So you’re nearing the end of your third trimester, and it’s time to start planning for labour & childbirth. Some important things to remember before the big day!

Have you pre-registered for the hospital? Your doctor’s office will have a registration package for you, which you can fill out at home and mail directly to the hospital. Many hospitals offer a tour of their maternity wards so it’s a good idea to book one for you and your partner to prepare you for your labour and what to expect during your stay. Book early; if you are having multiples you may be put on bedrest and be unable to attend a tour later in your pregnancy. Most hospitals recommend a tour when you are around 20 weeks pregnant.

Pack several weeks before your due date, in case you go into labour early. Throwing stuff into a suitcase at the last minute is not what you want to be doing when your water breaks! Have your bag in your room and put things in it as you think of them – this way you can be sure that you have everything.

It may be useful to divide what you will need at the hospital into two categories:
Labour / Delivery and Post-Partum and if you have two bags it makes it easier to find things. This is a near exhaustive list. Some hospitals provide many of these things, and your partner may not use the swim gear unless you plan to shower or bathe during labour.

Packing List for Labour and Delivery

camera and power cord
copies of Birth plan
dressing gown
favourite moisturizer and lip balm
flip-flops for both of you
hair bands or barrettes
medical records/insurance papers/Care card
padlock for locker
parking change
sign for parking at emergency whilst you get admitted
snacks and beverages for your coach
swimming trunks for partner
tennis balls in a sock
toiletries for you and your partner

Packing List for Postpartum

baby diapers / wipes
baby names book
bottled water
breastfeeding pillow
comfortable clothes – maternity size!
infant car seats that have been installed correctly*
infant wear – hats, sleepers etc.
nursing bras/nursing pads
overnight pads – industrial strength!
pens for filling out forms
receiving blankets**
telephone numbers and calling card
‘Tucks’ medicated pads (2 thumbs up!)
fun stuff to read

* BCAA, your local fire or police station will be able to ensure that your car seat has been installed correctly, or show you how to do it.

** bring lots of receiving blankets, some hospitals use them as ‘sausages’ to keep baby’s head secure in the car seat for the trip home

BC Ministry of Health. Baby’s Best Chance: Parents’ Handbook of Pregnancy and Baby Care. (free at local BC health unit)

Iovine, V. The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy: Or, Everything Your Doctor Won’t Tell You.

Murkoff, H., A. Eisenberg and S. Hathaway. What to Expect When You are Expecting.