Most pregnant women put together a bag to bring to the hospital well before they go into labor so that when the time comes, they can just grab and go. However, some lists include so many items that, were you to include them all, you’d need multiple pieces of luggage! Here’s a list of what moms really need to be prepared on the big day.
The grown-up stuff—Remember that the first thing you’ll do when you get to labor and delivery is check-in at the admission desk. In order to be ready, make sure you bring your wallet that has both your identification and your insurance card. Make sure you have all essential phone numbers programmed into your phone or written down.
In case you get bored—You might not think this could possibly happen, but labor doesn’t always go as fast as it does in the movies. Especially if you are getting induced, lots of downtime might leave you wondering how to fill the long hours. Consider bringing a favorite book or magazine, as well as a laptop that can play DVDs or other downloaded movies.
Preserving memories—Don’t be that person whose camera battery dies minutes before you give birth (I’ve seen it happen, and it isn’t pretty). Bring your phone, camera, video camera, and all chargers so you don’t have to experience this scenario. A baby book or a journal can help you capture all the intricate details that you will soon forget — jot them down before you go home and the sleepless nights blur your memory!
Ambiance and information—If you have a birth plan, don’t forget to bring it! This may sound silly, but in the rush to the hospital so many women do exactly that. Bring a few copies too in case they get misplaced. Music can help you stay calm and improve the ambiance, so make a playlist if you want. A nice pregnancy or breastfeeding book can also be helpful when you want to read more, especially after baby has arrived.
Be comfortable—You’ll get all the essentials you need while in the hospital, so if you want to pack as light as possible, skip everything listed next. However, you may want your own robe, slippers, pajamas, and some maternity clothes (since your pre-pregnancy clothes will be too snug right after baby comes). Nursing tops and nursing pillows aren’t essential but may be helpful during those first few days, and a nursing bra can keep you comfortable too (although, don’t buy an expensive one until after your milk comes in and you know exactly what size you need). Chapstick can help combat the dry hospital air, and any personal toiletries that you love will certainly be an upgrade from the standard hospital issue. Some snacks for you and your partner, as well as money (especially change for vending machines) is essential if your hospital doesn’t have a 24-hour cafeteria (and they may taste better than the food!).
Going home—Pack a comfortable outfit to go home in, both for you and for baby. Your baby will need a car seat, and if you are using a base, have this installed well before you go into labor.
Reviewed by Dr. Jen Lincoln, December 2018
- Most hospital bag lists include lots of extra stuff that isn’t really necessary.
- Packing ahead of time will decrease your stress on the big day.
- Your hospital will provide most of what you need, but some special touches from home can help you feel more comfortable.