What I Pack in My Birth Center Bag


My first two births were wonderful homebirths in Ohio, and I had a super basic emergency bag packed for them in case we had needed to transfer during or after them. Due to a relocation to a state with non-evidence based birthing laws, we are going to be using a free-standing birth center for this baby.

This is my first time packing a real bag to go elsewhere for birth. In my typically minimalistic way, I am taking the bare minimum that I think we will need, while still having what would be helpful on hand. I will update this after Peanut is born with things that I wish I would have had, or things I didn’t need after all.

The Bag

Our family has one backpack. It is always our carry-on bag for flights, backpack for hikes, and now our birth center bag! There is nothing fancy or special about it – I’ve owned it since I was like 15, but it is in fine shape and does the job, so that’s what I’m using.

Random Items

The odds and ends are:

  1. A small jar of holy water
  2. A crucifix
  3. My favorite glass water bottle
  4. My birth plan with instructions for baptism in case of emergency and Father’s number in case I need a priest
  5. A phone charger
  6. A sack for dirty clothes to be washed at home
  7. A 3 ring bider with my beautiful set of 25 birth affirmations for Catholic mamas that I made, found here on Etsy!


Our birth center is freestanding, so it doesn’t have access to a hospital cafeteria, but it has a kitchen we can store anything we want for eating during and after birth. I don’t eat a ton during labor, but I will eat some, I want some snacks in case Ethan or the doula needs a bite, and I’m always famished once baby is born. I almost feel like I have too much, but it will be all we have access to until we go home, since I don’t want to be sending Ethan out to grab stuff.

Packed are:

  1. Chomps beef sticks (these are super clean, grass-fed beef sticks!)
  2. Lara and fruit bars
  3. In advance we will leave the following at the birth center in their fridge/freezer:
    * Organic yogurt cups
    * Some celebratory SanPellagrinos, something I pretty much never drink except to celebrate a new baby!
    * A pizza from our favorite local shop already frozen and stored in a gallon ziplock baggie in their freezer. The doula will go get it out to thaw when we arrive. (I realize this isn’t some nourishing first meal, it is just what I always crave when baby is born and mama gets what mama wants after such a feat!

For Baby

Packed for baby are:

  1. Two outfits, both of which are adorable Rainbow Baby outfits. I’m sure only one is necessary, but I figured I would bring two in case.
  2. One hat in case it is cold when we leave.
  3. Three cloth diapers, as well as a few cloth wipes and a wetbag.
  4. A baby blanket which is in the installed carseat in the car in case it is cold.

For Daddy

I thought Ethan might like to be able to freshen up a little before coming home, so for him I packed:

  1. A toothbrush
  2. A clean change of socks and under clothes

For Me

I need more packed than anyone! The birth center will provide mesh underwear for me to wear immediately after and home, as well as essential oils to use during labor. Here is what I have in the bag:

  1. A clean change of clothes
  2. My swim shirt for the birthing pool
  3. A nursing bra
  4. A toothbrush and toothpaste
  5. Lip balm
  6. After Ease tincture for after birth pains
  7. A cold pack peri pad to wear on the drive home
  8. A little bottle of shampoo and soap so I can shower before coming home
  9. A shower cap (I tend to spend a ton of time in and out of the shower laboring and don’t want wet hair the whole time)
  10. A small brush and a couple hair elastics and clips

I feel like this seems like a lot of stuff when I type it all out, but it does all completely fit into the backpack, so I feel that if everything for Ethan, Peanut, and myself can fit into one backpack, that should be okay.

I am so excited for the surreal moment of grabbing the bag and heading out the door to go meet my baby!

3 thoughts on “What I Pack in My Birth Center Bag

  1. Shower cap was a game changer for me! It only took me 4 births to realize just how much nicer labor is without sopping wet hair. This looks like a great list. The only thing I would add is extra socks—I have gotten my socks wet during almost all of my labors and am always grateful when I can pull out a fresh pair.


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