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Postpartum - After Delivery

Packing a Labor Bag

For any expectant mother, packing a labor bag is often one of her top priorities before she delivers her newest addition to the family. Packing a labor bag is an important matter to consider before heading to the hospital. Having the labor bag packed and ready to go can be a great stress reliever for any mother entering her last weeks of pregnancy.

For those who are looking into packing a labor bag, it is important to only pack what is necessary for your trip to the hospital or birth center instead of over packing a lot of unnecessary stuff that will make your birth and labor experience even more stressful. Stick to what you need and don't worry about those useless items you won't even use. However, if you are new to this mommy business and have never given birth before, you might want to make a check list of those items you will actually need for the labor of your unborn baby. Lastly, make sure all of this is packed and ready to go before the big day so you and your partner or a friend or family member are not struggling to get the essentials packed and ready to go after you are already in labor.

Packing a Labor Bag:

When you are getting together the things you will need, make sure you have a bag that is a good size to accommodate these items. Make sure you know where all of the items are located in the bag for easy access once you arrive at the hospital or birth center. To make matters a little more convenient you might want to consider having two smaller bags packed for the occasion instead of one larger one to make for easier access to certain items. It is also a good idea to inform your spouse, partner, family member or friend about the contents of your bag to help you access them when you arrive at the hospital. Because you will be busy with other things, (like delivering a baby) putting someone else in charge of your bags is a good way to take some of the stress off so you can focus on have a successful labor and delivery.

First, make sure you keep all of your important documents somewhere accessible like your picture ID, insurance card and any other hospital paperwork that you might need. If you have a written birth plan, you might want to make sure you have this with your other important documents. If you wear glasses or contacts, make sure you have these readily available as well. 

Next, make sure you have your toiletries available including a brush, makeup, shampoo, body wash, tooth brush, lip balm, deodorant, lotion and whatever hair supplies you might need. Some hospitals might include some of these features, but it is a good idea to bring your own just in case. 

Consider taking a few other comfort items like pajamas, a bathrobe and slippers and socks in addition to other comfortable clothes you might want to wear while you are in the hospital. Some hospitals will allow you to wear whatever you want during delivery instead of a hospital robe, so you can make sure and bring something you feel comfortable in for labor. Most independent birth centers encourage mothers to wear whatever makes them feel comfortable during the birthing process. Make sure it is comfortable and something you don't mind if it gets dirty or even ruined during delivery. 

You might also want to bring a few other items that will help you relax like your own pill or a blanket. You can also bring your own book or something for entertainment especially if you have a long labor. If you plan on playing any sort of music during delivery, make sure you have that ready to go as well along with a player or head phones. Some hospitals won't allow you to eat during labor, but many birth centers don't mind. Make sure you know the policy beforehand, but if snacks and drinks are allowed, you might want to consider backing some of these in your labor bag. Make sure you have a camera or video camera available and ready to go with batteries or fully charge battery pack so you can make sure and have someone take pictures and document the experience. 

After Labor Essentials:

After you have delivered your baby, there are going to be some other essential items that you'll need to make sure and have on hand. These include nursing bras and nursing tops that will be essential and so helpful if you plan on breast feeding your baby. You might also want to bring a book on newborn care so you can consult the book if you have any questions. Make sure you also pack items that you will need to take care of the baby including onesies, diapers, a newborn outfit, receiving blankets bottles if needed. 

It is also a good idea to bring heavy flow maxi pads or something similar to wear for after the delivery as most women will experience some level of bleeding for a few days after giving birth.

To accommodate these pads and for comfort make sure you pack numerous pairs of underwear that are comfortable and large enough to fit in the maxi pad. Don't wear underwear you care about in case of bleeding, etc. Again, some hospitals might provide you with disposable underwear, but it is a good idea to pack your own just in case. Although this last part is not part of your labor bag, make sure you remember to pack your baby's car seat for the ride home. Overall, make sure you don't over pack and remember that if you do have something essential that you forgot to pack, you can always assign a friend or family member to run to your house and pick it up for you if you are located fairly close to the hospital. 


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