It’s the typical scenario—a mother’s water breaks and in a panic an unprepared couple speed off to the hospital with only the clothes on their back. In reality, most babies will give their parents plenty of time to prepare for their arrival–but just the idea of a sudden start of labor can send the coolest of couples reeling. Being prepared is the name of the game, and knowing what to pack and what to leave at home can help make the birth experience less stressful and more enjoyable for the entire family.
Consider packing two bags—one smaller one for the labor and ,and another with the items you will need during the typical two to four day stay (depending on complications and type of birth you have). In your labor bag remember to pack your insurance card, photo I.D. (make sure your significant other has theirs as well). Your birth plan if you have one and any hospital paperwork your doctor may have given you prior to delivery.
Basic toiletries—don’t get too carried away here; you won’t feel like doing too much. Keep it simple with a toothbrush and toothpaste, chap stick, hair bands or barrettes, brush/comb, deodorant and maybe makeup if you really feel like you need it. It’s childbirth, not a beauty pageant.
If you wear contacts you may not want to bother with the hassle when you have labored for hours with no real rest, so don’t forget your glasses. A bathrobe, socks, slippers and maybe a gown that you don’t mind getting dirty should also be included. Why should they get dirty you ask? Well, you may just want to take my word for it on that. Your hospital will provide a gown and robe if you don’t want to bring yours though.
Relaxation items are helpful to some moms. Some possible items include could be your own pillow, calming music and a way to play it, or a focus item like a photograph or religious item. Anything that is calming to you should be fine though. If you are anything like me…good luck finding anything to calm you down. I could stare at a picture of a beautiful green meadow all day and it wouldn’t take away the pain. Nonetheless…
Don’t forget about your labor partner or coach either. He or she will need some essentials to keep their energy up and stay supportive, including snacks, money for parking or meals, and something to read.
Don’t forget those essential electronics to document the big event. The video camera or digital camera, extra batteries, charger and memory card—check with your labor and delivery nurse when you arrive to find out when you can and cannot videotape. Some hospitals will not allow video cameras of the birth or c-section. But taping of labor and after the birth is usually fine. Make sure you talk with your partner about the taping too–be clear on what you are comfortable having on film.
Toiletries and a change of clothes. If you are planning to labor in water or the shower, make sure your partner comes prepared with appropriate clothing should they need to support you or assist you in or out of the tub.
The birth of your baby is a memorable and exiting event for everyone–and you won’t want the people you love to miss a moment. So plan ahead and be ready so that when its time, you won’t have to say “did we bring the…?”
Interested in the 2nd part of this topic? You can find it here: Packing for the Hospital–Part 2