It’s never too early to gather together all the essentials you’ll need during labour and birth and for after your baby is born. Even if you’re not planning to have your baby in a hospital or birth centre, you may need to go in unexpectedly, so try to have a bag packed by the time you’re about 36 weeks pregnant.
Hospitals vary in their policies about what you are allowed to bring with you when you have your baby. You may want to take a few items from home, such as your own pillows, to make the environment more personal. But be aware that hospitals can be short on space.
If you want, pack two bags: one for labour and the hours immediately after your baby is born, and another for a stay on the postnatal ward.
If you’re driving to hospital, you could leave the second bag in the car. If you have a straightforward birth, you may leave hospital on the same day and not need the second bag at all.
Have your hospital bag checklist ready in advance. Prepare your hospital bag at least TWO weeks before your expected date of delivery (EDD). This is because there are instances when labour may occur before the 36th week of pregnancy.
You should be packed (according to your hospital bag checklist) and ready so that whenever labour starts you are prepared.
Prepare at least two bags – one for labour and the other, after your delivery when you are in the hospital room.
This postpartum bag should include items for your baby and husband, and can be brought to the hospital by your husband after you have given birth.
Here’s a list of things to include in your labour bag, based on a comprehensive hospital bag checklist:
- Documents such as your doctor’s admission orders, prenatal record book, health insurance papers and others that you need to take care of financial concerns.
- A copy of your birth plan should be prepared ahead of time to inform your health care providers about your preferences in childbirth.
- Relaxation items that will help you relax while you are on labour such as a radio, CD player, mp3 player or iPod to play relaxing music.
- Camera or Video Camera, charger or extra batteries to capture those moments especially during and after childbirth.
- Socks and sweater to keep you warm in case you feel cold while in the labour room.
- Snacks to give you energy while on labour and after childbirth when you need to regain your strength. You may wish to prepare your own as food in the hospital cafeteria may be expensive or they do not have what you wish to eat.
Here’s a list of things you need in your postpartum hospital bag checklist:
- Mobile phone and charger to enable you to call important people and let them know that the baby has arrived.
- Favorite pillow from home so you can sleep comfortably.
- Lip balm to soothe dry and chapped lips.
- Nursing bra and breast pads for breastfeeding your baby.
- Bathrobe that you can slip into when you take a shower or just wanted to get out of your room.
- Night dress in case you don’t like the robe the hospital provides.
- Underwear to keep you feeling fresh (if you have a C-section); the hospital generally supplies the maternity underwear if you gave birth the natural way.
- Sanitary napkins or maternity pads for the blood discharge after childbirth.
- Slippers to use when you want to walk around or outside your room.
- Toiletries such as soap, shampoo, toothpaste, cleanser, etc for daily hygiene
- Towel to use after shower.
- Hairbrush, Toothbrush and other accessories
- Going-home attire to use when you are ready to be discharged from the hospital.
- Cosmetics such as powder and lipstick and other stuff to make you look good when meeting friends who visit you and the baby or when you go home.
- Change of clothes for your husband
- Laptop which you can use to download pictures if you can’t wait to update friends of your childbirth but this can be optional.
- Receiving blankets to wrap around your baby to keep him or her warm.
- Baby clothes such as shirts, pajamas, mittens, bib, cap, socks or booties. Make sure you bring enough for the number of days of your stay in the hospital.
- Diapers for your newborn.
- Baby wipes to clean your baby.
- Baby bath or baby wash for your baby’s first bath by the hospital nurse.
- Baby’s towel to be used right after his or her first bath.
- Feeding bottles and formula milk can be used whenever your breast milk won’t come out yet but this is optional.
- Baby Book or Journal to record your baby’s information.
- Car seat which you need to bring your baby home.
Good luck with the baby and the delivery!