Hospital Bag Check List for Childbirth from a Doula

Mar 24, 2018

(This is video is part 2 of a Facebook Live, Part 1 "Tips for Driving Laboring Woman to Place of Birth", is HERE.) 

When your due date is nearing, you start to think about what to pack in your birth bag.  You want to have everything you need, but through pregnancy brain, it may be difficult to know exactly what you need and don’t!  

It’s very easy to over pack and bring unnecessary things with you.  The hospital or birthing center will provide a lot of the necessities you’ll need during labor and after birth, so you’ll only need to pack some essentials to help you feel comfortable and prepared after giving birth.  

As a doula, I have seen partners coming into the birth room looking like a pack mule!  Well, it is your partner’s job 😉 to bring your bags in, but, if you can minimize the amount of stuff, that is a plus!

It is important to begin thinking about packing your hospital/ birthing center bag about 1 month before your due date.  If you are a high risk pregnancy, even sooner.

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First, find out what the hospital or birth center already provides.

Before you pack your hospital bag, it’s helpful to know what your hospital or birthing center may provide. Of course, each facility is different, but you can count on your hospital to provide the basic necessities that you and your baby will need during your stay.

Take a hospital tour about a month before your due date and ask which items they will provide.  

What Hospitals Provide For Babies:

  • Diapers and wipes
  • swaddle blankets
  • receiving blankets
  • burp rags
  • hats
  • shirts
  • formula and bottles (if needed).

What Hospitals Provide For Moms:  

  • Hospital gowns
  • big postpartum mesh underwear
  • cool pads
  • maxi pads
  • Tucks and Dermoplast Pain Relieving Spray
  • pain relief medication (You may want to bring some of these in your bag if you want to use more natural products and they will probably be cheaper than being billed for them after birth)
  • peri bottles
  • towels
  • stool softener
  • meals
  • breastfeeding support, including lactation consultant visit
  • lanolin
  • breast pads
  • hot/cold therapy
  • hospital grade breast pump (if needed).  

Hospital Bag Checklist

I recommend packing two bags — one smaller bag for the items you need during labor, and another bag with your overnight essentials and baby supplies, which can be kept in the car until it’s needed. You could also keep baby’s things separate in a diaper bag.

If you’re being induced, you may end up staying overnight before labor actually begins, so you may need both bags right away.  In that case, you may want to bring reading material and a laptop or tablet device to help pass the time before labor begins.

Mom’s Checklist:

  • Driver’s license and insurance card: You’ll need these when you check in to the hospital. Be sure to pre-register at your hospital, so that you can skip this step when you arrive.
  • Birth plan if you choose to prepare one.  As a doula, I share the pros and cons of having a birth plan. 
  • Phone charger
  • 3-4 pairs of socks and slippers
  • Hair ties
  • Lip balm
  • Camera.  You can ask a nurse, doula, or someone else in the laboring room to take photos for you using a cell phone or digital camera.
  • Birthing gown (optional): Some women prefer to birth in style with a cute birthing gown.
  • Baby book

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