Preparing for labor: Important items you should never forget to pack


By the third trimester, you may be feeling more anxious about the arrival of your baby. And, if it's your first pregnancy, it's likely you're nervous about the delivery process and whether you're ready to be a mom. Since these final weeks are already jam-packed with emotion and excitement, you may want to pack your bags for the hospital at least a month before your due date so you'll be ready to head out the door once the contractions are coming strong and fast.

A bag for you
There are several essentials to pack, starting with your health insurance card. Hospital bills can run high very quickly and having proof of insurance on hand can help the process go smoothly. Most hospitals require a two-night overnight stay for a normal labor and delivery, so be sure to bring toiletries, such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant and hair brush. Occasionally doctors recommend that women walk around to help the labor process go quicker, so you'll want to have a robe and some slippers on hand to stay comfortable. Bring a nursing bra and breastfeeding book with you if you want to start nursing at the hospital. You may also want to include a magazine and snacks for any family members who come to support you, including your partner, parents and any older children you may have.

A bag for baby
Have an outfit ready for your newborn baby once he or she arrives. Blankets, mittens, socks and a hat can keep the newborn warm and comfortable for the ride home. You can even give your little one his or her first stuffed animal. Bringing a set of diapers and wipes will also be helpful. Also, don't forget about an important item that can't be put into a bag – a car seat. This is because most states require new parents to have an approved one in their vehicle before leaving the hospital and bringing baby home.

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