To avoid additional stress as your due date approaches, you'll want to be as prepared as possible. This includes packing a bag that will be accompanying you to the hospital when the big day finally arrives. About a month before your little one's anticipated arrival, you'll want to organize essential items that will make the first few days with your new infant as comfortable as possible.
Include a few copies of your birth plan in your bag. This way, all of the staff members who are assisting you with your delivery will know exactly what your preferences are. You should also bring along your "who to call" list, a stopwatch to time contractions, your favorite pillow, and any lotions, massage oils or back rollers to help ease the pain of contractions. If you're being induced and need to prepare for a long labor, you may want to pack music, reading material or hand-held games to help pass the time while you wait. Don't forget your camera and snacks for both you and your partner — you may deliver in the wee hours of the morning when the cafeteria is closed.
Let's Get Personal
Once you've delivered and have been given the all-clear to shower, you'll be thankful that you took the time to pack your favorite personal care items. These include shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste and toothbrush, a comb and brush, lotions and makeup. So that you're not stuck wearing hospital-issued clothing, bring along extra underwear, comfy pajamas, a robe, slippers and clothes to leave the hospital in, keeping in mind that you'll still look about six months pregnant, even after delivery. You'll also want to bring your own super-absorbent maxi-pads; although the hospital will provide them, you'll likely be more comfortable using a brand you're familiar with.
Of course, you'll want to pack items for your baby as well. Bring along his going-home outfit, including extra layers for cold weather, a hat, socks and receiving blankets. And don't forget — every state requires parents to have a car seat installed before you are allowed to drive your baby home. Have the car seat inspected at a certified inspection station.
The last thing you'll want to have to think about when you're in labor is paperwork. Be sure to pack your health insurance information, your hospital admission papers if applicable, and your pregnancy medical records, including information about any over-the-counter or prescription medications you're taking. Also, bring along the name and contact information of the pediatrician you've selected.