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September 28, 2016 | OB/GYN
Quick – your water just broke and you need to get to the hospital fast. What should you bring?
Preparing a “hospital go bag” when you are in your eighth month of pregnancy prevents last minute packing in between labor pains.
The hospital will provide many of the items you will need immediately before, during and after the birth of your baby. Hospital staff will provide medications, hospital gown, food and other necessities. They may also send you home with a small goodie bag containing a sitz bath, waterproof pads to protect your sheets in case of an accident, a donut pillow and even some skin numbing spray to help with the pain of an episiotomy or tear. Some hospitals send you home with extras such as diapers, baby wash and baby lotion, blankets, and diaper rash cream.
While it may seem like the hospital provides everything a new mom could ever need, every woman needs to bring a few items from home. Gathering these items into one hospital go bag makes delivery day a little easier.
But what should you pack in your hospital go bag? Bring too much, and you will end up lugging around unnecessary items and have trouble finding that one particular item when you need it. Bring too little, and you will not have what you need to get through one of the most hectic – and the most special – moments of your life.
Here is a list of the seven must-have items for your hospital go bag.
Having your picture ID, insurance information and hospital papers readily available helps admission go smoothly and reduces the risk for confusion with billing later down the road. This is particularly important if you have overlapping health insurance policies.
Write down the name and telephone numbers of your healthcare providers, especially if you are under the care of any specialists, and make several copies of this information. Give one copy to your OB/GYN team, one to the hospital staff and another to your partner. Keep one copy in your hospital go bag.
While much of what happens during delivery is beyond your control, a birth plan makes your wishes clear. Discuss your birth plan with your OB/GYN doctor and hospital to make sure your birth plan is feasible. A birth plan should include your desire to have a vaginal, Caesarian or water birth, for example. It should also detail those people you would like in the delivery room, whether you would like music and dim lights, and if you feel comfortable with your partner filming or photographing the delivery.
Bring your eyeglasses, even if you usually wear contact lenses, so that you can see the inevitable paperwork – and your newborn baby – clearly. Dealing with contact lenses can be messy and inconvenient when you are busy having a baby. Feel free to pack a pair of clean contact lenses, if you wear them.
You will need your smartphone for calling, texting and updating your friends and family with the good news about the new arrival. Be sure to bring your smartphone and charger to the hospital – bring your partner’s smartphone and charger too. Load up your smartphone with helpful apps, such as a contraction timer and white noise for Android or Apple.
Bring two maternity or nursing bras so that you can wear one while your partner launders the other. Maternity bras provide support before and after pregnancy, despite not having underwires. Nursing bras have clasps or panels that allow easy access to nipples for breastfeeding. Many women prefer nursing bras after delivery, even if they do not intend on breastfeeding, because these bras provide extra support.
When selecting a bra to wear after delivery, make sure to buy one that is slightly larger than the one you wore during pregnancy, as your breasts may go up a cup size or two after the baby is born and your breasts fill with milk.
Bring several pairs of comfortable pajamas and underwear. You will likely experience heavy flow and may have accidents, even with the use of pads, so you may wish to bring older underwear that you can simply throw away. Your hospital will provide gowns and socks for you to wear during delivery but you may not find them comfortable immediately before and after you have your baby. Choose a loose, comfortable nightgown that you do not mind getting dirty. Opt for a sleeveless gown or one with large sleeves that you can easily pull up for blood pressure checks. Slippers and a robe are handy if you want to walk the hallways during labor.
Pack clean, comfortable clothing for yourself and your baby. Parents tend to overdress babies for their first trip home. Choose your baby’s clothing according to the season – if you would be too hot wearing a knit cap in the middle of summer, so would your baby.
In warm weather, pack a t-shirt and lightweight cotton pants for your baby, or put a light blanket into the hospital go bag to cover your newborn’s bare legs. Pack footie pajamas in cold weather, along with a hat, and a warm blanket for your baby.
Pack clothing that is easy to put on, for both you and your baby. Avoid baby clothing that requires a lot of pushing and pulling of your baby’s arms and legs. You both will find the trip home much calmer if you do not spend a lot of time fussing with a complicated outfit during the hectic hospital discharge.
You may not like the maxi pads and diapers provided by the hospital, so bring your own. Try out a few different brands of maxi pads before delivery day to determine which you like best. Ask friends and family members for their recommendations on diapers.
Bring enough diapers to change your baby about ten times each day. Bring more pads than you think you will need, as you will go through them much faster than you realize.
For more information on the essential items you will need in your hospital go bag, talk to the OB/GYN professionals at Revere Health. Our obstetricians and gynecologists, certified nurse midwives, nurse practitioners and other healthcare professionals at Revere Health OB/GYN provide a full range of services before, during and after pregnancy.
The Live Better Team
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.