There are many blogs that have been written about what to pack in your bag for the hospital or birth centre. We often find there are a few important things missing from those lists. Of course, when packing for your labour and birth it’s important to bring the essentials such as sanitary pads, clothes for baby and diapers, but here are a few things you may not have seen suggested that you won’t want to forget!
Lip balm – Labour is hard work! Your body is working hard to bring your baby (or babies!) to you and it’s easy to get dehydrated. Avoid the painful distraction of dry or irritated lips by tossing some lip balm in your bag.
Socks – Even in the summer. Keep your feet warm and comfortable and be sure to pack an extra pair in case of a longer than expected stay.
Snacks – Labour is an endurance sport! Whether you are planning a drug free water birth with lots of moving around or prefer to cozy up in bed labouring with the support of some pain management medications, your body is doing the same hard work. Staying hydrated and keeping up those calories with small, frequent, easy to digest snacks will make the process much more comfortable and give your body the fuel it needs.
Clothes for your partner or support person – Perhaps you plan to labour in the shower and your support person is there handing you your water and gets wet. Maybe you get caught rushing off to the hospital or birth centre in the middle of the night and a little while later your support person is feeling less than fresh. As birth workers we know that taking care of ourselves allows us to support our birthing clients better. The same goes for your partner or support person.
Layers – Hospitals seem to have some seriously fluctuating temperatures. Sometimes our coldest nights at a birth are the ones in the middle of summertime! On top of that, during labour your hormones are doing all kinds of wonderful things and hot or cold flashes aren’t uncommon. Toss a zip up sweater or a cardigan in your bag to ensure you’re always feeling just right.
Hair elastics – Because sweat happens.
Hopefully this little list makes your labour and delivery experience just a little sweeter. Check back soon for more tips from a doula!