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What to Pack For Labour

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 6 Dec 2010 | comments*Discuss
Pack Labour Bag Essentials Items

It’s your big day and it can crop up suddenly and take you by surprise. There’s nothing worse than being unprepared so get organised and pack your bag for labour well in advance. Here are some ideas of the type of things you might need.

Not knowing when to get your bag packed is a key concern of many women. It’s no good leaving it until the last minute and not being properly packed, so aim to get everything organised by about 36 weeks. That way they’ll be no mad rush as your due date approaches. Hospitals vary with what items and extras they’ll provide for you, so do check their policies in advance.

Items For During Labour

No-one knows how long labour is going to take. Whilst you might be lucky and have a quick and easy labour, sometimes it can be long and laborious. Packing everything you could possibly need for any eventuality is a serious consideration, as it’s no fun wishing you had something with you that you’ve left at home. Here are some ideas for essentials.

  • If you’ve made a birth plan, remember to pack it in your bag and take it with you.
  • A thin dressing gown, as hospitals are usually warm.
  • Slippers.
  • A nightdress or long t-shirt. They can get messy, so something old would be fine.
  • A TENS machine, as it’s great for pain relief.
  • Music to listen to whilst you’re in labour, along with an MP3 player, CD player or tape recorder to play it on.
  • A toiletries bag with all the usual essentials.
  • An extra flannel to use for cooling you down, or a fine water spray to use for cooling purposes.
  • Wet wipes, which are also handy for draping on your forehead, shoulders etc if you’re feeling hot.
  • A pair of socks, as your feet can get cold during labour.
  • Lip balm.
  • A book or magazine.
  • Massage oil, that can be massaged in to help you relax.
  • Snacks and drinks for you.
  • A watch with a second hand, so you can time your contractions.
  • A cushion or pillow for extra comfort.
  • A hot water bottle or heat pad, for pain relief.

Items For Your Partner / Birth Partner

Admittedly, it should be up to them to pack what they need, but men in particular may need a helping hand with this!
  • Food, drink and snacks. Depending what time of day you’re in labour, your partner may have missed the opportunity to buy food at the hospital.
  • A change of clothes.
  • If you’re going to use a birthing pool, something for your partner to wear in the water.
  • A camera, so they can record the crucial moments for you.
  • A good supply of change for the pay phones or a phone card.
  • A list of key telephone numbers.

Items For After the Birth

Most women stay in hospital for 24 hours or less after giving birth, but even though you’re unlikely to be there for long, it’s still good to have things available to help you feel relaxed and comfortable. So consider packing some of these items in your labour bag.

  • A nightdress.
  • Loose comfortable clothes to wear, such as t-shirts or tracksuit bottoms. Hospitals tend to be warm, so opt for layers.
  • A nursing bra.
  • Maternity pads.
  • Comfortable underwear – but not your best, as they can get messy.
  • Arnica tablets or cream, as this can help speed up the healing of bruising.
  • Ear plugs.
  • Makeup, to freshen yourself up.
  • Hairbrush.
  • Babygros and vests for your baby.
  • A blanket for your baby.
  • A pair of socks or booties.
  • Nappies for your baby. Some hospitals provide these, whereas others don’t. If you’re unsure of the policy, be on the safe side and pack some disposables.
  • Clothes for your baby, including something for them to go home in.
  • Clothes for you to wear home.

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