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Do you know what you need to take to the birth centre or hospital for your labour, birth and postnatal stay? Most hospitals will have first time mums staying for a minimum of 2 days, so you need to be prepared to make things as smooth as possible. Benefit from the collective wisdom of countless NCT and baby forum mums with this comprehensive hospital birth bag checklist for you, baby and dad.
Here you can shop for some of the natural essentials you'll need to take with you. But this isn't the full story! To get the full, exhaustive list of what you'll need to pack, enter your email address and get the download now.
Of course, don't forget to pack baby's changing bag too!
If you've been reading up on natural birth, you'll know that staying relaxed is top of the to do list. Get your birth partner to help out with a calming massage and promote the release of oxytocin with the touch of a loved one and the feeling of wellbeing that comes with a great massage.
Choose a massage oil for a silky, gliding touch. Or adopt a more easily absorbed body oil for its amazing scent and be more generous with it to get that glide going for your massage.
One of the big secrets of childbirth that's rarely mentioned to anyone before they're pregnant is the bleeding that you'll still have for 6 weeks after the birth, called 'lochia'. It happens whether you have a natural vaginal birth, or a C-section.
Maternity pads are extra large, extra thick sanitary towels and they're an absolute must. You can't get away with even the heaviest-flow standard sanitary towels in the early days and weeks.
You'll need more than you think. Work on the basis that you'll need to change the pad once every couple of hours for the first few days, going down to once in the morning and once in the evening towards the end before you can go down to normal sanitary towels. That's over 60 pads you'll need depending on how long you bleed. (I actually started with 60 and had to buy more). Get your supply in one go with a bulk buy and save!
There's no easy way to say this. It's an unpleasant truth. Going for a wee after giving birth will be painful. Whether you've got stitches, or even just small grazes, it's going to sting when you go to the toilet and all of a sudden, toilet paper is going to seem like the roughest thing. You'll also be bleeding from the lochia and you'll want to get nicely cleaned up each time you go to the loo so you feel refreshed. Wipes will help you clean up without too much rubbing on your sensitive areas. Choose fragrance-free to minimise the stinging.
Most hospitals won't provide toiletries. You're going to need to take your own shampoo, body wash and moisturiser. You probably won't have much room to stash your bottles when you're in the shower and your bags will be bursting already, so take these travel-sized options. This range is wonderful for bringing a little feel of luxury to an otherwise stark hospital bathroom.
Birth centres, labour and postnatal wards are kept nice and warm. That heating can take a toll, drying out your skin and lips. Take lip balm with you to take chapped lips off your minds so you can focus on what's important.
You're going to be working hard during labour and you need to stay in good shape. Plus, gas and air is very drying on the mouth. These water bottles are great because you can drink through the pop cap when you're in control of the bottle, or you can easily unscrew the lid and pop a straw in so your birth partner can give you sips while you're otherwise busy! The narrow top avoids spills.
High Energy Snacks
A 2017 review of 10 studies on the effects of allowing women to eat during labour concluded that eating or drinking energy drinks during a low risk, singleton delivery sped up labour. Women who consumed had a 'significantly shorter duration of labor'. 16 minutes shorter on average.
You might want to avoid anything that's high in fat or bulky and will sit heavily in the stomach. Glucose powder to add to a bottle of squash, or protein bars are perfect for quick and long-lasting energy hits respectively.