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Home ›› How to pack a hospital bag

How to pack a hospital bag

As you near the end of your pregnancy, you should have your hospital bag packed and ready to go. You may find it useful to keep it by the front door or in the trunk of your car, so it’s with you at all times. Even if you’re aiming to have a home birth, you should pack a hospital bag just in case.


As your nesting instinct kicks in, you may find yourself unpacking and repacking this bag time and time again - just to be sure it’s perfect. It’s important to talk your birth partner through the contents of your hospital bag, and how it’s packed. After all, it’ll be them desperately scrabbling around to find something while you’re in the throes of labor.

“Ideally, you should travel light to the hospital. You should have two hospital bags - one for you, and one for the baby. Your birth partner should have a hospital bag, too (although, they can take care of this themselves).”

What to pack in your hospital bag

The following lists some items that you may want to include. They all feature on our Hospital Bag tool, which has more useful suggestions and a checklist to help you and your partner both feel organized and prepared.

1. Your birth outfit

Don’t worry, it doesn’t need to be stylish, fashionable or flattering. It really just needs to be comfortable and practical. Many women choose an old nightie or t-shirt to wear. If you’re planning to labor in a pool, you might like to pack a bikini top.

2. Clothes


You’ll need a few comfortable outfits for the hospital and one to travel home in; remember, you’ll probably still have a bump for the first few weeks after the birth. You'll also need: pajamas, a nightie or comfortable loungewear for your hospital stay; sanitary towels or maternity pads (take lots of these); and a few pairs of comfortable, cotton knickers.

3. Toiletries


Shower gel, shampoo, a hairbrush, toothbrush, and anything else you think you’ll need.

4. Your hospital notes and birth plan

5. Snacks


You may find yourself hungry during the first stage of labor. Make sure you have a few snacks just in case — small, easily digestible foods, like rice cakes, jelly candies, and of course, water. Isotonic drinks can help keep you hydrated to replenish your body's minerals and nutrients. Cereal bars and bananas may come in useful after birth, too.

Some hospitals may not want you to eat during labor, in case you need to have an unplanned or emergency cesarean section. Discuss this with your maternity team before your due date or when you get to the hospital.

6. Labor props


For example, a birthing ball, massage oils or a speaker. Essentially, anything you want to have at hand during labor. A water spray or a flannel are good ways to keep cool.

7. Lip balm


Dry lips are a common complaint during labor, so keep some lip balm to hand.

8. Socks


Cold feet are another labor complaint so make sure you’ve packed plenty of warm socks.

9. Towels


Some hospitals provide towels so find out in advance whether you need to pack your own.

10. Nursing bra and breast pads

11. Slippers or flip flops

12. Pillow

13. Nipple cream


If you’re planning to breastfeed, you should buy some nipple cream for the first few days, too.

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