What to Pack in your Hospital Bag

Packing a hospital bag for labour can be a daunting task, especially for first-time parents. But with a little bit of planning and organisation, you can ensure that you have everything you need for a comfortable and stress-free labour and delivery experience. We’re sharing the essentials you can pack to help make your hospital visit as comfortable as possible.

What should I pack in my hospital bag for labour?

When it comes to packing your hospital bag for labour, there are a few key items that you should bring to ensure that you are comfortable and have everything you need during your stay. Our list would include:

  • Your maternity notes - this will help the team have everything to hand for your care
  • Any medications that you are currently taking
  • Your birth plan, or list of birth preferences
  • Comfortable clothes to wear during labour, such as a nightgown or t-shirt plus anything you would like to wear in a birthing pool such a bikini/bra top
  • More comfortable clothes to wear after labour such as loose-fitting top and trousers - soft waistbands are a must
  • Slippers or comfortable shoes
  • Your favourite toiletries (not forgetting toothpaste and toothbrush) 
  • Lip Balm (Gas and air and deep breathing can irritate lips)
  • A hairbrush and hair ties 
  • A book, magazine or podcast for quiet moments
  • Snacks and non-fizzy drinks
  • Water bottle (ideally with straw)
  • Headphones or a speaker to listen to music
  • Glasses or contact lenses if you wear them
  • Extra-long charger cable - no reaching out of bed for that phone! 
  • Maternity pads
  • Breast pads and nursing bra
  • Any items you have used to prepare for birthing such as playlists, affirmations cards, essential oils
  • A form of ID for yourself and your partner
  • Aim to pack your hospital bag around 38 weeks to make sure you are feeling prepared and ready to go. Take some time to talk your birthing partner though what you have packed and where it all is, so they can get you what you need when you’re focussing on your labour.

    Do I need to pack anything different for a planned c-section?

    You will need to have all of the things listed above as well as high-waisted underwear and soft, loose-fitting trousers so make sure nothing irritates your caesarean wound. You may also want to make sure you have backless shoes on hand to avoid having to bend down which may be uncomfortable at first.

    What should I bring for my birthing partner to the hospital during labour?

    Don’t forget that your birthing partner may also spend a number of hours with you, so they may also want to have some comfy clothes, toiletries, snacks and chargers on hand too, so they don't need to dip into your supplies!

    What should I pack for my baby in the hospital bag?

    While the hospital will help with many of the essentials for your newborn baby like the cot and blankets, there are a few items that you may want to bring from home.

    • Muslins for nursing and cleaning up
    • Nappies
    • Cotton wool balls or water wipes
    • Vests and baby grows - around 3 changes is a good base and you might want to have a few size options 
    • Hat (even summer babies may need a light hat)
    • Blanket
    • Going home outfit
    • Car seat (you won’t be allowed to leave without one!)
    • Any breast-feeding supplies such as cream and breast pads, or any formula supplies you may wish to have

    Helpful Resources

    The NHS website has a section on "Preparing for birth" that provides information on what to bring to the hospital, as well as what to expect during labour and delivery.

    The NCT website also has a some recommendations that might be useful.

    We would also recommend that you check with your specific hospital or midwife for any extra items they recommend or need you to bring, as some hospitals may have different guidelines.