This is my personal list for what to take to the hospital. Every hospital is different and every woman is different, as is every birth. I'm speaking from an induced-labor-and-vaginal-delivery point of view.For myself:
I was induced in my last pregnancy and wanted to be VERY comfortable. So I brought my own pillows (2) and a blanket from home. Most hospitals issue those (uber lovely) maternity gowns so there really is no need for underwear while you're in labor since nurses will be in and out checking on your south side every hour or two.
After delivery I wore the hospital issued weird excuse for underwear since my delivery was vaginal and nurses come in often to put ice on your swollen baby-maker. So I didn't actually wear my own underwear until I went home (pack at your leisure; however leave your sexy thongs at home
Socks are a must (either with treads or not. If not with treads; maybe you should bring your favorite bunny slippers). I was a fall risk and was helped back and forth to the bathroom; but the slippers helped. Plus, you will be losing blood during childbirth and your body takes warmth and blood directly from your extremities so the socks will help keep you warm. A housecoat is completely up to you; but it is nice to have something to cover yourself with when guests come (and they will ... in swarms).
In this section:
As for personal care, I took one shower (mainly because I was so sore and couldn't stand for long) so just bring travel bottles of shampoo and conditioner. A toothbrush would be a great idea and well appreciated by those within a 3 mile radius of you. I took my favorite lotion and body spray; however if you plan on breastfeeding be sure to keep those away from your baby's food spouts. How would you like someone to lotion down your favorite pizza for you?
Also, if you plan on breastfeeding bring your nursing bra and nursing pads. Even if you do not intend on breastfeeding, the support will be nice for when your milk decides to come in (*see note below).
I also took chapstick with me (two different tubes!). Something about childbirth dries out the lips, even for those of us who did our lamaze breathing only for the time it took to yell for the anesthesiologist. You are certainly becoming dehydrated, but in addition, you won't be given anything to drink during labor and delivery for fear that it will make you nauseous. Something to put your hair back in is probably ideal for the laboring mother (considering my hair was about as long as Crystal Gale's ... untrue, but still).
In this section:
- Travel size shampoo and conditioner
- Lip Balm
- Nursing Bra
- Nursing Pads
- Hair Ties
For Your Birthing Coach/Hubby/Partner/Boyfriend
My husband took my induction as a means of sleeping. So of course, he had a blanket and pillows for himself. He usually doesn't carry cash on him; but bringing cash and coins is smart for those sudden snacking urges and trips to the vending machines. Kyle (Hubby) also brought things for him to shower with and shave; as he did not want our daughter to come out and see "Grizzly Adams" on her first peek at the world. My husband is a basic low maintenance sort of person so just give him control of the remote and a recliner (of which most labor rooms have both) and he was set. Besides making you comfortable; he may need to occupy himself with something (for Kyle it was sudoku).
In this section:
- Cash and/or change
- More pillows and blankets
- Shower items
For Your Little Bundle of Joy! (Eek!)
I mostly kept Isabella in the tiny shirts and diapers the hospital provided for us (except for her nursery photos and when we went to go home). If you choose this route as well, do keep something on your baby's feet and head or keep wrapped in a blanket. Most of the baby's heat escapes from the head. We personally chose a pair of feety pajama's for her outfits at the hospital (and we only packed three) considering they were less stressful on us as parents to try and fit a newborn baby into.
Also most newborn outfits come with foldable mittens, so it's one less thing to pack. If you plan on using one, and most hospitals will ask permission, pack a pacifier (hospitals usually issue "Soothie" pacifiers) and a bottle or two of your own choosing. Hospitals also issue bottles and have a specialist assist you on breastfeeding. Burp cloths and bibs may also be necessary for your little one (** see note below).
Diapers (cloth or disposable) may come in handy; then again most hospitals will provide these for you as well. I used Huggies Special Care diapers that had a dip in the front for umbilical cord care. Bring blankets no matter what season your child is born in. Babies always must have a layer or two more than you do; so a blanket serves that purpose.
YOU CANNOT LEAVE THE HOSPITAL WITHOUT A FULLY FUNCTIONING CARSEAT.
Our hospital wanted you to bring it to your room and strap your baby in so they could examine it before escorting you to your car. Some hospitals have nurses who follow you to your car to see if you have installed the carseat correctly. This is a safety precaution and has nothing to do with the nursing staff's disapproval of your reproductive organs. Don't take it personally.
In this section:
- Socks for your baby's tiny feet
- Feety Pajama's
- Nursery Photo Outfit [hairbands or bows for little girls]
- Going home outfit
- Burp Cloths and Bibs
- Blankets (thick or receiving)
- CAR SEAT! CAR SEAT! CAR SEAT!
Did I forget something?
A birth plan is entirely up to you and some hospitals provide a checklist for you upon registering with them. A birth plan allows you to make "Guidelines" for your birth but be aware that if an emergency comes up with your birth; this will be thrown out the window. Check them out online or talk to your gyno about creating one. Included in some birth plans are:
- Lighting options
- Minimal nurse interference
- Minimizing the amount of visitors to your room
- Birthing positioning (such as walking or a birthing ball)
- Your choice on "in-room" baby (you can insist on keeping your baby in your room at all times)
- Umbilical cord preferences (who cuts the cord])
Also do not forget:
- Cell phones
- Cell phone chargers
- Batteries for your camera or charger
- Don't forget to take the LENS OFF your camera
- And make sure your memory card has room on it
For your going home outfit:
Your sweats or your smallest pair for maternity pants will do. My only stop on my way home was the Burger King drive-thru. I wore my sweat pants; a white tank top and a jacket...you will still look at least 4 months pregnant.
* When your milk decides to come in; no matter how awesome your partner thinks your breasts look --- they HURT and leak like you would not believe. Double up on your nursing pads or take this opportunity to pump if it is not time to feed your baby. I found myself laying on a towel on my bed ...
** Isabella was born with Acid Reflux and is just now at 9 months, beginning to come out of throwing up CONSTANTLY. We have over 30 bibs and 30 burp cloths so some babies will need them more than others. Isabella was never completely dressed without a bib on.
If your baby throws up constantly and seems to be in pain from it; alert the pediatrician as this could be a sign of Acid Reflux. If your baby projectile vomits; this could be something known as Pyloric Stenosis which is easily cured by surgery.
Happy labor ladies!
Is there anything in particular that you brought to the hospital with you? What are some of your must pack items?