Preparing for labor isn’t only child birth classes or deciding between natural child birth delivery or using an epidural. It is also preparing a hospital bag with the necessities for a comfortable stay in the hospital or birthing center.
This preparation will decrease your stress and make the whole process run just a little more smoothly. Use the pregnancy hospital bag checklist below to figure out what to pack for the hospital when in labor – don’t leave it to memory or chance. Scroll to the bottom of the article to download the PDF version.
Before You Start Packing Your Hospital bag:
*Remember that what ever is forgotten can be purchased in the hospital gift shop or from the Labor and Delivery unit – they usually have everything a new mother needs.
*Before deciding what to pack for the hospital when in labor a few decisions will have to be made. Normally women are a bit more comfortable in their own nightgowns or lounging outfits than the gowns supplied by the hospital. Depending upon the choice of nutrition for the baby this nightgown or lounging pajamas should have easy access for breast feeding.
*Talk with your obstetrician or midwife to determine what the expected length of time in the hospital or birthing center will be. It isn’t uncommon to have a three day stay after a cesarean section in a hospital, discharge after 24 – 36 hours for a normal vaginal delivery in the hospital or 12 hours from a birthing center. The number of expected hours or days at the facility will determine how much is packed into one suitcase.
*The rest of the items on the pregnancy hospital bag checklist are self-explanatory. Not all of these things are necessary but will give a good starting point for items that may have been mistakenly left at home:
Pregnancy hospital bag checklist – MOM
*ID(driver’s license or ID card), hospital forms and insurance card
*Birth plan (if you have one)
*Lounging Pajamas that meet the requirements for nursing if that is the feeding method of choice as well as something that mom feels comfortable entertaining guests in the room after delivery
*Socks with skid proof bottoms or slippers – the socks from the hospital aren’t always comfortable and sometimes itchy
*Underwear and appropriate type of bras to last the amount of time expected to stay. Underwear should be large enough to use sanitary protection – thongs are definitely out for about a week or two.
*Sanitary protection – the hospital or birthing center has it but it’s usually big and bulky – bring pads that are meant for heavy flow and plan on changing frequently. Consider the hospital pads at night.
*Moisturizer for massages – a scent you find relaxing
*Glasses and/or contact lenses
*Clothes for discharge – body shape may not have changed drastically so plan on using larger clothes for a week or two after baby is born – and definitely at discharge. Many moms use maternity work out clothing for discharge; or the clothes in which they were admitted.
*Leave the perfumes at home – baby will learn moms natural scent and sometimes extra scents after birth make mom nauseated.
*Make up – if full face make up is normal a new mom may only feel up to some powder and light eye shadow to make the trip home or to prepare for guests.
*Shampoo and conditioner – depending upon the length of admission to the birthing facility
*Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, hair brush
*Facial cleanser, toner and moisturizer – no matter how long the admission skin must be cleaned after the arduous task of labor and delivery
*Hair dryer, curling iron, straightener – depending upon hair style and length of admission.
*Hydration – plenty of water is the order of the day. If bottled water is preferred bring a few to the facility and purchase the rest from the cafeteria
Pregnancy hospital bag checklist – BABY
*Clothing to go home in. Hospital will likely use their sleepers while baby is a guest in their nursery.
*Bottles and formula if this is the choice for nutrition.
*Baby moisturizer – gentle massages are a great way to bond with and relax the new little one.
*Coat/jacket – depending upon the weather
*Car seat – hospitals will not discharge the baby with an appropriately anchored car seat
*One or two burp cloths for the trip home to wipe up an spit up should it happen
*Pacifiers – several different types – if baby will be using one
PDF version of the Pregnancy Hospital bag checklist