It’s easy to forget to pack important things, and not remember them until you’ve already walked out the door, or arrived at work or your holiday destination. It’s especially easy to forget things if you’re leaving the house in a rush. So, if you’re preparing for childbirth, get your things packed at least two weeks before your due date, to make sure you don’t forget anything you need.
You’ve probably already chosen clothes to wear during labour and after childbirth. So why wait to put them in your bag? Pack enough comfortable clothes and underwear (including maternity/nursing bras) to get you through 5-6 days, just in case your hospital stay is a little longer than average. While folding your oversize t-shirts, night gowns and other loose, comfy clothes, don’t forget to pack something (e.g. socks, slippers) to keep your feet warm and comfortable and something you’ll feel good walking out the hospital doors in, when it’s time to go home with your new baby. Also, throw some super-absorbent sanitary pads in your bag (breast pads and lanolin cream for nipples might also be handy). These are amongst the most important items a pregnant woman can take with her to hospital.
There are some less obvious things that can help keep you comfortable during labour, that you might not have even thought to pack. A spray bottle or sponge to cool yourself down might seem like an unnecessary extravagance now, but it may well seem like something you can’t live without when your temperature is rising! You might also like to throw in some comforters, like a heat pack, pillows, and/or some sweets to suck on. Some puzzles or games, or music on a portable player or tablet, might also be useful additions to your hospital bag. They can help to occupy your mind (while you’re waiting to give birth or leave the hospital afterwards). And if you wear reading glasses, don’t forget to pack a pair to take to hospital.
You’ll probably also need to show some official health documents at the hospital. Make sure you have your Medicare card, health insurance details and antenatal and other pregnancy-related medical records, and the contact details of friends and family members you might need to get in touch with during your stay. And don’t forget your hospital booking card, if you’re planning to give birth in a private hospital. You’ll also need to take your own toiletries- a face washers, toothbrush and toothpaste, hair brush and shampoo, and any other toiletries you use regularly, are all handy additions to a maternity hospital bag. Valuables on the other hand should be left at home.
Your partner will also need to pack a bag if they’re planning to come with you to the hospital. Clothes and toiletries are essential, and you might also recommend your partner pack something they can use to massage your back during labour, a camera to capture some special moments, a clock with a second hand to time your contractions and snacks and drinks so they’re not rushing to the vending machine when you need them close by. And one of you will need to pack a bag of essentials to get your newborn baby through their first few days. Obviously baby will need nappies and clothes. They may also need infant formula, feeding bottles and supplies for cleaning them between feeds, and baby care products. An approved car restraint designed for a newborn baby is also essential- you won’t be able to leave hospital without it, if you’re travelling by car.
Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget to pack the directions or map, if you don’t know the route you will take to hospital by heart. It’s a good idea to drive the route in advance, so you’re familiar with the roads you’ll take. But make sure you throw in the GPS as a backup- the last thing you want is to need to stop and ask for directions when you’re driving to hospital in labour.
Childbirth and labour can seem daunting, partly because it’s difficult to know what to expect. It’s impossible to know when your water will break or how long your labour will last. But it is possible to know you’ve got everything you’ll need packed and ready to go when you do go into labour.
|Download our handy checklist Things to pack in your bag for labour and childbirth.|
- American Pregnancy Association. 36thWeek of Pregnancy. 2008. (cited 10 February 2017) Available from: [URL Link]
- NSW Health. What to bring to hospital when having a baby. 2004. (cited 10 February 2017). Available from: [PDF File]
- National Health Service (UK). Pack your bag for labour. 2013. (cited 10 February 2017). Available from: [URL Link]
- New York State Government. Your guide to a healthy birth. 2010. (cited 10 February 2017). Available from: [PDF File]
- Women’s and Children’s Hospital- South Australia. Coming to Hospital. 2016. (cited 10 February 2017). Available from: [URL Link]