Getting organised: What to pack

As you get closer to your due date there will be lots of things to arrange. It makes sense to have a bag packed. In fact, you’ll probably want to pack two bags. One with things you want for the labour and one with everything you’ll need afterwards – including something for your new baby to wear going home. Even if you are planning a homebirth, it may be sensible to pack a small bag in case you need to transfer to hospital at any time.

Get a few things ready at least 3 weeks before your due date.

Video: What should I pack in my hospital bag?
In this NHS video, a midwife goes through the essentials you should pack in your hospital bag.

First bag (during labour)

Things you will need:

Something loose and comfortable to wear during labour that does not restrict you from moving around or make you too hot. An old nightdress or t–shirt is ideal
A dressing gown or a big cardigan to cover you up when you are in your nightie or t–shirt
Something to slip on your feet, like sandals or slippers

Your washbag with a toothbrush, hairbrush, flannel, soap, lip balm, deodorant, hair ties and other toiletries

A towel

Any medicines you're taking

Birth plan if you have made one

Things you might like:

Some facecloths for cooling your face and skin
Some unscented oil or a light body lotion for massage

Things to help you pass the time and relax – for example, books, magazines, music or podcasts

A portable hand fan or water spray to cool you down

A TENS machine if you intend to use one

A mobile phone and charger
Healthy snacks and drinks for you and your partner


Second bag (after the birth)

Things you will need:

Two to three nightdresses. Ones that open at the front will make breastfeeding easier

Easy to wear day clothes, like leggings and loose tops
5 or 6 pairs of knickers – you may want to bring some disposable ones for the first few days

2 or 3 comfortable and supportive bras, including nursing bras if you're planning to breastfeed – remember, your breasts will be much larger than usual

2 packets of Maternity pads or super-absorbent sanitary

Breast pads

Towels for showering

A box of tissues

Extra pillows

Things you will need for your baby:

Bodysuits, vests and sleepsuits

A hat, scratch mittens and socks or booties

Plenty of nappies

Cotton wool

Muslin squares or bibs

A shawl or blanket

A car seat and an outfit for going home in


Home births

If you're planning to give birth at home, discuss your plans and what you need to prepare with your midwife. Think about where in your home you want to give birth.

You're likely to need:

Clean bed clothes and towels

Clothes (including a hat) and nappies for the baby

2 packets of super-absorbent sanitary or maternity pads

Even if you're planning to have your baby at home, you should pack some things in case you need to go into hospital at any point


Get prepared

When you come home, you will not want to do much more than rest and care for your baby, so do as much planning as you can in advance.

If you can, buy lots of basic items such as toilet paper, sanitary towels and nappies in advance.

If you have a freezer, you could cook some meals in advance and freeze them.


You should plan how you'll get to the hospital or midwifery unit because you might need to go there at any time of the day or night.

If you're planning to go by car, make sure it's running well and that there's always enough petrol in the tank.

If someone else has said they'll take you, make an alternative arrangement just in case they're not available.

Improving the physical and emotional health and wellbeing of expectant mothers, infants, children and young people throughout Aneurin Bevan University Health Board Area.

(N.B: The Family and Therapies team at ABUHB is NOT responsible for the content on the webpage links that we refer to in our resource sections and linked information to external sites. All information was accurate and appropriate at the time the webpage was created.)

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