Hospital bag essentials that you need to pack for labour

Hospital bag essentials that you need to pack for labour

This complete hospital bag checklist that will ensure you're fully prepared pre and post childbirth 

pregnant woman sat on bed packing her hospital bag for labour

Image: Shutterstock

If your due date is fast approaching, now is time to start thinking about those all important must-have items that you will need during labour and after giving birth. Even if you're not planning a hospital birth, potential complications may lead to a hospital delivery, so you'll need to be prepared whatever the outcome.       

Helen Foster chats to real mums and birthing experts alike to compile a hot list of hospital bag essentials that you won't want to forget come labour day!

Disposable knickers

'These can save on washing,' says Alison Edwards, senior lectuer in midwifery at Birmingham City University. 'You'll experience a bit more blood loss than the average monthly period after birth and nice undies can get ruined.'

An eye mask

Two of our experts suggested this one. ‘It never goes completely dark on a hospital ward and so using a mask can help you sleep,’ says Alison. Osteopath and doula, Avni Trivedi suggests also using it during labour.

‘When the eyes relax it can help activate the calmer parts of the nervous system. The mask also helps you be less distracted with everything going on around you and helps you tune into your body more.’


This homeopathic remedy is traditionally used for speeding up healing. ‘It was recommended to me when I had my first daughter and I attribute my speedy recovery to taking it. I used it with the subsequent two as well,’ says nutritional therapist Sandra Greenbank. Try Arnica 30c soft tablets, £4.95.

Flight socks

'I was about the only mum who didn’t take these,’ says Trish, mum to Marnie, two. ‘I didn’t realise how much my legs would swell.’


‘Ideally you’ll be heading to the loo frequently to keep emptying your bladder. The bladder sits directly in front of the uterus and if it’s too full, it can stop the baby from descending down into the pelvis. Flip-flops are hygienic and easy to slip on and off for bathroom trips,’ says Avni. 

Maternity pads

1 pack of maternity pads - the thick absorbent ones.

3 button-down nightwear

Make sure you bring at least three loose fitting, comfortable night dresses to wear during labour. They should not rectrict movement or make you feel too hot plus, loose fitting clothing is ideal if you're going to breastfeed. 


To read more of Helen Foster's handy tips and hints, pick up your copy of the April issue from supermarkets across the UK, or download here


What are your hospital bag essentials? Tweet us at @GurgleUK or follow our Facebook page. 



5 things to expect after giving birth in a hospital 

Where to give birth: your options 

7 effective ways to prepare yourself for childbirth 

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