As you near the end of your pregnancy, you should have your hospital bag packed and ready to go. You may find it useful to keep it by the front door, or in the boot of your car so it’s with you at all times. Even if you’re aiming to have a homebirth, you should pack a hospital bag just in case. In fact, you should have two hospital bags – one for you, and one for the baby. Your birth partner should have a hospital bag too, but we’ve covered that here.
As your nesting instinct kicks in, you may find yourself unpacking and repacking this bag time and time again – just to be sure it’s perfect. It’s important to talk your birth partner through the contents of your hospital bag, and how it’s packed. After all, it’ll be them desperately scrabbling around to find your iPod while you’re in the throes of labour.
Ideally, you should travel light to the hospital. The following list includes useful items that you may want to include in your hospital bag:
- Your birth outfit – don’t worry, it doesn’t need to be stylish, fashionable or flattering. It really just needs to be comfortable and practical. Many women choose an old nightie or t-shirt to wear. If you’re planning to labour in a pool, you might like to pack a bikini top. Your hospital may want you to wear a standard issue gown, so you may want to ask your provider about this beforehand.
- Clothes to go home in – you’ll need a comfortable outfit to travel home in. Remember, you won’t shrink straight back down to your pre-pregnancy self, in fact you’ll still have a bump for the first few days.
- Pyjamas or nightie for after the birth. Or comfortable loungewear for your hospital stay.
- Sanitary towels or maternity pads – you’ll need around 24 of these.
- A few pairs of old, cheap or paper knickers (underwear).
- Toiletries – shower gel, shampoo, a hair brush, toothbrush, and anything else you think you’ll need.
- Your hospital notes and birth plan.
- Phone charger
- Snacks – you may find yourself peckish for snacks during labour, so make sure you have some just in case. Small easily digestible foods like rice cakes, jelly sweets and energy drinks may come in useful. Cereal bars, chocolate and crisps may come in useful after the birth, too.
- Labour props – birthing balls, massage oils and your MP3 player. Anything you want to have at hand during labour.
- More labour props – a water spray or flannel to keep you cool.
- Lip balm – dry lips is a common complaint during labour, so keep some lip balm to hand.
- Socks – cold feet is another labour complaint so make sure you’ve packed plenty of warm socks.
- Towels – some hospitals provide towels so find out in advance whether you need to pack your own.
- Nursing bra and breast pads
- Pillow – hospitals only have so many pillows so you might benefit from taking your own pillow to get comfy in hospital. You might like to take a breastfeeding pillow to help with the early breastfeeds.
- Nipple cream – if you’re planning to breastfeed, you should buy some nipple cream for the first few days.
- Camera – you will want to take hundreds of photos of your perfect new baby, so make sure you have a camera and the charger.
- Going home outfit for baby – pack a weather appropriate outfit to take baby home in.
- Bodysuits and babygrows – five of each.
- Nappies (diapers), wipes and nappy bags.
- Baby blanket.
This list covers everything you should need for your hospital stay, but there might be extra bits you want to take. Is there anything you think we’ve missed off the list, or you can’t see in the App? Please share your tips in the comments.
Written by Fiona, proud owner of a toddler, @fiona_peacock
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2017. All rights reserved.