Head onto any mom Facebook group and you will see questions about what to pack for your stay at the hospital, and the list is exhaustive and overwhelming, so let’s break it down.
Here are the 3 most essential items to bring to your birth at LHSC (or any hospital)
During your labour at LHSC (London health sciences centre) you will have access to clear fluids and light foods like toast and peanut butter. labour is hard work, so it’s important to nourish your body throughout the process, unless your care provider says it’s not safe to eat during labour, bring your favourite light snacks like fruit, granola, yogurt etc.
If you’re looking to bring something that will pack some punch for some quick energy, Honey sticks lollipops and sports drinks can be a great option. If you lose your appetite during labour, you can always save it for when you’re recovering. Trust me, you will be thirsty in the days after giving birth, so whatever you don’t use in labour can be used afterwards
2) Comfy clothes to labour and recover in
Birth is beautiful, and messy. A midwife at my first doula birth said ‘women are leaky’, it’s a term that is accurate AF. The gowns they give you at the hospital are handy for keeping your clothes safe from stains, but they can be pretty uncomfortable to labour or breastfeed\chestfeed in.
Whether you’re birth plan includes a home birth or taking every chance you have to take ‘all the drugs’, the thing to consider when choosing a birthing outfit is that your temperature will perceivably change. Sometimes you will feel overheated, or cold. So items such as sports bras, old pajamas, warm socks, slippers and house coats can bring a great deal of comfort for labouring in the hospital.
3) Postpartum pads and toiletries
These are hot items in the hospital, meaning that they are in somewhat of a limited supply. After delivery at LHSC you will get one gigantic pad, and then after that about half a dozen postpartum pads that are about the size of a regular maxi pad. As stated once above birth is messy, and women are leaky, so invest in some sample size toiletries to stick in your bag.
If you are staying at the hospital for an extended time you’ll likely want to shower at least once before going home, or at least have items to freshen up with. It’s important to remember that the hospital is a scent free zone, so please be considerate when thinking about things like body sprays or highly fragrant deodorants.
You might be tempted, especially as a first time parent to pack more, and that’s OK. If having stuff helps you feel more prepared, go for it, that on it’s own can be a comfort whether you use the ‘stuff’ or not. Chances are however, you probably won’t use a lot of the extra things you pack. Comfort is a need that can be met many ways, and what you think you will use or enjoy having around now might not be what you want in the moment.
Remember, birth isn’t about what stuff you bring to it, your birth plan won’t hinge on whether or not you have honey sticks, or your favourite fuzzy socks. The hospital has many supplies for all of the comfort measures you might want to try including warm blankets and birth balls. Remember: Once you enter that birth room, it is your birthing space!
-Kate Williamson PSW, birth and postpartum doula