What Should I Have for My Birth?

Whether you are packing a bag for the hospital or a putting together basket full of goodies for a home birth, preparing can be overwhelming. It is easy to feel like you will forget something or overpack and end up needing none of what you brought. In order to help you sort through this, I have created a list of my top ten items that I see used at most births or found to be helpful at my own births. And since everyone’s “top ten” will likely be different, I have also included a list of “honorable mentions” - these are other items you may personally find useful for your birth. Whatever kind of birth you are planning, your experience will be unique to you and your baby. So while reading through this list, take into consideration your own preferences and needs and put together a stellar collection of simple items to help you rock YOUR birth!

Packing your bag for birth.

  1. Lip balm! - Have lip balm in your bag, or your table, in your partners pocket, everywhere - have plenty of it on hand. Especially if you are planning to birth at a hospital, the air will be dry and the last thing you want to be worried about is chapped lips when your focusing on labor.

  2. Lotion -Dry hands and feet are not fun any time, but particularly while in labor… and again, hospitals are dry (if that is where you will be delivering).

  3. Hair ties - Have a bunch of them so you can throw your hair up quickly at any point during your birth. You may get hot during labor or might simply hate the idea of fighting with hair in your face.

  4. Food - Have snacks on hand. Bring snacks for yourself and your partner. It is not evidence-based to avoid eating or drinking during labor. And while I personally believe labor can be enjoyable, there is no way around the fact that it is hard work. It will be important to stay nourished and keep your energy up. If you feel like eating, listen to your body.

  5. Water - See reason listed above! Can you imagine how terrible you would feel trying to get through the most intense workout you have ever done without being hydrated? No thank you! Labor and birth is like a strenuous workout and hydration cannot be undervalued.

  6. Electrolyte drink - I recommend coconut water, homemade labor-aid, or some other natural electrolyte drink to sip on during and after birth to avoid depletion. You can also get clear electrolyte powders to mix into ice chips if birthing in a hospital.

  7. Birth Ball - A birth ball is a great tool for laboring positions or may simply provide the most comfortable place to sit while in labor. Some hospitals and birth centers provide them but may not have enough on hand if multiple mothers are in labor at the same time.

  8. Diffuser - Most hospitals and birth centers will allow you to diffuse your own oils so bring your favorite essential oils and diffuse away!

  9. Lighting - Set up twinkle lights or battery operated candles (I bring battery operated candles in my doula bag).

  10. Camera - While I would love for all births to be captured by a professional birth photographer, the most important thing is that you have pictures and/or video. Designate someone to take photos, even if it is just with your phone.

Other helpful items:


Adult diapers (WAY better than mesh panties)

Essential oils and a carrier oil

Honey sticks or hard candy

Tennis balls in a tube sock (for your back)

Your own clothes for the birth

Pillows and blankets (for hospital births)

Toothbrush and toothpaste

Baby book


Heating pad

Rice packs

Mints (for nausea or your partners breath…)

I’d love to know what others found most useful for their births, so comment below!