Earlier in your third trimester is a good time to think about what you need to pack for the big day because you may not feel like shopping or collecting things in your final weeks. Even if you’re not planning on a hospital birth, it’s a good idea to have a bag packed by the time you’re about 36 weeks pregnant.
Hospitals vary in their policies about what you are allowed to bring in with you. Consider taking a few items from home, like your own pillows, to make the environment less clinical and more personal.
To make things easier, you could pack two bags, one for labour and the hours immediately after your baby is born and one for a stay in the postnatal ward.
What to pack for the birth
- Medicare card – details of your health insurance (if you have private health cover) and any other hospital documents you might need.
- Dressing Gown, Slip on Slippers and Toasty Socks – this can be useful in early labour and you’ll need one for the postnatal ward. Choose a lightweight one as hospital wards can get warm. Also, your feet can get cold during labour, believe it or not, so toasty socks are a must.
- Old nightdress or tshirt – to wear in labour. Taking a spare, if you have one, is a good idea.
- Massage oil or lotion – if you’d like to be massaged during your labour to ease backache. It’s also a great way to involve your partner in the birth.
- Snacks and drinks – Something to keep you going while you’re in labour. Isotonic sports drinks and juice that can be diluted are particulary good. If you don’t need them, your partner might!
- Things to help you relax and pass the time – Books, tablet, magazines, games, MP3 player and so on. You;ll be glad you brought them if labour goes slowly.
- Hair bands or clips – if you have long hair you might want it tied up.
- Pillows – the hospital may not have enough to make you really comfortable. Furthermore, a v-shaped pillow can give you extra support when breastfeeding.
- Heat packs – many hospitals have a limited amount of heat packs but are usually happy for you to carry your own. Check that there is a microwave nearby where your partner will be able to heat them up.
- Toiletries and tissues
For after the birth
- An outfit to go home in – you’ll need loose, comfy clothes to wear. It will take a while for your tummy to go down so, choose your comfiest maternity clothes!
- Nursing bras – carry a few.
- Breast pads and nipple cream
- Maternity pads – bring a couple of packs.
- Nightshirt – front opening shirts and PJs are very useful especially in the early days of breastfeeding.
- Toiletries – pack extra ones into this second bag as you don’t want to rummage through too many things. Keep things handy in different compartments of your bag.
- Old or disposable knickers – things gets messy so don’t get anything too special.
- Ear plugs – in case you end up in a noisy ward.
- Notepad and pen – you’ll want to track your baby’s feeding sessions, writing down questions for your midwife or doctor, memories of your baby’s first few days and so on.
Once you’re done packing all this, don’t forget to install the infant car seat as you can’t leave the hospital in a vehicle without one. Also remember to carry your baby’s blanket and some clothes for your new bub!