Packing a bag for labour

Whether you’re planning to give birth at home or in hospital, it’s a good idea to gather together things you’ll need a few weeks before your due date.

Essentials for you

  • Cool, loose-fitting clothing (including comfy pants!) to change into after the birth
  • If you’re planning to breastfeed, you’ll need nursing bras which are easier to use. You’ll also need a pack of breast pads to absorb any leaks
  • Nightwear (front-opening if you’re breastfeeding), including a dressing gown and slippers
  • Absorbent sanitary pads (not tampons)
  • A towel and washbag with toiletries – you may want to include a sponge, flannel or water spray to help you keep cool, as well as lip balm and a hairbrush
  • If you’re planning a water birth, you may feel more comfortable in swimwear
  • Don’t forget to have your maternity notes to hand, as well as contact numbers for your midwife, partner, friends and family

Nice to have

  • Music to listen to and magazines and books to read
  • Snacks and bottles of water
  • A small amount of money

Essentials for your baby

Your midwife will talk to you about what to bring for your baby, but you’ll certainly need:

  • First-size nappies and cotton wool balls
  • Muslins
  • Sleepsuits
  • Clothes for coming home, including outerwear, a blanket and a car seat

What should your partner bring?

Your partner should also give some thought to what they need to have ready too – just in case things start moving more quickly than you were expecting!

Comfy clothing is a wise choice, and it’s advisable to bring some snacks and drinks. Your partner should also think about bringing:

  • A mobile phone or phone card to keep in touch with family and friends
  • A camera – these are special moments you’ll want to treasure!
  • Money for extras like car parking
  • Books or magazines

Home births

Your midwife will advise you on practical preparations for a home birth, but you’ll certainly need comfy clothes, nursing bras, breast pads and absorbent sanitary towels. Make sure you have plenty of clean towels and clothes for your baby too.

Useful links

NHS Choices – pack your bag for labour


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Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust runs a confidential secure text messaging service for parents of children aged 0-19 years called Chat Health. The service operates Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, excluding bank holidays. All texts will be responded to by a public health nurse (health visitor/school nurse) within 24 hours. Outside of the service working hours, you’ll receive a message back to inform you that your text will be responded to once the line reopens.

Should you require urgent health advice in the meantime, please contact your GP, visit an NHS walk-in centre or call NHS 111. For emergencies, dial 999 or visit A&E.

Leicester City: text 07520 615381

Leicestershire & Rutland: text 07520 615382

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