What should I pack in my hospital bag?

So, first things first, while they are commonly known/thought of as ‘hospital bags’ I think it is useful to think of them as ‘birth bags’ instead. This is because regardless of where you choose to give birth (or where baby decides to be born!) it is really handy to have a bag or two which has all the things you will need for birth and the period immediately afterwards. I have had a birth bag for all my births, even though five of them have been planned home births!

If you are giving birth at home, you may pack slightly less in it than if you are not, because there will naturally be things at hand easier – but you may find that there is still a reasonable amount of stuff, because of the home birth kit that the midwifes will bring, and a birth pool if you choose to use one.

If you are giving birth in hospital and know that there are reasons why a longer stay may be required, or if you are going to be induced, and so you know you may need extra things for your stay, then you may wish to have a secondary bag packed, which you could even have kept in the car ready to bring in as you want it, so you are not having to move lots of baggage around as you possibly get moved between different rooms.

Broadly speaking, your birth bag/s will likely consist of:

Things for you

Things for baby

Things for your birth partner/s


Things for you

It is helpful to split these into things you need/want for birth, and then for afterwards.

For birth these may include:

  • Your birth plan.
  • Any resources for birth you want to use – such a music, scents, etc.
  • Drinks for hydration
  • Snacks to eat for you (might even just be sweets for a little energy burst!)
  • Something to wear in labour/birth. Whether this is a top or nightgown, or something for in a pool. Of course, this is a possible preference, not a requirement, and you can birth naked if you prefer!

For after birth, these could be:

  • Comfortable PJs / Dressing gown
  • Knickers
  • Sanitary pads
  • Your phone/phone charger
  • Something to read if you think you may be in away from home for a while
  • Socks/slippers
  • Your own towel
  • Drinks/snacks – so you can have these as you want them
  • Sibling gifts – if relevant

Things for baby

These might include:

  • Cord tie – if you are using one instead of a hospital clip
  • Nappies – cloth or disposable – this is your choice wherever you give birth
  • Clothing – items suitable for wearing right away, and then to go home, if you are birthing away from home.
  • Muslins
  • Milk/bottles if you are not planning to breastfeed

Things for your birth partner

Ideally your birth partner will be preparing the things they need for themselves, but the sort of things which are useful for them to have in the collective birth bags are:

  • A copy of your birth plan
  • Drinks/snacks for them
  • Camera/phone (for any photos you would both like)


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