There are plenty of examples of what to pack for the birth of your child available online, focusing on clothes and baby essentials. But at Nuffield Health we focus on wellbeing. So when it comes to an indeterminate stay in hospital during the birth, what did our panel of Mums think are the best things to pack to ensure your comfort and wellbeing?
REST, RELAXATION and ENERGY
“A sleep mask. They never turn the lights off in hospital.”
- Carla, Mum to Marco
Make no mistake, labour is going to take a lot of energy. You may struggle to keep any food down during labour, but it's important you maintain your energy stores, so consider packing dextrose tablets or glucose drink such as Lucozade, which will give you small amounts of energy without gastric discomfort.
Being able to fit in some rest between contractions is also important to help you recover and prepare for the next round. Pack anything you normally use to relax, which might include camomile tea, relaxing music, ear plugs or a sleep mask.
“You're likely to be sore, so loose fitting clothing like really comfy pyjamas are a must for afterwards, and maybe a maxi dress for the drive home.”
- Michelle, Mum to Freya
It's no surprise that you'll be seeking comfort when you're in labour and after the birth, but the good news is there's lots you can do to improve your own comfort. As labour is a breathing-intensive exercise your lips are likely to get dry, so pack a lip balm to help prevent chapping. Make the most of the birthing accessories, such as the birthing ball or birthing pool, which can help to ease pain throughout, and take advantage of the opportunity to get a massage from your partner.
For after the birth, you might want to pack a loose nightie or two, as well as some big pants that you don't mind discarding afterwards. You may need several pairs, so pack generously. As you can't control the temperature in a hospital, some cosy socks will keep your feet nice and toasty.
“Flip flops, so you don't have to go bare foot on the hospital floor every time you hop off the bed.”
- Priya, Mum to Holly
Hygiene is very important before, during and after the birth to minimise the risk of infection. Because you'll be getting on and off the bed, consider packing a pair of flip flops which are easy to put on and take off (especially if you have swollen feet). These will prevent your bare feet having to make contact with the floor and so reducing the transfer of bacteria to the bed.
Antibacterial face wipes can double as a source of refreshment when you can't get to a shower, and as a cleaning tool for when you go to the bathroom. Wipe the seat of the toilet with them and discard in a clinical waste bin before you go to the loo.
Last updated Wednesday 4 April 2018
First published on Monday 15 August 2016