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If you are planning to give birth in a hospital or birth centre, you will need a bag of things for yourself and the baby. Even if you are planning a home birth it's a good idea to pack a bag, in case there are complications and you need to transfer to hospital.

When deciding what to take, here are some things to bear in mind:

  • Hospitals are usually very hot, and labour can also make you feel hot.
  • Giving birth is a messy business which will definitely involve blood and may also involve sweat, vomit and poo, so don't pick your favourite outfit.
  • You may stay in the hospital overnight or for more than one night.

Here are some things you might want to pack:

For labour

  • Some loose and comfortable clothes to wear in labour - something light is best as hospitals can be very warm
  • Sponge or facecloth to cool you down
  • Things to help you relax (mp3 player, magazines, books)
  • Snacks/ drinks for your birth partner

After birth

  • Phone + charger
  • Camera
  • Two large bras (if you are planning to breastfeed, choose breastfeeding bras). Whether you breastfeed or not, your breasts will swell up enormously after birth
  • 24 super absorbent sanitary towels (maternity pads) - you will bleed like having a long heavy period afterwards
  • Several pairs of old knickers (or you can get disposable ones for this messy time)
  • Washbag
  • Towel
  • Nightclothes - if you are planning to breastfeed, you either need pyjamas so you can pull the top up slightly to feed your baby, or a nightdress that buttons at the front (this style shows more of your breast when you are breastfeeding)
  • Dressing gown and slippers

Clothes for the baby

  • Newborn size nappies
  • Vests and babygros
  • Outdoor clothes for the baby to go home in
  • Car seat for the baby if you are going home by taxi or car

To find out more, watch this video:

To see a mum talk through her hospital bag as she packs it, watch this video: