Pack your bag for labour

Find out the essentials you need to pack in your bag ready for labour and birth, including clothes for you and the baby, towels and sanitary pads.

Get a few things ready at least 3 weeks before your due date.

For yourself, you'll probably want to pack:

  • your birth plan and hospital notes
  • something loose and comfortable to wear during labour that does not restrict you from moving around or make you too hot
  • 3 changes of loose, comfortable clothes
  • 2 or 3 comfortable and supportive bras, including nursing bras if you're planning to breastfeed – remember, your breasts will be much larger than usual
  • breast pads
  • 2 packets of super-absorbent sanitary or maternity pads
  • 5 or 6 pairs of knickers – you may want to bring some disposable ones
  • your washbag with a toothbrush, hairbrush, flannel, soap, lip balm, deodorant, hair ties and other toiletries
  • towels
  • things to help you pass the time and relax – for example, books, magazines, music or podcasts
  • a fan or water spray to cool you down
  • front-opening or loose-fitting nighties or tops if you're going to breastfeed
  • dressing gown and slippers
  • healthy snacks and drinks
  • extra pillows
  • a TENS machine if you intend to use one
  • any medicines you're taking

For the baby, you might want to pack:

  • bodysuits, vests and sleepsuits
  • an outfit for going home in
  • a hat, scratch mittens and socks or booties
  • plenty of nappies
  • a shawl or blanket
  • muslin squares or bibs
  • a car seat for the trip home

If you're planning to give birth at home, discuss your plans and what you need to prepare with your midwife. Think about where in your home you want to give birth.

You're likely to need:

  • clean bed clothes and towels
  • clothes (including a hat) and nappies for the baby
  • 2 packets of super-absorbent sanitary or maternity pads

Even if you're planning to have your baby at home, you should pack some things in case you need to go into hospital at any point.

When you come home, you will not want to do much more than rest and care for your baby, so do as much planning as you can in advance.

If you can, buy lots of basic items such as toilet paper, sanitary towels and nappies in advance.

If you have a freezer, you could cook some meals in advance and freeze them.

You should plan how you'll get to the hospital or midwifery unit because you might need to go there at any time of the day or night.

If you're planning to go by car, make sure it's running well and that there's always enough petrol in the tank.

If someone else has said they'll take you, make an alternative arrangement just in case they're not available.

What should I pack in my hospital bag?

In this video, a midwife goes through the essentials you should pack in your hospital bag.

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