Skip to main content

9 Must-Have Items for Your Hospital Bag

Hospital Bag Essentials

Planning is a big part of getting ready for your baby’s arrival. You’ll probably spend considerable time reviewing baby names, decorating the nursery and babyproofing your home. But one thing that you shouldn’t forget is packing your bag for the hospital.

Experts recommend having your bag packed and ready to go by 34 weeks. Before you pack anything, review the following list of recommended items:

Important Documents

Create a simple, concise birth plan that outlines your wishes regarding labor inducement, pain relief, surgery and breastfeeding. Also, be sure to pack your ID, insurance card and hospital paperwork.

Clothing and Slip On Shoes

Pack a nightgown and/or robe if you want to avoid the famously unflattering hospital gown. Bring flip flops (for the hospital shower), a sports bra, and/or nursing bra. Maternity underwear and nonslip socks are typically provided by the hospital but pack your own if you prefer. Pack a homecoming outfit that’s designed for five months of pregnancy. Your feet might be swollen from IV fluids, so shoes you can easily slip on are recommended.

TIP: Don’t wear anything you truly care about during labor and delivery since it will likely get ruined in the process.

Toiletries and Personal Care Items

Don’t forget the essentials like lip balm, deodorant, nipple cream, facial wipes, a toothbrush and toothpaste. Headbands or hair ties will keep your hair out of your face during labor. Pack some regular or dry shampoo, a hairbrush and facial cleansing cloths to use to freshen up before candid newborn pictures. Remember extra contacts or glasses if you wear them.

Nonperishable Snacks

Take your favorite snacks to replenish your energy and share with your partner. Sugarless candy, lollipops and lozenges help keep your mouth moist during heavy breathing. Crackers are easy on your stomach.

Essential Electronics

Bring your cell phone or tablet to take pictures and keep your loved ones updated on your progress. Load your favorite tunes on your phone, including a mix of motivating and calming music.

TIP: Don’t forget to pack an extra-long charger for any electronic device you bring. Hospital beds are occasionally far away from an electrical outlet.

Relaxation and Diversion Tools

In addition to music, you may want to bring massage oil, a massager or a tennis ball to promote relaxation during labor. Bring your own comfortable pillow with a patterned pillowcase so it doesn’t get mistaken for a hospital pillow. Magazines, books, crossword puzzles and movies can help take your mind off labor pains.

Extra Bags

You’ll want to bring an empty bag or two to take home hospital freebies or gifts you receive from visitors.


Keep some cash on hand for incidentals like snacks from the vending machine or items from the gift shop.

Baby Essentials

In addition to your own hospital bag, be sure to pack the essentials your baby will need to come home. These items include a rear-facing infant car seat, seasonally appropriate clothing, warm blankets and bottles if you plan to bottle-feed from the get go.

If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Women’s Health Arizona. As Arizona’s largest ObGyn group, we’re trained and solely dedicated to delivering the best ObGyn experience in convenient and comfortable settings around Phoenix.

Sign Up for Our Newsletter