Before Labor Begins: What to Pack for the Hospital + Practical Tips


What to Pack in “The Bag”

Pregnancy medical papers

Three – hot water bottles (any drug store)

-Money, including small change for food/drink machines in middle of night

-Almond oil, unopened (any drug store). Midwives use this for birthing (“pushing”) stage.

-Plug-in tea kettle for  refilling hot water bottles in the delivery room (and making your own tea, why not?)

-Red Raspberry Leaves (for tea)*

-White grape juice (as in real grape juice) – one bottle.

-Snacks for husband, and whomever else is accompanying  you (like chewy granola bars, or sandwiches easy to make). (Note: You don’t have to bring for the doula – she’s responsible for her own;)

-Snacks for YOU- grapes or other non-citrus fruits, crackers (preferably whole grain, yet easy-to-digest), and a few juice bottles or juice boxes with straws*

-Bottled water – 3 bottles

-Two – bath towels

-Plastic Trash Bags for Wet Towels

-Shower shoes/Crocs

-A pillow

-Plastic cups


-Hairbands which are very comfortable

-Comfortable nightgown with wide sleeves, that you like, and yet you don’t mind throwing out after the birth. Otherwise you can wear the hospital’s garments.

-Warm socks for after birth

-Music player with speakers, with  mantras/hypnotic birthing files/other music

-Inspirational texts/prayers/poems

And anything else that will make you feel most comfortable.


A site for tracking contractions – it’s free (and husbands often love it):

If you feel initial contractions and/or heavy Braxton Hicks, drink a glass of WHITE wine. If it’s the “real thing”, the contractions will continue. If it’s just “preparatory contractions” (I prefer that term to “false labor”), they will likely go away after the wine.

And assuming your water has not broken, you can also try taking a warm bath to see if the contractions are alleviated. (ONLY FOR FIRST BIRTHS – NEVER TAKE A BATH/GO INTO THE SHOWER FOR SECOND BIRTHS AND BEYOND, UNLESS YOU PREFER TO RISK GIVING BIRTH AT HOME:)

Best to you,

* One very effective trick is to take along a zippy bag of “labor cubes” to the hospital, storing them in her room fridge. “Labor Cubes” are ice cubes made out of very strong raspberry leaf tea (perhaps one cup herb to one quart water, simmered down to half and strained) that is heavily sweetened with honey. If the laboring mother begins to fade, energy petering out or contractions waning due to lack of nutrition, she can chomp on these satisfying slushy cubes, which usually will perk her up and kick in some great contractions in a matter of minutes.
Beth Barbeau
Excerpted from “Tricks of the Trade: Liquids Only,” Midwifery Today, Issue 81



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