When should I pack my bag for the birth?

You should get a few things ready at least two weeks before your due date, whether you’re planning to have your baby: in hospital or a midwife unit, or at home.

When should I pack my bags for the hospital birth?
Content supplied by NHS Choices

Giving birth in hospital or a midwife unit

If you plan to give birth in hospital or a midwife unit, your midwife will probably give you a list of what you’ll need to pack. You may like to pack separate bags, for example:

  • one for you and one for your baby, or
  • one to use during labour and one for when your baby’s born.

You may want to include the following:

  • Loose, comfortable clothes to wear during labour: something that won’t restrict you from moving around or make you too hot. You may need about three changes of clothes.
  • Two or three comfortable supportive bras, including nursing bras if you’re planning to breastfeed. Remember that your breasts will be much larger than usual.
  • About 24 super-absorbent sanitary towels.
  • Your wash bag with toothbrush, hairbrush, flannel and your usual toiletries.
  • Towels.
  • Things to help you pass the time, such as books, magazines and an MP3 player.
  • A sponge or water spray to cool you down.
  • Front-opening nightdresses if you’re planning to breastfeed.
  • Dressing gown and slippers.
  • Five or six pairs of pants.
  • Loose, comfortable clothes to wear after you’ve given birth and to come home in.
  • Clothes (including a hat) and nappies for the baby.
  • A shawl or blanket to wrap the baby in.

Below are some other suggestions that you may find useful:

  • Socks in case your feet get cold.
  • Your birth plan.
  • TENS machine for pain relief.
  • Hairband.
  • Lip balm.
  • Boiled or glucose sweets.
  • Massage lotion or oil.
  • Hot water bottle.
  • Face fan.
  • Bendy straws, for sipping water in different birthing positions.
  • Any medication that you usually take, enough for several days.
  • Breastfeeding or support pillow.
  • Snacks in case you get hungry between mealtimes or during the night.

Should I take my mobile phone?

Check with your midwife. Some hospitals and midwife units do allow use of mobile phones. If you can’t use your mobile, make sure that you have a phone card or change for the phone.

What about my birth partner?

Your birth partner may find the items below useful:

  • food and drink,
  • money for the car park or public phone,
  • change of clothes,
  • camera or video camera if you want to record the birth, and
  • a watch to time your contractions.

Home births

If you’re planning to have your baby at home, discuss what you need to prepare with your midwife. Items you’re likely to need include :

  • baby clothes (including a hat),
  • nappies for the baby, and
  • about 24 super-absorbent sanitary towels.


NHS Choices

Published Date 2010-07-23

Last Review Date 2009-11-23

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