When you’re around 34 or 35 weeks pregnant (earlier if you really want to be ready), it’s time to pack your hospital bag for your upcoming labor and delivery. You never know if your baby will rush his or her way out like my first two kids did, so it’s better to be prepared early on. Here’s what you’ll need:
15 things to Pack in your Bag for Labor and Delivery:
#1: Birthing Plan
A birthing plan is at the top of the list. If you have a birthing plan, make sure you take it with you. If you haven’t created one yet, there are several free services to guide you. I created the perfect Birth Plan for my first daughter. I was so pumped about it. Did I get to use it? NOPE, but I advise you to create one anyway. It is likely that you will get to use your Birth Plan without issues. My premature delivery was unexpected. Que sera sera!
#2: Insurance Info and Hospital Forms
You should bring your insurance info and any forms you might already have filled out in advance to the hospital. Although they might be expecting you, they sometimes need to verify the forms, but this will be a lot easier and faster. Fortunately, I was wheeled to the Labor & Delivery Triage area while my husband stayed behind to verify all of my info. Labor waits for no mom!
#3: Emergency Contact Numbers
Even if you husband or birthing partner wants to be there for the labor, something unexpected can come always up. Make sure you write down all the emergency contact numbers you may need. I was left alone for a short time during labor with each of my children. Things happen! Especially when we least expect them to. Be prepared.
#4: Dressing Gown
Make sure to choose a lightweight dressing gown. If it’s dark or has a pattern, even better, since it will be easier to hide any stains. I looked like a hot mess in my hospital gown. A nice dressing gown will be very useful when you’re walking down the hospital corridors in early labor. You’ll feel some sort of way (good or bad…it depends), but you’ll look very nice.
#5: Warm Socks
You should definitely include warm socks. They’ll be handy not only when you’re walking the halls both before and after labor but they might be great during labor and delivery as well. I keep socks nearby, because my feet get really cold. Unfortunately, my only pair of socks got ruined when my water broke. They were soaking wet, because it happened so fast. Keep that in mind and be sure to pack 2-3 pairs of socks for yourself.
#6: Blackless Slip-on Slippers
They’re easy to get on and off and you won’t have any problems even if your feet are swollen. These will come in very handy during trips to the restroom or if you have the opportunity to walk around during labor.
#7: Warm Robe or Sweater
Hospitals can be warm in some areas but it’s better to be safe than sorry. I got hot and cold many times. You should opt for something that is easy to get on and off. Consider you will have an IV as well. A gown with snaps or a wrap will be your best option.
#8: Lip Balm
You need to take care of your lips. And since hospital are usually very dry, a lip balm is a must. Since I’m a balm-junkie (that’s a real thing), I keep several brands in my purse at all times. I can’t lie, I also loved the generic petroleum jelly they brought for my nether regions. Yessssssss, that stuff works wonders on the lips too. Grab a little extra if you can. It’s one of my guilty pleasures from the hospital.
#9: Personal Items and Toiletries
Make sure to include a hairbrush, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush, lotion, shampoo, and conditioner. Seriously, this goes without saying. Just because the hospital has toiletry items doesn’t mean you’ll want to use them. Their products are harsh and industrial. They’re definitely not handing out bars of Dove. So, if you are picky about your toiletries (don’t feel bad, I am too), be sure to bring your favorite stuff. I recommend either buying trial size items or putting yours into travel bottles now to set aside.
#9: Contact Lenses or Eyeglasses
Don’t forget about your eyeglasses and contact lenses, as well as the solution. Wouldn’t it suck if you couldn’t see your baby well after all the work to push her out? It happens…trust me.
#10: Headband or Ponytail Holder
They’re going to be useful not only before but also during delivery. You don’t want your hair getting in your face. I was so exhausted and hot. I was also sweaty after pushing so hard for 30 minutes. I also couldn’t have pulled my hair back if I wanted to. The doctor had me holding onto my legs. When I was doing that I was gripping my phone, because…priorities!
#11: Sugar-Free Candy
Make sure you take sugar-free candy with you. This will help you during labor. I snuck some candy from my purse during my first delivery, because they wouldn’t let me have anything to eat and I was starving. I had only eaten breakfast that day and my baby didn’t arrive until 11:11 p.m. that night. I also suffered from hyper- salivation during my pregnancy so candy helped me swallow my spit. It didn’t cause any problems during labor, but last year I ended up vomiting throughout my third delivery which is what the nurses try to guard against. Make sure you actually have permission to have snacks before you eat anything.
#12: Smartphone and Charger
You will want to let people know you’re already in the hospital preparing to deliver as you’ll also want to let your loved ones know when the baby is born. Make sure you have all the phone numbers of the people you want to share the big news with. I had a Twitterbirth with baby #2 in 2009 so everyone online knew the moment she came out. It was crazy and fun. With baby #3 in 2016, we opted to do a Facebook Live video introducing him. Yes, the times…they have changed! #YOLO
#13: DSLR Camera or Video Camera
You want to record the first moments with your baby, right after the labor. You should also include an extra memory card as well as the charger or battery. You never know if you’ll end up laboring for a full day. The entire birth of my third child was recorded and it is so beautiful to watch him come into this world. There’s something magical about sharing the moment with friends and family who could not be in the room with us.
#14: Light Reading
Grab some magazines and newspapers to read. I was never offered anything other than a television for my entertainment so you can count on needing some additional options to pass the time away if your labor is long. I checked in at 2am and I delivered the next evening. That’s a long time to be laboring and TV doesn’t really cut it for me the way a good read does.
Don’t forget to bring an MP3 or smartphone loaded with your favorite songs. Music can help you relax during labor. With my second daughter I enjoyed the last few hours of labor and my delivery worshiping to 10th Avenue North with my husband. It was absolutely glorious. Music really set the tone for us.
Of course these 15 items are optional, but they’re also essential. You can add more of your favorite things or you can substitute things however you see fit, but keep in mind you don’t want to show up for your labor and delivery unprepared. It is a very special day. Make sure you have everything you need ready to enjoy every moment of it.
Happy Birthing Momma!