Ask the Midwife: What Should I Pack For A Hospital Birth?

Welcome to our new column - 'Ask the Midwife' where a NHS midwife answers your pregnancy and birth-related enquiries.

Thank you for sending all your emails - we promise to work our way through the list.

A common question was knowing exactly what to pack in your hospital maternity bag.

NHS Midwife Andrea has been working at a busy London hospital for five years and has seen her fair share of hospital bag wins and fails.

Below are her must-have items when going in  for a hospital birth:

Maternity notes

You' d be surprised how many women come in without them. Keep them with you at all times from 24 weeks.


Bring anything you've been prescribed by your GP or are on long term. It may seem hard to believe but medication is not readily available in hospitals.

Sanitary towels

Buy special maternity ones for your post-birth bleed. Your usual ones will not be comfortable any may stick to any stitches you require.

Baby clothes

Bring nappies, a hat, a couple of babygros and vests and a baby blanket. Make sure the clothes are appropriate for the time of year and that the clothing will keep the baby warm.


Bring something comfortable to sleep in and make sure it is breastfeeding friendly.

Clean underwear

Again, make it breastfeeding friendly. Bring knickers you don't mind getting ruined – your post-birth bleed can be long and heavier than you’re used to.

Clean bath towels x 2

Hospital towels can be rough. After you’ve given birth you’re going to want a long, hot shower and so bring a soft and fluffy towel from home.


Pack soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush and moisturiser. Bring makeup if you’re feeling adventurous!


Now is not the time to be counting calories. Bring whatever snacks you like – they’ll come in handy during the 3am munchies or a long labour. 

A hospital bag for your partner

Yes they need looking after too. Even if it's just a toothbrush and a clean set of clothes - you don't know how long you're going to be in hospital so it's best to have him or her prepared. The last thing you want is your birth partner disappearing during labour. 

Your own pillow

I’m not sure why but they are very scarce in hospital and sometimes you need more than the one given to you.

Please contact us if you'd like to send a question to Andrea. She can't answer individual questions but we do read them all and answer the ones that are most common. From there, we'll get to the more obscure asks!

What was the one essential item you packed - or wished you had - when you had your hospital birth?

This column does not substitute medical advice. If you're feeling worried about something pregnancy or baby related, please see your GP or regular midwife.