Babies can be unpredictable, so we've prepared a handy hospital bag checklist so you can pack your bags in advance — just in case your little one decides to make an early appearance!
“I’ll get to it!” — the famous last words of plenty a mother caught unawares! A hospital bag is a suitcase or kitbag containing all the things you’ll need when you’re in hospital. Even if you’re planning on giving birth at a birthing centre, or at home, it’s wise to have your hospital bag checklist ticked off and your essential items (such as maternity pads) prepared, just in case you or your baby need to be taken to the hospital.
Have your bags packed and ready at around 34 weeks. Having everything ready and in one place also means that should you have to go into hospital for any reason, no one will need to rush around pulling together an emergency bag for you and forgetting to pack a toothbrush! Your hospital bag should contain all the items you’ll need during labour and immediately after birth — for both you and your baby. Any kind of bag is fine, although one with extra pockets will be easiest since there’ll be lots of items that need to be kept in a safe place.
A hospital stay can vary in length depending on whether you have vaginal birth or a Caesarean Section. An average stay for a vaginal birth is around one day, while mothers who have Caesarean sections can usually expect to stay around three days. Remember, birth can be unpredictable, so make sure you’re packed for a longer hospital stay, even if your first choice is to deliver vaginally. View our pregnancy advice to find out more and feel as prepared as possible.
Don’t forget your baby car seat too – an essential if you are driving home after the birth!