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Labor & Delivery Hospital Bag Checklist

It's down to the final few weeks of your pregnancy and you're panicking. You know there are many things you need to have packed and ready for your trip to the hospital, but you have no idea where to start. Don't worry! Every expecting person goes through this panic.

In order to help me not to panic, I decided to make a list of things I know my husband, our newborn, and I will need when we make the big trip to the hospital. Don't forget, your partner/spouse is going to need things too!

Mother's/Pregnant Person's List

  • Admissions Paper/ID/Insurance Card: You're going to need all of these in order to make your stay much smoother. What we have done during my pregnancy is that my husband carries around my insurance card and ID with him, just in case I go into labor and he forgets to grab my purse.
  • Clothing: Be sure to bring extra clothing, especially pajamas or gowns, because you probably don't want to wear a hospital gown your entire visit. Also remember to bring clothes for you to come home in. You're going to want to bring a pair or two of warm socks because hospitals tend to be very cold.
  • Nursing Pads: You've probably already been leaking a little bit of breast milk (or colostrum) already, but after you have the baby you'll be leaking a lot more. It's a good idea to have Breast/Nursing pads to help you from leaking excessively.
  • Breast Pump: If you intend on breastfeeding, but not directly from the breast, then be sure to bring your own breast pump with shields fitted to your nipple size. While the hospital will likely have pumps available for you to use, it will be far easier to bring your own pump so that you can become accustomed to it.
  • Hygiene/Postpartum Pads: After you give birth, you will be bleeding for some time. It's best to pack a few postpartum pads or overnight pads to help you feel cleaner. Most hospitals will provide you with some in case you forget to bring your own.
  • Hair Accessories: During labor it's nice to be able to keep your hair pulled back and out of your face, so be sure to bring pony tails, hair clips, or whatever it is that you like to use to pull your hair back.
  • Personal Hygiene Products: Body wash, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, chap stick (your lips will get dry while in labor), bath towel, etc... All the basic items you're going to need to make you feel fresh and clean. The hospital will likely provide you with soaps to clean yourself with, but it never hurts to bring your own, especially if you want to have your favorite scented lotions and soaps available to you.
  • Food and Beverages: Numerous hospitals are now becoming aware of the importance of women needing to eat and drink during labor. Check your hospital's policy on food and drink consumption during labor before bringing any. If they do approve of you bringing foods, pack healthy foods that will energize you and keep you well nourished. Good foods and drinks to bring include: coconut water, electrolyte drinks, red raspberry leaf tea, fresh fruit, almonds, beef jerky, and fresh vegetables.
  • Birth Ball: If you're entering into the hospital with the intention of having few interventions, you will likely want to bring a birth (yoga/fitness) ball to help you relax and ease your body into labor. Ask your hospital what there policy is on birth balls. Many hospitals are now equipped to provide birth balls and peanut balls for labor support.
Don't forget to pack a hospital bag for baby, too!

Don't forget to pack a hospital bag for baby, too!

Baby's List

  • Diapers: Most hospitals will provide you with diapers, but it never hurts to bring your own. If you plan on cloth diapering, bring your own and be sure to express your desire to do so with the hospital staff.
  • Baby Wipes: To help clean those lovely baby messes.
  • Clothing: Bring enough outfits to last your newborn a few days, because you'll likely be in the hospital for a few days. Be sure to bring an outfit for your newborn to come home in as well.
  • Winter clothes/Summer clothes: If you're having a winter baby, be sure to bring extra pieces of clothing like a jacket, gloves, hats, etc.. If you're having a summer baby, you still need to have quite a few warmer articles of clothing, but not as many.
  • Car Seat/Carrier: Most hospitals will not allow you to discharge with your baby unless you have a car seat or baby carrier, so make certain to bring one of these with you so you wont have any trouble bringing your little bundle home. It is best if you have your car seat installation checked by a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician before your baby is born to ensure that your seat is safe and safely installed. While some police stations and fire stations do offer installation services for free, most are not up to code on the safety standards required to ensure that your seat is safely installed.
  • Cord Blood Kit: If you're planning on saving your baby's cord blood, your doctor will need the cord blood kit immediately after the baby's arrival. Your Cord Blood Consultant should provide you with one of these several weeks prior to your due date.
  • Bottles and Accessories: If you don't plan on breastfeeding, be sure to bring bottles, nipples, etc. to feed your newborn.
  • Formula: If you don't plan on breastfeeding, be sure to bring some of the formula you intend on using.
  • Blankets: Receiving blankets, swaddling blankets, and normal blankets to keep your baby nice and warm.
  • Placenta Transportation Supplies: If you intend on having your placenta encapsulated or prepared for consumption, you will also need to bring with you the supplies provided to you by your placenta encapsulation specialist unless the specialist will be bringing them to the hospital.
Dad's need a hospital bag, too!

Dad's need a hospital bag, too!

Spouse's/Partner's List

  • Clothing: Your partner is going to need a few extra pairs of clothes because they're probably going to be at the hospital just as long as you and your newborn.
  • Extra Cash: It's never a bad idea to have extra cash for things like food, little things you might have forgotten, etc. etc..
  • Cell Phone and Charger: This is a big one I always try to remind my doula clients to pack. Bring your phone charger, especially once you consider the amount of texting/phone calls you'll be making to announce to friends and family the birth of your newborn.
  • Camera: You're probably going to want to take several pictures of your newborn baby, so be sure to bring a camera or a cell phone that can take decent pictures.
  • Personal Hygiene Products: Body wash, shampoo, razor, bath towel, etc... All the basic items you're going to need to make you feel fresh and clean.
  • Reading Material/Music: Labor can be slow at times. Sometimes the birthing parent will be sleeping during labor or simply not need your constant attention. It's always a good idea to pack something to read, as well as head phones and music, to help keep you busy during the slow times. Alternatively, if your partner is napping, that's also a great time for you to get a little shut-eye!
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Try to have everything packed and quickly accessible by the 35th week of pregnancy to help you be as prepared as possible for when the big event finally happens. You can even keep a quick hospital bag stored in your car, just in case labor occurs while you're away from the house.

If you forget a few things or don't have certain things, don't get stressed out! It happens. You can plan all you want, but labor and birth are both unpredictable. In the end, all your truly need are the person having the baby and the baby. Best wishes to you on your birthing journey!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Daniella Lopez (author) on December 21, 2011:

Thank you both for your comments and votes!

Kitty, thank you so much for the advice! I'll have to remember all of it. :D

Kitty Fields from Summerland on December 21, 2011:

Great write-up, Daniella! I'll tell you a few things that saved my life - wet baby wipes (most hospitals carry dry baby wipes that you have to wet under the sink...and let me tell you it can be a mess!) and pads for mommy. Pantyliners will NOT do the me, pads will be needed. And usually you'll need to wear two at a time. Voted up and useful!

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on December 21, 2011:

An excellent list for the harried parent-to-be who isn't thinking about these things. Voting this Up and Useful.

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