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Hospital bag packing

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For a few weeks now the packing of the hospital bag has been mentioned, so it has been at the back of mind as something I probably ought to get round to doing.

My mother in law asked me the other day if I had packed my bag yet and when I said 'no' she looked genuinely panicked, advising that I 'really should get round to it'.

To be honest I'm a bit confused about the panic around making sure you have your bag packed and ready.

Firstly, from what I now know about the process of labour, it's extremely unlikely to be something that starts and requires you to rush straight into hospital.

The latent phase of labour can take many hours, if not days, so why the mad panic about having a bag packed? Surely you'll need something to occupy yourself whilst your body is gearing itself up for the big event – why not do some packing?!

Secondly, there are many things you can't actually pack until the time arrives such as your phone, iPad, toiletries, food and snacks etc.

However, I fear I may be doing myself a disservice here – I have thought about what I will need to put in my hospital bag, in fact I have a list, and yes there are things you can pack in advance. I suppose my point is that it's impossible to get the whole thing ready weeks in advance!

At NCT classes we were advised to pack two bags, one for with things you'll need and want during labour and one for after the birth.

Apparently most hospitals and birthing units will only let you take one bag in with you, so the post-birth bag can stay in the car and you can send your partner to fetch it when the time comes. People have been full of advice about what to pack, based on what they found helpful which is always useful to know as a first timer.

A few things that have been recommended to me for my labour bag which I will be taking are:

  • Water spray, because apparently hospitals can be very hot and you can get very hot during contractions so this is a nice way to stay cool.
  • Straws, because whilst you're in the active phase of labour you won't want to be holding a drink or taking big glugs so your birthing partner can ensure you have sips of drink between contractions using a straw.
  • Music, apparently most people don't take music in with them but most hospitals and birthing units have ipod docks or CD players you can use. Music can help keep you calm and relaxed.
  • Food and snacks because it's really important to keep your energy levels up! Some people have suggested energy gel sachets to have right near the end when you won't feel like actually eating anything solid.

For my post-birth bag, things I'll be packing will include:

  • Baby outfits in three different sizes as we won't know how big she is till she pops out. I just can't decide which ones to take, they're all so cute!
  • Nappies, maternity pads, disposable pants and breast pads for those after birth bodily functions!
  • A bin bag to take away any soiled clothing.
  • Loose, comfortable clean clothing to go home in and make up to make myself feel good for the journey home (energy reserves permitting!).

Hopefully I won't forget anything vital and I will have enough time to pack the remainder of things on my list when the time comes – fingers crossed!

Read the next instalment of the Pregnancy Insider here

Find out more about what to pack for labour and birth

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The pregnancy insider profile

Follow our Pregnancy Insider, the blogger who tells it like it is, by liking our Tommy's Midwives Facebook page. Our Pregnancy Insider is 29, lives in East Anglia, practices yoga and is a big fan of House of Cards - and she's pregnant with her first baby. Look out for her blog each week.