Packing the essentials for your hospital bag

You should plan the list for your hospital bag as soon as you decide whether you will give birth at the hospital or at a birth clinic. The bag should be all set up and ready to grab two or three weeks before your due date at the latest. Your midwife or your antenatal class instructor will help you with the details, maternity notes and all the important to-do lists for the big moment.

It is recommended to pack two small bags, in order to have the items for labour separated from the items prepared for after birth.

Make sure to include the following essentials in your labour bag:

  • your maternity notes
  • a list of all the important phone numbers (have them in your phone as well)
  • about 3 changes of loose clothes to wear during labour; pick the most comfortable and breathable clothes
  • a dressing gown and slippers
  • socks or leg warmers
  • a birth ball, in case you’ve planned to use one (check with the hospital or your birth clinic to see if they already have one)
  • a toiletry bag with toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, towel, hairbrush, hairbands and clips (if you have long hair) and a lip balm
  • a sponge or a water spray for your partner to cool you down during the heat waves of labour
  • sanitary pads
  • healthy snacks, drinks and a straw
  • your tablet, iPod, magazines or a book to help you pass the time or relax
  • phone and charger
  • props or pillows to make yourself more comfortable at the hospital (they might not have enough extra pillows)

Have a separate bag for items needed after your baby is born. If you will have a straightforward birth, you and your baby will probably arrive at home a few hours after birth. If you will give birth by C-section, you may stay between 3 and 5 days in the postnatal ward, in which case you may need to pack a few extra essentials.

Here are the basic items for your after-birth bag:

  • comfortable clothes to wear after you have given birth and for going home
  • a baby blanket to wrap your new-born baby in
  • baby clothes, hat and nappies
  • if you’re giving birth in the winter, pack a jacket or a snowsuit for the baby
  • an infant car seat
  • two or three nursing bras
  • breast pads
  • maternity pads
  • front-opening shirts will come in handy for breastfeeding
  • travel-size toiletries
  • towels
  • eye mask and earplugs for restful sleep and naps