It may seem to be a difficult task at first sight, especially for last minute hospital bag items. Of course, the least we want is to forget a very important thing for a baby or a mother postpartum. However, please, stay reassured that even if you didn’t take enough nappies, maternity pads or disposable knickers, the hospital will be able to provide you with these essentials in an urgent situation. So, what should I pack in my hospital bag and what to wear during labor?
Before you pack, ask your midwife about the following:
- How long will I and my newborn baby stay at the hospital?
- What does the hospital provide? (In other words, what do I need to pack in my hospital bag?)
The length of your stay will give you an idea of how much clothes you should take with you and what to wear during labor. For example, I stayed five days in a hospital in Prague, and I was discharged within the first 10 hours after the delivery in the UK. In Latvia, hospitals require you to stay at least three days. So, please, understand what your country’s or hospital’s requirements are.
Every hospital has a possibility to provide you with the basic essentials, e.g. baby nappies, maternity pads, paracetamol, etc. Ask what your hospital can provide. In Prague, we were told that sanitary pads and disposable knickers are provided by the hospital, however, in the UK, we were told that everything must be taken with us. Although hospitals can help you in urgent situations, it is better to bring all the things you need in your hospital bag for new moms to avoid any unnecessary stress.
Also, when pack for labor and delivery, please consider the following:
- Your preferences of giving birth, e.g. water birth.
- Any unexpected situations that may happen during labor. Please discuss with your midwife if there are any risks to set the right expectations.
Also, note that even if you need to stay at the hospital longer than expected, your spouse, partner, or relatives will be able to bring you some additional clothes and essentials if required.
Finally, don’t forget it is the hospital you are going to, not a vacation near the swimming pool. When it comes to “what should I pack in my hospital bag”, don’t overload yourself with things, just take a small bag filled with essentials. Think if you go to labor before you can unpack (which most likely is the case), your husband is the one who will be loaded with all bags, shoes, coats and everything else on the way to a maternity ward.
What should I pack in my hospital bag for labor and when giving birth?
Here is the list of what-to-wear-during-labour essentials. Again, try not to overthink, and take only what you will definitely use. Aim for a small bag that fits in an airplane overhead compartment.
- Hospital/maternity notes – this may be in a form of a book where your doctor/midwife registered foetal growth and your health condition.
- Birth plan – you may need write one, but also some maternity notes already have a questionnaire that you fill in and show the doctor at the time of labor.
For you and your spouse/ partner if they join the process
- A set of clean clothes that you will wear in a hospital. It should be comfy and loose.
- Hygiene products: toothbrush, toothpaste, soap/ body gel, shampoo (if needed), cream and deodorant, hairbrush/comb, hairties, towel/ flannel, lip balm, and other toiletries.
- Snacks, such as protein bars and water bottle.
- Phone, charger, camera, headearphones.
- Comfortable clothes during labor.
- Supportive bra or nursing bra.
- Nursing vest/ shirt if you plan on breastfeeding.
- Breast pads – three to four pairs is more than enough. You may not need them in the first day.
- Sanitary/ maternity pads – this is an extremely important item to have. Everyone bleeds differently after giving birth. I recommend taking large-size super absorbent four to six pads.
- Disposable knickers – some hospitals will offer you one right after delivery. I highly recommend buying a pack of 10 and wear them until heavy bleeding stops and you can change large maternity pads for regular menstrual pads.
Extra items (if any)
- TENS machine.
- Any medicines you are taking.
- Extra pillows.
- Things that relax and help you pass the time, such as music, books, magazines, movies, podcasts, etc.
For the baby
- Clothes depending on the weather conditions, such as bodysuits, sleepsuits, vests. This to be used at the hospital and when going home. Please note that it tends to be quite warm in a maternity ward.
- Scratch mittens, socks, and a hat.
- Newborn nappies – I recommend taking plenty.
- Baby sleeping bag and/or blanket and swaddles.
- Changing mat.
- Wet wipes and cotton balls. Meconium is a newborn’s first poop. It is sticky, thick, and dark green, which is quite hard to wash off. This is why cotton balls would help better. Of course, the hospital can supply you with some cotton balls and a bowl of water. It is a good idea to use cotton balls for baby bump at home too.
- Car seat if you drive back home or take a taxi.
If you are planning or already decided to give birth at home, make sure you have done the following:
- Discuss the plan with your doctor and/or midwife.
- Pack the bag to a hospital in case of an emergency.
- Prepare food and freeze it in advance.
- Use clean bed sheets and towels.
- Prepare sanitary/ maternity pads, baby nappies and clothes.
Congratulations! You are soon to be the best mom you will ever be!
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