If you are having a home birth, you can prepare your bed for the birth (and if you are planning a hospital birth, you might want to protect your mattress in case your waters break). You can get the supplies in advance and prepare your bed during early labour.
If you are concerned about your water breaking, you can put a plastic layer under your sheets to protect your mattress a couple of weeks before your due date.
To prepare your bed for labour, you will need 2 sets of clean, older sheets. They do not need to be sterile. The waterproof layer can be a good cheap plastic fitted mattress cover from a store such as Zeller’s, or an old shower curtain, or a painter’s drop sheet available at any hardware store. Even if you don’t give birth in bed, the extra plastic drop sheets and extra towels available will help keep your floor or carpet clean.
Step 1 – Make the bed as usual with the first sheet. (Some people prefer to put an extra layer of plastic on the mattress for extra protection before putting on any other sheets.)
Step 2 – Cover with the waterproof plastic layer. You can use a good cheap plastic fitted mattress cover from Zeller’s or, you can use an old shower curtain or a painter’s drop sheet available at any hardware store. You can use safety pins to keep the corners in place.
Step 3 – Cover the plastic layer with the other sheet so you can be comfortable.
After the birth, the top sheet and the plastic are removed to soak in cold water, leaving you with a freshly made bed to rest.