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Pregnancy and baby

Pack your bag for labour

What should I pack in my hospital bag?

Media last reviewed: 20/03/2014

Next review due: 20/03/2017

What you'll need for labour and birth

Whether you're planning to have your baby at home, in hospital or at a midwifery unit, you should get a few things ready at least two weeks before your due date.

If you're planning to give birth in a hospital or midwifery unit, your midwife will probably give you a list of what you'll need to pack. You may want to include:

  • something loose and comfortable to wear during labour that doesn't restrict you from moving around or make you too hot – you may need about three changes of clothes
  • two or three comfortable and supportive bras, including nursing bras if you're planning to breastfeed – remember, your breasts will be much larger than usual
  • about 24 super-absorbent sanitary pads
  • your washbag with toothbrush, hairbrush, flannel, soap and other toiletries
  • towels
  • things to help you pass the time and relax – for example, books, magazines or music
  • a sponge or water spray to cool you down
  • front-opening or loose-fitting nighties or tops if you're going to breastfeed
  • dressing gown and slippers
  • five or six pairs of pants
  • a loose, comfortable outfit to wear after you have given birth, and to come home in
  • clothes (including a hat) and nappies for the baby
  • a shawl or blanket to wrap the baby in


Work out how you'll get to the hospital or midwifery unit, because you could need to go there at any time of the day or night. If you're planning to go by car, make sure it's running well and that there's always enough petrol in the tank. If a neighbour has said they will take you, make an alternative arrangement just in case they’re not in.

If you haven’t got a car, you could call a taxi. Or call your maternity unit, which can arrange for an ambulance to pick you up.

Find hospitals with maternity services near you

Home births
If you're planning to give birth at home, discuss your plans and what you need to prepare with your midwife. Think about where in your home you want to give birth. You're likely to need:

  • clean linen and towels
  • clothes (including a hat) and nappies for the baby
  • about 24 super-absorbent sanitary towels

Important numbers

Wherever you're planning to give birth, keep a list of important numbers in your handbag or near the phone. You need to include:

  • your hospital or midwife's phone number
  • your partner or birth partner's phone number
  • your own hospital reference number, which is on your card or notes (you will be asked for this when you phone in)

If you don’t have a phone, ask neighbours if you can use theirs when the time comes.

Some hospitals and midwifery units allow you to use your mobile phone. Check with your midwife. If you can't use your mobile phone, make sure you have a phonecard or change for a payphone.

Stocking up

When you come home, you won't want to do much more than rest and care for your baby, so do as much planning as you can in advance. Stock up on basics, such as toilet paper, sanitary towels and nappies. If you have a freezer, cook some meals in advance and freeze them.

Find out what to expect in the first few days with your baby.


Page last reviewed: 19/01/2015

Next review due: 19/01/2017


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