As you come to the end of your pregnancy, you should start to prepare for the hospital, even if you're intending to have a home birth.
It’s a good idea to pack two bags, one for labour and the other for after the birth.
Here are some suggestions for what to put in them:
- Car parking money
- Baggy T-shirt (one of your partner's?) to wear in labour.
- Warm socks and sweatshirt (you may feel chilly in strong labour).
- Hairbrush and Hair bands (keep hair off your face).
- Toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Face cloth.
- Unscented massage oil (baby needs mum to smell like mum).
- High-energy snacks for you and your labour partner.
- Fruit drinks for both of you.
- Magazines, jigsaws, games (for early first stage).
- Camera to capture that first precious picture.
- CD/MP3 player.
- Babycare TENS.
- Nightie, pyjamas and light dressing gown (postnatal wards are hot).
- Wash bag with make-up, deodorant, brush.
- Disposable knickers.
- Large-size maternity pads.
- Nursing bra and breast pads.
- Nappies and clothes for your baby.
- Coins for phone.
- Important phone numbers.
- Your favourite treat - you deserve it!
If you know that you are having a Caesarean birth, remember to pack enough for a few days. For more information on preparing for labour and birth, see our labour and birth checklist.
And, to see what real mums put in their hospital bags check out our 'packing your hospital bag' video.
You can keep track of your pregnancy milestones with our free online calendar. It lets you enter your baby’s due date which automatically populates the calendar with need-to-know dates such as when to give your MAT B1 form to your employer, the earliest date you can start maternity leave, and when to apply for free prescriptions and dental treatment, the Health in Pregnancy Grant and Child Benefit. You can add in your midwife appointments, scan dates and antenatal classes and select to receive email reminders for them a month, a week or a day before. Plus, print off our useful checklists which cover everything from what to pack in your hospital bag to breastfeeding essentials.