When you’re around 34 or 35 weeks pregnant, it’s a good idea to have a hospital bag ready in case you go into labor, which of course could be on very short notice!. It is important to have everything you need in your bag ready for use, so that you can feel comfortable during your hospital stay and not worry about rushing if you start labor unexpectedly.
It is also a good idea to involve your partner in preparing the hospital bag, so that it can help you remember anything you may have forgotten. They may want to add a few things over the night as well and will also need to know where your bag is (perhaps near the front door) so they can get it for you quickly.
But what should you actually pack? It’s worth knowing that different hospitals have different policies on what you can take with you, so it might be an idea to check with them if you’re unsure. Besides the essentials, it’s also nice to have some items with you from home like your pillow and face towel to make your experience more comfortable. Don’t forget that space in the hospital can be limited! Why not use this checklist as a guide to get started.
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You will need your birth plan and maternity notes, as well as:
- An old nightgown or long shirt.
- Slippers and socks for your feet. Backless slippers are ideal.
- Massage oil and lip balm.
- A V-shaped pillow for extra support, as well as your usual home pillow.
- A dressing gown to go around during labor if needed.
- Anything to help you relax and pass the time between contractions, such as a book, tablet or MP3 player with your favorite music on.
- Your TENs machine if you have one.
- A hairbrush and clips or ties if your hair is longer.
Packing for a Partner at Birth
It’s helpful if your birth partner has things with them so they can stay with you longer, or perhaps overnight. If you go to the hospital by car, they may leave the hospital bag in the trunk so they can take it out when they are ready. They may want to pack:
- Splash water or a portable fan to help you if you get too hot during labor.
- Comfortable shoes.
- A cool pair of tops, underwear and pants.
- Swimwear if you are planning a water birth.
- Mobile phone and charger. The last thing you will need is a dead battery! Your partner will likely not only want to keep friends and family up to date on your progress, but they can also use an app or the phone’s timer function to time your contractions as well. Plus, of course, you can use your phone to take pictures!.
- Snacks and drinks. Having food and drink on hand, they can stay with you rather than trying to find the hospital store or canteen when they are hungry or thirsty. And of course, you’ll need to maintain your strength too!.
After the Birth
Once you have had your baby, you may want to spend some extra time in the hospital as they check on you and your baby and prepare you to leave with your new arrival. You will probably find it useful to have:
- Loose and comfortable clothes for the rest of the stay and to go home.
- A new nightgown or pajamas.
- A pair of nursing bras and plenty of clean underwear (old or disposable ones are a good idea).
- Toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, deodorant and moisturizer.
- Toothbrush, toothpaste and hairbrush.
- Breast cups and maternity cups (two or three packs of each would be ideal).
- An eye mask and / or some earplugs like wards have bright lighting and can be very noisy so you may need them to help you sleep.
And for your Baby…
- Three or four jackets and overalls.
- An outfit to go home.
- A baby blanket in case it’s cold outside when you go (or a snow suit if it’s winter).
- Some socks or booties.
- Clean muslin cloths or squares if your baby is feeding milk.
- A couple of large packs of diapers.
- A car seat. The law says your baby must be properly protected and many hospitals won’t let you leave without one.
Now your hospital bag is ready and you are ready to go, all you have to do now is relax and wait for the big day to arrive!