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What to pack for a hospital or a birthing centre

Updated: Oct 13, 2021

As your due date/window is approaching you might be wondering what to take with you. As your baby can arrive anytime between 37 and 42 weeks of your pregnancy, it is a good idea to have your suitcases ready by the 37th week.

You can either bring one big suit case or 3 smaller ones. One for things you might want to use during the labour, one suitcase for you after the labour and one for your baby or babies (if twins, triplets...). If you live in Geneva you will be staying in the hospital for 2 to 3 days if you had a normal delivery and everything is ok with you and baby, 4 to 5 days if you had a Caesarean delivery. Birth centre stay is usually much shorter - one or two night. For UK readers hospital stay after a normal delivery is usually one night, minimum 6 hours and 2 night for mums who had Caesarean section.

For the birthing room :

  • Your complete pregnancy file (ultrasounds, blood tests, blood group card etc...)

  • Insurance card

  • Birth plan

  • If practicing hypnobirthing don't forget your handouts and scripts for listening.Music, a bluetooth speaker if you like, headphones

  • Yoga mat if you have done a yoga birth preparation and wish to use it in the birth room

  • A thermos or a water bottle

  • Snacks for you and your birthing partner - dried fruit to nibble on for energy, bananas, muesli and energy bars, nuts, sweet drink which does not contain caffeine or sweeteners, basically anything which will give you energy and is easily digestible and broken down. This advice does not apply for women with gestational diabetes

  • Drinking straw

  • A camera and its charger or a mobile phone to capture those special moments

  • Battery operated candles

  • Essential oils (lavender) if you have been using it through pregnancy to relax

  • Massage oils

  • Hair ties

  • Relaxing music or your favourite music list

  • Something to remind you of your home (blanket, bed throw, pillow, picture, teddy bear...)

  • Peanut ball if you have one or a big pillow you can put between your knees

  • Clothes you are planning to birth in and you don't mind getting dirty (e.g. old long t-shirt). Hospital will supply you with a gown.

  • Swimming suits for the birthing pool if you like. However, most mums go into the pool naked or keep only the bra on.

  • Balm for lips as they can get dry especially when using the gas and air

  • Warm socks as your feet can get cold when you are in labour

For your stay in the maternity ward, you will need

For you :

  • 3 or 4 nightgowns / pyjamas with buttons at the front

  • Flip-flops or easy-to-fit shoes

  • Daywear that you are comfortable in, breastfeeding friendly if you wish

  • 2 or 3 nursing bras if you wish to breastfeed

  • Several high waist high knickers (just in case you have a Caesarean section)

  • Your toiletries kit

  • A night light to dim the atmosphere at night

  • A small notebook to write down any questions you may have

  • Most maternity hospitals in Geneva provide mothers with sanitary pads, disposable pants or loose-fitting button-down shirts for the stay. For readers who live in the UK you have to bring your own sanitary pads (the bigger the better) and a towel.

  • Clothes to go home in

  • Book or magazine to read (not guaranteed that you will have the time to even take it out of your bag though. That really depends on baby. )

  • Breastfeeding bras

  • Breastfeeding pillow

For your baby:

  • Most maternity hospitals in Geneva provide everything you need for your baby's first few days.You should therefore only bring one outfit for the outing and a blanket (enough to cover baby well).

  • For UK readers you will have to bring everything baby might possibly need with you:nappies, cotton pads, 3 vests, 3 bodysuits, hat, bottles and formula milk if planning to bottle feed. The only thing we give you in the UK hospital or a birthing centre for a baby is a towel and a blanket.

  • If you wish to give the baby a bottle, it is advisable to bring the ones you have planned at home so that you can test them at the maternity hospital.

  • Car seat to take baby home (that can be brought by your partner on the day of your discharge)

  • Burp cloths

  • Baby keepsake book where you can write your first memories and thoughts if you wish.

A birth plan is a summary of your wishes and plans for labour and birth. It gives the midwife who will be looking after you in labour and idea of what your wishes, priorities and preferences are.

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