What to pack in your pregnancy hospital bag
By Michelle Ruzzene, Angel Maternity
It’s hard to imagine you’ll be going into hospital and emerging just days (or hours if you’re lucky) later with a whole new little person in your life. Bringing that fabulous little person into your life will be that much easier with a little organisation.
It’s a good idea to have your hospital packed and ready to go from about the time you reach your third trimester - although you may expect to stay home until the 40 week mark, bub can totally take you by surprise by coming earlier than expected. You also don’t want to spend your last few weeks stressed out running around doing errands.
You should aim to rest and relax as much as possible in your last few weeks of pregnancy - you’ll need all your strength for the birth and taking care of a newborn! It can be hard to know exactly what you’ll need, so Angel Maternity has pulled together this checklist of all the essentials you’ll need during labour, birth and the precious moments following your baby's arrival.
- Hospital paperwork - any hospital registration or admission papers, as well as your Medicare card and private health insurance details
- Birth plan (if you have one) - this is usually a guide outlining the type of labour you hope to have. Remember, births rarely go ‘to plan’ but it’s good to inform the hospital staff about what you want to happen and what you want to avoid
- Phone and charger - to take lots of pictures and call / text / email everyone the good news once bub has arrived
- Money - have coins or a credit card handy for parking fees and vending machine snacks
- Hospital gown - these are great for giving birth as they have been designed speciﬁcally to accommodate all types of births. Angel Maternity Hospital Delivery Gowns are stylish (think of the pics), easy to clean and incredibly functional with buttons down the side that allow midwives, doctors or nurses easy access without having to remove your robe during delivery. They enable crucial skin to skin contact once bub has arrived and easy breastfeeding access
- Socks and/or slippers - even though you’re often sweating buckets, your feet can get cold during labour. You might also end up pacing up and down the corridors a lot during labour, so you want to keep your feet warm
- Snacks - very, very important as you may be in labour a long time and need your energy. It’s important not to get dehydrated and you don’t want to be hungry either. Bananas, apples, toast, plain biscuits, muesli bars, lollies, water and juice are all great as they provide energy without aggravating your stomach. It’s not uncommon to throw up during labour, so you want to ingest food that is relatively light
- Stop-watch - to time your contractions. There are a number of great apps you can download on your phone to monitor them
- Heat packs and/or hot water bottles - to help relieve pain, especially on your back
- Pillow(s) - the hospital will have some but it’s a good idea to take your own if you want to use lots to prop yourself up or just like the comfort of your own pillow
- Swimmers - these are to be packed if you plan on having a water birth
- Music - it’s a great idea for you and your partner to make a birth playlist to have ready. Think more relaxing Enya than heavy metal band Elctrikchair
- Books and magazines - to pass the time between contractions. You may in pre-labour a long, long time
- Toiletries - toothpaste, toothbrush, hairbrush and deodorant. Also pack some lip balm - dry lips are common in labour - and hair bands if you have long hair. Dry shampoo is essential to freshen up your hair without having to wash it
- Ear plugs are a good idea in case you end up sharing a room or are sleeping in a noisy ward
- Flannels - great to wash your face with or to wet with cold water and place across your forehead or the back of your neck to keep cool
- Maternity pads - ensure you pack enough of these
- Going home outﬁt - for both you and bub. Remember there’ll be lots of photos taken so it’s a good idea to have a nice, comfortable breastfeeding top or dress you can wear so you’re not snapped in your dressing gown. Angel Maternity has a range of fabulous nursing dresses, both casual and special occasion. Have something special to dress bub in for their ﬁrst venture out into the big, wide world
- Maternity bras - you'll be living in these once the baby has arrived, if you weren’t already leading up to the birth
- Black maternity undies - following the birth you’ll want to wear undies that are comfortable and won’t show up any stains
- Breast pads and nipple cream - be prepared to experience leaky, sore nipples following the birth, especially as you and bub work out how to latch properly and get into a good feeding groove
- Nappies and baby wipes - for the new arrival. Don’t forget newborn size for the nappies (you wouldn’t be the ﬁrst to accidentally arrive with toddler nappies) and unscented wipes so as to not irritate baby’s soft and sensitive skin
- Baby onesies - the essential wardrobe item for every newborn. Pack a few of these
- Swaddles - DIY with muslin wraps or use the ones that simply zip up. Have a practice run beforehand if you’re using a wrap so you’re not stumped the ﬁrst time you give it a go - there’s an art to the swaddle!
- Beanie or hat - depending on the weather, pack a beanie and a jacket for bub if it’s cold or a sun hat and some baby sunscreen if it’s hot
- Car seat - don’t forget to have your car ﬁtted with the correct seat so you can take your precious cargo home from the hospital
Find out more about Angel Maternity at www.angelmaternity.com.au