Planning is a big part of getting ready for your baby’s arrival. You’ll probably spend considerable time reviewing baby names, decorating the nursery and babyproofing your home. But one thing that you shouldn’t forget is packing your bag for the hospital.
Experts recommend having your bag packed and ready to go by 34 weeks. Before you pack anything, review the following list of recommended items:
- Important documents. Create a simple, concise birth plan that outlines your wishes regarding labor inducement, pain relief, surgery and breastfeeding. Also, be sure to pack your ID, insurance card and hospital paperwork.
- Clothing and shoes. Pack a nightgown and/or robe if you want to avoid the famously unflattering hospital gown. Bring maternity underwear, flip flops (for the hospital shower) a sports bra and/or nursing bra and warm, nonslip socks. Pack a homecoming outfit that’s designed for five months of pregnancy. TIP: Don’t wear anything you truly care about during labor and delivery since it will likely get ruined in the process.
- Toiletries and personal care items. Don’t forget the essentials like lip balm, deodorant, nipple cream, a toothbrush and toothpaste. Headbands or hair ties will keep your hair out of your face during labor. Pack some dry shampoo, a hairbrush and facial cleansing cloths to use to freshen up before candid newborn pictures.
- Nonperishable snacks. Take your favorite snacks to replenish your energy and share with your partner. Sugarless candy, lollipops and lozenges help keep your mouth moist during heavy breathing. Crackers are easy on your stomach.
- Essential electronics. Bring your cell phone or tablet to take pictures and keep your loved ones updated on your progress. (If cell phones are prohibited in the hospital, bring a list of phone numbers to call.) Load your favorite tunes on your phone or iPod, including a mix of motivating and calming music. TIP: Don’t forget to pack a charger for any electronic device you bring.
- Relaxation and diversion tools. In addition to music, you may want to bring massage oil, a massager or a tennis ball to promote relaxation during labor. Bring your own comfortable pillow with a patterned pillowcase so it doesn’t get mistaken for a hospital pillow. Magazines, books, crossword puzzles and movies can help take your mind off labor pains.
- Extra bags. You’ll want to bring an empty bag or two to take home hospital freebies or gifts you receive from visitors.
- Cash. Keep some cash on hand for incidentals like snacks from the vending machine or items from the gift shop.
In addition to your own hospital bag, be sure to pack the essentials your baby will need to come home. These items include a rear-facing infant car seat, seasonally appropriate clothing and warm blankets.
To learn more about women’s health and wellness, call Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com.