10 Birth Hospital Bag Essentials

10 birth hospital bag essentials

There’s nothing like packing a hospital bag to realize that soon you will meet your baby!  We recommend packing 2 separate bags – the first is a birth hospital bag that you will bring to use during labor and birth.  The second bag is for your postpartum stay — we’ll discuss that in a separate post. 

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Here are 10 Birth Hospital Bag Essentials that make for a smooth transition from home to hospital.

Birth Plan

The hospital is a busy place with nurses, doctors, and staff coming in and out of your room.  Include multiple copies of a birth plan in your birth hospital bag to help ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Labor Notebook

Time to get organized!  A labor notebook is a fantastic resource to include in your birth hospital bag.  Your partner will likely refer to your notebook periodically during labor.  It may be helpful to include a list of positions to improve comfort and labor progress, as well as breathing technique reminders.  Avoid digging through your purse during contractions by including a copy of your ID and insurance card.  And lastly, include important contact information for your pediatrician, family, and friends.

Birth Ball 

Okay, so a big ball might not literally fit in with your other birth hospital bag essentials.  However, your birth ball is an important tool to bring along on the big day.  You’ll be able to use it in the hospital right away if you bring it already inflated.  If the idea of carrying a big ball is too much for you, at least pack a deflated birth ball and pump to ensure that you have one available to use at the hospital.  You may want to ask in advance if the hospital where you will deliver has birth balls available for use; you may be able to save yourself the hassle of dragging one along with you!

Learn more about how to use birth balls, how to determine what size to buy, and more: 5 Natural Birth Accessories for Every Delivery


Your birth hospital bag essentials list isn’t complete without a relaxing playlist.  Peaceful music, guided imagery, and relaxation scripts are powerful tools to aid in relaxation during labor.  Spend some downtime browsing through your favorite music or ask friends or family for recommendations. 

You may even choose to make two playlists — one relaxing and one energizing, if you feel like that fits who you are. While many or most women like relaxing music when they’re in labor, some like to have something with a beat to help keep them moving. Your music taste is as individual as you are, so feel free to make playlists of whatever makes you feel good.


Whether it’s the latest Bluetooth technology or just a good old laptop, don’t forget a sound device of some kind. During labor, it can be helpful to focus on something outside of yourself (aka. distraction from the contraction), so opt for a device other than earphones. 

Massage Tools

Your birth hospital bag essentials list should be replete with relaxation-enhancing tools.  Get familiar with a variety of massage tools such as tennis balls, rolling pins, or a rebozo.  Not only do massage tools provide relief for mom, but they can serve as a nice respite for your birthing partner’s hands.

Hot and Cold Pack Tools

Hot and cold packs can soothe the discomforts of contractions, back pain, and sore muscles during labor.  Be creative with items such as gel packs, rice packs, hot water bottles, frozen water bottles, ice packs, or a hollow rolling pin with frozen water.

Food and Water

Labor is an effort akin to running a marathon.  You must nourish and hydrate your body to stay in peak performance.  It’s hard to know what the hospital will have available, and it may take some time to get food or water after you’ve requested.  Don’t forget to pack preferred snacks and water bottles for both mom and birth partner.


It might seem obvious, but you can never have too many reminders to bring that camera or cell phone.  Make sure to throw in an extra battery or power cord into your birth hospital bag as well. 


Hospital gowns are cute, but many women prefer to come equipped with clothing of their own.  Items such as a sports bra or tank top come in handy if you want to labor in the water and stay covered up at the same time.

Instead of throwing things together last minute, free up your energy during labor by packing a bag well before your due date.  Make a conscious choice to be organized and prepared with this list of birth hospital bag essentials.  Happy packing!

Kopa Birth’s online birthing classes allow you to prepare for natural childbirth in the comfort of your own home, 24/7. Enroll today in our free online childbirth class to learn more about preparing for natural childbirth. 

Here are some other birth articles and stories we know you’ll love.

Meet Katie Griffin

I’m a registered nurse, Lamaze certified childbirth educator, and the mother of 7. I help women realize their dream of a natural, intimate, and empowering hospital birth.

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There’s nothing like packing a hospital bag to realize that soon you will meet your baby!  We recommend packing 2 separate bags – the first is a birth hospital bag that