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Ideas for your Hospital Bag - Packing for Labour, Birth & Baby

Help! What should I pack in my hospital bag for labour?

This is a question I get asked a lot so I thought I would share the insights of some of the parents I have worked with and what they found useful to have with them when they went into labour.

Like packing for a holiday, it’s subjective, so feel free to add and alter as you see fit. Please leave any other ideas in the comments to help other parents.

It is useful to have your hospital bag packed at least 2 weeks before your due date, so it is good to go if you need it. If you are having a home-birth, it is recommended you pack a 'transfer bag' just incase you need to go to hospital at any point during or after birth.

BIRTH PARTNERS - LISTEN UP! This bit is for you .....

When it comes to the birth bag, get involved. It is likely to be you who is having to go looking for things in the bag so consider packing it yourself so you know what's in it, or do it together so you know where everything is.

Labour wards are notoriously warm so make sure you have a change of clothes especially if you arrive with mum at hospital in your winter woolies. Having a t-shirt and even shorts to change into can be good.

Consider anything else you might need to take care of yourself. You can't support mum if you are feeling hot, hungry, thirsty, have a sore head etc. Make sure there are some snacks for you and maybe some toiletries so you can freshen up a bit. Don't forget any medication you might take too incase you are in hospital for while.

Maybe consider a birth partner 'go-bag' just for your bits



Geez Joy, I am going to be in labour, what do you mean about entertainment!

OK, peddle back a little bit ....

Imagine you have been asked to arrive at hospital for a planned induction of labour or caesarean and your slot has been moved or they are running late. Perhaps having a book to read or a movie to watch on an iPad or your phone would be a useful distraction. I have known clients take a pack of cards, a good book or similar to pass the time. Some headphones could be useful too if you want to listen to music, podcasts or audiobooks.

Birth partners .... opiate pain management can make mum sleepy so if mum is resting you might want something to do to keep yourself calm.


Labour wards are warm! so think something lightweight, loose and comfortable. Also, consider would you mind if your clothing got stained or you had to leave it behind at hospital. Perhaps don't take your favourite nightie. You could choose:

  • Hospital gown

  • Oversized t-shirt

  • Nightshirt

  • Bra and floaty skirt

  • Tankini / bikini if using water / birth pool

  • You may choose to labour and birth in the buff!

  • Fluffy socks / socks with rubber bits on the bottom or some slippers


  • Glasses can be easier to work with than contact lenses

  • Toiletries: deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, face-wash, moisturiser etc.

  • Hair tie / hair band

  • Lipsalve

  • Hand-held-fan or ways to keep cool

  • Snacks (cereal bars, jelly babies, glucose tablets, grapes)

  • Drink (bottle of water or sports drinks like Lucozade)

  • Drinking straws - straws can make drinking easier depending what position you are labouring in.

  • Headphones for zoning out to music / hypnobirthing

  • Earplugs for zoning out to the world

  • Towel - if you want to use your own if you use water during your labour


  • Your own pillow / blanket that smells of your fabric softener and home. (Just make sure it is not white as all hospital laundry is white!)