Planning for Delivery: Everything You Need in Your Hospital Bag
byKathryn WalshSep 24, 2014
You can leave your curling iron and shoe collection at home, but filling your labor bag is not one of those instances in which you should aim to pack light. Between downtime, contractions, delivering and recovery, you'll need a number of essentials for yourself, your partner and your baby. Pack this bag early in your third trimester and double-check its contents when your due date closes in.
written birth plan isn't mandatory, and some moms might feel comfortable going
into labor without one. But writing down your preferences gives everyone on
your support team an idea of how to help you have your ideal birth experience,
so this is a step worth taking.
A birth plan doesn't have to be an elaborate document. Your OB-GYN might have a
template you can fill out, or you can simply jot down your ideas. Write down
what you'd like an uncomplicated birth to entail – whether or not you want an
epidural, who you want in the room, what positions you'd like to try laboring in
and so forth. You can also make specific requests – that you be allowed to
breastfeed immediately after birth or that the labor room be kept as quiet as
possible, for instance. In the event that you need to undergo a cesarean
section, you might write down that you want your partner to be in the room or
that someone describes the process as it unfolds.
Make several copies of your birth plan to include in your hospital bag. Some of
your requests might not prove feasible for the medical staff, but some could
planning to give birth in a hospital, bring comfy slippers so you can walk in
your room or hallway," advises doula and birth educator Linda
Worzer, who's based in the Dallas
area. If you're planning to deliver in a birth center, she advises bringing
comfortable shoes you can wear to walk around outdoors.
Pack lip balm and a few personal care basics, such as shampoo, face wash, body
wash, a toothbrush and toothpaste, as well as contact solution or glasses.
You'll be the subject of many photos in the coming days, so if you're concerned
about your appearance, you might want to pack mascara, tinted moisturizer and a
hairbrush or comb.
Bring your own pillow from home; it "smells good and helps mom
relax," says Worzer. Cover it with a bright or patterned case to distinguish
it from hospital pillows. And because you could have hours of downtime, plan to
bring your phone and/or tablet and any necessary chargers. Bring at least one
comfortable nightgown or oversize T-shirt. You might have the choice to wear
this instead of a hospital gown during delivery; labor can be messy, so don't
bring anything you'd be crushed to ruin.
To some extent,
your labor supplies depend on your birth plan. For instance, says Worzer, if
you're going to deliver in a birth center, you might want to bring a two-piece
swimsuit or a sports bra to wear in the birthing tub. Some hospitals might also
allow water births. She also suggests bringing candles or an aromatherapy
diffuser to a birthing center. A hospital probably won't allow candles, but you
can bring essential oils to rub on your skin to get a hit of a soothing scent.
Bring photos or a comforting object you can focus on during contractions, and
load an MP3 player or your phone with a selection of your favorite songs to
play during labor. You might also want to bring a portable speaker. You'll also
want to have hair ties and breath strips in case you vomit.
insurance card and any registration paperwork you've already received from the
hospital or birthing center.
Your partner should pack his own bag, but if he doesn't, stow some of his clean
clothes, his phone charger and some snacks in your bag so he doesn't have to
leave your side during your stay. Stash some cash in small bills in his bag to
pay for parking and for snacks from the vending machines or cafeteria.
you'll want to have a nursing bra and breast pads to soak up leaking milk.
Bring maternity underwear and heavy-flow pads. Even if you're provided these
items, you'll be more comfortable with your own underwear and favorite brand of
For a going-home outfit, pack a flowing dress or a pair of loose maternity
pants and a comfortable top.
Pack a notepad or baby journal and pen so you can record your thoughts and
feelings while they're still fresh and also keep track of your baby's breastfeeding
Your baby will need a onesie, hat and receiving blanket to wear home. If the
weather is cold, bring a cozy blanket to tuck over him once he's buckled into
his car seat. You'll probably be provided with newborn diapers and wipes, but
it doesn't hurt to pack a small stash.