What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag?

What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag?
August 15, 2014 10:19 PM

Pregnancy is certainly a boon for females. It’s a blessing to have a little angle playing around your home. It’s understandable that pregnancy has been very cruel to you. The relentless nausea and vomiting, the never ending depression, backache, heartburn and countless other side effects may have left exhausted you by the end of third trimester. By now you might be thinking of getting rid of this whole pregnancy thing once and for all. But the final test is yet to come.

If you’re a first timer then you must be experiencing the endless apprehensions of how to go through the phase of labor and child birth. Everyone around you would sound like a doctor these days. People will tell you how difficult the labor is going to be for you. Well, we don’t mean to scare you but labor do comes with a number of challenges.

But you can conquer all challenges if you’re better prepared for them. The last trimester of pregnancy is perhaps the busiest one. You would be busy in talking to your gynecologist about the place of delivery. You would be bombarding her with endless list of questions like if to take epidural, if to go for C-section and so forth. In the other time of the day you would have to spend your time in the market buying things for the most awaited little star of yours.

Sometimes you would even forget to eat. Who has got the time to eat when you have got imminent matters like buying diapers for your child? Your gynecologist may have told you that you’re going to have a normal delivery but you must keep that in mind that scenario can change anytime. So the first thing you should worry about most is preparing a hospital bag around 36th week of pregnancy. If you’re a first timer and you don’t know much about child birth then this bag is going to save you from a lot of trouble.

At this point your mind might be bugged by the question that what is a hospital bag and what are the components of this bag?

Well, relax and take a deep breath. For starters, a hospital bag is a bag that contains all the things that you might need in the hospital during your stay there. Hospital is not going to be like your home, right? So you should prepare a well thought and well planned hospital bag so that you don’t have to face any difficulty during your stay in the hospital and you can save all your focus and energy for your little shining star.

Hospitals differ in their strategies about what you are permitted to bring with you when you have your baby. It’s true that most of the hospital these days are well versed with most of the things that you might need before, during and after labor but it’s always better to stay prepared for unaccounted circumstances. You may need to take a couple of things from home, for example, your pillows, to make environment more personal. In any case be mindful and make sure not to stuff your bag with unnecessary things. The bag should be handy and easy to carry.

Moreover, make sure not to put anything valuable in that bag of yours because you would be in no shape to take care of your belongings when you’re in the pain of labor. Well, if you’re still not satisfied with the idea of taking only one bag to the hospital then here is an alternative too. You can have multiple bags.

For instance, you can make one bag for your belongings and things that you might need throughout labor and after delivery and the other bag can be solely for your baby and his belongings. But the idea here is the same i.e. keep the bags light and easy to carry. Having multiple bags may pay off sometimes because in case you are driving to the hospital yourself, you could leave the second bag (the one for your baby) in the car. On the off chance that you have a normal birth, you may leave clinic on that day and not require the second bag whatsoever.

What Should I Pack for Labor?

First thing first, the first thing that you have to go through is the process of labor. If you’re a first timer then this phase is going to be a little tough for you. But you need not worry as your family and doctors will be around to support you. So the first bag that you need to prepare is for your labor. Following should be the key components of your bag for labor.


This bag should contain all the necessary documentation along with your maternity notes and birth plan.

Pregnant woman takes notes

Fig. 1: It is a good idea to note down everything you need to pack in your bag in advance


You can’t move around the hospital in your fancy dress. You need a suitable outfit for that too. This will be valuable if you wind up pacing hospital passages before labor. After you’ve given birth to your baby, you would need a comfortable piece of clothing that is suitable both for you and your baby. The exact choice of your clothing would also depend on the weather and the temperature of the hospital. If you’re giving birth in warm days then light clothes will be a good choice. Similarly you would need to pack heavy and warm clothes if the temperature is cold. A busy pattern or bright shade on your clothing will help to shroud any stains.

Pair of Shoes

You may want to move around or go to the washroom before or after labor. To move, you would need a pair of shoes. Backless slip-on shoes are a perfect choice. They will be easy to get on and off.


Accept it or not, your feet could be cold during labor. The choice of light or heavy socks would again depend on the weather and the environment of the hospital.

Labor Clothes

You would need something open and comfortable to wear during labor. Old nightdress or a T-Shirt would best serve the purpose. It will most likely get a bit chaotic, so don't purchase anything unique to wear in clinic or hospital.

Massage Oil or Moisturizer

You might require massage oil or a moisturizer on the chance that you might need to get massaged during the labor.

Birth ball

This can help you get along with the pain of labor more effectively. Check whether the clinic or hospital has the right size for you. If not, you can take your own. Keep in mind to bring a pump with you so your birth partner can expand it for you.

Pregnant Woman on Birth Ball

Fig. 2: Pregnant woman exercising on a birth ball with her husband and a nurse 

Lip salve

Your lips can dry out rapidly on a warm day in a labor ward.

Drinks and Snacks

You might feel hungry or thirsty while you are in the labor room area. Isotonic games beverages are great, or take some glucose tablets to keep you going. But don’t eat or drink too much.

Things to Relax

Try to bring those things that relax your mind, for example, books or magazines.

Clips or Hair bands

You can really need it if you have long hair.


The clinic or hospital may not have a pillow to make you comfortable in a real sense. A V-molded pad can provide you some additional help when breastfeeding your baby.

Tens pain relief machine

This is optional. It could be beneficial in a critical situation or if you’re afraid that you can’t withstand the pain of labor.


Take your CD player or Mp3 player and a few CD’s with you. It could be very relaxing for you.

What Should I Pack for My Partner?

You would continuously need the support and presence of someone while delivering your baby. Your partner can be your husband or any of your siblings. So it would be very thoughtful of you to pack in your first bag some of their belongings too. If they’re caring this much for you, you can at least return the favor this way! Following are the things to stuff inside the bag for your partner.

Hand-held fan or Water spray

You partner can use it to chill you off while you're going through labor.

Woman applying water spray on her face

Fig.3: Water spray is a good thing to pack in your partner's bag

Comfortable shoes

They may be pacing the passages (corridors)!

Pair of clothes

You should keep a pair of comfortable clothes for your partner too because your partner may not find the opportunity to have a shower for a long while!

Bendy straws

This way your partner can help you to have a beverage while labor.


Your partner would need a swimwear if he likes to join you in a birth pool.

Mobile telephone and charger

This is the most important thing that must be kept because in such situation mobile are used more than normal. So, you should keep the chargers in your bag to avoid any hustle.

Camera phone and Digital camera

You can add these things in the bag if you wish to take photos or make a short film of early moments with your new born baby.

Snacks and drinks

You don't need a got dried out, hungry birth partner taking care of you. If they bring some beverages and snacks with them, they can stay with you, rather than leave you alone in room and looking for food outside for themselves.

What Should I Pack for After the Birth?

Congratulations! You’ve gone through the most difficult phase of child birth and now you can relax and kiss your baby all you want. You need to keep a few things in your bag for the time after the delivery.

A going-home outfit

In labor room you will need to wear loose and comfortable clothes while you're in clinic or hospital and for the journey to home. It will take some time for your tummy to go down, so you'll likely still need your maternity clothes when you return home.

Handouts or some guidelines

These guidelines are about how and when breastfeeding should be started, which you got at your antenatal classes. Mean while if you have a contact card for a breastfeeding specialist or counselor, bring that with you as well.

Nursing bras

Bring a few.

Breast cushions (pads)

Woman placing absorbent pads in her bra

Fig.4: Absorbent pads are a must for breastfeeding moms

Maternity cushions

Bring several packs.

Nightshirt or T-shirt

Front-opening shirts are helpful in the beginning of breastfeeding.

Toothbrush, toothpaste, towels and hairbrush

The usual stuff for cleaning your teeth and taking care of your hair and body.

Bring Old / disposable pants or cheap pants

Don't bring expensive as they will get muddled. Huge cotton pants could be beneficial if there is chance that you would wind up having a cesarean, as they won't rub your injury.

Arnica cream

Despite the fact that there's no solid confirmation that it meets expectations; some women report that arnica cream serves to decrease bruising and helps in the healing process. Don't use the cream over broken skin.

Earplugs and Eye cover

Beeping monitors and the nursing staff can be noisy. Use these to help you sleep comfortably in a noisy ward.

What Should I Pack for My Baby?

The first bag was all yours. Now we come to the second bag, which is for your baby. This bag should include following stuff.

  • 2-3 vests and sleep suits
  • Baby cover (blanket). Despite the fact that clinics or hospitals are warm, your baby may require a blanket if there is cold outside when you leave that clinic or hospital.
  • Keep a couple of nappies in this bag.
  • Muslin squares, for cleaning up any milk your new born baby brings up.
  • One pair of booties and socks.
  • Hat to protect you baby from cold air.
  • One outfit for the outing home.
  • Baby’s seat in car. Few hospitals won't let you leave without a baby seat in your car. This is extremely essential for your safety and the safety of your baby.
  • If you’re living in a cold area or if you’ve given birth during cold weather then you would need snow suit or baby jacket.
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Written by: Michal Vilímovský (EN)
Education: Medical student, 3rd Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
Published: August 15, 2014 10:19 PM
Next scheduled update: August 15, 2016 10:19 PM
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