Labour and birth essentials for mums-to-be: photos
A few little extras can help to make you more comfortable during labour, whether you plan to give birth in a hospital, birth centre, or your own home. When packing your hospital bag, you may want to include the following to help you through the big day:
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Comfy dressing gownThis can be handy if you have to pace the hospital corridors in early labour, as well as on the postnatal ward. Hospitals can be very warm though, so look for something lightweight.
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Slip-on slippersBackless shoes, slippers and flip-flops are easy to get on and off again without bending down, making them perfect for labour and the postnatal ward.
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A pair of toasty socksBelieve it or not, your feet can get cold during labour, so a pair of soft, thick socks will ensure your toes stay toasty. Get some with non-slip soles to make it easier for you to move about during labour.
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Old nightdress or T-shirtLabour can be messy, so don't buy anything new to wear. An old nightdress or baggy T-shirt is ideal. It’s also a good idea to take along a spare, if you have one.
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Massage oil or lotionMassage can help to ease backache in labour. It’s also a good way for your partner to feel involved in the birth of your baby. Get tips on the best technique in our article on massage in labour.
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Lip balmYour lips can dry out quickly on a warm labour ward, so you’ll be glad you remembered to pack lip balm in your hospital bag.
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Snacks and drinksTake some snacks and drinks to keep you going while you’re in labour. Slow-release carbohydrates and isotonic sports drinks are particularly good for keeping your energy levels up. Even if you don’t need them, your partner probably will!
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MusicYou may want music to help you to relax. Set up a playlist on your phone, and bookmark our relaxation podcasts to help keep you calm. Remember to take your charger!
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DistractionsPack things to help you relax or pass the time, such as books, a tablet or magazines. You could also make sure you’ve got some new fun apps to play with on your phone. If the early stages of your labour go slowly, you'll be glad of them!
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Hairbands or a clipIf you have long hair, you may get hot and want to tie it up. If it’s too short to tie up, a soft, fabric headband will keep it off your face.
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PillowsThe hospital might not have enough to make you really comfortable. A V-shaped pillow can give you extra support when breastfeeding your baby.
For advice on what to take for your new baby, check out our full article on what to pack in your hospital bag. Also, discover the new mum essentials you'll need for fourth trimester.
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