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Where Should You Keep The Hospital Bag? An Expert Weighs In

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When you are expecting, you may begin nesting and setting up all the things you’ll need for your newborn as your due date gets closer. These preparatory exercises can be super exciting and fun because they give you a tangible vision of the future, but they're also pretty important. Along with setting up your nursery and stocking up on baby gear, putting together your hospital bag is on your to-do list. But where should you keep the hospital bag? Labor and childbirth aren't known for being predictable, so how can you adequately prepare?

Romper spoke with maternity consultant, birth and postpartum doula, and baby gear expert, Jessica Zablan, owner of the Birth and Baby Company. She says that where you should leave your hospital bag really depends on you and the area you live in. What may work for some may not work for you, so it’s a good idea to evaluate your birth plan to figure out the best solution.

But Zablan does have some suggestions. “My first suggestion would be to leave it in the car because you are more than likely going to be taking the car with you when you head to your birth location.” She notes that if you don't own a car, and use public transportation to get to and from work, you might want to think about keeping a simple bag at work that has an extra change of clothes and a phone charger in it. “Hopefully,” adds Zablan, “someone would be able to head to your house to pick up your actual hospital bag while you are in labor or after baby is born.”

If you don’t have a car, and are at home, then keeping your bag near the front door seems like a good option. This is why it's important to analyze your individual situation before deciding where to keep your hospital bag.

Zablan suggests that if you are taking a makeup bag along with your other hospital necessities, you can keep your everyday makeup and toothbrush in a small bag on your counter so that is easy for your partner/support person to grab the bag before running out the door. (That way your SO won't also grab that foundation you haven't used in two years or the dried up tube of lip gloss and call it makeup.) It’s a relief to know that I’m not the only woman who prioritized makeup during and after my delivery, by the way. A girl’s gotta feel fabulous, right?

After my first pregnancy, I knew exactly what I did and did not need in my hospital bag, and I knew that keeping two bags in my two cars was the best solution. This way, no matter what car I took, I had a bag in it. And as for what to keep in your bag, please do not underestimate the power of good sanitary pads. If you are used to a certain brand or type, it’s important to pack them with you because you will definitely need them postpartum. I also realized how good I felt after showering with my favorite perfumed bath wash and body lotion, along with a new pair of pretty pajamas. I guess it all goes back to feeling good about yourself after going through a very messy, exhausting, and invasive process. So if you have things that bring you comfort when you feel icky, be sure to pack them in your hospital bag.

If you are still unsure about what to pack, Zablan has a labor bag checklist that can help you get your necessities in order. And don’t worry too much if you forget the important stuff. Zablan says that most hospitals supply you with everything you will need right away.

So when should you get packing? On their website, Pampers suggested packing your hospital bag in your third trimester, before week 36, because your baby may come earlier than your due date. This should give you time to think about your birth plan and logistics, so that you can have what you need, when you need it.

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