The Hospital Bag Checklist
During late pregnancy, most women begin to put together their hospital bag. This delivery bag should contain all of the items that you'll need and want for the hospital or birthing center. It's important to carefully consider what you want to have in this bag, and to have it ready with plenty of time to spare. No one wants to frantically run around trying to find pajamas and hot compresses while experiencing contractions!
How to Put the Bag Together
You should use a bag that is large enough to fit all of your essentials. It should be a bag that you don't need for a few weeks, and one that you can leave in the back of your car. This way, if you suddenly go into labor in the middle of the mall, you'll have your bag with you and will be ready to go. Of course, there might be last minute items that you want to include in the bag. Make a list of these items - and make sure that your husband has it. He'll probably be in charge of gathering these last things for you while you're in the early stages of labor.
Certainly, we are all different and require different things to bring to the birth. Here are suggestions for items that most people would find useful - and additional suggestions for ones that you might not have considered. If you've written a birth plan, you should have a number of copies with you. You can give these to the nurses and doctors in the hospital. Bring along whatever nightgown, robe, socks, Crocs, and other items that will make you comfortable. You may choose to use the gowns they give you, but you may want to have your own items as well. You'll want to have Crocs or flip flops to use in the shower, and perhaps some cozy slippers to use the rest of the time. Bring along books or magazines. They might be helpful to distract you during a long labor, and can help you to relax afterwards. Bring an outfit to bring the baby home in, and an outfit for yourself. Remember that you won't be pregnant anymore! However, you also probably won't fit into your old clothes. Bring along something comfortable. If you are nursing, you'll need a shirt and skirt/pants, not a one piece dress, and you'll need a nursing bra.
Items to Help With Labor
There are many items that you might want to have for the labor itself. Bring your TENS machine, your heating pads, your soothing music, and anything else that might aid you during the labor. If you are allowed to drink during labor, then bring along some cold drinks or popsicles. You might want to have lollipops or hard candy as well. The labor might take a long time, and your partner might get hungry as well. Make sure that you have plenty of food for him so that he doesn't leave for the cafeteria and miss the main event! You may also want to have these snacks for yourself for after delivery. You may find yourself very hungry in the days after delivery, and may not have your food brought to you at the times when you want to eat. Obviously, you'll want to have your camera and video camera. Make sure you have a cell phone with you and all of the numbers you'll want to call your friends and family.
For Your Stay After the Birth
To make yourself more comfortable, you may want to have certain items with you after the birth. You can purchase disposable underwear, which some women find easier to use than their own underwear. Bring sanitary napkins if you prefer a specific kind. Certainly, you'll want to have your toothbrush, hairbrush and other grooming items. You might want lip balm if your lips get dry often, lotion for your legs, and other items that will keep you comfortable. Perhaps you'll want to bring a blank journal to record your birthing experience.
This birthing bag is for you so that you can enjoy your stay in the hospital or birthing center. Consider what items you would take with you if you were going to a day spa - somewhere that you could relax and nurture yourself. Certainly these days won't necessarily be relaxing - but they are a time for you to enjoy your new baby and to take care of yourself. Bringing the right robe, music, food, reading materials and other items can make your stay more comfortable and enjoyable.