Preparing for childbirth
Packing your bags for labour
Try to have your bag’s packed by around week 36 of your pregnancy. Knowing you’ve got everything you need for your baby’s birth will make you feel more relaxed. If you take something out before you leave for the hospital, stick a note to the top of your bag to remind you or your partner that it is missing. Check with your hospital or birthing centre to see what they have available for your use while in labour.
Here are a few ideas of things you may need:
- A comfortable, loose-fitting nightie or T-shirt that you can wear through labour and give birth in. You should expect that this may get covered in the fluids from delivery.
- A water bottle/sweets/glucose tablets
- Any snacks or drinks you would like to have on hand
- Lip balm
- Warm socks (your feet may get very cold during labour). You should be prepared to throw these away after the delivery.
- Massage equipment and any oils or creams
- Heat pack
- Camera and video camera (ask before you start taking video footage)
- Music to play during the birth of your baby
- Drinks and snacks for your partner
- Phone cards or coins for making calls (check with the hospital staff before using a mobile phone)
- Make-up and hair brush, for immediately after the birth, if you would like to touch up for the initial photos
Most women stay in hospital for around 3-4 days after a vaginal delivery, and 5-6 days after a caesarean section. Some hospitals and birth centres allow you a night out with your partner (usually to their on-site restaurant or cafeteria) before you leave, so you may wish to pack something for this event. Some hospitals and Birth Centres supply all of baby’s needs while you are there. Check if they have any requirements before you arrive.
Other ideas for your stay in hospital:
- 3 easy-to-open night clothes (for breastfeeding)
- 3 nursing bras
- Breast pads
- Dressing gown or robe
- Toiletries and make-up kit
- Plenty of underwear, perhaps even some disposable paper pants
- 2-3 packs of Maternity pads
- Day clothes and an outfit for leaving the hospital
- You will also need to have an outfit for your baby to leave hospital (this should include a babygro, socks or booties, outer garment, cardigan – dependent on the weather – and a blanket for in the car)