- Write down the name, address, and phone number of the hospital where you intend to deliver, along with contact information for your doctor or midwife and your doula, if you're using one. Post a copy of this information, along with the phone number of an ambulance service, next to your telephone. Keep one copy in your purse or wallet (or wherever you can get to it easily) and another in your partner's wallet.
- If you have other children, write down the names and phone numbers of the person/people you've lined up to babysit. (Dog owners should arrange to have someone on call to walk and feed the dog. Give that person keys to your house.)
- Know the best route to the hospital, where to park your car, the best entrance to use (large hospitals may have several entrances), and where to go once you're inside the hospital.
- Check with your health insurer to find out if you need to notify the company when you are admitted to the hospital.
- Make a list of phone numbers (cell, home, office) for the family members or friends you intend to call when labor begins.
- Pack two small bags: one for you and one for your baby. (See next page.)
- Install an infant car seat in the backseat of your car.
Packing for the hospital
Remember to pack these items in your hospital-bound bag:
Clothing. A nightgown or long T-shirt for labor, pajamas for sleeping, five or six pairs of panties (old ones are best, in case of blood stains), two nursing bras, several pairs of socks, slippers, a bathrobe, and an outfit to wear home (think big--even though you won't be pregnant anymore, you'll still have a fairly large belly).
Toiletries. Shampoo, conditioner, a hair dryer, soap, shower shoes, a hairbrush, a comb, lip balm, facial cleansers, body lotion, a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and several big, absorbent sanitary napkins.
Comforts. Magazines, books, a CD player, CDs, books about pregnancy and breastfeeding, and a tennis ball for labor massage.
Snacks. Portable nonperishable foods such as granola bars, crackers, cereal bars, travel-size boxes of cereal, and dried fruit.
Necessities. A cell phone or calling card, change for vending machines and telephones, identification for both you and your partner, your insurance card, and your birth plan, if you're using one.
For your baby. Three or four undershirts and one-pieces, an outfit and cap to wear home, a receiving blanket, and warm outerwear if the weather requires it.
What to leave home. Jewelry, credit cards, and other valuables.
Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.
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