There are so many extra things to think about during your pregnancy, so we wanted to help you tick one thing off your to-do list with this handy guide to packing your maternity hospital bag.
Maternity hospital bag checklist
This checklist has everything you need to know about what to pack in your hospital bag for labour:
• Hospital notes and birth plan (if you have one). Print out a couple of copies of your birth plan so that the nurses and doctors can easily refer to it in case any questions arise
• Washbag with a toothbrush, hairbrush, flannel, soap, lip balm, deodorant, hair ties and other toiletries
• Dressing gown and slippers
• Socks to keep your feet warm during labour
• A handheld fan or water spray to cool yourself down
• A few changes of comfortable clothes and knickers
• Something to help you relax and pass the time – books, magazines, music, an iPad or tablet that you can download films or TV series’ onto.
• Healthy snack and drinks
• Extra pillows. You will of course have pillows at the hospital but if you have a pregnancy pillow, or pillows that make you feel more comfortable then bring those along with you
• Eye mask and ear plugs – hospitals can be bright and noisy places so having these with you will allow you to get some rest even when the wards are busy.
When should I pack my hospital bag?
It is a good idea to have your maternity hospital bag packed about three weeks before you are due to go into labour. Make sure you have everything you need, then leave it packed and ready to go in an accessible place so you can grab it on your way out the door.
Your hospital bag should be the size of a large gym bag, or you could split your supplies for mum, baby and birth partner into separate bags to make things easier to find.
Hospital bag for mum
You should also think about what to pack in your maternity bag for after labour to make sure you are feeling comfortable and refreshed. This checklist has everything you need for after your birth:
• Comfortable nighties to sleep in during your hospital stay. If you are planning to breastfeed, pack a front fastening one.
• Comfortable bras and nursing friendly one if you are breastfeeding.
• Super-absorbent sanitary or maternity pads. The hospital will provide these but it is a good idea to bring a couple of packs just in case.
• Chargers for your electrical devices. We’re sure you will want to call or FaceTime your friends and family to tell them the wonderful news so don’t forget your chargers.
• Clothes to go home in. Pack something that will be comfortable for your journey home. We suggest opting for something with an elasticated waste like leggings.
• Makeup and skincare. If this is part of your routine, then you might like to bring some of your essentials with you in your hospital bag for after labour. Your skin can get very dry so packing a moisturiser is a great idea
Baby hospital bag checklist
What should you pack in your hospital bag for your baby? Use this hospital bag list to make sure you have everything your little one needs when they are born:
• Babygrows, vests and a sleepsuit.
• Socks, booties and a hat. Newborns can get cold easily, even during lots of skin to skin contact and cuddles
• Blankets. The hospital will provide blankets but it is useful to bring some with you so you have some for the journey home too
• Plenty of nappies. Pack around 20-30 nappies that are made especially for newborns babies.
• Muslin squares. These can be used to drape over your shoulders when holding your baby to prevent any dribbles getting on your clothes.
• Cotton wool balls or pads. Newborn babies have very sensitive skin so using these with some water is a good alternative to wipes.
• Going-home outfit. What your baby wears to go home in should depend on the weather. Pack a bodysuit, booties and hat. If you are due to give birth during the colder months then you may want to pack a snowsuit or a thicker jacket to ensure they stay warm.
• Car seat. Make sure that you get your car seat installed into your car at the same time as preparing your maternity hospital bag so that you are ready for your baby’s arrival.
What to wear in labour?
During labour comfort and staying cool is key. Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothing that you can move around in easily. You might end up walking up and down the halls during labour so something that allows for movement, but also provides some coverage is a good choice.
Hospital gowns are great because they have open backs so that the doctors and nurses have easy access for epidurals should you need one. They are also disposable so you don’t need to worry about getting them messy. If you prefer to wear something of your own, you can buy your own hospital style gown or you could go for a night dress or oversized t-shirt.
What to wear for a water birth?
If you are planning on having a water birth you might want to wear a bikini or tankini top. If you would like to be more covered, bring a long a t shirt you are happy to get wet. Some women will keep knickers on during labour until near the end, and others take them off when they get into the water. Do whatever feels best for you.
Keep a set of dry clothes and towels on hand for when you get out of the water.
We hope our maternity hospital bag lists come in useful, and help you feel that bit more prepared for your labour.