Hospital birth essentials

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Below is a list for the hospital birth that I have compiled from books (see Pregnancy and labour resources), as well as from the information provided by my midwife, my doula, and the prenatal classes. This list will differ depending on your location. For instance, in Canada you will not be allowed to take the baby home from the hospital if you do not have a safe infant car seat (even if you live across the road from the hospital and are walking home). Check with your hospital for any specific requirements they have. If you find the list somewhat overwhelming, there are places from which you can order hospital birth kits – it might actually be cheaper than trying to track down each item on its own. In Canada, Mama Goddess Birth Shop carries a good selection of birth kits and related supplies.

Hospital birth essentials

  1. Car seat which you know how to use. The seat should be left in the car until you are ready to leave the hospital.
  2. Your health card.
  3. Parking money and change for cafeteria.
  4. Extra clothing and blankets for the baby, depending on the season.
  5. Car with a full gas tank (if you are driving).
  6. Directions to the hospital (preferably several variations to avoid construction or traffic jams).
  7. Comfortable clothes for the hospital stay and for the way home (remember that you might still need clothing you wore when you were about 6 months pregnant).
  8. Knee-high comfortable socks – feet do get cold in labour. Bring more socks as they might get stained during labour.
  9. Slippers or slip-on shoes – you do not want to walk on the hospital floors barefoot.
  10. Lip balm – your lips will get very dry in labour.
  11. Lots of underwear (you’ll probably go through 1 or 2 during labour and will probably need 1 or 2 after that).
  12. Night dress or t-shirt to serve as one.
  13. Nursing bra – you most likely will not need nursing pads yet.
  14. Sanitary pads (maxi pads), large size, to soak up postpartum bleeding.
  15. Toiletries and shampoo for the shower.
  16. Phone numbers for those people you wish to notify of the birth.
  17. Vitamins/supplements/medication you need.
  18. Hair ties/clips and a hair brush.
  19. Bottle of water for the ride to the hospital.
  20. Energizing drinks: fruit juices, Gatorade, Emergen-C, etc.
  21. Fresh fruit, light snacks for the mother.
  22. Extra cutlery (hospitals sometimes run out).
  23. Food for the partner (sandwiches, crackers, cheese).
  24. Pen (there will be documents to sign and it’s convenient not to be searching for one for ages).
  25. Lots of pillows (hospital pillows are notorious for being too small, too hard, and too few). Put them into non-white pillow cases to distinguish them from the hospital ones.
  26. Receiving blankets for the baby (you’ll probably need 2) and 1 outfit for the baby (undershirt and sleeper).
  27. Warm baby blanket, hat, diapers.
  28. Camera with a spare battery.
  29. Music player with headphones or mini-speakers if allowed and desired.
  30. Any birth art you might want to focus on during labour.
  31. Bathing shorts for the partner (if he joins you in water comfort measures).

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