Research has shown that only 5% of births actually take place on their due date.
So even if you still have a while to go it might be a good idea to start getting your hospital bag checklist together – at least two weeks early is a standard suggestion, but with all the planning involved we suggest you begin preparing your checklist way before that.
Plus, with COVID-19 disrupting even the best laid out pregnancy plans, being extra-prepared is the safest way to go right now.
As you will know, most hospitals in the UK are only allowing one support person into the room during labour (ensuring that person has no COVID-19 symptoms) but there will be limits on how often your support person can come and go, and on how long they can stay. You may even be discharged early yourself!
With all these changes going on you may be wondering if your hospital bag checklist needs to be different this year – but there is absolutely nothing to worry about, the key items you will need are going to remain the same.
We’ve put together the ultimate labour hospital bag checklist to take any worry off your shoulders.
Twelve Hospital Bag Checklist Essentials For You:
1. Birth plan and hospital notes
The first thing on your labour hospital bag checklist should be your birth plan and any hospital notes (including your own hospital reference number, which you’ll need to give when you phone up!)
It’s useful to have these all on a piece of paper as well as on your phone – including important phone numbers too, such as the hospital, your midwife or doula, your partner or birth partner.
It sounds silly as our smart phones have everyone’s number saved, but you never know when your battery will die, or anything else unplanned might happen.
2. Daily Essentials
Any essentials that you always carry with you – think your ID, your house keys, your glasses. all the things that you’re likely to forget in the moment! (also, your insurance card if you need one!)
And just in case you were planning on packing a wad of cash, your laptop and your most expensive jewellery – hospitals recommend you don’t bring in any expensive items with you!
3. A comfy pillow
A comfy extra pillow is also a labour hospital bag checklist essential (the hospital will provide basic pillows and covers but it’s nice to bring in your own pillow to make sure you’re cosy!).
You might want to check out some recommendations for some fab pregnancy pillows in our recent blog
4. Your mobile phone
Definitely bring your phone & a long charger so you can use it from the bed!
You may even want to go one step further and bring a mini stand or tripod so you can communicate with friends, family or even your doula before, during and after labour.
You may decide on a camera for good photos of the day - but in the spirit of packing light a smart phone will probably work just as well!
5. Super comfy clothes
The next thing on your hospital bag checklist should be comfy clothes – such as pyjamas, slippers or flip flops (a lot of people choose to use flipflops in the shower) and don’t forget a change of clothes to go home in.
All these clothing items should be loose and comfortable, and don't forget a front-opening top and a nursing bra if you are planning on breast feeding. Oh, and make sure clean undies are on your list!
At the moment you will probably need less clothes than expected due to shorter hospital stays, but if being prepared will make you more confident then pack as much as you want!
Bear in mind that while some hospitals will allow you to wear your own clothes while giving birth others will insist on you wearing a hospital gown, especially during this pandemic, so it’s a good idea to check before you go in.
If you know you’re having a c-section then also include some support underwear that is high waist with light compression – or some fold over underwear to sit underneath the incision. Similarly, you could bring a compression wrap too – but make sure you ask a doctor when you should start wearing this.
These are must-have hospital bag checklist items, to keep you feeling your best post birth. Don’t forget deodorant, a hairbrush, toothbrush and toothpaste, lip balm, soap, flannel, hair bands, etc.
Hospitals will provide the very basics like soap and shampoo, but it can be nice to have your own lotions and products to help you feel comfortable.
You may decide on a mini fan or water spray to cool you down.
Some women even take their own towels. And super-absorbent sanitary or maternity pads should be top of your list (the hospital will provide some, but it can be nice to have your preferred size handy too.)
Just so you know, the hospital will also provide disposable mesh underwear for you to wear straight after birth.
Oh, and for those who are keen on keeping their hair looking just so, some hospitals allow electrical items like a hairdryer from home too - but it’s best to check first!
Your favourite snack – back in the good old days pre-COVID - your support person could run in and out bringing you all the snacks and drinks you wanted.
Unfortunately, that is not the case at the moment, so we suggest you pack a bag of snacks and drinks for yourself too (this means you can pack all your favourite things - now that's a win!)
7. Face Mask
A face mask will now have to be top of your hospital bag checklist (probably easy to remember since we have to wear them everywhere now!)
Your support person will of course also need to bring suitable covid-19 protection for themselves, so a facemask for them and maybe a small hand sanitizer bottle for both of you.
The hospital will be on top of all the cleaning and sanitizing in your room so there is no need to worry or pack more than these essentials COVID-wise!
8. Birthing Music
If you’re planning on birthing music be sure to remember your iPod, it’s charger and a mini speaker/adapter to plug into the hospital system (if you want some birthing playlist inspiration, check out our article all about great birthing songs!).
9. Tens Machine
Another labour hospital bag checklist item many women have up there at the top is a TENS machine. (Hospitals generally can provide massagers and grip balls)
10. You Usual Meds
Any medication you are taking (although the hospital may be able to provide this, they might not have everything you need and will likely charge more for it too).
We suggest also taking a medications list for ease - you’ll be asked about medications you’re taking when you check-in so being able to share a list will be a lot simpler and ensure you don’t forget anything!
Whilst you may not have time for this before your baby is born – you may well get some “me-time” in those first few hours when baby is sleeping, but you’re wired and need a distraction.
How about taking a book, magazines, music, podcasts - anything you want to help the time pass peacefully!
12. Breast Feeding Needs
If you plan on breast feeding you can also bring a breast pump, breastfeeding cover, nursing pads and a breastfeeding pillow – whatever you will need to be comfortable.
Seven Checklist Essentials For Baby:
Don’t forget your preparing for labour checklist also needs to include everything your new baby will need, so here are the key things you need to remember.
- An infant car seat: to make sure you can transport your baby home safely.
- Comfy baby clothing: for sleeping in & for travelling home in.
- Warm clothes:like a hat, mittens, socks & booties, and a small blanket – maybe even a pram suit if it’s really cold.
- Wipes and nappies: (generally the hospital provides newborn nappies and basic wipes but again, it can be nice to have your preferred items and to be prepared for anything.)
- Formula & bottles: if you’re planning on using formula from the start (this is something you should check with the hospital, as some do not want you to bring in your own formula and bottles, and will provide it instead)
- Baby Book: to start recording details and memories from this special day.
- Muslin Squares: although you’ll find the hospital will also be able to provide swaddle blankets and any medication your baby needs, it’s always good to bring some muslin squares yourself – just in case!
Overall COVID-19 shouldn’t have too much effect on your labour hospital bag checklist. Just bring everything you think you’ll need to be calm and comfortable.
Be prepared that the space may have been reconfigured and look a little different for better safety, but you’ll still be allowed to keep your hospital bag in your room, so everything is within reach and you can be reassured that at least one big part of the day is under control.
This labour hospital bag checklist may look like a lot, but it should easily all fit into an overnight-sized bag.
You may have a bag at home already, but if not there are some lovely bags that can double up as a weekender in the months to come (roll on the days when we’re allowed to go away again!!).
Try this Barbour Wax Cotton Holdall from John Lewis or if you want a bag that can double up as a Baby Changing Bag later on, we recommend this StorkSak Cabin Carry-on Bag.
WIN A PESRONALISED LEATHER HOSPITAL BAG
We’re giving one lucky mum-to-be a personalised Seline Lounge Travel Bag - which will really make you the standout when you rock up to the maternity ward sometime this year!
Just enter your name, email address and due date here. We’ll be announcing the winner at the end of February. Good luck!
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