Are you due to give birth soon? Whatever your experience of pregnancy, it may not have been easy! You’ve been growing your baby for 9 months and soon you’ll be meeting them. It’s an exciting and daunting time, with much to consider too.
To help take some of the pressure off, we’ve compiled a list of the things that you might want to pack into your hospital bag for giving birth:
Your birth plan and hospital notes
It’s important to have these to hand, because when you’re having contractions and are in a lot of pain, you might forget some of the details of what you’ve planned and discussed. Some of the things you had noted down in your birthing plan might help to relieve some pain or lift your mood. Don’t worry too much if your plan gets put aside, though. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you and the baby are safe and healthy.
Loose, cool and comfortable clothes for giving birth in
You don’t want to wear anything that will restrict your movement or chafe against your skin. Choose clothes made from light, natural materials if you can. It’s also probably going to get a bit bloody so don’t choose something that you’d like to keep.
Other comfortable outfits
Bring extra clothes just in case you’re kept in for longer than you expect. Make sure to include something warm to wear, like a comfortable jumper – resting after giving birth is important, and getting to sleep when you’re too cold can be difficult.
2 or 3 comfortable and supportive bras
Make sure to include nursing bras if you’re planning to breastfeed, and remember that the size of your breasts may increase considerably.
Nursing pads are to go in your bra and absorb any excess milk that leaks. If you can get hold of organic, biodegradable or reusable ones, even better.
A few packets of maternity pads
Immediately following the delivery of your baby, your body discharges the lining of the womb. You can prepare for this with maternity pads. This bleeding after birth, called lochia, is usually bright red and very heavy. It may come out in gushes or flow more evenly like a normal period, it may also contain clots.
Lochia can last for around 3-6 weeks following birth.
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5 or 6 pairs of pants
It’s likely that your pants will get stained so only bring ones that you’re willing to throw away! Birth is no time for your all-time favourite pair. Also, the bigger the better, so that you’re comfy and your maternity pads have something to stick to.
Bring all of the things that you would usually bring with you if you’re staying overnight somewhere; a toothbrush, hairbrush, flannel, soap, moisturizer, lip balm, deodorant, hair ties and other toiletries. Also remember to bring any medicines you’re taking.
Take more than one towel in case you need to take multiple showers or in case you get blood on one of them. Again, don’t bring your best, fluffiest towels with you, but the ones you’d be happy to leave behind!
Things to help you pass the time and relax
There may be quite a bit of time spent sitting around and waiting between contractions, so bring whatever you can to keep you entertained. That may be a good book, crossword puzzles, or knitting. You might not have time to pick them up, but it’s better to be safe than sorry (and bored).
A fan or a water spray
This will help to cool you down while you’re in labour or if the ward you’re on is especially hot during the summer.
Front-opening or loose-fitting nightgowns/tops
It’s helpful if these open at the front if you’re going to breastfeed
Dressing gown and slippers
These are handy for walking around the ward as you may want to do some pacing between contractions to relieve aches and pains.
Healthy snacks and drinks
Hospital shops are notoriously badly stocked. Be sure to pack yourself some of your favourite healthy snacks and drinks so that you won’t get hungry if you’re in hospital for longer than you expect. Food can be a great source of comfort, too, so having access to the foods you love will make your time in hospital that little bit easier to cope with.
Bringing a pillow from home can be comforting, as well as practical. If you have a big squishy pillow, it can be propped behind you so you can get as comfortable as possible.
For the baby, you might want to pack:
- Bodysuits, vests and sleepsuits
- An outfit for going home in
- A hat, scratch mittens and socks or booties
- Plenty of nappies
- A shawl or blanket
- A bottle and formula if you’re not planning to breastfeed
- Muslin squares
- A pram suit if it’s cold
Let us know if you have more tips for extra essentials to pack in your birth bag.