Birth Essentials

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By Lucy Woodbridge, founder of Butterbean

6 minute read

Labour and Birth Essentials for Mums-to-Be: What to Pack for the Big Day

When you're expecting a baby, preparing for labour and birth is a significant part of the journey. Whether you're planning to have your baby in a hospital, birth centre, or at home, having a well-packed bag ready can make the process smoother and more comfortable. In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the essential items you should include in your labour and post-birth bag. So, let's get started and ensure you're well-prepared for the big day.

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Start Early: Packing at 36 Weeks

It's never too early to start preparing for labour and birth. By the time you reach 36 weeks of pregnancy, it's a good idea to have your bag ready. This way, you'll be well-prepared for any unexpected trips to the hospital or birth centre.

Hospital Policies and Personal Touch

Hospitals often have varying policies on what you can bring with you when you're in labour. While you may want to make the environment more personal by bringing items from home, keep in mind that space can be limited. Consider bringing a few personal items, such as your own pillows, to add a touch of comfort to your surroundings.

Two Bags Strategy

Consider packing two bags: one for labour and the immediate hours after birth, and another for your stay on the postnatal ward. If you're driving to the hospital, you can leave the second bag in the car, as you may not need it if you have a straightforward birth and leave the hospital on the same day.

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Comfort Essentials for Labour

Here are some comfort essentials to include in your labour bag:

- Comfy Dressing Gown

A lightweight dressing gown can come in handy for pacing hospital corridors during early labour and on the postnatal ward.

- Slip-on Slippers

Backless shoes, slippers, or flip-flops are easy to put on and take off without the need to bend down, making them ideal for labour and postnatal recovery.

- Toasty Socks

Surprisingly, your feet can get cold during labour. Ensure your toes stay warm with soft, thick socks that have non-slip soles for easy movement.

- Old Nightdress or T-shirt

Labour can be messy, so opt for an old nightdress or a loose T-shirt. It's wise to bring a spare if you have one.

- Massage Oil or Lotion

Massage can alleviate backache during labour and provide support from your birth partner. Learn the best techniques in our article on massage during labour.

- Birthing Ball

Using a birthing ball allows for different positions and can help manage contraction pain. While some hospitals provide their own, you might prefer to bring your familiar one.

- Lip Balm

Keep your lips moisturised in the warm labour ward, especially if you're using gas and air for pain relief.

- Snacks and Drinks

Pack snacks and drinks to keep your energy levels up during labour. Slow-release carbohydrates and isotonic sports drinks are excellent choices. Even if you don't need them, your partner may.

- Music

Music can be a relaxing companion during labour. Create a relaxing playlist on your phone to help you stay calm. Don't forget your charger!

- Distractions

Bring along items like books, a tablet, or magazines to help pass the time. Fun apps on your phone can also be a welcome distraction if labour progresses slowly.

- Hairbands or a Clip

If you have long hair, you may want to tie it up to stay cool. A soft fabric headband can keep it off your face if it's too short to tie up.

- Pillows

Hospitals may not have enough pillows to ensure your comfort. Consider bringing a C-shaped pillow to provide extra support when breastfeeding your baby.


If you're looking for products then you're in the right place! Here are our top recommendations of birth products you need in advance of meeting your little one:

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Butterbean Hypnobirthing Course

Our very own multi award-winning hypnobirthing course will prepare your body and mind for a confident and informed birth. Learn all about your incredible body, find out the facts and prepare to meet your baby.

We were recently shortlisted in the 2024 Mother&Baby Awards and have been awarded 'Most Innovative Maternity Product' in the 2023 Loved by Parents awards.

Sign up today and enjoy 10% off with code WELCOME10

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Perimom Perineal Massager

Reach your perineum with ease using the Perimom.

This clever piece of kit is deigned to be an extension to your arm making it easier to reach down there when it's time to prepare for birth. The ergonomic design and oil canal make the Perimom easy to hold and without the usual mess of perineal oil.

We love Perimom!

10% off with code BUTTERBEAN10 (affiliate link)

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Yuula Essential Toolkit

The Yuula Essentials Toolkit for Pregnancy and Birth is your one stop shop for releasing precious endorphins!

A handy little travel pouch containing our original product The Yuula Birth Comb with instruction card and their NEW collection of 21 positive affirmation cards, beautiful enough to decorate your home with.

Use the code BUTTERBEAN10 for 10% off!

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HotTea Mama

HotTea Mama have an incredible selection of teas which are designed to support women's well-being. Our pick for this guide is 'The Final Push' rasberry leaf tea.

Rasberry leaf tea is linked to bringing on labour and shortening the second stage of labour (the pushing stage).

HotTea Mama has won multiple awards for their delicious teas. Be sure to check them out!

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BABYGO® Peanut Ball

Your favourite companion during the birth of your little one, the BABYGO® Peanut Ball allows your labour to progress at a steady rate, all from the comfort of your bed! Help reduce the risk of tearing, lessen the chances of requiring intervention and also aid in avoiding the need for a C-section. Our peanut ball can reduce your labour time, regulate your emotions and save your energy for when you're ready to push. A great option if you’re having an epidural, have pregnancy complications, or if you're just plain tired! Because face it, giving birth is hard work!’

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BABYGO® Birthing Ball

Join the thousands of women who are combatting sore hips, sciatica, PGP and SPD with our award winning Birthing Ball. Don’t let pregnancy pains hold you back, try our simple ways to make a positive difference and stay on the go. Your new best friend during pregnancy, labour and postpartum, you don’t want to forget this in your hospital bag. Our dedicated 100 Page Pregnancy Book helps guide you through each trimester and even into your postpartum journey, with over 40 trimester specific exercises and nutrition guidance. Available in 7 colours!

Prepare for Birth with Butterbean

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Learn all about your incredible body with butterbean. Our multi-award winning hypnobirthing course will equip you with everything you need for the birth of your dreams. No matter how you want to give birth, we've got you covered!

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