In the last trimester of pregnancy, I found myself wandering the aisles of a department store looking for something I’d never bought before.
Past the long, floral nighties and embroidered cardigans was the underwear section. Hanging innocently off the rack were the black, cotton full briefs with a high waist, $15 for a pack of five.
I eyed them doubtfully … friends had assured me these would be essential after I gave birth. Really? I popped two packs into my trolley and ticked ‘Big Black Granny Undies’ off the list.
As it turned out, my friends were right.
Packing your hospital bag
If you’re pregnant for the first time and have no idea what to pack in your hospital bag, I guarantee you’re not alone – I had no clue either.
When compiling your list, it’s a good idea to break it into two sections: luxuries and necessities. What will make your stay that little bit more comfortable and what is essential?
Luxuries are the items specific to you; things that make you feel happy and relaxed. Having these in the birthing suite may help boost your mindset during labour and childbirth. Ideas include things such as your favourite music, essential oils, photos of loved ones, little treats like chocolate or crackers, a soft bath robe, massage lotion, lip balm, eye mask, ear plugs, books and magazines, your own fluffy towel and a comfortable pillow from home or nursing pillow to make breastfeeding more comfortable.
Then there are the essential items.
- Chosen Healthcare Provider’s contact details
- Medicare/Private Health Insurance cards
- Your birth plan if you have one
- Phone and charger
- Spare clothes — you’ll have your blood pressure regularly checked, so clothing with short / loose sleeves makes this easier.
- Black, cotton Bridget Jones-style underwear (It’s not uncommon to have heavier-than-normal bleeding following childbirth.)
- Pyjamas (A style that buttons all the way down the front are a good idea if you’d like to breastfeed.)
- Shoes or slippers that are easy to put on without bending down
- Swimmers — you may be able to take showers during the labour if you want/if time allows
- Bathroom essentials, i.e. toothbrush/toothpaste/shampoo/conditioner/ face cleanser, face and body moisturisers
- Makeup and nice clothes to wear home (You may like a photo of this ‘momentous occasion’ as you leave the hospital with your first child.)
- Maternity pads
- Nursing pads
- Nursing bras
- Nipple cream (if you plan to breastfeed)
Your partner or support person will also need a few things for the stay too, which may include a change of clothes, swimwear if they’d like to hop in the shower with you, as well as closed shoes which can be a requirement in some hospital rooms.
Of course, don’t forget about the baby! It’s a good idea to check what your hospital provides so you don’t pack too much — for example, some hospitals provide nappies and wipes. In addition, you’ll need enough baby singlets, sleep suits and socks for your stay. Some mothers also prefer to bring their own baby blankets and swaddles.
Other important items
Try to put the baby’s car seat into the car well before your due date. The first time you work out how to fit it safely can be time consuming and/or stressful, so it’s a good idea to do this when you’re not in a rush.
Mandy Mauloni is the author of “Pregnancy Virgin” published by Nightstand Press. Available now at selected bookstores and all major online retailers.
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This article was featured in Issue 51 of our printed magazine, published April/May 2022.