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As you move into the last few weeks of pregnancy it's time to start thinking about the birth.
The thought of meeting your baby is starting to feel very real, especially when you begin to pack your hospital bag.
We've gathered together some essential items that you should take with you to hospital.
Whether you're having a water birth, a c-section or a vaginal birth, these are the bits and bobs you need to get you through labour.
These birthing accessories may not seem obvious, but they can make a whole world of difference!
1. Reusable Drinking Straws (8-pack)
*Reusable straws made from bendy BPA-free plastic
*Comes with eight straws, two cleaning brushes and a carry pouch
*Dishwasher safe and easy to keep clean
Staying hydrated during labour is important for both you and baby. In fact, if you don’t drink enough and become dehydrated, your energy will be depleted to the point that your labour may slow. Make sure you take sips little and often – and having bendy straws with you will make it easier for your birthing partner to hold the cup while you focus on your contractions
2. Hair bands
*Hair bobble that doesn't snag
*The unique Invisibobble spiral shape places uneven pressure around the ponytail to avoid kinks
*Three bobbles in every pack
If you leave home in a hurry, it might not occur to you to throw in a hair band, but this simple thing may suddenly seem vitally important during labour. At a time when you are probably going to feel a little hot and sticky, the last thing you will want is hair in your face, so being able to scrape it into a ponytail will provide relief. Make sure you have a few packed in your bag in case you forget on the day – these are a great buy as they won’t pull on the scalp.
3. Lip balm
*Lip care value duo pack by Burt's Bees
*Made from natural ingredients which condition the lips with vitamin E
*Set contains one vanilla and one peppermint lip balm
Lips tend to become dry, sore and uncomfortable during labour, due to increased mouth breathing and use of gas and air, so treat yourself to a lip balm that you can use between contractions. This is a good choice as it contains no artificial nasties and will help to ease any waves of nausea with organic peppermint extracts.
This natural lip balm is enriched with 100% natural ingredients, and formulated without parabens, phthalates, petrolatum or SLS.
4. Aromatherapy oils
*Set of eight aromatherapy oils which can be used in a diffuser
*Great as an allergen-free alternative to scented candles
*Set comes with 100ml of tea tree, lemongrass, orange, lavender, eucalyptus, rosemary, peppermint and frankincense oils
Purchasing a few small bottles of essential oil can help with a myriad of symptoms. Lavender Oil will help to relax body and mind, Peppermint Oil will ease nausea, Clary Sage can encourage more effective contractions, and Frankincense is great for calming emotions. Use the oil in a diffuser, sniff on a handkerchief, or add to massage oils or lotions in advance.
5. Snacks (12-pack)
*Healthy but hearty snack bars which are low in sugar
*Made from primarily nuts, with natural sweeteners and no gluten
*Great for nibbling on while you're at the hospital as they're packaged so conveniently
When it comes to snacks, think along the lines of healthy, energy-boosting, and satisfying. Granola bars, crackers, honey sticks, rice cakes spread with a little jam, and cereal are easy to pack and give you a welcome boost in energy. Don’t forget to pack something more substantial for your partner, as it’s important their energy levels don’t wane either!
*Kindle Paperwhite which is waterproof and lightweight
*Easy to transport device which can store hundreds of books
*Great for passing the time while you're in bed
It might not cross your mind that giving birth can be boring, but if you have a slow labour or go into hospital to be induced, there’ll be long periods when you have nothing to do! Packing a stack of magazines, a good book, or a Kindle can help you to relax as you wait for time to pass – and relaxation is one of the most effective ways to help a labour to progress. Why not treat yourself to a Kindle in advance and load it with some books you’ve been meaning to get stuck into?
7. Maternity knickers (seven-pack), £5
*Pack of seven postpartum knickers
*Natural and safe for mum, as they're free from harsh chemicals
*Hygienic and comfortable, they prevent any chafing on sensitive or sore skin
While there might be some provided at hospital, it will be comforting to know that you have your own good quality, heavy duty knickers. This pack contains seven pairs of disposable knickers, which are free from nasty chemicals and made from soft, hygienic material..
8. Maternity Nursing Nightgown, £29.95
*Simple, comfortable nightie with easy access for nursing your baby
*Straight silhouette with an easy fit
*Available in black, grey, pink or grey striped
Make sure that you have a comfortable nightie or set of pyjamas that you can bring in your hospital bag when you have your baby. This nightie is made for nursing, so it will be easy to breastfeed your baby once they're born. It's comfy for you, too, and the fabric won't irritate your skin.
9. Eye mask and earplugs, £1.28
*Contoured shape blocks out the light perfectly and is comfortable to wear
*Comes with earbuds in plastic container
*Doesn't put pressure on your eyes
Having a baby is exhausting, and you'll want to give your body the best chance of a restful sleep as possible both before and after your baby is born.
So just pop on this eye mask, put the earbuds in and enjoy a relaxing nap or overnight sleep even on a busy hospital ward. It's also useful for keeping after you leave the hospital for when you travel or just for using at home.
10. Labour massage oil, £11.82
*Aromatherapy blend of clary sage, jasmine and bergamot essential oils
*Designed to relax you during labour and ease anxiety
*Soft and moisturising on the skin, made from natural sunflower oil
This massage oil is designed specifically for women who are going into labour. It comes with a step-by-step guide to pregnancy massage so your partner or friend can help out with giving you a little TLC. Not only will it help you to feel physically better, the oils can be really helpful for easing any mental stress or anxiety you're experiencing.
Want to read more about pregnancy?
- Your complete pregnancy skin and haircare kit
- The best products to help you relax during pregnancy
- How to buy the best pregnancy pillow for your bump (and back!)