You are huge!”
“You look like you’re going to pop!”
“Wow, do you have twins in there?”
Comments so many women have heard as they reach the end of their pregnancy. You are almost there, nine months pregnant, and in the home stretch. Have you started thinking about the big day? It is probably on your mind most of the time. That moment you get to finally meet the little one kicking inside of you.
As a labour and delivery nurse, I see many excited couples arrive on the labour unit. I witness women come in with only the clothes they are wearing, not anticipating the birth of their baby, and others who bring the car seat, carrier, swing, box of diapers…well you get the idea.
What do you actually need to bring to the hospital? The trick is to find the perfect balance between missing key items and the entire newborn section from Babies’ R’ US. Here’s a list that will help ensure you are ready when the big day arrives:
1. Your identification. You will need to check in and for many women, the birth of their baby is their first time ever being in the hospital. Bring your license and your health care card.
2. Prenatal records. These tell the story of your pregnancy and have pertinent information for the OB providers and nurses caring for you during your labour. The office may send these to your hospital in advance, or they may be transmitted through an electronic medical record. In some cases, you may need to bring paper copies with you to your birth facility. Ask your OB provider in advance.
3. It isn’t necessary to bring clothes to actually deliver your baby in. A hospital gown does the job. But it is a great idea to bring a few nursing tank tops and comfortable loose yoga pants to wear after and to bring your baby home. With my first son, I bought myself a new outfit to bring my baby home… and ended up wearing the maternity clothes I came to the hospital in. I bought them waaaay too small and couldn’t get the pants past my knees! So bring the size of pants you’ve been wearing during your pregnancy!
4. A bag of toiletries for yourself and your partner. The hospital may have basic items if you forget something, but best to bring your own items. So think shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and a brush. Don’t worry about a blow dryer, your hair will be the last thing on your mind! Do bring a pack of extra hair elastics just in case.
5. Check with your hospital about what supplies they provide. Most provide diapers and wipes as well as pads and (awesome) mesh underwear for yourself. If so, just bring a few diapers and a package of wipes for the ride home and a few pads for yourself. Wet a few pads prior to coming to the hospital and throw them in the freezer for when you get home- they will help with swelling and provide pain relief.
6. Bring a few sleepers for your baby. Skin-to-skin with you is the best place for your babe to be the first couple days of life, so you won’t need many. The hospital provides receiving blankets to use while there, but bring a receiving blanket and something to cover the car seat with when you bring your bundle home.
7. Don’t forget your phone charger! Also take time to make space on your phone for photos and videos. You don’t want to miss those first few moments because your storage is full on your phone!
8. Snacks for your labour support person. You don’t want a faint partner or one that has to leave you alone to get something to eat. So bring easy food (something without an irritating strong smell) that can be eaten without leaving you.
9. Chapstick, although if you forget the lanolin nipple cream samples the hospital provides work too!
10. A small package of popsicles- label them with your name and ask the nurse to throw them in the freezer for you.
11. An infant car seat! Most hospitals have a policy that your baby needs to be discharged in a car seat. Install the base in the car when you are packing your bag for the hospital. This will save you from waiting for your partner while they figure it out. You also don’t need to bring it in till you are ready to go home!
Throw these items in a bag and leave them at the door. Then you’ll have peace of mind and won’t be scrambling in early labour when it is hard to focus on much else! Do you have any other questions about your pregnancy? Reach out to your closest Mama Coach for a private and customised prenatal class.