Preparing for a Hospital Birth


photo by Frenkieb

Hospitals can seem scary at times, but when going there to give birth it should feel like a safe place.  You have to be prepared to make a hospital birth an enjoyable, relaxed time.

Your first step is choosing a hospital for your birth.  Most labor and delivery areas in the hospital will offer free guided tours, to tell parents-to-be all about their hospital.  We made sure to go to the two hospitals in our area to decide which one fit our wants and needs.  Make sure to ask questions, bring a list with you!  Some questions could be:  Can I have my older children in the room with me?   Can I eat and drink what I want during labor?   How often will I have to be hooked up to a monitor?  Do you have a shower or tub in the room?

A birth plan is a necessary item to write-up before you go in labor!  You certainly don’t want to be making big decisions like, if you are getting an epidural, while in the heat of labor!  Most woman who are in labor are not making logical, well thought out decisions while going through the worst pain of their life, I know I wasn’t.  Please don’t try to leave it up to your poor husband either because he is going to agree to anything at that point because he is worried about you.  So a little planning will do you good.  The site has an interactive birth plan available you can fill it in and print it out.  There are a lot of other sites available too, my midwife gave me a copy of one to fill in and I have a pregnancy book that had one in the back to fill out.  So no excuses to be unprepared!

Decide on who is going to be with you at the hospital.  Please be picky on this decision.  Do not invite your Mother in law just because she wants to be there!!!  This is your time and you need it to be peaceful, quite and calm.  I vividly remember my Mom and Grandmother chatting away while watching soap operas during my first birth.  I got them out of there quickly and no one has been invited to a birth since!  I realized I personally need my husband and that is it.  If you think you will need help besides your husband make sure you make it clear to the person ahead of time what you will need them to do…example: take pictures, rub your back, get you water, etc…  You can always just hire a doula, they are there to help you and have been to enough births to know what works and doesn’t work.

The bag, it is on every show and movie, when a woman is going in to labor she shouts “Honey grab the bag, it’s time”.  Well what do we need in the bag?  Every woman is going to be a little different but here is a generic list I got from of some good items to bring with you to the hospital.

Items for Birth:

  • For You – nursing pillow, nursing bra, breast pads, non-slip socks, sanitary pads, stop watch (or watch with a second-hand), water bottle, snacks, dressing gown
  • For Your Partner – Comfortable clothes, glasses or contacts (in case you run out in a hurry), camera and a list of family and friends he is supposed to call

Items for Post-Labor

  • For You – Change of clothes, toiletries, lotion, nipple cream, your baby’s going-home outfit, snacks
  • For Your Partner – Camera (a must-have now), change of clothes, toiletries, car seat

Of course, there may be other things you’ll want to bring along with you—like ear plugs, nursing gowns, or other comfort items.

The site has a very thorough list of what to bring to the hospital, as well as a recent post here on NLM on Birthing: What to Bring to the Hospital.

After all the planning for the birth make sure you relax and realize not all goes as planned and as long as you are healthy and birth your sweet bundle of joy it was a success!


How did you plan for an enjoyable and relaxing hospital birth?


  1. These are all great tips! My first child was a hospital birth, and we did all of these things. In addition, we actually requsted a certain nurse when we went in to deliver, because when she gave us the tour, she emphasized a lot of aspects of the room that were natural-birth friendly, which was what we wanted to do.
    I also brought a favorite from home – helped brighten up the room, made it a little more homey overnight.