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Your Hospital Stay Kit: Essential Items to Pack for Labor and Delivery

The big day has finally arrived. Your water broke and now it is time to go to the hospital to deliver your baby. Long before this day, in the beginning of your third trimester, it is recommended that you prepare a hospital bag to grab on your way out. This way, whatever happens, you can have what you need. The American Pregnancy Association recommends the following in your Hospital Stay Kit.


Medical Documentation

 

An often-overlooked component of packing for the hospital stay kit is your medical documentation. Be sure to pack your:


·       Your ID

·       Health insurance card

·       Any pre-registration forms from the hospital.

·       Hard copies of your medical history

·       Hard copies of your prenatal care records

·       Contact information for previous prenatal clinics

·       Previous ultrasound reports

·       Blood type

·       Hepatitis B status

 

It’s recommended to have a standing relationship with the obstetrician you’d like to help you in delivery far before your due date. However, if, for whatever reason, you’re delivering in a hospital that didn’t do your preparatory work, it’s much easier for them to give you the care you need if they can confirm: your medical history, access your records, and know your blood type.  The global leading cause of death in labor is blood loss due to hemorrhaging after delivery. Therefore, you and your partner need to know your blood type so that you can be matched with proper blood transfusions should that be needed.

 

If your blood type is rhesus-negative, problems can arise if your baby is Rh-positive. Your body may develop anti-D antibodies that attack your baby’s blood in subsequent pregnancies. All Rh-negative mothers who give birth to Rh-positive babies are given an Rhlg injection within 72 hours of delivery.

 

It’s also extremely important to know if you are positive for Hepatitis B. While Hepatitis does not cross the placenta, the baby is at risk of being exposed to the virus during delivery due to contact with blood. Half of all babies infected with Hepatitis B will develop cirrhosis or cancer of the liver later in life. That’s why it’s extremely important to know if you are hepatitis positive before entering the delivery ward. The hospital can protect your baby with an IgG immunoglobulin treatment and immunize your child with a Hepatitis B vaccine soon afterward.[1] 

 

Birth Preferences


If you have a strong opinion about the treatments you want or do not want in labor, then it is recommended to bring a physical sheet to tell the doctor. This is called a Birth Plan, and it lets your obstetrician know what you need. You can view a downloadable PDF of your preferred birth plan on many websites. In general, it is a document you write that tells the doctor:

1.     The pain interventions you would prefer to have

2.     Who you would like with you in the room

3.     If you have a boy, if you’d like him circumcised

 

Packing Essentials for Mom: Ensuring Comfort and Convenience

 

It's also crucial to bring in your Hospital Stay Kit any prescribed medications or supplements that you are currently taking. Also, while almost no hospital will allow residents to bring candles with an open flame, other stress relief items like essential oils, a diffuser, or a noise machine can be a great relief. If another woman is screaming across the hall, an adaptive sound machine might make your labor experience a little easier. 

 

The next consideration for you is overnight wear. It is recommended that a nightgown and bathrobe. Something that will keep you warm but can open in the front is ideal for breastfeeding. A comfortable going-home outfit is also recommended. Comfortable, loose-fitting clothes are best for labor, such as a comfortable T-shirt or a loose-fitting dress.

 

As for toiletries: bring any needed items such as a toothbrush, deodorant, and sanitary pads, as well as hair supplies and extra washcloths. It is also recommended that you bring a pillow from home as this will likely make it easier to sleep or prop up the baby during breastfeeding.

 

Items that might make the initial nursing process easier and more comfortable include:


1.    nursing bras

2.    sports bras

3.    a nursing pillow

4.    breast pads

 

Finally, it is recommended that you bring some things to do in the case of having a lot of downtime at the hospital, such as books or puzzles. You may also want to bring something for back support in the hospital bed, and a folder or envelope for any loose pieces of paper you receive.

 

Essential Items for Your Newborn


Car seat

You will not be allowed to leave the hospital without a properly installed car seat with neck and head support. The car seat needs to be in your car before arriving at the hospital. Be sure to have this ready to go prior to labor.

 

Additional Baby Items

It is also important to pack an outfit for the newborn to wear for the trip home. Make sure the outfit includes a hat and socks to keep in body heat. You will also want to pack diapers and wipes, as well as blankets for swaddling. Finally, it is recommended that you pack mittens. 

 

In addition to the essentials, consider packing an extra set of clothes for the baby in case any unexpected incidents occur during your hospital stay. Moreover, it's important to have a baby blanket for warmth, especially if the weather is cool.

 

Partner’s Packing List Hospital Stay Kit

 

Your partner’s packing list will resemble the mom packing list – pajamas, second outfit, toiletries, things to do, etc. It is also recommended that the partner bring a cooler with food for the stay so that they can stay close by rather than making trips out for food. Labor can take two days so your partner might want a pillow. Your partner may also want to bring any suggested materials to help during or after birth, such as massage oils. 

 

In addition to the suggested items, consider packing a camera or a smartphone for capturing special moments during the birth of your child. Also, be sure to include any necessary chargers for electronic devices to stay connected and informed during your hospital stay.

 

For More Information

It is important to be prepared for the birth of your baby. At Pregnancy Center of Lapeer, our dedicated team is committed to providing comprehensive support and care for all your reproductive health needs. If you have concerns about making a plan for going to the hospital for labor, take the proactive step and book an appointment with us today.

 


[1] Regan, Lesley. I’m Pregnant! A Week-By-Week Guide From Contraception To Birth. New York, DK Publishing, 2019. Page 128-129.

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