I Don’t Have My Hospital Bag – Now What?

Occasionally a woman ends up at the hospital in labor or for an induction without her hospital bag she so carefully packed. It could be due to membranes releasing at work or on errands, something that warrants being sent from a doctor appointment straight to the hospital, or a labor that comes on quickly with no time to go back home. It could be you were a home or birth center birth with an unexpected transfer.  No need to fret, however, because here are some suggestions for comfort measures that can be used straight from the hospital room.

  • Ask for the hospital yoga/birth ball, heating pads, and/or squat bar
  • Heat a moistened towel to hot in the microwave and wrap in a chux underpad for a quick hot pack
  • Use protective gloves as a last minute ice pack — simply fill with ice cubes and cold water and tie the end off
  • Double layer a second gown around your back to act as a robe
  • Wear non skid/slip hospital socks instead of your packed and forgotten slippers
  • Forget your Rebozo? A sheet tied with knots in it will do in a pinch
  • Instead of massage tools you can get a soda can from the family refrigerator and use for counterpressure (don’t open it later!)
  • A hairbrush or comb in your purse can also be used for acupressure or massage techniques
  • Take advantage of the shower or tub if there is no medical reason to prevent you from water relief
  • Check to see if the hospital TV has a relaxation channel with soothing images and music (in lieu of your Ipod)
  • See if your hospital provides mesh panties for comfort and possibly leaking membranes
  • Use an emesis basin (pictured below) to keep ice and cold water in and multiple washcloths for cooling relief on your head and neck


A few precautions: when using heat or ice always be sure you have a protective layer such as a towel or gown between the pack and your skin. In the throes of labor try to be conscious if something is feeling too cold or hot or ask whoever is with you to check in occasionally.

In addition to the above suggestions ask for extra towels and pillows. You are paying for the hospital room and any amenities so go ahead and use them!  Most hospitals have additional tools like birth balls, you may simply  have to ask for them.

Has this happened to you? Share your suggestions in the comments!

All Rights Reserved, Kimberly Sebeck, Knoxville Doula, 2014


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