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Pregnancy: Packing for the hospital

Labor isn't the time to think about packing your bags. It's better to have them ready to go well ahead of time.

You've been preparing for your baby's birth for nine months, but the first contractions may still come as a surprise. To reduce your list of things to worry about once labor begins, pack for the hospital ahead of time.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and other experts recommend the following items you may want to consider packing.

Items for you

  • Several copies of your birthing plan (if you made one).
  • A comfortable nightgown or nightshirt.
  • Warm socks or slippers with nonskid bottoms, in case your feet get cold or you want to walk around.
  • Loose, comfortable clothes to wear while nursing and on the trip home.
  • Toiletries such as soap, shampoo, a hairbrush, toothpaste and a toothbrush.
  • Cellphone with the phone numbers of people you want to call.
  • A hair clip (if you have long hair).
  • A watch or clock with a second hand, for timing contractions.
  • Snacks for your coach or partner, so he or she won't have to leave you.
  • Hard candies to help keep your mouth moist.
  • A camera (if you want someone to preserve baby's first moments).
  • Music to help you relax.
  • A comfortable pillow.
  • Your favorite brand of sanitary pads (not tampons). The hospital will provide pads as well.

Items for your baby's trip home

Remember to pack items for your baby as well. You may want to bring:

  • A receiving blanket. You may also want to bring a heavy blanket or bunting along in case it's cold outside.
  • A going-home outfit.
  • Diapers. The hospital will probably provide these, but it doesn't hurt to have some extra ones.
  • A baby book (in case you want to write down any thoughts about your baby's birth).
  • A car seat. Make sure to use it every time your baby travels in the car.

Reviewed 9/17/2022

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