What should you include in your hospital bag for labour?

What should you include in your hospital bag for labour?

You should prepare a hospital bag for labour at least 3 weeks before you’re due to give birth and leave it by the front door so that it’s right at hand as soon as you need it. But what should it contain? Let’s take a look at the essentials you’ll need for your hospital bag.

Essential items for labour

First, your hospital bag should contain loose, comfortable clothes that won’t leave you feeling too hot or restricted during labour. A nightgown or an oversized t-shirt works perfectly, and you might want a spare in case your labour stretches out and you want to change into something fresh along the way.

You should be sure to include your hospital notes and birth plan if you have one. Plus, you ought to include any medication you’re taking. It could be helpful to request spare medication from your doctor to keep in your hospital bag to make sure you don’t forget to pack it when hurrying to the hospital.

Your bag should include basic toiletries like a toothbrush and toothpaste, soap or shower gel, deodorant, a hairbrush and hair ties, and any other toiletries you’ll need to freshen up.

If you plan to use a TENS machine during labour and your hospital won’t be providing one, make sure this is in your hospital bag along with spare batteries. Pack a phone charger too to make sure you can keep in touch with your loved ones.

You should have plenty of healthy snacks and drinks on hand to keep you hydrated and energised. A fan or water spray is helpful for staying cool.

Optional extras for labour

Many people pack additional extras to help keep them calm or to pass the time during labour. If you’ve been using any aromatherapy oils to manage anxiety or stress, it can be helpful to use these during labour.

Books and magazines are handy for the early, quiet stages of labour where you’ll have time to kill. Music can be very soothing so bring an MP3 player or have music downloaded on your phone or tablet.

Essential items for after the birth

Some people find it helpful to pack two separate hospital bags – one for labour and one for after the birth. If not, make sure you have the items for labour on the top so they’re easy to access first.

After giving birth you’ll want some slippers and a dressing gown, and perhaps a spare, clean nightgown, pyjamas or loose t-shirt to wear in the hospital until you’re ready to go home. You’ll need several pairs of comfortable knickers as you will likely need to change them multiple times. Towels are essential for showering. You’ll also need comfortable maternity clothes for when the time comes to go home.

Maternity pads or large sanitary pads are essential. If you plan to breastfeed, you should have a nightgown or pyjama top that opens at the front, as well as nursing bras and breast pads.

Essentials for your new baby

Your baby will need a few sets of clothes packing in your hospital bag. Vests, bodysuits, sleepsuits, socks or booties, scratch mittens and a hat are all essentials. If it could be very cold outside a snowsuit will be handy for when you’re ready to take your new baby home.

You’ll need plenty of nappies, baby wipes, blankets, muslin cloths, and cotton wool balls or pads. If you plan to formula feed, you’ll need to bring formula to the hospital with you too.

Don’t forget your birth partner’s hospital bag

Your birth partner will be with you for a long time at the hospital and perhaps overnight. It’s important that they have their own bag packed or, if they’re your partner, that their items are packed in your hospital bag.

Your birthing partner will probably want a change of clothes and a wash bag. Drinks and snacks are a must, and cash will be handy for parking or for grabbing coffee or something to eat. They may also want to bring a book, magazines, or some music to listen to in the early stages, either to keep themselves occupied or to help them to relax.

One last tip

It’s possible that you won’t be at home when you go into labour, so let your birth partner know where your hospital bag is ahead of time so that they can bring it to the hospital for you if needs be. It can be helpful to keep a list of important numbers in your phone or on a piece of paper in your purse or bag so that you can reach the right people when you need them most. This might include the numbers of your partner, your birth partner, and your midwife or the hospital where you have received prenatal care. To help you pack your bag, download your own birthing bag checklist now.

If you’re looking for some essentials to get you started with preparing your hospital bag, check out our Hospital Pack for Birthing Bag.