Going through a pregnancy brings with it a steep learning curve and all sorts of new challenges. You have to consider a lot of new things such as what to eat during pregnancy, what sort of birth you would like to have or even where you want to give birth. One thing that you probably didn’t think you would need to plan was how to pack a bag!

Packing your hospital back can feel quite daunting, so we’re here to take the stress away, with the Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist.

When to Pack

This is the first thing you need to consider. Packing too early may feel unnecessary, however did you know that around 8%1 of babies are born prematurely, with the majority of them falling in the 32-37 weeks gestational age2 bracket? While it is less likely to happen, in the case that it does, having your hospital bag packed and prepared will reduce stress. You may want to consider starting to prepare your hospital bag at around 30 weeks, however when to pack your bag is completely up to you and if you want to do it earlier, then do it!

What to Pack

Now that you’ve started to pack your bag, what do you actually need to take? You will need to pack items for yourself, for your new baby and even for your birthing partner. It is a good idea to pack for every eventuality, so you might want to consider what you would need if you were to have an emergency C Section as well.

For yourself

  • Your birth plan and hospital notes


  • 3 changes of loose, comfortable clothing. Pack front opening nighties or tops if you are planning to breastfeed
  • 2 or 3 comfortable supportive bras, if you are planning on breastfeeding invest in some nursing bras, and don’t forget that your breasts will be larger than normal after the  birth
  • 5-6 pairs of knickers, disposable knickers can be very useful for just after birth
  • Socks to keep your feet warm during labour
  • Dressing gown 
  • Slippers or flip flops for walking around the ward
  • A small bag to pop dirty clothes in


  • Breast pads
  • 2 packs of super absorbent sanitary or maternity pads
  • Your usual toiletry bag with:
    • Toothbrush and toothpaste
    • Hairbrush
    • Hair bobbles
    • Body wash
    • Shampoo
    • Conditioner
    • A hairdryer
    • Your face wash and skin care products (make sure you pack some moisturisers as your skin may be dryer than usual)
    • A flannel
    • Lip balm
    • Deodorant
  • Towels
  • A fan or water spray to cool you down
  • Any medicines you are taking


  • Extra pillows to keep comfortable
  • Something to do to relax and pass the time for example:
    • A book
    • Magazine
    • Tablet to watch TV or films
    • Music or podcasts (don’t forget any chargers!)
  • Snacks and drinks
  • Glasses or contact lenses if you use them
  • Phone and charger to stay in touch with loved ones
  • As well as the items listed above, you may want to pack a few extra home comforts to help you feel comfortable and relaxed.

For your baby

  • 2-3 Tiny Baby baby grows and 2-3 Newborn Baby baby grows to make sure you have the right size. Remember it is a good idea to choose front fastening ones.
  • 2-3 Vests
  • A hat
  • Scratch mittens
  • Socks or booties. Newborns can get cold very easily so they’ll need to be wrapped up.
  • A blanket 
  • About 20-30 newborn nappies
  • Muslin squares or bibs
  • An outfit for going home in

For your birthing partner

Labour can be an unprecedented process and can last for hours or days, it is a good idea for your birthing partner to be prepared for a lengthy stay just in case,

  • Snacks and drinks
  • Phone and charger to capture pictures
  • A change of clothes
  • A small pillow
  • Something to do to relax and pass the time for example:
    • A book
    • Magazine
    • Tablet to watch TV or films
    • Music or podcasts

If you have a caesarean

  • Extra clothes for both you and your baby as you will likely have a longer hospital stay
  • High waisted underwear that will go over your scar

What to use as a maternity bag

Your hospital bag should be the size of a large gym bag, or if you are expecting twins or multiples it may need to be bigger to accommodate the additional baby items needed. A good idea is to take individual bags, one for you, one for baby and one for your birthing partner so that you can find everything more easily.

to supplement with vegan Omega 3 DHA suitable for pregnancy.

Other Tips

Make sure that you show your birthing partner what you have packed so that they know where everything is when you get to the hospital. Around the time when you pack your hospital bag you will also want to make sure that you have installed your car seat to bring baby home.

Now that your bag or bags are ready, you know that when the time comes you are prepared to grab your bag and go. Head over to our First 1000 Days for more support articles, such as The Benefits of an Exclusive Breast Milk Diet.

Good luck and congratulations on your new arrival.


  1. NHS (2019) Maternity Services Monthly Statistics June 2019, experimental statistics. Maternity Services Monthly Statistics. https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/maternity-services-monthly-statistics/june-2019/births
  2. WHO (2012) Born too soon. The global action report on preterm birth. https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/44864/9789241503433_eng.pdf?sequence=1