Birth plan If you have one, you’ve probably already given a copy to your OB-GYN and your doula. It’s good to have a few copies in an accessible area of your bag so that any new doctors, nurses and midwives. Make sure that your partner(s) know where to find it so that they can refer to it quickly if needed.
Birthing ball and pillow
Find out from your local maternity ward, if they have birthing balls/stools. If not, and you’ve been practising with a yoga ball or birthing ball at home, get ready to bring it with you to the hospital. The hospital will have pillows, but if there is one in particular that makes you comfortable, bring it with you.
Bathrobe and socks
A cozy bathrobe and some socks can make your stay more comfortable. You may be moving around a lot but some labouring mothers say that it can get cold while in labour. These are good for after delivery too.
Music and essential oils
Get ready to set up your relaxing environment. Prepare and download a music playlist that will help you to stay out of the hustle and bustle of the hospital and in your birthing zone. Check with your local hospital if you are allowed to bring a diffuser. If not, bring the essential oil to dab on a damp cloth.
Eyemask and earplugs (or headphones)
Sometimes the hospital can be daunting. Multiple machines and bright lights don’t scream relaxation — which is what you need during labour. Control what you can by shutting out the light and sounds that are going on around you.
Heating pad and massage oil
Depending on what you’ve decided for your natural pain management (if any) direct heat and massage can help. Slip a heating pad and some massage oil in your bag for your partner to grab when needed.
Consider packing a couple of drinks that are known to have electrolytes in them, such as Gatorade or Vitamin water. A long labour can leave you high and dry and being prepared with something to bring your energy back is a good idea!
With the global pandemic what it is, now and for the unforeseeable future, it’s good to have an extra mask in your bag that your used to so that you won’t be taken by surprise when you’re asked to put one on. Keep calm and labour on.
It’s normal to bleed a lot after birth. The hospital should provide you with some heavy-duty maternity pads but if you have your preference, pack them for your own comfort.
Nightgown, nursing bras and slippers
You will hopefully be getting lots of rest after the baby is born. Pack a couple of comfortable nightgowns to sleep in. If you plan to breastfeed, find ones that open in the front for easy access. Also, pack some nursing bras (more than one, just in case things get a little messy at the beginning).
Pack several pairs of comfortable underwear that will not bother any healing incisions, stitches or maternity pads.
Once the labour and delivery haze wears off, you will want to freshen up – especially if you’re planning an extended stay. Don’t forget a toothbrush, toothpaste, tissues, lotion, hair gel, hairbrush, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, lip balm and hair elastics.
Cosmetics and Skincare
It will be a little while before you feel yourself again, but for pictures or just your self-care, bring whatever makeup you would usually wear to freshen yourself up.
Bring a few changes of comfortable clothes to change into or leave the hospital with. Find something with a zipper or drawstring waist for ease.
If you received any handouts or references from your birthing classes, it may be helpful to bring them along. The hospital staff should be able to help you if you have any questions, but these can help you to feel empowered when learning how to labour, breastfeed, swaddle, etc.
Snacks and drinks
Pack some easy snacks and water for your birthing partner as they can also get tired during a long labour. Consider also packing some change for the vending machine in case your supply runs out.
Phone and charger
Your partner will be keeping your loved ones updated on progress. Make sure that they have an unlimited supply and room on their phone for taking pictures.
Clothes and a small pillow
You don’t know how long you will be in the hospital so pack an extra pair of clothes, underwear and necessary toiletries for your support person to be comfortable.
Plan for long labour with some things to do. Consider loading your tablet/phone with movies, books and/or games to pass the time.
You may want to add to what the hospital provides for you. Pack bodysuits that fasten in the front, a hat and socks for ease and comfort of your newborn baby.
Again, the hospital will most likely provide this to use during your stay in the hospital, but it’s good to have extras from home as you get acquainted with your new bundle.
You will not be able to be discharged from the hospital without proof of the right kind of car seat. You should install this around the same time as you’re doing your baby bag, as this is an essential.
Gifts for the hospital staff
More often than not, you will feel an overwhelming surge of joy at the treatment from your nurses, midwives or doctor who helped you to bring your new baby into the world. Consider packing small gifts and cards that you can leave behind when all is finished.
If you can, pack your bag with your partner so that they know what to expect. Keep the bag in a place that’s easily accessible under pressure (by the door or beside the bed). Preparing for your stay at the hospital will make it that much more of a pleasant experience —- for you and all the people assisting you in your labour.
Is there anything that wasn’t added to the list, that you found was helpful before, during and after your labour and delivery in the hospital? Let us know in the comments.