Are you the type of mom to come rolling into the hospital with two suitcases and an overnight bag that have been packed and sitting by your front door since your 20 week ultrasound? Or, now that those first contractions have started, are you quickly googling 'What to pack for my hospital birth bag' and running around the house gathering up random objects and sticking them in a plastic grocery bag? Either way, it's OK. You can relax because regardless of what you do or do not bring, you are still going to have your baby.
Ultimately, you don't need to bring a darn thing to the hospital except a laboring mom!
There, that was easy wasn't it? Now you can go on with the rest of your pregnancy and not worry about the silly hospital bag again! Ok, you're probably not going for that are you? Truthfully I would rather not show up at the hospital to birth my baby with nothing of my own. (But I have done it before and I still had a baby so it does work!)
As a doula I pack a great big bag, my 'bag of tricks', with things both for my clients and for myself. If you are working with a doula check to see what she brings with her so you don't double up on things. It can be tricky to carry a bunch of bags in with you while you're in labor so my preference is to stay on the side of 'less is more'. Most people aren't far from home so dad can always run home after baby's arrival to get forgotten things. (If you are traveling to your birth location bring it all! Pack a bag of essentials to bring into the hospital right away and then have your suitcase with anything you might possibly want to leave out in the car.)
Everyone will have a slightly different list but I'll give you my favorite 'must haves' for taking to our area hospitals (other hospitals may not provide the same things so be in touch with them to see what they recommend.) After a quick perusal of other online lists of essentials I can see that there is MUCH room for individual preferences here! Things that I consider to be essential others laugh at as unnecessary- how anyone can disagree with my obvious logic is beyond me though! ;)
I'm going to give you two lists- one for the things I carry with me and another for the things my clients bring and most often use. Almost every birthing mom says she doesn't know why she packs half the stuff she does and I can tell you that I don't use even a fourth of all that I bring at every birth but... it's so nice to know that if I need it, I have it.
So, go ahead and show up at the hospital with nothing or bring a caravan of people who carry in your many bags (I picture this like in Aladdin when he parades through town...). It really doesn't matter in the big picture. You're going to come home with a baby either way!
Here are a few other things that I carry...
Charging cords, USB speaker, change of clothes, wash clothes, hair ties, combs, massage tools, oils, honey sticks, coconut water, straws and my iPad.
There are a few other things you'll need for after baby arrives...
A going home outfit for mom and baby- make sure mom's fit at about 6 months pregnant because you won't be back into your pre-pregnancy clothes yet! The hospital will have diapers, soaps and lotions for baby but if you prefer certain brands be sure to bring your own.