Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Packing for the Birth Centre: My Bag

I've read dozens of lists online of what you should bring with you to the hospital/birth centre.  I don't know about you, but I like to gather plenty of resources before deciding how to proceed.  I don't know why I do so much research on these things, because I generally end up doing what my gut instinct tells me anyway.  (It's just another one of my endearing quirks crazinesses.)  But as I've researched what to bring with me when we go to have our baby, I've seen some good ideas.  Most of the lists I've seen have been from an American perspective. The UK ones I've seen are mostly for a hospital setting.

So I thought I'd share what I'm packing to take with me to a Birth Centre in the UK.  I plan to have one bag for me, one diaper bag (or change bag, as they call them here) with stuff for the baby, and a food bag- so I'll break up the posts in that manner.  Plus, this bag is the only one I've packed so far :)

So here's what I'm taking with me:

My bag all packed

For during labor:

A large V necked maternity t-shirt, two sports bras, 2 pairs of slipper socks, and a massager

Hospitals in the UK don't give labouring mothers hospital gowns, so I've got a long-ish maternity T shirt to wear and be comfortable in.  I've got two sports bras so that I can have a dry one if I get out of the birth tub.  I'm not worried about modesty so much as containment.  Word is that your feet can get chilly, so I've got two pairs of fuzzy socks.  I figure the massager will come in handy to keep Ross' hands from getting too tired.


a robe and slippers

They encourage at least an hour of skin to skin contact between mothers and babies as soon as the babies are delivered.  With this light, front-opening robe I can have a little warmth and modesty but still have great skin to skin time.  The little ballet slippers are a back up for the fuzzy socks.  They don't take any real space, so I figured they were worth throwing in.


a bath towel, wash cloth, face wipes, make-up bag o' goodies, maxi pads, deodorant, and lotion

I'm sure I'll want to shower after our inital skin to skin and you are supposed to bring your own towel and a wash cloth.  I've also got face cleaner wipes for a quick clean up.  My make up bag contains:  shampoo, conditioner, face wash, face lotion, mirror, facial tissues, travel toothbrush and paste, bobby pins, several hair elastics, and lip balm.  I've also got a little sample-sized blush and mascara in case I feel like primping up a tiny bit for pictures, though I predict these will go unused.  The overnight maxi pads are a must for post-birth grossness.  Deodorant wouldn't fit in my bag o' goodies so it's loose and the lotion can be used during massage during labor.

Going home:

ballet flats, a zip-front hoodie, a nursing tank top, and sweatpants

I wanted clothes that would be comfy and utilitarian for going home.  The flats will be easy to slip on, the zip front hoodie and nursing tank top will provide easy access for breastfeeding, and the sweatpants are just plain comfy.  I've also got about 4 pairs of older underwear to wear either during or after labor.

In addition to the items pictured above, I also need to throw in my favorite blanket.  A friend recommended bringing a snuggly blanket for after the birth to be comfortable and cosy.  We'll also have an iPod to play music and our cameras for pictures and the requisite chargers.  Obviously, we'll have cell phones to make calls to spread the word after our son arrives.

Americans may be surprised about some of the things I'm bringing and some of the things I'm NOT bringing.  The reason I'm bringing some things (like maxi pads and towels) is that the NHS does not provide them.  At most hospitals in the US, so many things like these are provided.  Mothers are even encouraged to fill their bags with all sorts of freebies to take home.  In the end, insurance pays for all these "freebies", so I'd much rather wind up with a free baby than a bag of goodies!  As for things I'm not bringing, I don't need that much extra clothing or pjs because (unless something goes wrong and I need extra medical attention) I'll be leaving the Birth Centre to go home after no more than 8 hours.  This might sound crazy-early to American moms, but keep in mind that a home health visitor will be coming to our home to check on us the next day.  The quicker you can get a new baby out of a germy hospital the better, right?

So, what else do you think I should toss in my bag?
Do any of the things I'm taking with me surprise you?


  1. I have a theory on why, procrastination.

  2. Wow. That's a lot of stuff. My personal experience is that I was too tired and in too much pain to bother with costume changes. Nor did I have the energy afterward to shower and get pretty. I don't know how long you plan on staying in the hospital for but the NHS is pretty eager to get you out as soon as possible - as well, if you choose to go to the ward afterward, your husband can't be with you...only during visiting hours. That was enough to send me home as soon as I could.

    Oh, and I was told they didn't supply the pads but they totally do.

  3. The NHS didn't supply anything for me when I had my son. I literally brought everything, diapers, wipes, pads, etc. Thank God I did because they gave me nothing! Saying that I packed a lot, and they laughed when they saw my bag(s). They knew I was a first time mom. I was out in less than 24 hours, so I didn't need most of it!