You may have noticed everyone is busy telling you what to pack in your hospital bag – myself included! And whilst I always encourage you to edit these lists according to your own situation there are certain items that I would say without question are not needed for your stay in the hospital. So I wanted to share with you the top three items that you won’t need to pack in your hospital bag.
Please don’t take your own stash of Paracetamol or other pain relieving tablets (Co-codamol, Ibuprofen, Aspirin etc) into hospital as it can cause confusion when it comes to the staff giving you medication and can lead to you being overdosed! In the hospital, you will have your own drug card which records every medication that you have been given and at what time you had it. This is so the staff can see if the correct amount of time has elapsed between doses and if you have had your quota for a 24 hour period, so if you’re taking your own pills as well you can see how this can lead to an overdose. It can also cause issues if another patient helps themselves to your medication whilst you’re not by your bedside (yes some inpatients may not be as honest as you) or worse still if a visitors child goes exploring and finds them! (And yes some visitors bring small children who then wander off!) The Midwives do regular drug rounds and you can always ask for pain relief in between if you need it – (I admit the staff do get busy and may not be able to get to you immediately so it might be prudent to ask for pain relief before the discomfort gets too intense) but taking your own pain relief medication in your hospital bag is not the answer.
However, just a note to say that if you are on any other regular medication please take that to the hospital with you and hand it over to the staff. They will get the prescription added to your drug card, lock the medication away and give it to you when you need it on the drug rounds. The Maternity Unit at the Hospital won’t carry every drug known to man so if you forget to take it in, you may risk missing a dose as it can take a while for the ward to acquire the correct medication from the hospital pharmacy.
So you’ve just had your baby and you want to shower and make yourself feel nice and human again, but going for a full wash and blow dry isn’t really on the cards (unless you’re Kate Middleton!). Firstly when you’ve just given birth you may feel a little wobbly on your feet and somewhat delicate, so a quick refresh in the shower is better than a longer time spent washing & conditioning your hair and tipping your head back can make you feel dizzy too! Secondly hospitals don’t allow anything electrical to be plugged into their sockets without PAT testing due to the fire risks (Don’t even think about asking for a PAT test – it just won’t happen!) I’ve been at work in the hospital when someone’s straighteners had been left on the side still switched on and it had triggered the fire alarm (which is massively loud!) so it does happen. Finally, think about the noise of hairdryers when every mum is on tenterhooks trying to get their baby to sleep! So when it comes to hairstyling in hospital think dry shampoo or bobbles!
The first thing that comes to mind here is your scan images; many women keep their baby scan images with the pregnancy notes, so when you hand over your notes as you arrive in labour you will also be handing over your pictures of baby too. You won’t get your pregnancy notes back once you have given birth so it’s important to keep those precious baby images at home.
Please also be aware of items of monetary value such as IPads, jewellery as well as cash and banks cards etc. The Hospital won’t accept any responsibility if anything is lost/stolen during your stay and unfortunately not everyone is honest in this life. (I’m not necessarily referring to fellow inpatients here; just remember that every new mum will be receiving countless visitors.) Unless you are provided with a lockable cabinet you will be leaving your belongings unattended every time you visit the bathroom or dining room. No one wants the stress of missing valuables so it’s best to leave them at home.
When it comes to mobile phones It’s worth making sure you have a pocket in a lightweight dressing gown or your PJs so you can easily take your phone with you wherever you go and as you may not be allowed to plug your charger in, it would be better to take one of those power pack things to charge it from. Phone chargers are the most common thing to be left behind by women when they leave the hospital – we used to have a large bag of chargers in the lost property!
Hope this helps you avoid taking in these items.
Thanks for reading
Jane – The Midwife x
For more blogs on pregnancy, birth and life as a new mum please visit www.naturalbirthingcompany.com/blogs/news
If you are unsure about anything or have any concerns whilst pregnant please speak to your Midwife.