Every expectant mom has her list of what to bring to the hospital when she has her baby. And while that list is certainly important (don’t forget the car seat!), sometimes what not to bring is just as important.
1. Anything valuable. Here’s the deal: giving birth (and the sleep deprivation afterwards) can leave you a bit foggy and tired. Throw into the mix the fact that you might change rooms multiple times (from a triage room, to your labor room, to your postpartum room) and may have the unexpected excitement of needing a C-section. This may mean a quick trip to the operating room when all jewelry has to be quickly removed. Leave any valuable jewelry or belongings at home where you know they will be when you return. If you can’t think of doing that, consider putting everything on a single necklace that never comes off (or if it must, make sure you have a designated pocket in your bag that you know it will go into).
2. Less-desirable guests. When it comes to who you want to have supporting you in labor, you need to think carefully. How many guests does the hospital allow? Who will be helpful, and who will make you more anxious? This is your day and you shouldn’t feel obligated to have someone present who you don’t want there, whether it’s your mother or your best friend. Leave anyone at home who might stress you out. If you are worried they are going to show up unannounced, don’t publicize that you are going to the hospital on social media or ask your nurse to only allow those guests into your room whose names you have provided.
3. Small children. This one actually varies by the age and maturity of the child, as well as family preferences. Some parents want their young children present for the birth of a sibling, and many do just fine and actually love being part of the experience. Others may get frightened by seeing their mom in pain. Figure out what you think is best for your family, check hospital policy, and prepare appropriately for the birth through conversations, books, videos, and hospital tours. If you do plan on having a sibling present, you should also have an adult whose sole responsibility is that child as the hospital cannot provide a staff member to tend to your little one. This person can watch him or her if you need to have a C-section or if he or she needs to go home for whatever reason.
4. Samples of bodily fluids. Yes, it’s been done many times where an expectant mom kept her mucus plug in a bag to bring to triage to show the nurse and doctor. Rarely is this kind of show-and-tell useful! If you are bleeding and have a pad on when you arrive, your nurse may ask to see it to better quantify how much blood you’ve lost, but other than that most of these “samples” can usually remain at home.
5. The kitchen sink. Of course bring your favorite teddy bear or pillow if you think that will help the hospital feel more home-like. But keep in mind that some of the gear you bring into the hospital you might not want to bring home again. It is probably unnecessary to bring in an entire set of bedsheets, blankets, pillows, and comforter when heading to the hospital.
Reviewed by Dr. Jen Lincoln, April 2020
- Think carefully about what you plan to bring to the hospital.
- Valuables can go missing, so you may want to leave them at home.
- Don’t overdo it on what (or who!) you bring.