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What to Bring to the Hospital for Delivery

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

Packing Your Hospital Bag

Learn what to pack to bring to the hospital for your delivery.

As you come into the final weeks of your pregnancy you might start wondering what to bring to the hospital. It is a good idea to have your hospital bags ready to go from about 35 weeks on; you simply never know when your little one will make a 'surprise' entrance. Largely what you bring will depend on your personal preferences and comforts.

Labor and Delivery Must Haves
Here are some general 'must haves' and other suggestions from moms who have “been there and done that” on one or more occasions:

  • Personal identification and health insurance card.
  • List of phone numbers for people you want to contact after the delivery.
  • Lip balm or Chap Stick (your lips get dry when pushing!).
  • Watch with a second hand to time contractions.
  • Tooth brush and toothpaste.
  • Something to read in case you will be in for a long delivery.
  • Pillow from home with a pillowcase other than white to distinguish your pillow from the hospitals.
  • Music or CD's.
  • Camera and/or camcorder with film and batteries.
  • Copy of your birth plan.
  • Water bottles.
  • A going home outfit for mom (You will probably need to select something that fit you when you were about five months pregnant… you will not return to your pre-pregnancy size 'instantly' after giving birth).
  • A going home outfit for baby.
  • Slippers/socks to keep your feet warm.
  • Baby book for getting footprints.
  • Snacks.
  • Calling card (most hospitals do not allow cell phones!).
  • Nursing bras and nursing pads.
  • Blanket for baby.
  • Robe or night gown in case you don't want to wear the hospitals.
  • Any personal hygiene items you might want (shampoo, brush etc.).

Some women prefer to have two bags, one for labor and delivery and one for post partum. The post partum bag may contain your outfit and your baby's outfit for leaving the hospital, some make up and a clean pair of socks as well as camera.

It really depends on what is most convenient for you.

Another non-necessity that many women find enjoyable is some massage oils or lotions. During the labor process, you might feel better if your partner massages the small of your back and feet. Alternatively, a light massage will feel great after you deliver!

Remember that labor and delivery is a messy process. When packing a change of underclothes, do not pack your finest lace underwear, because you will likely ruin them from the voluminous lochia (bleeding) that occurs after birth.


Remember too that it is essential to have a going home outfit that is comfortable. You will not be your pre pregnancy size just after birth, and packing a pair of too tight jeans will only leave you excessively stressed and disheartened at a time when you should be reveling in the amazing feat your body just accomplished.

Preparing your hospital bag can be a fun and encouraging process, reminding you that there is indeed an end in sight. Be sure to remember to put the bag in the vehicle you plan on using for the hospital ahead of time, otherwise you may forget it whilst in the midst of labor.

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