Birth Bag Must-Haves: The Hidden Gems You Need to Include

birth bag must haves


When it comes to packing your birth bag, it’s easy to get caught up in the basics- onesies, phone charger, bathrobe… But if you’re planning to birth at a hospital, you might be surprised by the freebies you’ll take home with you. 


So let’s skip the obvious birth bag checklist and dive into some less common, but important items you may want to consider:


First, don’t forget to Share the love 


Create an electronic version of your birth bag list and send it to your people. Open the notes app on your phone, copy & paste the things that matter to you and text it to your support team before game day. An electronic or printed checklist is your lifeline in the event a curveball gets thrown and you don’t have time to pack. This simple step can bring peace of mind during a hectic time.


Important Docs


Copies of your birth plan are clutch, whether you are birthing at a Birthing Center or a Hospital (or even at home). Especially since nursing shift changes are inevitable. Your non-negotiables should be available for all to see, leaving no questions about your plan A.


Paperwork Prep Checklist


  • Copy of Insurance card
  • Copy of Driver’s license
  • Emergency contact list
  • Primary Doctor name & number
  • Postnatal practitioners’ names & numbers
  • Pediatrician name & number
  • List of medications & allergies 


Pre-registration packets- filled out ahead of time! 


Now here comes my soap-box saga:


Here’s the thing, this isn’t just about streamlining the admission process (although I can’t imagine any woman in active labor wanting to take the time to answer annoying questions).  Requesting a copy of the hospital or birthing center paperwork before D-day gives you a chance to comb over the language and make any changes that you see fit.


What exactly am I talking about? I did not feel comfortable signing an agreement that consented to certain things like various newborn procedures or a cesarean section. These were things I felt strongly about, and preferred to talk through- so I crossed them out and put the date and my initials next to each statement. I wasn’t leaving anything to chance. 


Helpful Super-Supplies


  • Chapstick: with the amount of mouth breathing you’ll be doing, you’ll thank me on this one.
  • Homemade Red Raspberry Leaf Tea Ice Cubes: Perfect if ice chips are the only thing you can tolerate. These come with a boost of hydration and the ability to strengthen and tone the uterus, potentially assisting contractions and preventing hemorrhage.
  • Essential Oils: Harness the power of aromatherapy in your labor space.
  • Clary sage to promote healthy contractions (don’t use prior to active labor, this is potent stuff)
  • Black pepper for muscular pain (especially back labor)
  • Frankincense for mindset and mood
  • Peppermint for stomach upset
  • Lavender for relaxation
  • Citrus for energy
  • Frozen Colostrum (and a small syringe): Colostrum harvesting is something I encourage all of my pregnant clients to start around 36 weeks, with the sign-off of their provider.
    • To collect colostrum for freezing, simply either hand express or use your breast pump for about 5-10 minutes per side each day. The goal is to collect a few drops each session. Not only will this make you a heck of a lot more confident using these tools, but it ensures you have a reserve of colostrum on hand if anything prevents you from feeding your baby from your body in those early days.
  • DIY Back Massager: This inexpensive, make-at-home contraption offers targeted counterpressure for pain relief. The secret is the use of slow, repetitive motion to stimulate the release of oxytocin.
    • To make one, grab a pair of tights, (2) tennis balls, and scissors. Cut one leg off, then tie a knot at the tip of the toe. Push a tennis ball into the leg until up against the knot. Secure the ball with another knot on the opposite side. Place the second tennis ball into the nylons, make another knot, then tie the ends together. Ask your partner to practice rolling your lumbar spine like cookie dough!
  • Labor Comb: Uses the Gate Control Theory to distract the brain and redirect pain by activating the pressure points on the inside of your hand (where your nails meet your palm when they are curled into a fist). 


Acupressure Go-Tos for labor:

acupuncture chart

  • Fatty pad between thumb and pointer (early labor & pushing)
  • Low back above the glutes (during intense contraction or experiencing back labor)
  • Inner calf approx. 2 inches above ankle (stalled labor)
  • Middle of foot below the ball (calm stress & anxiety)


  • Electrolytes: Have a ready-to-drink solution or powder on hand and STAY HYDRATED! This is the easiest way to support your body’s energy levels throughout labor. Dehydration causes muscles to fatigue, cramp and spasm resulting in soreness and exhaustion. 


Homeopathic Heroes: 

  • Cimicifuga or Caullophyllum for cervical dilation
  • Pulsatilla and Gelsemium for stalled labor
  • Arnica for pain and fatigue during pushing 
  • Kali Carbonicum for back pain
  • Kali Phosphoricum for exhaustion
  • Olive Oil: For baby’s bottom. Those first meconium poops resemble, well black tar. It’s sticky and super difficult to get off. Coat your infant’s cute tush with EVOO- problem solved.


Before you stress out about your birth bag and it’s contents, take a deep breath and remind yourself that everything you need to birth your baby is already inside of you. 


At the end of the day you can always send someone on a mission to collect your things while you focus on laboring. If anything about packing your hospital bag is stressing you out, chances are there’s something else under the surface that’s causing anxiety. I want to stir the pot and get to the bottom of it with you. 


I want to be the outlet you need to let go of whatever it is that is making you feel overwhelmed. I didn’t use half of the sh*t I brought to the Birthing Center on D-day, and that’s ok. My husband still makes fun of me for it…that’s ok too. 


Comment your favorite not-so-common birth bag items!


Coach Lisa


Howland, G. (2023, April 27). How to do acupressure when you’re in labor. Mama Natural.


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