Hospital bag checklist: what to pack before delivery

Preparing for labor and delivery can be unpredictable. Avoid stress by packing your hospital bag ahead of time. A Baylor College of Medicine expert provides checklists for the family.

A pregnant person wearing all white holding a white baby onesie.“It’s never too early to pack your bag. I would recommend planning once the third trimester rolls around,” said Dr. Alexa Sassin, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Baylor. “For patients with medical conditions that may result in delivery before the due date, like hypertension, it is best to have your bag packed by 34-35 weeks. I recommend not waiting beyond 37 weeks since labor can be unpredictable, and having your bags packed and ready is one less thing to worry about amid all the excitement!”

Checklist for mom:

  • Wallet with your ID and insurance card
  • Copy of your birth plan if you have one and any pre-registration hospital paperwork
  • Medications
  • Eyeglasses and/or contact lenses
  • Comfortable pajamas, robe and/or nightgown
  • Loungewear for postpartum and to wear home
  • Slippers and socks
  • Flip flops or sandals to wear home
  • Nursing bras or tanks
  • Nursing pillow (helpful for breast or bottle-feeding)
  • Electronics chargers (the longer the cord, the better)
  • Cell phone
  • Camera
  • Favorite snacks for postpartum
  • Baby book

“Discuss with your provider ahead of time, as most medications can be ordered for you at the hospital. However, it is always important to have a list of your current medications and dosages,” she said.

Optional items:

  • Toiletries like lip balm, face soap, shampoo, deodorant, lotion, toothbrush/toothpaste – the hospital will often provide these for you, but if you have favorites from home, feel free to bring them
  • Pillows and blankets – these will be provided by the hospital, but often, patients enjoy having familiar comforts from home during their stay
  • Handheld fan or misting spray bottle
  • Diffuser
  • Cotton underwear – the hospital will provide mesh postpartum underwear, but you can wear your own if you prefer
  • Your own brush, hair ties, clips or headband
  • Headphones or a Bluetooth speaker are helpful if you plan to listen to music during your labor.
  • Books, crosswords, magazines or cards for you and your support team to help pass the time.

Checklist for partner:

  • Medications
  • Electronics – tablet, laptop, cell phone
  • Snacks
  • Blanket or sleeping bag and pillow
  • Change of clothes

Checklist for baby:

  • Car seat
  • Clothes/sleepers for going home (1-2 outfits)
  • Pediatrician information
  • Receiving blanket

The hospital will provide everything your baby needs during your stay after delivery. Focus on packing baby items for going home.

Most patients stay in the hospital for one to two nights after an uncomplicated vaginal delivery. For patients who undergo a routine Cesarean delivery, the postpartum stay may be a little longer (up to three nights).

“Your healthcare team wants to make this process as enjoyable and comfortable as possible for you and your support team. Feel free to bring whatever makes you comfortable, and if in doubt, ask your provider. Also, do not stress if you forget something. Most things are available in the hospital or gift shop so that you can focus on and enjoy your labor experience!” Sassin said.

By Homa Shalchi

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