At your 35th week of pregnancy you’ll want to have your hospital bag backed and ready either by the front door or in your car, in case baby arrives early or your healthcare provider sends you to the hospital.
As a birth doula, I have seen suitcases (yes more than one) filled with items, garbage bags full of stuff and small duffel bags.
It can be challenging as a first time parent to know what to bring with you and not knowing how long labour will be or how long you will remain at the hospital, doesn’t make it any easier.
From my experience, have the following in your bag:
Lip balm: it gets very dry in hospitals with the recirculated air. You may not have a window that you can open to let in fresh air.
Headband, hair elastics: a must if you have long hair or bangs. It can get annoying having your hair in the way, especially if your if different positions.
Hard candy, gum: You may not be able to eat or drink fluids other than water, ice chips only go so far. Have hard candy or even lollipops can keep your mouth moist and add some flavour. Gum is also good especially by gaming, your relaxing with jaw.
Pillows:Most hospitals, only give you one pillow and even if you ask for more, you most likely won’t be brought them. Make sure that your pillow case isn’t white to help distinguish yours from the hospital’s. Pillows can not only be used to support your head but can be folded in half to support your low back and support your knees to help open your pelvis.
Diapers and maxipads: Pack maxipads or adult diapers for yourself. You may be only given the bare minimum.
Extra tip– save those mesh undies and before you leave see if you can get a few extras – these will help you once your back home with after bleeding. Pack diapers for baby too as some hospitals only give the first one.
If all of your items don’t fit into one bag. You don’t need to bring everything with you at first. Your support person can always run out to the car to grab anything you may need.
Keep the car seat and baby bag for once baby is born. You most likely will be changing rooms – remember everything you bring with you to the labour suite, you’ll need to carry to the postpartum room which in some hospitals in on another floor!
Items you can leave at home include birth balls (those big exercise balls). All Toronto area hospitals have them and if one isn’t in your room, just ask the nurse to bring you one.
Unlike pillows, nurses will bring you as many warm blankets as you need – just ask.
For a quick and easy checklist of what to pack for yourself, baby and support person, download our free list.