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Packing your hospital bag

Packing your hospital bag marks an exciting time in your pregnancy. It’s a good idea to have it ready two weeks before your due date – just in case your baby makes an early appearance. If you’re not sure what to take with you, watch our video. Remember to show your birth partner what you’ve packed too, so they know where to find things in a hurry. To ensure you’ve got everything you’ll need, see our list of hospital bag must-haves, recommended by midwives, pregnancy advisors and mum bloggers.

for you

Essentials

  • Birth plan and maternity notes
  • Socks or slippers
  • Nursing bras and breast pads
  • 8 pairs of maternity knickers
    I had an emergency C-section and had to send my poor dad out to buy some granny pants to cover my scar! Even if you have a normal delivery, the last thing you want is teeny tiny knickers.
  • Loose-fitting nightdress and dressing gown
  • Sanitary or maternity pads
    They were not the most glamorous items, but they were certainly the most useful!
  • Wash bag with flannel, shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Loose, comfy 'going-home' clothes
  • Dark-coloured or old towels
  • Flip flops
  • Drinks and healthy snacks

  • Nuts, dried fruit and bananas
  • Snack bars
  • Water or sports drinks
    I would highly recommend a drink with a straw. This way your birthing partner can hold the drink for you during labour, which makes it so much easier!
  • Chocolate
  • Sweeties
  • Useful extras

  • Bikini top for birthing pool
  • TENS machine and batteries
  • Make-up, moisturiser and lip-balm
  • Hair bands, ties or grips
    My essential would definitely be hair ties. I ended up using an elastic band and it tangled my hair and hurt to get out. Never making that mistake again.
  • Books, music, magazines, tablet or eReader
  • Extra pillow
  • Earplugs and eye mask
    On the off chance that your baby sleeps that first night, I can guarantee that someone else's won't!
  • A handheld fan
  • Lavender room spray
  • A notebook or diary
  • Top of list
    for you

    Essentials

  • Baby vests and sleep suits
  • Scratch mitts and socks
  • Baby hat
  • Baby blanket
  • Going home outfit
    A gorgeous going home outfit for my little one
  • Muslin squares
  • Nappies
  • Nappy bag
  • Cotton wool
  • Top of list
    for you

    Essentials

  • Money for car park
  • Mobile phone and charger
  • Toiletries
  • Snacks
    Lots of snacks for my husband, so he had no excuse to disappear!
  • A change of clothes
  • Drinks
  • Entertainment
  • Top of list

    Ensure you don't forget anything, download our printable hospital bag checklist.

    DOWNLOAD PDF

    Other useful advice

    Being prepared for a C-section, or giving birth to twins, can require a little more planning ahead. Find out more below.

    Packing for a planned C-section

    As you’re likely to be in hospital for a few days, you may want to pack a few extras. Books, magazines, headphones or mini speakers and an extensive playlist on your phone can keep you occupied while you wait for the C-section – and during birth.

    You’ll need several pairs of high-waisted cotton knickers to go over your scar, and comfortable clothes, preferably with buttons down the front for easy access during breastfeeding. A second nightgown is useful, along with slippers or slip-on shoes, as your movements will be restricted at first. Due to your longer stay, you’ll also need extra clothes and nappies for your baby, but as space in the ward will be limited, ask friends and family to bring you supplies as you need them.

    Packing for twins

    If you’re expecting twins, it’s a good idea to have your bag packed by week 26 of your pregnancy, as twins have a tendency to arrive earlier than full term. It goes without saying you’ll need twice as many baby clothes and nappies, so to save space on the ward, consider packing two bags and leaving one in the car or with your birth partner for when it’s needed.

    Last reviewed: 12th January 2016
    preparing for birth app

    Keep track as you pack with our interactive checklist

    Our Preparing for Birth app contains editable checklists as well as a contraction timer, advice from our midwife and information you need to feel confident about your baby’s arrival.

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