You’re the star of the show once contractions have begun and you’re heading to the hospital. Though hours of labor often don’t require a lot except breathing and support, there are many things that can help during labor and afterward. Even if you don’t use all of the tools you bring with you, it’s better to have them and not need them than to not have them and need them. And above all, have your bag ready a month before baby’s due date in case all your birth plans get started earlier than expected.
When you plan for your hospital or birthing center birth, try to imagine what would make you feel good, relaxed, comfortable during labor and then afterward. Maybe, as you think about your birth plans, you decide to have more than one hospital bag: one for labor and one for going home.
Although you’ve probably been planning your birth for months, your birth plan could easily have changed many times. Make sure your final birth plan goes into the bag you pack for labor.
- Your picture ID
- Insurance card
- Hospital paperwork
- Birth plan
- Credit cards and cash (paper and coin)
- Cell phone and charging cord
- Labor clothes
- nightgown (front-opening, loose-fitting with short or loose sleeves for blood pressure checks)
- bathrobe (front-opening)
- slippers (non-slip!) or sandals
- Eye glasses and contacts, if you have them
- lip moisturizer
- antacids, if you have acid reflux
- dry shampoo
- facial wipes
- hair ties
- Portable device/laptop (remember the power cord!) for
- Humidifier with essential oil choices for scent (in very dry hospital rooms this can be a lifesaver)
- Hard candy
- Honey sticks
- Light carb snacks like pretzels
- Your own pillow (use a colored/patterned pillow case so you know which pillow to take back home)
- Pictures to help you focus
- Photographs of loved ones (human or animal or spiritual)
HOMEWARD BOUND BAG
Comfortable clothes (2 sets) for getting dressed the next day and for going home (you’ll still have some baby belly so choose loose-fitting styles)
- Shoes & socks
- Nursing bra
- Nursing pads
- Hat (the hospital will probably give you one)
- Cold weather bunting
- Skincare products (if you don’t want the hospital ones that often have chemicals)
- Vitamin K drops (if you don’t want baby to have the shot)
- Formula if you’re not going to breastfeed
- Bottles (2) for formula
- Diapers (if you don’t want to use the hospital ones)
Check out our complete and fun hospital bag checklist for other suggestions and to be sure you have what you need or want.
Yes, this seems like a lot of stuff! Maybe you’ll want to pack one big suitcase with everyone’s special bag inside (you saw our post about Partner/Children/Caretaker bags, right?).
When you leave for the hospital you’re beginning a new life. And packing well means you’re prepared for almost anything.
To learn more about preparing for birth, download our free Birth Plan eBook now. After three years of research, collaboration with more than 100 childbirth experts and resource centers from Healthy Child Healthy World to the American Association of Neonatal Nurses, the Best Ever Baby Birth Plan Guide is available for a free download.
This new resource for pregnant families is a compilation of top tips and advice from more than 20 nationally-recognized experts in the field including renowned pediatrician, Dr. Alan Greene and GraceFull Birthing founder, midwife Elizabeth Bachner. These trusted experts offer thoughtful guidance for whatever type of birthing experience parents want, in whichever setting they choose.
Published: January 25, 2017 | By SP Turgon, Certified Labor Doula | Reviewed by: The Best Ever Baby Expert Team | Last reviewed: January, 2017