Essential Hospital Bag Checklist: What Every Expecting Mother Should Know

Essential hospital bag checklist

This hospital bag checklist will help you to make sure you have everything you need ready to take to the hospital when you go into labor. It is important to have your hospital bag ready by at least 36 weeks and you may want to pack it earlier so you feel prepared or if you have a history of pre-term labor. The bag you take to the hospital should have everything you need for labor and for you and the baby after delivery. Hospital policy can vary so it is a good idea to check beforehand what they will provide and if there are any restrictions on space or items that they particularly recommend.

It is a good idea to pack three separate bags – one for your labor, one for yourself after delivery and one for the baby. This will make it easier for you to find items quickly and some hospitals will ask that you leave items for the baby in your car until after delivery if space is limited. Here are examples of what your hospital bag checklist should include:

For labor:

  • Your birth plan, medical notes and insurance papers
  • A comfortable nightshirt or old t-shirt to wear during labor
  • A Bathing suit or outfit you do not mind getting wet if you plan to use a birthing pool
  • Dressing gown, socks and slippers
  • Books and magazines to help pass the time
  • An mp3 player with speakers if possible – listening to music can help you relax
  • Snacks, glucose candies and energy drinks
  • Lip balm
  • Hair ties or bands to keep your hair off your face
  • Glasses if you normally wear contact lenses
  • Massage oil if you would like to be massaged during labor
  • Water spray to keep you cool
  • Camera and spare batteries or charger
  • Mobile phone or change for pay phone
  • A list of numbers of friends and family

For after the birth:

  • Comfortable clothing and a going home outfit – your belly will still be large after delivery so you will probably still need to wear maternity clothes. Plan for being about the same size you were when you were six months pregnant
  • Toiletries, hair brush, tooth-brush and paste
  • Maternity pads – these will probably be provided by the hospital but it is always a good idea to take some extra
  • Breast pads and nipple cream
  • Nursing bras
  • Large cheap or disposable knickers
  • A baby care book

For the baby:

  • A few bodysuits and sleep suits and a going home outfit
  • A receiving blanket
  • Socks and a hat
  • Muslin squares
  • Newborn diapers
  • Baby toiletries if not provided
  • Bottles and formula if you are not planning to breastfeed
  • Infant car seat – remember to get it properly fitted well before your due date

It is possible now to buy pre-packed hospital bags that come with all the essentials for you and baby. This can make it really easy for you to prepare as most of the items on this hospital bag checklist will be covered but you will still need to remember personal items to help you relax and things like your camera and infant car seat.

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