Whether you’re planning a hospital birth, planned caesarean, birth centre, home birth or free birth, it can be helpful to plan ahead and pack a birth bag, so you have the essentials (and non-essentials) covered for your planned or potential arrival in hospital.
The sense of control provided by having your own clothing, toiletries, pillows etc can change the experience you have in hospital, whether you planned a hospital birth or you are transferred to hospital. Having a birth bag packed if you plan on birthing at home doesn’t mean you are giving energy to any likelihood of hospital transfer. It rather puts you in the driver’s seat of what is essential to you if your baby’s birth takes a different course.
Never be ashamed of the items you bring. Recently Queensland Health posted a meme on their Instagram page which upset and shamed a lot of birthing women around what they packed in their birth bags. What you feel is essential and appropriate to your birth bag will be different to other birthing women. Bringing items that make you feel safe, comfortable and more at home can be just as important, if not more than other “essentials”. No hospital or care provider can tell you otherwise.
I have created this list to give you an idea of the things that can be essential and overlooked when packing for your birth. This list has been collated based on the women in my family who have birthed and women I have supported, to give you a great starting place for your birth bag needs and wants.
I have separated this list for you, for baby and for your partner or support person so that all bases can be covered. However, when you are packing, listen to your gut and what you feel you will and won’t need – Ask yourself: what will contribute to a comfortable and positive birth experience, and what you feel you can go without?
If you have a Doula, you can ask that they bring some items for birth. Doulas will often bring their magic bags along full of things to help you feel comfortable and calm during labour. However, I’ve listed a few ideas here in case you haven’t got a Doula or your Doula cannot enter the hospital due to COVID restrictions.
- Medicare card, health insurance card, hospital paperwork that you might need
- A few copies of your birth plan
- Quiet sign for door
- Dressing gown
- Things to help you pass time – book, laptop for movies, knitting etc.
- Lip balm
- Glasses or contacts – note you won’t be able to wear contacts into theatre
- Hair ties, head band, bobby pins, hair clips
- Comfortable pillow – e.g., c shaped pillow
- Slippers or socks – birthing women often get cold feet during labour, particularly on cold hospital floors!
- Thongs or slides
For birth –
- Snacks – fruit, dried fruit, nuts, muesli bars, honey, mints, coconut water, labour aid (pack in a little cooler bag)
- Drink bottle with straw – for easy access during labour
- Birth ball and air pump – if your hospital doesn’t provide one
- Bathers or bra/underwear to wear in birth pool
- Massage oil
- Birth room essential oil spray for relaxation
- Massage ball
- TENS machine
- Handheld fan – for partner to use to cool you down
- Affirmation cards + blue tack
- Positive photos/posters
- Fairy lights
- Battery operated candles
- Eye mask and ear plugs
- Essential oils
- Playlists, meditation and hypnobirthing tracks
For postpartum –
- Maternity pads – even if you are having a planned caesarean as you will still experience some vaginal bleeding
- Comfortable underwear – some high rise if you have a caesarean section
- Disposable underwear
- Breast pads
- Nursing bras
- Nipple cream
- Change of clothes – soft, comfortable, breastfeeding friendly
- Going home outfit
- Expressed colostrum if you have any
- Baby onesie – with hands and feet
- Baby wipes
- Burp cloths
- Baby blanket
- Car seat! – Have it set up a few weeks before your guess date
- Pram – Have the pram packed in the boot of the car too
- Wallet and keys
- Chargers for above items
- Bathers – in case they want to be in the birth pool with you
- Change of clothes
- Jacket or jumper
- Closed in shoes – in case they need to go to theatre with you
- Snacks and drink bottle
Hi, I’m Imogen (aka. The Birth Fairy).
I am an emerging Doula supporting Mothers and families of Perth / Boorloo WA. I also offer meal train services, birth pool hire, Mother Blessings and Menarche Ceremony facilitation.
I’m here for you at any stage of your journey – from pre-conception right through to postpartum. Through it all, I’ll be there for you. We can bask in the uniqueness of your journey together. I’ll nourish you physically, emotionally, and spiritually, nurturing your confidence and providing judgement free support, helping you to navigate your way through this incredible and transformative journey.
Regardless of how you birth, I want you to feel amazing and to remember your experience positively.
If you would like to connect, I invite you to follow the links below to see my website and social media.
Feel free to reach out at any time.
The Birth Fairy
0488 194 994