While pregnancy lasts 9 months, you shouldn’t neglect being prepared for everything. The labor might begin earlier than you expect, as an example. Imagine if you don’t have your hospital bag prepared by the time of the delivery. You will be unprepared for the labor, as well as the variety of complications that may arise throughout the pregnancy.
If you want to prepare a hospital bag beforehand, follow the guidelines presented below.
Mother’s Bags (2 Bags For Safety)
It is generally recommended for the future mothers to have two bags: one for labor, and another for the postpartum recovery room.
The labor bag should include items that would help you go through labor as easily as possible. You want to put the following items in the labor bag:
- Your insurance information.
- Your birth plan, if you have it.
- Eye glasses/contacts. Even if you usually wear contacts, you should bring your glasses over as well because you might not be able to use them. Also, in case you are to undergo C-section, doctors usually recommend to take out contacts before the surgery.
- Clothes for labor. Because things could get quite messy, don’t bring clothes that are too nice for the hospital. The best thing to do would be to take clothes that you don’t mind to dispose of after labor.
- Lotion or massage oil. In case you want to be massaged during labor, you could bring either massage oil or lotion for your husband/partner or doula to massage you. Even if you hired a doula (doulas usually have massage oils with them), bring over your own lotion/massage oil just in case.
- Peanut ball/birth ball. These can greatly help you with your labor. Some hospitals do have birth balls, so find out whether or not your hospital has them available. If not, bring either of these. In case the ball is not already inflated, make sure to take a pump as well for your partner to inflate it before use.
- Lip balm. Because of heavy breathing, your lips will dry out sooner or later. If necessary, ask your partner to refresh your lips during labor.
- Drinks & snacks. Before writing a list of snacks & drinks, make sure that your hospital allows them. Some hospitals only allow to have ice chips during labor. Apart from that, they might have sugar-free popsicles available.
- Items to help you pass time and relax. Hospitals usually have TVs in each L&D rooms, but you could bring your own things to help you pass the time. Take anything that would help you with relaxing: it could be books, magazines, your tablet/laptop. In case you are going to have a natural birth, it would be better to have items that could help you relax comfortably: you could have your music player with favorite tunes (some hospitals provide them), a heating pad, or rice socks to put on your lower back.
- Ponytail holders and headbands. This is a must-have if you have long hair: you don’t want them to get in the way during labor. You might also want to pick those headbands that won’t leave kinks in your hair. After all, you might want to take a picture after the childbirth!
- Your camera. Make sure that you fully charge it before labor. Don’t also forget to put the charger into the bag along with a big memory card. Though you might be able to take photos with your phone, it might run out of storage. That’s when having a spare device to take photos with is handy!
- Your cell phone, its charger, and a memory card if necessary.
Recovery/postpartum room bag
- Clothes for your trip back to home. Ideally, you should pick loose, comfortable clothes while in the hospital and on the way to home. You could alternatively get a comfy outfit for your time-being in the hospital and soft maternity clothes for the back to the home trip.
- Nursing bras/nursing nightgowns. In case you had a healthy labor and if your baby is doing well, you will only need to stay at the hospital for 2-3 days. Bring two-three nursing bras or gowns for more comfortable breastfeeding.
- A couple of nursing pads. Bring them just in case because they can really help with leak-free breastfeeding.
- Nipple cream. It will help you protect your nipples from cracking.
- Bring the toiletries you usually need: toothpaste/toothbrush, hairbrush, body soap, face wash, razor, etc. It would be better for you to have the travel versions of your toiletries to save room.
- Undies/disposable underwear. As with labor outfit, don’t bring something that you don’t want to lose. The best bet would be to go for cotton, breathable underwear. Alternatively, take disposable underwear or ask for them at your hospital as they typically have them.
- It will help you feel warm, and will also make you more presentable when accepting guests.
- Hair dryer.
- Snacks & drinks. For postpartum, you might bring anything you wish. After all, not every hospital can provide you with good food. Besides, if there is no one that will be able to bring you food during the recovery period, make sure to pack everything beforehand.
- Extra changes of clothes. Having an extra change of clean clothes is a good idea. Additionally, you might want to put a warm jacket or a breathable shirt in case your husband feels cold or hot.
- Comfy shoes. Your husband might need to go through the whole hospital while getting you your necessities, which will be easier to do in good shoes!
- In case your husband will be staying in the hospital overnight (or maybe he wants to rest), take an extra pillow with you. Those hospital couches usually aren’t the most comfortable things to rest on.
- Cell phone and charger.
- List of people to call/text in order to update them on the pregnancy.
- Snacks & drinks. During the long stay at the hospital, your husband will surely get dehydrated or hungry. This is also important because if there is food on hand, your husband won’t have to leave you and will be able to help you if necessary.
- Approved car seat. Get a quality car seat for your car beforehand. Make sure to install it in your car properly. Besides, hospitals may not allow you to leave without a car seat anyway.
- Make sure to pack an outfit that will be seasonally appropriate when your baby is born. Take everything that can help you with keeping your baby warm because he will initially be very sensitive to cold.
- Warm blankets. While hospitals usually have their own blankets available, you could bring your own if you are picky.