What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag for Labour

When the moment comes, and you’re in labour, the absolute last thing you’ll want to do is pack up a bag. Make sure you are prepared to go as soon as you need to by pre-packing a hospital bag full of the essentials that you may need during labour, birth and after your little one has been born. While the average pregnancy is around 40 weeks, many mothers-to-be consider it a good idea to pack around the 36-week mark, in case your baby decides to make an early appearance!

Even if you are planning on having a home birth, it is a good idea to have a bag packed and ready in the eventuality that you do have to make a visit to the hospital instead. Plus, having everything you need to hand in a bag will mean there is one less thing to stress about when you are giving birth and suddenly decide you desperately need that one specific pair of socks that are stuffed at the back of one of your drawers!

Some women like to pack two bags, one to take in for the labour and birth, and a separate one for a hospital stay following the birth. If all goes to plan, and the birth is straightforward, you may not even need the second bag.

What to pack in your labour bag:


It is important to take your maternity notes with you when you are going into hospital as this will provide your midwife with all the important information about you and your baby. If you have written a birth plan, remember to bring this along too.

Dressing gown

If you’re in hospital during early labour, this will be good to wear when waiting, especially if you want to walk around in the corridors. It will also be useful once in the postnatal ward. As hospitals tend to have the heating on high, so picking a lightweight gown rather than a thick and fluffy one can be a good idea.

An old t-shirt or nightdress

It is best to wear something loose during labour, and as there will be a baby popping out, trousers are off limits! Your best bet is an old shirt or nightdress, as there is no point buying something new and fancy for the birth as it is likely to get a little messy.

Snacks and drinks

While eating is probably the last thing on your mind when preparing for birth, it is important to keep your energy up. Some women opt for sports drinks as a way to stay hydrated and boost energy in one go. Many mums-to-be find bringing a straw really helpful for taking easier sips during labour.


If you have longer hair, you probably want this out of the way while giving birth, so be sure to bring a couple of hairbands and hair clips with you.

A distraction

It can help to have something to pass the time and keep you relaxed, such as a book, magazine, tablet or music player.

A hand-held fan or water spray

It can get a bit hot and sweaty whilst in labour, so bring something to cool you down.

Phone and phone charger

Aside from their obvious purpose, phones can be useful for timing contractions if they have a stopwatch or timer. They are also great for taking a few snaps of the new mum and baby!

Things to take for after the birth:


You’ll want something loose and comfortable to wear after giving birth, and for your journey home. Your tummy won’t go down immediately after giving birth, so bring your maternity clothes. Remember to pack a couple of nursing bras too, as you will need these if you are breastfeeding.

Maternity pads

These will be required for the days or weeks after you have given birth. Bring a couple of packs for the time you spend in hospital.

Old or cheap underwear

You don’t want to be breaking out the best knickers for this occasion, so stick to the old or cheap ones. It is an idea to bring some big cotton pants in case you are having a caesarean, as this will be more comfortable over the scar.


You probably won’t be too bothered about keeping up with your full skincare routine postpartum, so just bring the essentials like deodorant, a toothbrush and toothpaste. Some women report having drier skin following birth, so pack a moisturiser. Gas and air can dry out your lips as well, so a lip balm is of use.


Don’t bring your nice, cream guest towels for this!

Earplugs and eye mask

Postnatal wards aren’t exactly known for being the best spot for a restful night of sleep, so bring along some earplugs and an eye mask to help you snooze.


While the hospital will have pillows, they may not provide sufficient comfort for a new mother, especially when you are trying to sit up to breastfeed. Bringing along a pillow from home can help you feel more comfortable. Alternatively, getting a v-shaped pillow can provide great support.

Baby clothes for after birth

Items to pack for the baby:

Baby clothes

Your new baby will need some tiny little outfits too. Bring at least 3 baby grows and sleepsuits, as you will quickly discover that babies produce a lot of laundry! Some socks and a hat are also a good wardrobe addition to ensure your new-born is a comfortable temperature.


Lots of nappies will be required for a new-born baby, so make sure you have plenty to hand. Bring some cotton wool for wiping as well.

Baby blanket

If it is colder, then a baby blanket will be needed to keep your little one warm. This is especially important when leaving the hospital, as it is likely to be a bit chillier outside than in the hospital.

Car seat

While you won’t need to bring this into the hospital, it is important to have a car seat set up in your car (if you are driving home with your baby).

Have we missed any must-bring items from our list? Let us know what we’ve forgotten, or what really helped you, via our social media channels! Once your new bundle of joy has been born, keep the memory of how tiny they are with a gorgeous baby feet casting kit to create a stunning cast showing off all the details of their feet – from the little wrinkles to their tiny toes.

Image Credit: essie