When I was pregnant and due to birth my daughter Ursula back in 2018, I was fully on-board with the life of an Amazon Prime member. Everything you need in one place, quick delivery (not unlike Ursula!) and what I thought were the best prices in town. That’s where I got all my natural pregnancy and birth essentials and I didn’t think anything of it.
Fast forward a couple of years and I have made the commitment to shop as ethically as I possibly can, which means no more Amazon. On top of tax evasion, unethical business practices and making small independent businesses struggle to compete, their treatment of their workers during the COVID-19 pandemic was the final nail in the coffin for me.
When I first decided to give them up, after the initial sense of worthiness came the panic – hang on, where on Earth will I get THIS item?! I realised then how deeply I’d been sucked in and how much I’d come to rely on a billion dollar corporation at the expense of small, local businesses.
Christmas 2020 saw me going 100% non-Amazon for all my gifts and I LOVED it! Honestly, I discovered so many new traders that I’d never heard of before, some locally and some online.
The biggest win for me, however, was really discovering the true value of Etsy. I’d used them a bit before, but only for the odd toddler printable or something super niche items like custom cloth sanitary pads. But I had no idea just how much incredible stuff you can buy on Etsy – how many phenomenal independent crafters there are and how many unique, one-of-a-kind items.
The best thing was that, as a small business owner myself, I knew that my purchase from these sellers would mean SO much more to them that in ever would to the folks at Amazon. When you buy from an indie seller, you genuinely make them do a little happy dance when they see your order come in. You’re helping someone pay their rent and feed their family in a time of huge global uncertainty and rising levels of unemployment. The CEO of Amazon doesn’t need your money, but small business owners on Etsy do and are super grateful for your custom. You often see this in the way many sellers lovingly package your items and send personalised notes.
Anyway, I thought I’d do a little run down of my top natural pregnancy and birth essentials available from Etsy sellers so you can get inspired to do at least some of your maternity shopping there.
I’ve got a full list of my natural pregnancy, birth and postpartum favourites over on my Lists page on Etsy HERE, and I’ve created some sub-category lists too to help you find what you’re looking for.
Note: I live in the UK but I know a lot of my readers are in the United States, so I will aim to include a good mixture of UK and US products. If you click through to something not available in your country, do search for it again on Etsy as there is bound to be an alternative for you.
Natural pregnancy favourites (full etsy list here)
Pregnancy is an exciting yet exhausting time, especially where we’re expected to carry on with our regular lives as if we’re not building a whole new human inside us! Etsy has some wonderful products available to help you to both look after yourself and prepare for your natural birth.
Myrtle & maude morning sickness gift set
Treat yourself to some serious morning sickness or pregnancy nausea care courtesy of natural UK-based company Myrtle & Maude. This lovely boxed gift (for yourself!) set comes with acupressure wristbands (my absolute saviour in combatting pregnancy sickness) complete with a cute little travel case, organic morning sickness tea and handmade Vitamin B6 peppermint bonbons to help ease the quease.
The whole set ticks all these natural and ethical boxes too:
- Certified Organic
- Certified Vegan
- Ethical Tea Partnership
- Caffeine Free
- Free from artificial colours and flavourings
- Discreet Packaging
Lavender yoga eye pillow
I got addicted to lavender-infused eye pillows in my pregnancy yoga class. Our teacher would bring out a heated-up eye pillow for each of use as we lay on our mats relaxing for shavasana at the end of class and it was the most wonderful experience. I quickly bought my own for helping me wind down at the end of a stressful commute from working in Central London.
These ones come in a range of beautiful prints although my favourite is this Japanese-inspired blue wave print, also available in other colours.
Organic perineum massage oil
As I discussed in my guide to preparing your body for a natural birth, the perineum (the area between the opening to the vagina and the anus) is placed under enormous strain during natural childbirth. At least one third of birthing women in the UK and US experience a perineal tear during natural childbirth. OUCH.
Do yourself and your peri a huge favour by preparing it in advance with regular massing using an organic perineum oil, like this one created by a Texas-based doula. It is 100% organic, made with high-absorption African baobab oil, rich in antioxidants, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and contains vitamins A, B, C, and E. It even helps to soothe and soften C-section scars if things don’t go according to your natural birth plan.
NATURAL BIRTH FAVOURITES (FULL ETSY LIST HERE)
This is what it’s all running up to, mama – your big birth day. If, like me, you’re planning and hoping for a natural birth then you’ll need to be fully prepared. As well as preparing yourself physically by doing all the crunchy mama things (eating dates, pregnancy yoga, osteopathy etc – check out this post for more), it helps to have a few material comforts to support you in labour too.
This is one of those items that, when I decided I was boycotting Amazon, I wasn’t entirely sure where else I’d go – but it turns out Etsy aren’t just good for artisan and handmade items, they sell really practical stuff too.
A good quality fitness or yoga ball like this one will be invaluable to you both in the later stages of pregnancy and during labour itself. Use it combination with a birth position chart like this one, available as a digital download and specifically designed with inclusivity in mind.
Birth affirmation cards
Positive and empowering birth affirmation cards are a staple of any natural birth mama’s shopping list. The decision as to which cards are right for you is a very personal one – you’ll want to pick a set with the messages, images and stylistic choices that speak most to you. Etsy is the perfect place to browse the market though as there are plenty to choose from.
I love this monochrome set with beautiful artwork and strong, empowering words. If it’s not quite your style, though, there are some other options for both US and UK-based readers in my full natural birth favourites Etsy list HERE.
I also came across this set of soft LED with mini clothes pegs and thought it was a lovely idea – just perfect for hanging up in your birth space or birth altar.
essential oils diffuser & oils
I bought an essential oil diffuser in my third trimester, when I was beginning to put my home birth kit together. It was honestly one of the best investments I made, as I still use it three years on for things like helping Ursula sleep with a stuffy nose (eucalyptus), or winding down to bedtime (lavender) on a stressful day of Mumming. I’ve basically used it from labour right through the newborn nights, sleep regressions, chest infections and beyond, so if you’re wondering whether it’s worth getting one of these I can assure you it absolutely is!
These are my favourite essential oils for supporting natural childbirth:
Effects Anti spasmodic, tones the uterus, analgesic (strong), antidepressant, anti viral and sedative. A strongly relaxing oil that can reduce anxiety, stress and depression. It can assist contractions and accelerate labour.
Contraindications Women who have had LSCS (lower segment Caesarean section) or have a uterine scar.
Effects Anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral, analgesic, calming but mentally stimulating. Can help panic, anxiety and nervous tension. Good analgesic and emotionally balancing. Recommended in situations of maternal panic i.e. transition.
Effects Emotionally uplifting. Enhances confidence and optimism. Analgesic and enhances uterine action.
Contraindications Women who have had LSCS (lower segment Caesarean section) or have a uterine scar.
Effects Relaxing, sedative, balancing, calming, analgesic, antibacterial, hypotensive antispasmodic, muscle relaxant. Can aid coping, reduces muscular aches and pains. Helpful with anxiety, stress and insomnia as emotionally calming. Has analgesic properties, good for headache/migraine. Can aid healing.
Contraindications May not be suitable for mothers who suffer with hay fever or asthma triggered by pollen.
Effects Sedating, relaxing, calming, antispasmodic, digestive stimulant, revitalising. Enhances maternal wellbeing and mood. Recommended for restlessness, agitation and exhaustion.
Contraindications Avoid exposure to strong sunlight/UV light for 12 hours after massaging into skin as can increase the risk of sunburn.
Effects Can help reduce nausea and vomiting in labour and heartburn and indigestion. Relieves muscular aches and pains, headache and migraine. Calming for anxious and stressed women and refreshing for tired women.
Contraindications May cause skin irritation – best used in foot bath or diffuser.
Effects Anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory (strong), bactericidal, antidepressant, calming. Can be used in a similar way to lavender to assist ability to cope with labour as is emotionally calming. Helps with nervous tension, stress and insomnia. Analgesic. Valuable for skin rashes, eczema, pruritus.
Effects Calming, relaxing, analgesic, antibacterial, stimulates the immune system, antiviral. Promotes a feeling of wellbeing. Use for poor obstetric histories such as, bereavement, and depression. It can enhance uterine action. Good for sensitive skins.
natural postpartum favourites (full etsy list here)
For many natural mothers, especially first-timers, the actual birth is the big event that we’re all focused on. I know for me, I was completely focused on doing All The Things to try and make the birth go as smoothly as possible – do the yoga/Spinning Babies® to get the baby in the right position, write the birth plan, prep the home birth kit, book the placenta encapsulation etc etc – and I spent very little thinking about the immediate time AFTER the birth. You, when baby is actually here and you’re trying to both look after them AND look after yourself.
Here are some of my postpartum favourites to help you start thinking about what you’ll need to help you recover from the birth in that all-important postpartum period.
Now I think I’m right in saying that the peri (short for perineum) bottle is handed out as standard to birthing women in US hospitals, but here in the UK I’d never heard of them. It turned out to be absolutely essential to my postpartum recovery though and I really recommend getting hold of one.
If you’re having a natural birth, you’ll need a bit of help getting through those first few painful trips to the bathroom. In particular, it’s much less hygienic and more painful to use toilet paper for the first week-ish, so the perineum bottle is a lifesaver.
Personally I upped the healing power by making a batch of this postpartum herbal bath recipe and freezing it a week before my 40 week point so I had it on hand. It was SO soothing – all those wonderful herbs, plus the salt and tea tree for a natural anti-bacterial healing boost. The mixture has so many uses too – I even used some in Ursula’s baths (minus the tea tree – essential oils are too harsh for baby skin) and the soothing herbs helped her through colic, sleep progressions and the 6-8 week “Witching Hour” period.
You can also get all of the ingredients on Etsy:
postpartum herbal bath recipe
1 part dried lavender
1 part dried chamomile
1 part dried comfrey leaf
2 parts dried marigold (calendula)
1 part pink Himalayan rock salt
10 drops tea tree essential oil
Mix and distribute into small organic cotton drawstring bags, filling each bag about ¾ full. Soak each in 1 litre boiling water for at least 4 hours. Batch make the mixture in the early postpartum days, freezing any excess for later use.
Reusable maternity pads
Postpartum periods are a case of skipping nearly a year’s worth of periods and then having them all at once!
I highly recommend Pussy Pads postpartum pads from Etsy as the greenest postpartum option. After having a baby I didn’t want to go back to a menstrual cup straight away so took a look at the reusable cloth pads options around. These are the most comfortable towels I’ve found and the seller offers whole range of different fabrics, lengths and absorbencies to suit you. She’s just one woman making cloth pads though so you need to order in advance, but they’re well worth the wait and I continue to use them every month.
If Pussy Pads aren’t available in your country, do take a look at the many other reusable pad options on Etsy – honestly, once you’ve used cloth you’ll never go back!
Benkung belly wrap & belly paste
Bengkung belly wraps are traditional postpartum recovery aids from Malaysia. They support your core and give you a helping hand in getting all those loose abdominal muscles back in order.
I have to say, I really wish I’d known about these at the time. It turns out I had diastasis recti (separation of the abdominal walls, which most women get to some extent after pregnancy and results in the famous Mum Tum or Mom Pooch) and it’s taken me months of hardcore DR-safe abdominal exercises to fix it. I could have saved myself a lot of work by getting a benkung belly wrap on during the last stages of pregnancy and early postpartum to limit the damage.
So that’s it for my natural pregnancy, birth and postpartum favourites available on Etsy. I hope you’ve got some inspiration – do head over to Etsy and check out my full lists for more. I’ve also added a list of natural baby care products for when that little one actually arrives.
Wishing you a fabulous pregnancy, an empowered birth, and a healing postpartum and Matrescence.