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Coming into hospital to have your baby

Within this information, we may use the terms "woman" and "women". However, we recognise that not only people who identify as women may want to access this content. Your care should be personalised, inclusive and sensitive to your needs, whatever your gender identity.


You should plan how you will get to the hospital or maternity unit in advance, because you might need to go there at any time of the day or night.

If someone else has said that they will take you, make an alternative arrangement just in case they are not available.

If you are planning to go by car, make sure that you know your route and there is enough petrol in the tank.

Hospital bag checklists

We're often asked what should be packed in the hospital bag. We've created checklists for items that you may need for your hospital bag. However, we're all different, so please only pack and buy things that you personally think you will need or want.

Labour and birth

  • Several nightdresses or baggy t-shirts for comfort during labour, and some fresh ones for when you have delivered your baby
    • Consider an open fronted nightdress if you are planning to breastfeed
  • Slippers or socks
  • Super-absorbent maternity pads and breast pads
  • Snacks and drinks for labour
    • Consider a sports-style drink bottle with a lid
  • Something to read or do while waiting for your baby to arrive
  • Several changes of underwear
    • Disposable or big cotton pants are great; you don’t want anything too fitted
  • Hair clips and a brush
  • Any medications you are taking
  • Any pregnancy notes you may have
  • Wash bag with shower gel, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant and anything else you think you might need
  • Mobile phone and charger

Baby bag

  • Loose, comfortable clothes for you to go home in
  • Nappies, wipes and/or cotton wool
  • Starter milk packs, if you're planning to bottle feed
  • Lots of baby vests and sleepsuits
    • Babies can be quite sickly at birth
  • One to three baby hats
    • Woollen hats are best for keeping baby warm
  • Muslin squares
  • Snowsuit if it's cold
  • Baby blanket to keep baby warm when you go home
  • Baby car seat
    • This is essential, but please don't bring this into hospital until you're ready to go home

Find out more

Further information on packing your bag for labour is available on the NHS website.

Last reviewed: 28 December 2022