A hospital bag checklist is key when getting ready to have a baby, especially if this will be your first time giving birth. The last thing you want to do is forget something important at the last minute, or worse, arrive at the hospital without anything you need! To help you get started and keep you from forgetting anything, here’s an easy-to-follow list of the essentials you should pack in your bag on the day that you give birth.
A full outfit for each day you’ll be in the hospital, including pajamas, robe, slippers, and a set of fresh clothes. If you’re bringing children or other family members with you to visit, make sure to include clothing that is appropriate for them as well. (Remember that while it may be hot out of doors, rooms in hospitals tend to be on cool air conditioning.) It also doesn’t hurt to bring a few outfits for yourself; it may take a few days before you feel like getting up and going home. If possible (and safe), pack an outfit specifically for going home so your energy can focus on what’s next rather than how you look.
Once you’ve got your go-bag together, it’s time to start filling up its little pockets with everything else you need. It’s a good idea to bring as many of your own toiletries as possible. Remember that it can get cold in hospitals, especially if you’re there overnight; make sure you pack socks, slippers, or cozy boots, and a scarf or hat that will help keep you warm. A comfortable outfit to wear during labor might seem like a luxury when you’re in pain and about to give birth—but believe us when we say it’s worth packing.
Music, movies, games, and books can all help distract your mind from what’s to come. Bring your favorite music on CD or a thumb drive. If you like watching TV while you rest or sleep, bring some DVDs of your favorite shows with you. If music and TV are both things that help you relax, bring both! Board games also make great distractions when resting in hospital rooms; bringing some favorites is a great way to pass time with loved ones who might be visiting while in-hospital. And lastly, if you’d like to read during those times when no one else is around to visit, bring a book or two; reading tends to be very soothing during long stretches of inactivity.
Bring at least one book to read during your stay. Since you’ll be in bed for a while, opt for something light and easy-to-digest, like short stories or essays. Bring anything else that will help pass time more easily crossword puzzles, magazines, etc. But don’t bring things that will tax your brain. You don’t want to start stressing about work problems when you should be resting. A stack of colorful magazines can also make any hospital room feel much more cheerful and homey.
Maternity clothes and a few pairs of yoga pants are good to have on hand for after delivery; comfortable shoes that accommodate swelling feet; a robe or other loose clothing you can easily put on in labor; and snacks. Whether it’s natural childbirth or a cesarean section, you will be in recovery for several hours and will likely not want to (or be able to) eat or drink much for that time.
If you’re having a C-section, pack some magazines/books as well, since you won’t be going home right away. Toiletries: Shampoo, conditioner, soap/body wash, and anything else you use regularly while being pregnant should all go into your hospital bag.
Maternity wear/nursing wear
Pack a couple of comfortable, supportive bras and lots of comfy underwear. You’ll also want some maternity wear that you can sleep in, especially during your first trimester. Don’t forget to pack socks and/or slippers for inside your hospital room—you won’t be wearing any shoes once you get there!
Be sure to pack your important documents, including a copy of your birth plan and insurance information. If you’re working with a doula or midwife, be sure to include her contact information. Keep in mind that birth plans are not set in stone—things may happen unexpectedly and you may have to revise your game plan as time goes on. Remember that it’s okay to let go of some control!
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