It’s almost time for the big day. Nervous? Excited? Anxious? It’s totally normal to be experiencing a range of different feelings. It can often be difficult to think logically with everything going on, so it’s smart to be well prepared. During labour, your focus should be on your partner and her needs. However, in order to look after your partner well, you need to look after yourself. Think of it like an airplane emergency landing — put on your own oxygen mask before helping everyone else.
Why you need your own hospital bag
While there is a lot of advice out there on what your partner should pack for herself and the baby, there are things that you need to bring too. Depending on your birth plan and circumstances, you could be at the hospital anywhere from a couple of hours to a few days, so make sure you plan accordingly and prepare well ahead of time. Once she’s ready to pop, she won’t be able to wait for you to get your stuff in order!
Here are some handy items for your hospital bag
- Toothbrush, toothpaste and/or breath mints: Cleaning your teeth or chewing on some mints can help you to freshen up and feel more awake when you’re feeling tired
- Loose change: you don’t want to be that person who gets stuck in the car park as your partner runs into the delivery room on her own. This can also come in handy for snacks if you’re in it for the long haul.
- A change of clothes: things can get a little messy in the delivery room and you may be there for a while, so it’s a good idea to have some fresh clothes on hand
- Swimwear: this may be one of the last things on your mind, but swimmers can come in handy if your partner is having a water birth or she needs a hand in the shower.
- A hand held fan and water spray: it could get quite hot and steamy for your partner (not in the sexy way!), so little touches like this may help her to feel more cool and comfortable.
- Lip balm: you’ll be surprised by how much labour can dry out your partner’s lips
- Heat/wheat pack: hold this on your partner’s back for some much needed relief. Heat packs that tie on are also a great option to free you up if you need to be helpful elsewhere
- Camera: capture your special moments; just be mindful to ask permission of participants before uploading anything to your socials
- Pain relief (for you): it’s not a good look to be complaining about a headache while your partner is giving birth
- Chargers: the lifespan of your devices may be much shorter than the labour!
- Book: it’s easy to think your time in the hospital will be action-packed, however, you might be waiting around for longer than expected. If your partner needs a rest or doesn’t want to be disturbed, having a distraction like a book or a podcast can help keep you occupied
It might be wise to check your partner’s bag before you leave for the hospital to make sure she has everything on her list too. Once she’s in labour, her mind will be focused solely on safely delivering your baby, so make sure she has everything she needs.
Everything you’ve learnt from birthing classes and research could be thrown out of the window! Every labour is different and it is important to remember to relax and go with the flow. Be prepared to tell your partner how great she is doing; even when things get a bit messy. The delivery room is full of action, so if you’re not sure what is going on don’t hesitate to ask the nurse or doctor questions.
Most importantly, enjoy your first meeting with your baby!