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Updated: Apr 15

So, you have prepped for birth, you have a solid birth plan, a super informed and supportive birth partner, you have hopefully taken a fab antenatal course like mine…. And now you are starting to thing about some of the practicalities… starting with, what do you actually need to take with you in your hospital bag. Here is your comprehensive birth or hospital bag checklist, with some added top tips!

woman packing birth bag

TOP TIP 1: Make sure your birth partner has unpacked and repacked your bag… you don’t want have them rummaging around clueless to find your lip balm while you are mid labour.

TOP TIP 2: Pack separate bags for you, your birth partner and your baby. That way everything is clear and its easier to find things. And your birth partner can have their own snack situation so they don’t have to break into yours.

What we are mainly digging into here, are those items that are going to help boost oxytocin (the more the better) and actually help your labour progress. Yes, you will need pants, a toothbrush, nappies etc, but what items can actually help you and your birth partner throughout your birth journey? So, lets break down your hospital bag checklist shall we?


  • Your birth plan (and an informed partner who can advocate for you and make sure your wishes are respected throughout)

  • Your maternity notes


This is an important one. The more comforting, homey smells, textures the better! Optimising your environment for birth is going to help keep your oxytocin high (as well as endorphins, yes please natural pain killers!)

fairy lights

  • Your own pillow from home

  • Fairy lights or battery-operated tea lights

  • A massage tool & massage oil

  • A hairbrush or comb - if you find having your hair brushed relaxing, if not forget it

  • A good quality eye mask – to block out the light and boost melatonin and therefor oxytocin, this one is great

  • Earplugs – in case you need to get a bit of rest

  • Your own comfy clothes – no need to wear a scratchy hospital gown unless you want to

  • Aromatherapy products – hopefully you have been practicing relaxing with your fave smells and they have created a trigger for you to stay nice and calm. Just a few drops of essential oil on a flannel can be lovely.

  • Cosy socks

  • Affirmations – maybe you can make yourself a little mood board with affirmations, a scan photo, other happy time photos to boost oxytocin and give you a focus

  • Fan with water spray

  • A cooling flannel – to keep your head cool if you’re feeling a bit clammy, you can get special sports ones that stay cold that are fab

  • Headphones to listen to your hypnobirthing mp3’s or relaxing music

  • TENS machine – if you have decided to use one

  • Birth ball – if your chosen location has not got any


These might be particularly useful if you are going in to be induced, which can often take a few days so patience is key!

  • A tablet with goodtime films and TV shows

  • A good book

  • A phone charger

  • Card games

  • Knitting. If you like to knit.

Snack Game

You need that snack game to be ON POINT. Eating and drinking through labour is key to keeping energy levels and strength up. You wouldn't run a marathon with no food or water on board...birth is just the same.

  • Flapjacks or other oaty treats

  • Dried fruit – dates, mango, apricots etc

  • Electrolyte drinks

  • Sachets of honey

  • Coconut wate

  • Cereal bar

  • Gummy sweets

  • Oatcakes

  • Bananas or other fruit

  • Peppermint or ginger tea bags

  • Basically, anything you think you might fancy

  • And don’t forget plenty of water in a bottle and a straw so you can easily drink without getting out of your birthing zone!


  • Lip balm – Gas and air/ all that deep breathing can dry out your lips

  • Hair tie – and a spare

  • PJ’s that are easy to breastfeed in

  • Light dressing gown – it’s always baking in hospital

  • Bikini if you want a water birth

  • Baggy t- shirt

  • Many pants - Big comfy ones. Don't bother with the disposable ones, they are grim

  • A towel

  • Large maternity pads - and some witch hazel to pop on them to sooth your post birth perineum

  • Breast pads – You can get lovely soft reusable ones now

  • Nipple cream - Lasinoh is very popular

  • Slippers/flip flops

  • Toiletries


woman holding newborn outfit

Your little on really needs very little! Definitely focus more on your own comfort, all baby REALLY needs is you, milk from a boob or bottle and a safe place to sleep.

  • 5 x sleep suits- maybe few different sizes as you don’t really know how big they are going to be when they come out

  • A swaddle if you are planning on swaddling

  • Many, many muslins

  • Nappies

  • Cotton wool

  • 5 x vests depending on time of year

  • Pram suit depending on time of year

  • Car seat

  • A hat – for when you go out to the car (unless your baby is unwell or premature your baby doesn't need at hat inside.)

This probably seems like loads of stuff, of course it is just a general guide so take from it what you will and make the rest your own! The great thing is that even if you are giving birth on the labour ward you can use some of these tricks to make a birth friendly and comfortable environment. If you are planning a home birth, still pack yourself a bag like this just in case of a transfer, that way you can still take all your oxytocin friendly bits and bobs with you if you need to make a move!

We talk about optimising your birth environment (wherever that may be) as well as the practicalities of birth on my Hypnobirthing course, as well as filling your toolbox up with incredible techniques to help you manage labour as a team. If you want to find out more get in touch.


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