Here’s what to know about packing and what not to pack for childbirth

Qing Yang and Kevin Parker

We’ve written about packing for medical stays, with a focus on how to maintain privacy, dignity, and comfort. Today we want to discuss a more joyous trip to the hospital – childbirth. We recently welcomed a new baby to our family and wanted to share what we’ve learned.

For mom

  • Paperwork: Coordinate with your obstetrician to send visit notes and test results to the hospital ahead of time. You’ll need identification and an insurance card on admission. If you’ve made a birth plan, give copies to the staff so everyone understands your wishes.
  • Toiletries: Hospitals fashion the rooms to feel more like a hotel with wood panels and soft lighting, but try as they might, it’s not a five-star resort. Our delivery room had a hairdryer, but no shampoo and only antibiotic soap for washing. Don’t forget lip balm, body lotion, hairbrush, hair tie, toothbrush, and face wash.
  • Clothes: Loose-fitting, comfortable clothes are the best. Pack a supportive, non-constricting bra (nursing bra if you plan to breastfeed), a couple pairs of socks and underwear, slippers, and flat comfy shoes.
  • Devices: Bring storage cases if you wear glasses, contacts, hearing aids, or dental retainers so they don’t get lost. Pack your cell phone with the charger, extra-long cable, and earphones or a small speaker.
  • Food: You won’t be allowed to eat or drink if you’re scheduled for a C-section. You may have water and clear liquids during labor, but probably not solid food. Save your favorite snacks for after the baby is born.


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