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One of the first questions I ask my clients at our final prenatal visit is “Have you packed your hospital bags yet?” and the most common response is something along the lines of “We don’t even know where to start!”

Whether you found this article while googling “what to pack in your hospital bag” at 12 weeks, or you figure you’ll pack on your way out the door during labor we have some suggestions on what you should bring.

Have you been putting off packing your hospital bag? Here is a list to get you started:


Important Documents: You will want to have your Birth Plan, Photo Identification, and your Alberta Health Care Card. You might also want to prepare a contact list for family and friends that are anxiously awaiting your news!

Cash and Change: It’s a good idea to have some cash on hand for parking (you can also pay by credit card at all Calgary Hospitals), snacks, gift shop purchases, vending machines and meals for your partner.

Phone/Charger: How else will you keep family posted, stay in touch with your doula if you have not yet requested her presence or tweet your progress?

Camera or Video Recorder: For some of us our IPhones are all we need but it may be easier for others (your doula!) to take photos and video for you if you bring your camera. Don’t forget the extra memory card and batteries!

Comfort Measures: Remember to pack any items you would like to use during labor. You may consider bringing battery operated candles, photos for focal points, stress ball, massage oil and tools, essential oils, etc. All of our hospitals in Calgary have birth balls, and hot/cold packs.

Towels: A towel from home will provide far more coverage than those tiny hospital towels and be much softer.

Clothing Items: It’s recommended you bring loose fitting or maternity clothes to wear home. Something comfortable. You may also want to bring a nightgown, robe and slippers or flip flops for your stay. Plan to have swollen feet and still feel pregnant when it is time to leave the hospital. It may take some time for your body to begin recovering noticeably.

Hair stuff: Pack a brush, some elastics and pins to get you hair off your face during labor. You may want to bring your favorite shampoo and conditioner, etc. Calgary hospitals do have sample sized shampoos, but it is so much nicer to have your own!

Toiletries: You will need your toothbrush and toothpaste, soap or body wash, lotion and other personal care items you must have. Don’t forget your chapstick!

Feeding items: If you will be breastfeeding you should bring a nursing bra (or 2) and nursing top. You will also need nursing pads and may want to pack a little lanolin. Are you planning to bottle feed? Bring bottles, nipples, and formula.

Snacks and Takeout Menus: Bring some healthy snacks for both yourself and your partner.  Hard candies or other favorite treats can be useful during labor. Takeout menus can save you from the dreaded hospital food!

Pillows and a Blanket: It can be very comforting to have your pillow and can also make it easier if your partner is staying the night. While Calgary’s South Health Campus provides a bed and bedding for your partner, the other hospitals may or may not be so accommodating under all circumstances.

Baby’s Things: Bring a couple of outfits for baby. Be sure that they are comfortable and will be easy to use with a car seat, as well as seasonally appropriate. A cap and receiving blanket are also essential as well. Our cold Calgary winters will require a heavier blanket or an insulated seat cover.

If you are planning to have your placenta encapsulated or take it home for art prints, burial, etc. you will want to bring a cooler and at least two large size Ziploc freezer bags. Your Placenta Encapsulation Specialist can give you more information.

Are you ready to pack your hospital bag? What items did you find to be the most valuable when you had your baby?

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