Top 10 items you need for Labour and Birth

This list gives you an idea on what to pack in your maternity bag for when you go into labour. You don't really need hoards of items with you.

I find that some women put too much in their maternity Bag and end up with a huge suitcase full of stuff they can't find where they put what.On the other hand you will need more than a pair of spare knickers in a plastic bag! -( True it does happen!)

Some maternity units do provide some basic things and there are others that will not even provide maternity pads as cutbacks meant that some items are scarce and only used in emergencies.


It would be a good idea to start collecting some items together for your maternity bag at around 34-36 weeks and have it ready and packed by 36 weeks, put it somewhere in the house where you and your birth partner know where it is - ie; by the front door.

For your maternity bag

  • 2 nightdresses (maybe with buttons down the middle if you are breastfeeding)
  • 1 old nightdress or t-shirt for the labour and birth (something you don't mind throwing away afterwards)
  • 2 nursing bras and a box of breast pads (if Breastfeeding) or 2 well supporting bras if you are formula feeding.
  • Several pairs of old knickers or disposable knickers
  • 1 bath towel and 1 hand towel
  • Dressing gown and slippers
  • Toiletries
  • 2 Packs of Maternity pads - get the cheap big thick ones as you will need these for the first few days, thin ones with 'wings' don't work so well.
  • Bottled Water or energy type drinks
  • Some kind of food like bananas, sandwich or biscuits, something that has carbs in it for a slow release of energy


Items for your Baby

Check with the unit you are going to provides formula milk as this is one of the items that some hospitals do not provide freely. The small cartons of ready made formula milk would be the best way instead of making up powdered feeds , you need to ask your midwife if they provide disposable single use bottles and teats.

  • A large bag of cotton wool balls - cotton wool pleat or the disc shaped ones are good as you can easily wipe up any meconium (baby's first poo!) which is very thick, dark and sticky!
  • Nappies - you can change your baby's nappy up to 8 times in 24 hours so bring plenty of newborn ones.
  • Baby Towel
  • Top and tail bowl, or 2 single bowls, one for washing baby's face and one for bottom.
  • Baby clothes including baby grows and scratch mitts.
  • Baby bib or muslin squares for mopping up any baby sick!
  • Car Seat to take baby home in!

This is just the basic stuff but If you have any other great ideas for your birthing bag please leave your comments below.

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Comments 2 comments

arrtd2 profile image

arrtd2 4 years ago from New Hyde Park, NY, USA

Great list! I took along my boppy (nursing pillow) and it helped me support the baby properly for nursing while sitting on the hospital bed/chairs. I wasn't allowed to eat during labor, but if there are no dietary restrictions post delivery, take along your favorite food/snack. The first thing I ate as soon as the baby was born was a yummy chocolate croissant we had picked up from the bakery that morning :)


Onlinemidwife profile image

Onlinemidwife 4 years ago from Manchester UK Author

Thats a good one to add to your list, some women even bring their own pillows as ours at the hospital are too flat! I think those breastfeeding pillows are great as they help you support your baby especially if you have a sore wound scar from a cesarean section..

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