10. Clothes for all! You might be comfortable laboring in a hospital gown, but you are also able to labor in whatever you find most comfortable, such as a nightgown, oversize night shirt, yoga pants, even a gown made specifically for labor (did you know they have those? Check it out here). You’ll also need some clothes to wear after the baby’s born, and to go home in. Choose articles of clothing that are comfy, have easy access to your breasts if you’re nursing, and are easy to get on/off. If you end up with a cesarean birth, you probably won’t want anything that rests on your healing incision, so low-riding yoga pants or nightgowns/sundresses might be a good idea. Also, a change of clothes, or two for your birth partner, and something for the baby to wear home. Don’t forget socks, comfy undies, nursing bras, and slippers.
8. Electronics and chargers. You’re not going to live-stream your birth, but you’ll want to text, FaceBook and Instagram your friends after everyone is cleaned up and gorgeous. Music and movies can be helpful during labor, and you’ll have some down-time in your room after. Don’t forget your chargers for everything!
7. Snacks. In early labor, you may want some calories, so think of things with protein (nuts, protein bars, protein shakes, jerky) and something with high sugar content for some energy (pixie stix, honey sticks, fruit, live savers) and drinks you might like that the hospital doesn’t have, like Gatorade, Vitamin Water or Coconut water. Don’t forget your birth partner will get hungry, too, so pack things he/she likes, but keep in mind that your sense of smell is a little enhanced, so keep them away from things with a scent that might make you sick. Most hospitals have vending machines, so your birth partner may want to bring cash/change as well.
6. Comfort items. Do you have a favorite blanket? A stuff animal you love to cuddle? Take things that will give you emotional comfort, even a photo of a relative or you and your partner on vacation. You might want to take something to be a focal point; we’ve seen ultrasound pics, wedding pics, and battery-operated tea lights used to great effect.
5. Massage tools/lotions. If you have a doula, she’ll have these, but if you’ve been practicing with something or have a favorite, bring it along. Even a couple of tennis balls in a sock or pantyhose leg can be awesome. You might also consider a warm compress, like a rice sock or heating pad if allowed in the hospital. Many hospitals have warm compresses they will give you, but they cool down very quickly.
4. Your doula! You can’t stick her in your bag, but don’t forget to let your doula know when you’re on your way to your birth place. Even if you don’t feel that you need her to join you at that point, she’ll want to know what’s going on!
3. Your birth vision. We don’t believe in birth plans, because we know for a fact you can’t plan a birth! But we do encourage everyone to write down their preference and wishes for their best possible birth. Hopefully you’ve already shared this with your healthcare provider, but either way, be sure you take a copy of it with you to share with the staff.
2. Pillows, pillows, pillows! You’ll love pillows when you’re in labor and after delivery. You might get 2 at the hospital, use those ones below the waist and use all of yours for supporting arms, back, neck, shoulders, whatever.
1. Confidence. You can do this. Turn your anxiety into excitement about meeting your little one. Go in there knowing that you are going to rock your birth like the goddess you are! Happy birthing!