It's almost the big day! But as the third trimester draws to an end, it's time to start gathering up what you'll need for a safe, smooth delivery at your hospital or birthing center.
1. Paperwork. Don't forget your health insurance card, any hospital registration or admission paperwork required, and a copy of your birth plan, if you have one.
2. Labor aids. Anything you've thought about in your birth plan, including massage oils, a yoga ball, extra pillows, or relaxation and meditation objects.
3. Entertainment. Believe it or not, you might need it! Some labors progress very slowly, and there may be long stretches where you are not in pain, but you are stuck in the hospital or birthing center room just waiting around. Books, magazines, a laptop or tablet, or some light, distracting movies can be a big help.
4. Snacks. Every hospital and birthing center has their own policies on when women in labor should eat and drink. Discuss this in advance with your healthcare provider, and if possible, pack some healthy, light snacks to keep your energy up during a potentially long labor.
5. A camera (or smart phone). And don't forget any gear that might go along with it, including a charger, batteries, or memory card.
6. Lip balm.
7. Hair ties.
1. Comfortable clothing. Some women prefer to bring their own pajamas and robe from home instead of wearing what the hospital provides. If you think this will make you feel more relaxed and at-home, go for it! But keep in mind that these clothes can get very dirty, so don't pack anything you would hate to part with--it may get ruined.
2. Socks, slippers, or sandals. Make sure they are non-slip!
3. Toiletries. Anything that will help you feel better and fresher, from Chapstick to eyeliner, whatever suits you best!
4. Going home clothes for you. Something roomy and comfortable. Keep in mind that you may be wearing bulky absorbent pads under your clothing. You can pack disposable panties if you'd like, but most hospitals and birthing centers provide them and will send you back with a supply. For vaginal deliveries, expect your hospital or center to also provide you with pads and topical soothing creams.
For Your New Baby
1. A Baby Box. Your safe-certified, non-toxic, no-assembly-required sleep space for baby. More and more healthcare providers are handing them out for free, so ask your provider if one will be waiting for you. If not, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out if any local community centers are distributing Baby Boxes in your area.
2. A car seat. This is a must-have! Your hospital or center won't let you leave without one – and you wouldn't want to!
3. Going home clothes for baby. For some moms, this may be nothing more than footed pjs. For others, a fancy going-home outfit is a family tradition. No matter what you pack, it will be well-photographed!