How to pack your hospital delivery bag

Pregnant woman packing a hospital bag

When you’re expecting, it’s natural to be excited and anxious about your delivery day. Even though your due date is three to four weeks away, you may already have a hospital bag packed.

“It’s OK to be prepared and pack a bag in advance, but unless you have a history of going into labor early or delivering quickly, most moms can pack their bag during the early part of labor while they’re still home,” says certified nurse midwife Heather Ramsey, DNP, CNM.

A good way to figure out what to pack is to think about you would bring if you were staying in a hotel, says Ramsey. She recommends packing the following items:

Hygiene and clothing items:

  • Shampoo and other hair care items
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Bathrobe
  • Slippers
  • Change of clothing
  • Extra clothing if you anticipate having a cesarean section
  • Nursing bra if you will be having an extended stay

Birthing items:

  • Your birth plan
  • Lotions or oils
  • Essential oils and diffuser for relaxation
  • Massage tools like massage balls or tennis balls
  • Watch or stopwatch
  • Relaxation music or white noise
  • Earplugs
  • Water bottle
  • Snacks for you and your birthing partner.
  • Photo IDs for new mom and birthing partner for birth certificate
  • Bathing suit top if you plan to use hydrotherapy or water birth

For baby:

  • Going home clothes
  • Car seat
  • Blanket


  • If you have a pet, bring an extra item of clothing and put it next to your baby. Give to your pet ahead of time to familiarize them with the scent of your new baby.
  • Breast pump if planning to breastfeed. Your lactation consultant can show you how to use it while you’re in the hospital. You also may be able to pump extra while you are at the hospital

What not to bring:

  • Stuffed animals for baby. They are a suffocation hazard
  • Your pet
  • Yoga or birthing balls

Ramsey says one of the most important things you can bring that you can’t pack is your doula. A doula is a trained professional who provides emotional and physical support before, during and after your pregnancy and childbirth.

“Having a doula has been shown to decrease pain, reduce the use of epidurals and cesarean sections and improve the overall birth experience,” says Ramsey.

Ramsey’s last bit of advice: Don’t stress too much about packing your hospital bag. “One small bag or suitcase should be able to handle everything,” says Ramsey. “If you have packed two or three suitcases, you are bringing too much!”

Take a tour of our labor and delivery unit
Become familiar with our labor and delivery unit before you deliver. Nebraska Medicine offers weekly in-person tours so you can see the unit and ask question to prepare for your delivery. Schedule your tour now.