Though you could show up with just belly and your insurance card, travelling that empty-handed to the hospital or birthing center probably isn’t the best idea. Travelling light, however, is, so pack only what you think you’ll really use or need. Be sure to pack that bag early with as many—or as few—of the following as you’d like:
For The Labor Or Birthing Room
1. A pen and pad may also be useful for jotting down questions and answers on procedures and on your condition and your baby’s; instructions for when you go home; and the names of staff members who have taken care of you.
2. Several copies of your birth plan, if you’re using one.
3. A watch with a second hand for timing contractions. Better yet, make sure your coach is wearing one at all times during the last few weeks of your pregnancy.
4. An MP3 player, iPod, or CD player, along with some of your favorite tunes, if music soothes and relaxes you.
5. A camera and’or video equipment, if you don’t trust your memory to capture the moment (and if the hospital or birthing center rules allow media coverage of births—most do). Don’t forget extra batteries and/or chargers.
6. Entertainment: a laptop, a Sudoku or crossword book, a handheld video game player, knitting, or whatever diversions you think will keep you from focusing too much on your
7. Favorite lotions, oils, or anything else you like for massages.
8. A tennis ball or back massager, firm countermassage, should lower backache be a problem.
9. A pillow of your own to make you more comfortable during and after labor.
10. Sugarless lollipops or candies to keep your mouth moist.
11. A toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash.
12. Heavy socks, should your feet become cold.
13. Comfortable slippers with nonskid bottoms, in case you feel like doing some walking during labor, and so you can do some strolling in the halls later, between baby feedings.
14. A scruchie, clip, or hairband, if your hair is long, to keep it out of your face and tangle free. A hairbrush, too, if you think it’ll come in handy.
15. A change of clothes for your coach, for comfort’s sake and if he plans to sleep over in the hospital.
16. A cell phone and charger.
1. A robe and/or a nightgown/ pj’s, if you’d rather wear your own than the hospital’s. Make sure it opens in the front if you’ll be breastfeeding. Keep in mind, however, that though pretty nightgowns or comfy pj’s can boost your spirits, they may get bled on and stained.
2. Toiletries, including shampoo and conditioner, body wash, deodorant, hand mirror, makeup, and any other essentials of beauty and hygiene.
3. Your favorite brand of maxipads, though the hospital will also provide some (skip the tampons).
4. A couple of changes of underwear and a nursing bra.
5. All the entertainment listed above, plus books (including a baby-name book if that
decision’s still up in the air).
6. A supply of snacks: trail mix, soy chips, cereal bars, and other healthy treats to keep you from starvig when the hospital food doesn’t cut it or hunger strikes between meals.
7. A list of phone numbers of family and friends to call with good news; a phone card or calling card number in case you have no cell phone reception or the hospital doesn’t allow cell phone usage.
8. A going-home outfit for you, keeping in mind that you’ll still be sporting a sizely belly (you’ll probably look like you’re at least five or six months pregnant right after the birth; plan accordigly).
9. A going-home outfit for baby: a kimono or stretchie, T-shirt, booties, a recieving blanket, and a heavy bunting or blanket if it’s cold; diapers will probably be provided by the hospital, but bring along an extra, just in case.
10. Infant car seat. Most hospitals will not let you leave with the baby unless he or she is safely strapped into an approved rear-facing infant car seat. Besides, it’s the law.