basics.
1 – Blood pressure cuff and stethoscope
If you’ve ever been pregnant, you know how important it is to have your blood pressure checked, for signs of either essential hypertension or pre-eclampsia, so we always need it on hand to check. A manual blood pressure cuff is always more accurate than a machine.
2 – The Pinnards
This is a Trumpet like instrument that lets us hear the baby’s heartbeat, for when technology fails.
3 – Leaflets, leaflets and more leaflets
Got a question? We’ve got a leaflet on it. There are some we must give out, some on request. Need it in Urdu? We’ve got that too.
4 – Mobile phone
To keep in touch with the hospital or colleagues if needed. Also comes in handy when you can’t find the client’s house, you can phone them and ask for directions!
5 – Alcohol gel
For added disinfecting after hand washing, and for a quick clean before patient contact. Click the image to get yours.
6 – The Red Book
Normally given out in the hospital, they sometimes run short so I keep a stash just in case. Your baby’s record from birth to five.
7 – Sterile Gloves and aquagel
For when needs must and we need to perform a vaginal exam or sweep, or when we’re removing c-section dressings or other invasive procedures like blood taking. We also carry a box of non sterile gloves.
8 – Lansinoh samples
Nipple cream sachets for Mums having sore nipples. A little goes a long way, and it’s the only nipple cream I recommend for sore nipples.
9 – Small Sharps Box
To safely dispose of needles.
10 – Foetal heart monitor
Also known as a sonicaid, used for listening to the foetal heart.
11 – Blood taking equipment
For routine blood tests or to help diagnose a problem.
12/13 – Urine dipstix and urine bottles
To diagnose urine infections, diabetes, pre-eclampsia. The bottles are for collecting urine samples to send to the lab.
14 – Wound/Vaginal Swabs
To take swabs for diagnosing possible infections.
15 – Scissors and tape
An essential for a nurse or a midwife, if you’re taking blood, removing dressings, it always comes in handy.
16 – Scales
It’s important to check how your baby is doing in the first weeks of life – generally if the baby is weeing and pooing it’s getting enough. We generally weigh on day 5 and again around day 10.
17 – The Wheel of fortune
The magic wheel that tells us how pregnant you are at any given date and what your due date is, all from the first day of your last period.
18 – Form and heel prick equipment
Between day 5 and 7 we take an important blood test from baby to check for certain life threatening conditions that are treatable.
19 – Tape Measure
For measuring bumps
Different Midwives may carry more or less around and we always carry an emergency ‘grab bag’ in case we have to attend an unplanned or planned home birth that’s happening in a hurry!