Wondering what to pack in your hospital bag? Stay sane on delivery day by preparing ahead of time, using this handy checklist as a guide.

By Terri Isidro-Cloudas, Emily Turnier, and Virginia I. Pelley
Updated July 14, 2021
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Once you're around 34 weeks pregnant, it's time to start preparing for your delivery date. One of the most stressful—and most important—items on your to-do list is packing the hospital bag. After all, you never know when Baby will make an appearance! Refer to this hospital bag checklist to ensure you'll have everything you need for a smooth stay.

pregnant wife and husband carrying bag
Photo illustration by Sarina Finkelstein; Getty Images (1)

Hospital Bag Checklist for Labor and Delivery

Important Documents: 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 need to confirm your records before they can admit you.

Cash and Change: Bring at least $20 in cash and change for snacks, gift store runs, and any of your miscellaneous cravings. Because...hospital food.

Smartphone and Charger: We know, you're never without your phone. But be sure you (and your partner) pack chargers in the hospital bag, 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.

Music, Movies, and Magazines: 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.

Relaxation Tools: 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 in the hospital bag for labor: a back massager, stress-relieving squeeze ball, and massage oil or lotion.

Soft Pillow: The pillows in the hospitals may be uncomfortable, and bringing one you're familiar with may help you relax. Don't forget one for your partner, too, if they're planning on spending the night.

Snacks and Candy: Keep everyone happy by bringing enough snacks for you and your partner to share. Lollipops are especially great for conquering dry mouth during labor, so consider adding them to your hospital bag list!

Hospital Bag Checklist
Yeji Kim

Personal Care Items in a Hospital Bag for Mom

Toiletries: Deodorant, body wash, shampoo, facial cleansing wipes, toothpaste, and a toothbrush are hospital bag essentials. Don't forget the lip balm and moisturizer —medical facilities are dry, and pregnancy has already taken a toll on your skin!

Hair Care Products: 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.

Sleepwear, Robe, and Underwear: 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.

Slippers and/or Heavy Socks: 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.

Flip-Flops: Pack flip-flops for the shower or to wear home if your feet are swollen.

Extra Undies and Extra-Absorbent Pads: 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) in your hospital bag.

Nursing Bra: Bring a nursing bra or tank top (buy them at the end of your pregnancy—most women are about that same size postpartum) that's comfy enough to sleep in.

Hospital Bag Essentials for Going Home

Homecoming Outfit for Baby: 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.

Going-Home Outfit for Mom: 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!)

An Extra Bag or Two: 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.

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