Pregnancy

Ask Sofia: What Should I Pack in My Hospital Bag?

I’m getting closer and closer to my due date and have heard people talk about “packing their bag” to go to the hospital. What should be in there?

Great question! The answer, of course, depends a lot on you.

Some of these are nice-to-have items (a playlist or candle) and some are must-haves for your hospital bag:

  • Essential paperwork: driver’s license or other picture ID, insurance card, hospital paperwork, birth plan (if you have one)
  • Clothing: You may want to wear an outfit of your own during labor and delivery (although the hospital will provide you a gown) as well as a comfortable nightgown for after. Some women like to bring a swim suit in case they spend time in the shower or a tub during labor. Likewise, you may prefer your own underwear so pack a few pairs along with a comfortable nursing bra and some socks with slip grips. And don’t forget to pack something that feels good to put on for your time in the hospital and trip home.
  • Technology: Beyond your phone, were you planning on capturing some or all of your birth with a camera or video recorder? Do you want to watch a favorite show to help pass the time? Make sure you bring chargers as well. If you have a contact list, program it in ahead of time to make it easier to share the good news when the time comes.
  • Toiletries: Toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, a brush, lip balm and a ponytail holder can all be useful before, during and after labor.
  • Relaxation: This can include music for during and after birth, your favorite pillow or pictures from home, a book or magazines that don’t require too much attention, or your journal. Consider items that will make the hospital feel a little more like home.
  • Snacks/favorite foods for post-birth (unless you know that you just love hospital food!). Granola bars, fresh and dried fruit, nuts and crackers can all be good options. Gatorade or another refreshing beverage can help replenish and rehydrate.
  • Items for baby: In addition to the car seat, you may want to pack a special “going-home outfit” for your baby as well as a blanket for warmth. And bring your baby book – write as much of your birth story as you can in the hospital while it’s still fresh in your mind!

“We encourage our patients to pack their bags a few weeks ahead of time so that you don’t forget anything in a last-second panic – you always add and subtract as needed,” said Dr. Jewelia Wagner. “It all comes down to being as prepared as possible while also being open to the possibility of anything!”

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