For pregnant mothers, you know that pregnancy is a unique adventure filled with excitement and anticipation. It’s completely normal to feel anxious about all the things that could go wrong during pregnancy, especially when it comes to your due date!
This wonder ride called pregnancy can be scary in some ways, but if your pregnancy is easy-breezy, then count yourself lucky! When it comes to packing that pregnancy bag, there are many things you need to have on hand when you go in for your baby’s delivery at a hospital or birth center, so here are all the essentials you need for a comfortable hospital stay.
And now, a hospital bag checklist for mom:
What is a pregnancy to-go bag?
A pregnancy to-go bag is just like any other travel tote that contains all the essentials for your entire stay in the hospital.
It’s so much easier to have your stuff packed in one place, so you don’t have to worry about forgetting essential items.
When should I pack my bag?
Moms-to-be should begin to pack their pregnancy to-go bag during the third trimester of pregnancy. This is when you will be likely to deliver, so it’s best to have all your essentials packed and ready.
Not sure when you’re due? Check out our recent post, How to calculate your due date.
Pregnancy Hospital Bag Checklist
Now that you know what a pregnancy to-go bag is and when it should be packed, here’s a list of what you need to pack in it:
Your prescribed medications with you are a critical item to pack in your to-go bag! It’s also important to tell your doctor or midwife that you are taking any other medication(s) so they can be on the safe side.
Make sure to bring all of your medications in their original containers, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, and vitamin supplements.
Packing toiletries in your pregnancy to-go bag is something every pregnant mama should do! You’ll need to pack your:
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Shampoo, conditioner, face wash, and body wash (or soap)
- Hair accessories (hairbrush, extra hair ties, headbands)
- Body lotion
- Razor and shaving cream (if you prefer to shave your legs)
- Lip balm (for chapped lips)
- Face wipes or make-up remover pads
- Nipple cream (if you are breastfeeding)
- Nausea medication
- Aspirin/pain reliever of choice
- Miscellaneous Essentials
- Nursing Pads
Comfy clothes are an essential item to pack in your to-go bag. Bring something comfortable and loose-fitting because you’ll definitely be more comfortable with loose and lightweight clothing that you feel good in!
Unless you’d rather rock that hospital gown in the maternity ward the whole time, remember to bring some clothes to wear of your own when you pack your hospital bag
If possible, wear stretchy maternity pants and a comfy maternity shirt (and maybe even a nursing bra) to your baby’s delivery. If you can get away with it, wear that shirt and pants home too! If this isn’t possible, pack something loose-fitting in your to-go bag to wear home.
Remember a robe!
Don’t forget a robe to stay warm.
Hospitals tend to stay chilly, so make sure you have a warm robe on hand!
Pajamas or loungewear
It’s also a good idea to pack some pajamas or loungewear in your to-go bag too. You will want to feel comfy and get some rest while you’re recovering from the delivery, so pack some jammies, tracksuit pants, and a sweatshirt, or leggings and a hoodie if you prefer.
Slippers and comfortable shoes
And of course, don’t forget to pack a pair of comfy slippers in your to-go bag too. Those hospital socks are not the most comfortable things to wear, so make sure you bring some cozy slippers or flip flops with you too!
If you’re one of those moms who don’t like to walk on hospital floors wearing just socks, pack some comfortable shoes to wear as well.
Bring slip-on shoes for going home.
Slippers or loose-fitting slip-on shoes are also a good idea to pack in your to-go bag for going home.
Nursing bras and breast pads
Mamas-to-be, if you’re planning on breastfeeding, then don’t forget a nursing bra and pads when you pack your hospital bag.
Dark color swimsuit top for water birth
And if you want to have a water birth, don’t forget to pack a dark color swimsuit top in your bag!
Other items that are needed when you go in for your delivery at the hospital or birthing center.
Here are some other hospital bag essentials:
Print your birth plan for quick reference
If you haven’t already, print out a copy of your birth plan and put it in your to-go bag. That way, if you forget your birth plan at home or want to make any changes, you can do so quickly and efficiently before your baby arrives.
Make sure that your insurance card and medical records are easily accessible to speed up completing all of the hospital forms.
Make sure that you have a camera on hand at the hospital for when the baby decides to make its grand entrance!
If you don’t have one, most hospitals will allow you to take photos as long as it doesn’t interfere with the care of other patients. Ask a nurse or your doctor if this is okay ahead of time, though!
Chargers and cords
Make sure that your cell phone and laptop are fully charged before going to the hospital.
You’ll also want to have a car charger, USB cords, and wall plugs on hand in your to-go bag for your stay. Be sure to bring along a charger cord for your phone; your hospital bed might not be near an electrical outlet. Don’t forget chargers for your video camera and your digital camera (if you have one).
Cell phones, laptops, tablets, car chargers, USB cords, and wall plugs. Remember to pack all of these in the to-go bag that you bring with you when you check into the hospital!
Favorite Pillow from home
Hospital pillows are usually pretty uncomfortable, so you’ll definitely want to bring your own comfy pillow from home. Pack it in the car before making the drive to the hospital – you don’t want to forget it!
Spare contact lenses and/or glasses if you wear them.
If you wear glasses, don’t forget to pack an extra pair in your to-go bag. If you prefer contact lenses, make sure that you pack some spares as well. Don’t forget contact solution and a contact case too.
Money for parking and food!
Don’t forget to pack money for parking and food while you’re at the hospital. Although most hospital vending machines take cards, you will run into situations where cash is king.
Don’t forget to pack some snacks in your to-go bag too!
Your hospital stay might be longer than expected, so make sure that you pack some food for yourself and your partner in case you get hungry (which is always a good idea).
Trail mix, granola bars, and chips or pretzels are all good snacks to pack.
Also, pack reusable water bottles and electrolyte drinks.
Don’t forget your favorite pair of headphones! You will most likely be in the hospital for several days, so don’t forget to pack your favorite pair of headphones to listen to music, watch television shows and movies, or just relax with a good book!
Make a playlist and add songs to it.
Okay, this isn’t something you need to pack in your bag but definitely create and add songs to your hospital playlist before heading into the hospital!
Remember that labor can take a while, so it’s always a good idea to have an excellent mix of upbeat and relaxing songs on hand for when you get tired. Music will help pass the time and keep you entertained while waiting for the big moment to arrive!
If you’re one of the lucky ones with a long labor, this “birth playlist” will help pass the time!
Here’s one of our favorite low-key playlists for when you’re in the hospital:
Bring your own towel for the shower.
Remember to bring your own bath towel in your to-go bag! You’ll want something large and soft to wrap yourself up with after a shower.
Hospital towels are the polar opposite of luxurious hotel towels like you may have had on your honeymoon (which is likely what got you into this situation in the first place, right?)!
Need background noise to sleep?
If you need background noise to fall asleep, don’t forget to pack some earplugs or a white noise machine. We’ve even heard that some moms bring box fans for a more natural sound – anything to help you get better sleep before the baby is born!
Don’t forget your baby book!
While you’re visiting the hospital, make sure to take lots of photos of your new baby and their first moments with mommy & daddy. You can also ask someone on staff at the hospital if they have any professional photos you can purchase, so you don’t miss out on capturing this special time in your life.
Forgot your baby book?
We have good news! Most hospitals and birth centers have gift shops where you can purchase everything you forgot to pack in your to-go bag. You can also shop for unique onesies, the perfect going-home outfit, or mommy & daddy essentials (like maternity clothes) online before heading into the hospital.
When should you start packing your hospital bag?
It would be best if you started packing your hospital bag at the beginning of the 3rd trimester. Some women will feel ready earlier than others, but at that point, it’s a good idea to have your hospital bag ready to go just in case your water breaks before the due date.
A good time to start packing your bag is around 28 weeks or when you get to week 32.
What is a partner hospital bag?
Your partner should pack a bag as well! We will call this bag the “partner hospital bag.” Your partner’s to-go bag should include things that your partner might need while taking care of you and the baby during their stay.
Your partner hospital bag should include:
Change of Clothes
Your partner should pack extra comfortable clothes in their bag. These clothes will come in handy if your labor is intense and lasts for several hours or if they have to spend the night with you at the hospital.
Your partner should pack a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and other toilet necessities. Ensure that they also include anything else they may need to feel fresh and clean throughout their stay.
Your partner should pack a few snacks to keep you both well fed during your time at the hospital. Remember that hospital food can be a little bland, so it’s always a good idea to have some extra snacks on hand from home.
Your partner should pack a novel or something else they enjoy to help them pass the time while taking care of you and the baby.
Don’t forget to pack their favorite magazines, newspapers, and books in their to-go bag too!
Be sure to check with your hospital about what items are allowed in patient rooms before going to the hospital.
Pillow & Blanket
If your partner is spending the night with you at the hospital, make sure they pack a pillow and blanket for when they get tired.
Now that we’ve gotten mommy and daddy’s hospital bags covered let’s move on to your baby’s bag!
What should you pack in your baby hospital bag?
After your hospital bag is all set, then pack the essentials for the baby. Here are some of the most important things that you should pack in your baby’s to-go bag:
Your baby will need a car seat for their ride home from the hospital. Ensure you have one in your vehicle before going to the hospital and that it is properly installed!
This item is non-negotiable because your medical team won’t let you take your baby home (or even out of the front door) without one!
Don’t forget to register for a car seat and if you do, make sure your registry is complete with all the bells and whistles you may need.
As long as it fits in your car and has safety standards, any car seat will work, so don’t worry too much about finding the most expensive or fanciest one.
Here’s the list of Babylist’s top car seats for 2021 in case you’re still on the fence about which one to buy.
You’ll want your new baby to leave the hospital or birthing center in style! Pack enough clothes for them to go home with, including a few onesies, hats, and socks.
You’ll probably want to pack a couple of different outfits in different sizes because you never know how big your little one will be.
A good rule of thumb is to bring one outfit in a newborn size and one 0-3 months.
If you’re waiting to learn your baby’s gender at birth, then pack a few neutral outfits! This way you can save the pink and blue clothes for later.
Besides their coming home outfit, you don’t need to pack any other clothes for your baby.
Hat & Mittens!
Be sure to pack a hat and mittens for your baby to stay warm during the ride home.
They aren’t likely to give their firstborn child frostbite, but they are definitely cold this early on in their lives. To be safe, pack a hat and mittens for them to keep cozy.
Your new baby isn’t going to wait for you to get home to do their business. There’s no need to pack diapers; hospitals will give you all the diapers you need while you’re there. But you’ll want to make sure that your home is ready for your arrival. Read our post to learn how you can make it easier on you when you get home.
Don’t forget the baby nail clippers! You don’t want to be there when they scratch their face for the first time.
Leave the diapers and wipes at home!
If there’s one thing that hospitals and birthing centers are good for, it’s free diapers and wipes. Well, they’re not totally free, but they are provided at no cost to you.
You don’t need to pack diapers and wipes in your baby’s hospital bag because the nurses will provide these for you when at your baby’s arrival.
If you forgot something or if there is a problem with the supplies the nurses have, then ask them for what you need! They will help you with anything that you need in this area.
Pack at least two bottles if you plan to bottle feed from the beginning.
At least pack two bottles in your hospital bag if you plan to bottle feed exclusively. If formula feeding is your preferred choice, bring a few of the brands you like and check with your medical team about samples they may have available.
Your Pediatrician’s Information
You’ll want to be sure to bring your pediatrician’s contact information with you to the hospital. This way, you can easily reach them if you end up needing their services while at the hospital.
Having your pediatrician’s information handy is especially important if you’re planning on having a cesarean birth and won’t be meeting them until later in the day (or after you’ve already checked out of the hospital).
Congratulations! You’re going to be a new parent and now know how to pack a hospital bag for you, your partner, and your baby.
We’ve provided everything that we could think of to maximize the quality time with your partner, baby, and other family members during this exciting event.
If we have forgotten something, drop us a line in the comments!
We’d love to hear from you.
Download The Pregnancy Checklist
Click the image to download a PDF of the checklist that you can take you. Put it with your bag to make sure you have everything that you need.