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What to Pack in your Hospital Bag for a Scheduled C-Section

When you’re planning for a scheduled C-section, it’s important to make sure you have everything you need prepared in advance. Having comforting and useful items to hand can make the run-up to your section and your recovery far more comfortable and reduce stress. You’ll then be free to concentrate on bonding with your beautiful new baby.

Most post-natal facilities have shared wards, so bear in mind that your space will be limited. You’ll probably only have a small cupboard beside your bed for storage unless you happen to be giving birth in one of the few NHS hospitals with private postnatal rooms. Therefore, it’s wise to pack a small bag with the essentials to keep with you and keep the rest in your vehicle or ask your birth partner to bring things in as you need them.

Sometimes, planned vaginal births end up in an unplanned C-section. Planning for this potential event when you’re packing for the hospital can provide peace of mind and prevent you from finding yourself without the things you need.

Essentials for Before the C-Section

Having a scheduled C-section means that you’ll know roughly when you’re going to have your baby. However, there will still be a certain amount of waiting around. Your hospital will ask you to arrive a while before your section is scheduled, and it’s not unusual for things to be delayed if there are a lot of women in having babies at the same time as you. So, it’s a good idea to have some things with you to pass the time…

Birth Plan…

Many women find it helpful and comforting to look through their birth plan to prepare for their section and talk to their care team about their wishes during the procedure.

Mobile Phone…

Having your phone around is handy if you find it distracting to chat with friends and family or watch videos. You may also wish to bring a tablet or other device to watch TV shows or movies. Don’t forget your chargers either!

Something to Read…

You may have to wait several hours before you go to theatre for your C-Section, to keep your mind of things pack things such as magazines or books to read.

Essentials For You for After the C-Section

After a C-section, your care team will help keep you as comfortable as possible by giving you pain relief. They will support you to stand up and walk around as soon as possible to improve your recovery and make it easier to look after your baby.

Bringing these things to the birth will help keep you comfortable after your baby is born…

Maternity Pads…

Like with vaginal birth, you will have some post-natal bleeding known as lochia. Maternity pads are essential for keeping you clean and comfortable until the bleeding stops. Bring several packs to the hospital and keep a further supply for when you take your baby home.

High-Waisted Underwear…

High-waisted knickers sit above your wound and won’t irritate it like regular knickers. Plain cotton knickers without any bows or other trim around the waist are ideal for post-section recovery. Alternatively, some women prefer to wear high-waisted disposable incontinence knickers. While these knickers aren’t primarily designed for post-birth bleeding, they provide good protection and can be ripped off, which may be more comfortable than bending over to remove your knickers if you’re sore.

Breast Pads…

Many women leak milk from their breasts after birth, especially from the opposite breast during breastfeeding. Bring a large supply of breast pads to stop your clothes from getting wet.

Nursing Bras…

Two or three nursing bras make it easier to breastfeed after birth. Pack one in the size above, as you may go up a bra size as you begin producing milk.

Baby Wipes…

It can be tricky taking a shower straight after a C-section, and baby wipes can help you freshen up in bed. They’re also essential for changing newborn nappies.

Comfortable Clothing…

After a C-section, you’ll want to wear loose, soft clothes that don’t feel tight around the waistband. Straight after birth, you’ll need a couple of loose nighties, and you can change into pyjama bottoms or joggers and a top when you’re ready to move around. Button-down styles or clothes designed specifically for nursing can make it easier to breastfeed. It’s worth taking a thin dressing gown as well to keep you warm.

Nipple Cream…

Breastfeeding can make your nipples sore when you first start, and a lanolin-based cream can reduce discomfort.

Blanket or Shawl…

It’s common to feel cold after a C-section because of the epidural. Bringing something to wrap around you can keep you cosy and is useful if you prefer to have your top off to keep your baby skin-to-skin but still want to cover up. A good alternative is a nursing wrap, like a cardigan but with a loose, voluminous front to wrap around you and baby.

Washbag…

Pack all the essentials you need for your personal hygiene, including toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, shower gel, and shampoo. Lipbalm and moisturiser are also handy to have, as the ventilation systems in hospitals can be very drying.

Pillows…

Most hospitals only supply one pillow on the post-natal ward. Bringing extras from home can help you feel more comfortable, and a nursing pillow is useful for getting your baby into a suitable position for breastfeeding without straining your back.

Eye Mask and Earplugs…

These items can make it easier to rest and relax on a busy post-natal ward.

What to Bring For Your Baby

Newborn babies usually stay with their mothers on a post-natal ward (unless they need extra medical care) Your baby will need a few items after birth…

Clothing…

Stretchy, soft sleepsuits are comfortable for newborns. In chillier months, your baby may need a vest as well. Have plenty ready because newborn babies tend to bring up milk (possetting) and produce surprisingly liquid poops. Don’t forget to pack an outfit for your baby to travel home in, and they may need a cardigan and coat/snowsuit depending on the weather.

Socks…

If you don’t use sleepsuits with stitched-on feet.

Nappies…

Your baby will get through a lot of nappies in the early days, and you could find yourself getting through up to 12 a day when they’re a newborn. Some people prefer to use reusable cloth nappies, but you may find disposables more convenient while you’re in the hospital.

Hat…

Newborn babies get cold easily and lose a lot of their body heat through their heads. Your baby will need a hat when they’re newly born, even in warm weather.

Muslins…

Muslin squares are incredibly useful for all sorts of purposes when you have a newborn baby. You can use them for mopping up any possetting and protecting your shoulder from baby sick when you’re burping them. They can also be handy for placing inside your bra while you’re nursing if you run out of breast pads and as useful makeshift bibs when your baby is older.

Blanket…

Post-natal wards are generally warm, but a small blanket is useful if the weather outside the hospital is cold.

Car seat…

Your baby will need a newborn car seat to travel home safely. Most hospitals check that you have a suitable car seat for your baby before allowing you to go home in a car.

What Will My Birth Partner Need?

Your partner will also need some things with them to keep them going during the birth and post-natal period…

Food and Drink…

Ask your partner to pack things for them to eat and drink before and after the birth, as most hospitals don’t provide meals and refreshments for birth partners. You will be nil-by-mouth before your section, but your partner can help you by packing some high-fibre snacks and a few treats for you once baby arrives.

Phone and Camera…

Your partner will need their phone to keep in touch with loved ones and let them know when your baby arrives. If you want, you can also ask them to take photos or videos of the birth. However, not all hospitals allow photography in the operating theater, so they should ask permission first.

Clothes and Toiletries…

Most hospitals don’t have facilities for birth partners to stay overnight. If you are giving birth in a hospital where overnight stays are permitted, they should pack toiletries and a change of clothes.

Overview

I hope this guide has helped you prepare for your scheduled C-Section. To make sure you don’t forget anything why not download our FREE Hospital Bag Checklist? available on our Free Printables page…