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Preparing for a Hospital Birth

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Preparing for a Hospital Birth

Taking a little time to think about what you’re going to need at the hospital and getting it all packed and ready means there’ll be one less thing to worry about when the time comes.

Not sure what to pack?

What you’ll need will depend on various things such as your birth plan, the hospital you are going to and how long your stay will be. Hospitals may have different restrictions on what you can bring from home and what they will provide for you – so it’s a good idea to talk to your birthing hospital or centre first about what they recommend you should pack.

Not sure where to start? Try breaking the task up into three areas: what you may need during labour, and then what you and your baby will need afterwards.

What to pack for yourself – your labour bag

Here are a few suggestions for what you may need during the birth of your baby – things you will need when you first arrive at the hospital:

  • A copy of your birth plan (if you have one)
  • A nightdress or tee-shirt to wear during labour – something that’s comfortable and won’t restrict your movements. Slippers and a light dressing gown may also be handy if you are going to be walking around
  • Anything you’re planning to use during labour such as heat packs or a TENS machine for pain relief, massage oil, music or aromatherapy oils to help you stay relaxed
  • Toiletries – including a hairbrush and hair ties if you need them
  • Something to help pass the time or snack on during the early stages of labour.

What to pack for yourself – your hospital bag

During your stay in hospital (after your baby is born) you may need things such as:

  • Comfortable supportive bras (maternity bras if you are breastfeeding) – remember your breasts will be bigger
  • Maternity sanitary pads – bleeding can be quite heavy in the first week and tampons or menstrual cups are not recommended
  • Lots of old or disposable underpants – make sure they are comfortable and large enough to hold the maternity pads
  • Some comfortable day clothes and something to wear home. If you are going to breastfeed make sure tops and nightdresses open at the front or are baggy enough to feed your baby comfortably.

What to pack for your baby – your baby’s bag

You will need to pack a few things ready for the arrival of your new baby, but check first as your hospital may supply some of these:

  • Nappies – disposable or cloth depending what you’ve chosen to use
  • Baby clothes –  for example, a few simple jumpsuits or singlets and socks that are comfortable and easy to change
  • Baby toiletries – check to see what will be supplied, but you may want to pack a baby bath wash and other cleaning materials (cleaning cloth, cotton wool etc.) 
  • A baby blanket 
  • A set of clothes for baby to go home in – if you are planning to have a long trip home make sure you have enough nappies and an extra set of clothes just in case! 

Other things to have handy

A few other important things to have on hand when you first arrive at the hospital include:

  • Money for parking (you can check on your hospital parking regulations beforehand)
  • Your Medicare card and private health insurance number (if you have one)
  • Any antenatal records you have and your obstetrician’s details.

Worried you may forget something? Don’t stress remember your partner, friends or family can always bring you what you need.

Checkout our Checklist of Baby Essentials for more suggestions and make your own personalised labour, hospital and baby bag checklists.

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