I get asked so often by expecting families what to pack in their birth bag.  And the question pops up all over Facebook groups as well!  I remember being pregnant with my first and feeling overwhelmed, wondering the same thing.  What if we forget something?  What if we have too much?  Each person may want different things, but here are 3 things you shouldn’t be without when you give birth.

Your 3 Birth Bag Essentials

1.  A supportive and prepared team.  OK, so I know they won’t fit in your bag.  But this is your best asset.  Make sure you have a team who understands your wishes and is ready to support you the whole way through.  If your partner is nervous about this, that’s OK, but consider hiring a doula 🙂  You’ll be busy doing the hard work of birthing and you’ll rely on your team more than you might imagine to take care of everything else.

2.  A familiar comfort item.  This will be different for everyone.  But quite often the transition from home to hopsital during labor can interfere with labor progressing for a time and slow things down.  Your hormones play a big role in this and when you enter an unfamiliar place, your oxytocin (the main hormone that keeps labor rolling) won’t flow as freely until you feel safe and comfortable again.  So bring your own pillow or blanket, some nice battery-operated tea lights, a photo of your family, your favorite music, or anything else that makes you feel safe and at home.

3.  An open mind.  OK, this doesn’t fit in your bag either.  But I have to tell you that labor and birth are mysterious and they have a mind of their own.  As a doula and mother, I’ve learned time and again that as much as you plan and prepare and visualize your perfect birth, something will inevitably be a little different than you imagined.  If you can approach your birth experience with an open mind and the ability to surrender to the process that your baby and body need, you’ll have a more satisfying and positive experience.

I know you’ll show up with a full bag, containing much more than I’ve included on this list.  (And if I’m your doula, I might even run back out to your car to get the remainder of your stuff.)  And that’s OK.  But as you’re packing, just remember to include these 3 things as you plan for and get excited to meet your baby!