Once you're around 34 weeks pregnant, it's time to start preparing for your delivery date! Here's exactly what to pack in a hospital bag to ensure a smooth stay.
Bring copies of your birth plan (if you have one), a picture ID, health insurance information, and hospital registration forms. Even if you've already registered at the hospital, some hospitals need to confirm your records before they can admit you.
We know, you're never without your phone. But be sure you (and your partner) have chargers handy, too. Besides needing a phone for obvious reasons (calling, texting, and updating your social accounts with your exciting news) you'll want to download helpful apps, like a contraction timer and white noise.
Deodorant, body wash, shampoo, facial cleansing wipes, toothpaste, and a toothbrush are necessities. Don’t forget the lip balm and moisturizer – hospitals are dry, and pregnancy has already taken a toll on your skin!
A ponytail holder or stretchy headband will help keep your hair out of your face during labor—and a brush and dry shampoo will help ensure that you look fab in those first photos with your new baby.
Bring at least $20 in cash and change for snacks, gift-store runs, and any of your miscellaneous cravings. Because...hospital food.
Pack a newborn-size kimono-style shirt, with footed pants so you don't have to bring socks. You'll likely get a receiving blanket and hat in the hospital, so skip those unless you've got your heart set on a specific style.
Here's a hint: You'll probably still look about 5 months pregnant, so skip your non-maternity skinnies and pack your favorite maternity dress or leggings and a tunic. (Trust us: Not fitting into your going-home outfit is a bummer!)
A cotton nightie will be much more comfortable than a hospital gown, and a robe will come in handy for walking the hallways. Several pairs of undies are also a must for any hospital bag checklist (briefs, maternity, or disposables like Depends) if you don't want to wear the mesh underwear the hospital gives you after delivery.
Bring flip-flops for the shower or to wear home if your feet are swollen.
Keep your toes toasty and clean, whether you're in bed or strolling around on the cold tile floor. Bring a pair that's easily laundered, as they may get a bit dirty.
You're going to need these after delivery. It might also be helpful to pack lidocaine spray or witch hazel pads (to relieve pain from tearing).
Load up your smartphone or tablet with tunes and anything you might want to binge-watch on Netflix. It'll help district you—and your partner—during a long labor.
A homemade hot pack (a sock filled with rice or beans) can bring you instant relief during active labor because it molds to your body—and it can easily be warmed up in the hospital's microwave. Other items to pack include: back massager, stress-relieving squeeze ball, and massage oil or lotion.
The pillows in the hospitals may be uncomfortable, and bringing one you're familiar with may help you to relax. Don't forget one for your partner, too, if he or she is planning on spending the night.
Keep everyone happy by bringing enough snacks for you and your partner to share. Lollipops are especially great for conquering dry mouth during labor.
With all the goodies from the hospital—diapers, blankets, and creams—and all the gifts from well wishers, you're bound to have more stuff coming out than you did going in.