As you progress through your 3rd trimester, well intending friends, relatives and random people on the street will start to ask you when you’re due and if you’ve “packed your bag” yet.
As you probably already know, they’re referring to your “hospital bag”, or as we prefer to call it (as some of you don’t plan to go into hospital), your “delivery bag”.
Your birth box items should be packed into your delivery bag along with your items from home – hospital notes, clothes, electricals, baby bits etc. There is a wide range of advice available on what should be in your delivery bag from different sources. So to try and help you, we’ve researched and reviewed lots of lists and streamlined them into one.
We hope you find this helpful and happy packing!Download our delivery bag checklist PDF
There isn’t a definitive deadline here, but as you are considered full term at 37 weeks, it is generally recommended to pack your bag by 36 weeks, or at least by 38 weeks. If there is anything high-risk about your pregnancy, you may wish to pack it earlier and should discuss this with your Midwife. Even if you are planning a home birth, you may wish to have a bag ready in case things change whilst you are in labour.
Please read our Delivery Bag PDF for ideas on what you might like to pack ready for the day your baby arrives.
It is up to you what sort of bag you take; a rucksack, suitcase or “weekend” bag. Lay everything out and see what sort of bag it requires to fit. You may wish to put everything in one bag or case, or some people take one bag for the birth and another postnatal bag for themselves and their baby afterwards.
We’d also suggest speaking to your Midwife to understand what sort of space and facilities are available where you plan to birth. If you stay in a hospital or birthing centre longer than expected, your birth partner can always go back and collect more things.
We advise discussing the facilities with your Midwife and plan your trip to the hospital or birthing centre. Maybe drive the route with your birth partner in advance so it’s familiar to them, or check taxi options if the centre doesn’t allow parking.
Many items such as your pillows, birthing mats and even duvets people have found comfort from. Please check anything you hope to bring with your Midwife or planned birthing location in advance as each one is different.
If you are planning a home birth, you can have ready anything that will make you more comfortable. It might be worth packing a back-up bag just in case, so you don’t have to worry about what you need during labour should you need to relocate. Your Midwife may also visit you to do a home assessment and discuss the birth. Those planning a home birth may also need (as your Midwife will advise): plastic sheets, old sheets, towel, bucket, hand mirror, birth pool and sieve, additional items your Midwife provides.
There isn’t a magic number to answer this question, but from research and experience, we would suggest 3 sets of vests and baby grows. If you’re in there for 24 hours the baby might leak through some and if you’re in for longer, your birth partner can go and get some more from home. A blanket, set of hat and scratch mittens, something warm to go home, 2/3 muslins, some cotton wool, a small pack of new-born size 1 nappies and a car set if applicable. You should be all set.
If you are planning to breastfeed but have problems initially, the hospital or birthing centre will be able to provide sterile bottles and milk for you to provide to your baby as well as bottles and an expressing machine for you to express into. If you are planning to bottle feed you may wish to sterilise and take in some small milk bottles of your own if you prefer.