Personal Health

The Ultimate Pregnancy Hospital Bag Checklist

Expecting? Congratulations! Along with getting your home and family ready for this joyful new addition, you'll want to plan out your postpartum hospital or birth center stay long before your delivery date. Once you're about eight months pregnant, you should pack a bag with everything you'll need at the hospital. Sometimes babies arrive earlier than anticipated, so preparation is vital to reducing stress in this potential scenario.

Compare your packed bag with the items on this pregnancy hospital bag checklist to make sure you have everything you need for this special day. You may even want to pack two bags: one for items needed during labor and another for items needed after delivery.

Pregnancy Hospital Bag Checklist: During Labor

  • Cellphone and charger. Stay in contact with loved ones before and after delivery.
  • Comfort items. This can include your own pillow, glasses, iPod, a good book, a personal DVD player, family pictures, and other items that will help you relax.
  • Important documents. Bring a picture ID, your health insurance card, any hospital paperwork, and your birth plan.
  • Labor and delivery clothes. The hospital will provide you with gowns and socks to use during and after labor, but you may prefer to wear your own. If you want, pack a comfortable bathrobe, a loose nightgown, slippers or flip-flops, and socks.
  • Necessities for your partner/spouse. Pack snacks, a toothbrush, and a change of clothes for the person who will accompany you to the hospital. If you're in labor for a long time, they won't be able to go home, either!
  • Cash. It's easy to forget your wallet during the pre-hospital frenzy. If you have some spare change and cash in your hospital bag, you'll be covered if you need a snack from the vending machine — or anything else.

Pregnancy Hospital Bag Checklist: After Delivery

  • Baby book. Between the excitement and exhaustion of labor and delivery, it's amazing how much new moms forget about the hours and days after their newborn's arrival. Bring your baby book so you can record the details as soon as they occur.
  • Breastfeeding supplies. Bring absorbent breast pads, lanolin cream, nursing shirts and bras, your breast pump, and a nursing pillow.
  • Extra clothes. A fresh nightgown, socks, and several pairs of maternity underwear or incontinence underwear will help you feel refreshed during your hospital stay.
  • Contact numbers. Bring a list of everyone you want to contact after the birth. Preparing this list beforehand ensures you don't forget anyone.
  • Going-home outfits. Pack an outfit each for you and for your baby. For yourself, choose a clean, loose-fitting, and seasonal outfit to help make your return home as comfortable as possible. Remember that you might not fit into your pre-pregnancy clothes right away, so maternity clothes — particularly pants — are the best choice here. For your baby, choose warm, comfortable attire. Because sleep sacks don't work well with infant car seats, bring an outfit that will keep your baby insulated, such as a one-piece footed sleeper. Make sure to have a receiving blanket and hat for your baby, too.
  • Newborn care book. Whether you are a new or veteran mom, there's always something more to learn about newborn care. The postpartum nurses will be available to answer any pressing questions that arise, but reading has the added benefit of calming your mind during this exciting but challenging time.
  • Pen and paper. Bring a notepad and pen to track your baby's feeding and changing sessions, write down questions for the nursing staff, and note any information that the pediatrician tells you.
  • Snacks. After labor, you'll probably be hungry. Bring snacks such as crackers, fruit, nuts, granola bars, or anything else you might enjoy.
  • Toiletries. Pack a few personal items, such as body wash, shampoo, lotion, a toothbrush, toothpaste, lip balm, deodorant, a hairbrush, makeup, and a headband or hair tie.

In addition, if this is not your first child, be sure to lock down child care for your baby's big siblings way in advance. After all, the better prepared you are, the better you'll be able to focus on a comfortable birth and spending time with your newest family member. Make any arrangements and get your bags packed early!

Posted in Personal Health

Christina Bhattacharya is a freelance journalist, creative writer, and content marketer living in California. She has been involved in the health and fitness field since 1999. Christina holds an A.S. in physical therapy from the Community College of the Air Force, a B.A. in technical communications from University of Maryland University College, and a M.S. in health management from Lindenwood University. She also maintains various health, fitness, and management certifications.

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*This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute health care advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or physician before making health care decisions.