Nearing your birth date? Essentials you need to pack in your hospital bag

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Make sure you've got everything you need to welcome your baby into the world

Hospital bag

© Getty - Handbag

Don't leave it till the last minute! Get organised and pack your hospital bag with these essentials for you and baby.

• Your midwife and hospital appointment record and notes

• An old baggy t-shirt or loose nightie to wear in labour - don't buy anything new, labour isn't glamorous and you'll probably get whatever you're wearing a bit messy (nice!)

• Warm socks and a cardigan - as labour gets stronger some women get a bit chilly!

• Hairbrush and hair bands/alice band - keep your hair off your face and out of the way

• Washbag with flannel, deodorant, shower gel, toothbrush and toothpaste and lip balm. All that huffing and puffing can leave your lips feeling very dry and sore, particularly if you're using gas and air

• Snacks and drinks for you and your labour partner - we're not talking a packed lunch, but some high energy foods such as cereal bars and plenty of bottled water will keep you both going

• Camera to capture that first precious picture - chances are you'll look a complete sweaty mess with birds nest hair, but it's a moment you won't want to forget as you hold your baby for the first time

• Nightie or pyjamas and light dressing gown for after the birth - postnatal wards tend to be hot so don't bring anything too thick or fluffy

• Disposable knickers and large-size maternity pads - Sexy? No. Necessary? Yes. You'll need to wear maternity pads for a good few weeks after the birth, tampons are not recommended as they can cause infection

• Nursing bra and breast pads

• Newborn nappies and clothes for your baby - make sure you have socks, scratch mittens and a hat as well as vests and babygrows and don't forget a baby blanket!

If you know that you are having a Caesarean birth, remember to pack enough clothes and pyjamas for a few days.

Think about how you'll be getting baby home. If you have a car you'll will need a car seat so make sure the one you choose is suitable for newborn babies and have a practise before the big day so that you know how it fixes into your car.

For more information on pregnancy health and advice go to www.nhs.uk/Start4Life
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