When packing a hospital bag there are many things to consider. The bag must include items both for during the birth and after. There should also be practical items as well as things to make your time in the hospital more comfortable.
- Your Birth Plan (and Hospital Notes)
A birth plan is a way for you to communicate your wishes and lets your midwife and doctor know your preferences, for example your thoughts on how to manage labour pain and on interventions. It may be a good idea to carry these around with you from 36 weeks.
You will need an old nightdress or big t-shirt for during your labour as well as nightwear and going home clothes. It is also a good idea to pack a couple of nursing bras and some breast pads. The key to all the clothes you bring in your hospital bag is that they are comfortable. Pack loose comfortable maternity clothing, as when you leave hospital you will still have a large pregnancy bump (a surprise for many a Mum!)
- Maternity Pads
It is a good idea to bring plenty of maternity pads with you to the hospital. It is recommended that you buy at least two or three packs of 12 maternity pads, as you could need to change your pad every 1-2 hours in the time immediately after giving birth. Plenty of spare underwear is also recommended.
This may seem quite self-explanatory but make sure you don’t forget any of the more obvious items! Bring the basics including a towel, toothpaste and toothbrush, deodorant, flannel and stuff to have a shower. Also don’t forget to pack some lip balm in an easily accessible place and some make up if you think that you will want it. A hairbrush and hair ties are also a good idea - Hospitals are very warm and Childbirth can be a sweaty affair so the last thing that you will want is hair getting in the way!
Hospital food doesn’t have the best of reputations and labour can take an awful long time. Packing plenty of snacks and drinks for your labour and recovery is a great idea. A pack of dried prunes may help the process of going to the loo if you are sore after giving birth.
Bear in mind that you will probably not want your birthing partner to go very far when you are in labour so pack enough for them as well as yourself!
Packing a camera is essential to capture your first photos of your newborn. Ensure that the camera is fully charged with plenty of memory. It would be such a shame if this special moment were not documented due to not having enough storage space!
- Things for Baby
Baby clothes are best kept simple when they are newborn. A pack of vests, a few sleep suits, a hat and scratch mitts are all you will need. If you do have to stay in hospital a little longer, your friends and family will be happy to pick up more essentials.
Most people also like to pack a special outfit for their newborn baby and take this opportunity to give them their first cuddly toy. Also make sure you’ve packed the more mundane items for your child, like a blanket to keep them warm outside and plenty of nappies and cotton wool!
Although technically not in your hospital bag, it is essential that you have a car seat fitted – it is unlikely that you will be allowed to leave the hospital without the car seat being seen by your midwife.
There are so many optional extra things that you may find make the birth and your time in the hospital after the birth more comfortable. Magazines can be a good idea as early labour can be slow whilst earplugs and an eye mask are welcomed by many to help them sleep afterwards. If you plan to share your news after the birth, a phone charger is a must!
Most hospitals charge for parking so a purse with some loose change will ensure that you are not scrabbling around for cash when you have other more important things on your mind!
Now that you’ve organised your hospital bag make sure you leave it in an accessible location like next to the front door or in the car that you will drive to the hospital.
We hope that these top tips will help you feel more prepared for your birth and wish you all the very best!