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Preparing your Hospital Bag for Labour

Last week during our Instagram Live Dr Melanie + Dr Dori were talking about how to prepare for giving birth during a Pandemic. Some things stay the same, some things look different.

One big difference is that in GTA area hospitals only one support person is allowed in with the birthing person. That can mean your partner, your doula, your mother, your friend, whoever you choose, but just one person.

Another big difference is no in and out privileges. So once you and your support person are in the hospital, whatever you have brought in with you is what you have for your labour and delivery. In most hospitals your partner may be permitted to leave one time after birth and come back - meaning you MAY be able to bring another bag in for the post partum period. Check with your hospital close to your due date - rules are constantly changing.

All of this means the key to packing your hospital bag is - Compact. There's no limit to how much you can bring in - just whatever can be carried in one trip.

So what are the essentials for your Birthing Bag? Here are the 5 basic categories I've come up with. Let me know if there's anything you feel like I've left out

COMFORTS this includes anything that can make you feel more comfortable during an admittedly uncomfortable experience

  • Pillow (there are never enough in the hospital!)

  • Bathrobe, slippers, loose clothes for nursing and going home

  • Toiletries - lip balm, hair ties, moisturizer

  • Glasses

  • any medications or supplements


  • Hot water bottle - the nurses will fill it for you - heat can be so helpful to alleviate discomfort - on your hips, back, shoulders, wherever you like.

  • Massage tools - tennis ball works great and saves your partner's hands. Place it under a hip or shoulder for some great counter pressure

  • Unopened bottle of oilve oil - great for protecting your perineum from tearing during crowning. Have your birth provider pour it over baby's emerging head and perineum on baby's way out

FOOD - sustenance for you and your partner. Most hospitals will not provide food for your support person, and they can't leave the room to get any. Even in the best of times, hospital food can leave a lot to be desired, to say the least.

  • a good reusable bottle with straw for staying hydrated in any position

  • granola bars, protein bars

  • nuts, dried fruit, trail mix

  • honey sticks are great for a quick energy boost just before the pushing stage. When you don't feel like eating, but need a little sugar jolt

  • teabags - the nurses will give you access to boiled water

TECH - so you can keep in touch with those who can't be with you & control your own audio

  • chargers

  • headphones

  • speaker


  • infant car seat

  • sleepers

  • blankets

  • diapers

Let me know what you think I may have forgotten, and please reach out if you need support. We're here for you.

Dr. Dori Skye Engel ND, Birth Doula has a special interest in the Perinatal period of a family’s life; Fertility support, Preconception Care, Pregnancy, Labour & Birth, Postpartum support as well as Babies & Children. Treating the whole person, as well as the whole family, she is honoured to support men & women through further life changes such as menopause, thyroid dysfunction, diabetes, heart disease, skin conditions & all the curveballs life throws.


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