COVID-19: Your maternity bag checklist

Packing for that big day is exciting, but can be nerve-racking, especially in these uncertain times. We’ve compiled a checklist for you in preparation for baby’s arrival – including some protective essentials.

Most of what you will need to pack will stay the same, say the experts. However, some hospitals require expectant mothers to wear a mask, even in labour. So pack a couple of cloth masks as well as other sanitary items, such as hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes. Some hospitals will supply a list of essential items beforehand.

 What to pack in your hospital bag

• Bathrobe and nightie
• Bath towel
• Face cloth
• Socks
• Slippers
• Plastic sandals for use in bathrooms
• Lip balm
• Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, body lotion, etc.)
• Books or magazines (to avoid theft, don’t bring tablets and other tech)
• Change of underwear and clothes
• Heavy-duty maternity pads
• Phone (with data), charger and earphones if you want to listen to music
• Snacks and juice boxes
• Water bottle
• Pen
• Sanitising wipes
• Cloth masks
• Hand sanitiser (at least 70% alcohol) or a bottle of surgical spirits (about 80% alcohol).

* Check with your hospital to confirm what documentation you need.
** Check ahead to confirm if you’ll need any other protective equipment.
Some hospitals are only allowing one birth partner so check with them beforehand. Your birth partner might also want to pack a few things for them to help support you.

What your partner must pack

• ID
• Pen
• Cloth masks
• Hand sanitiser
• Phone (with data) and charger
• Snacks
• Spare cash
• Water bottle
• Reading material
• Change of underwear and/or clothes
• Basic toiletries
• Small pillow.

What to pack inside your baby’s bag.

• Disposable nappies
• Cotton wool
• Bottle and teats (if you won’t be breastfeeding or in case you can’t)
• Bum cream
• Vests
• Babygrows (at least four, as they get soiled easily)
• Socks and baby beanie
• Baby blanket
• Car seat (if you’re going home by car or private taxi).

 Need to know

• Length of hospital stay. Hospitals are encouraging healthy moms to recover at home instead of at the hospital. Women who’ve had natural births are advised to stay just one day and two days for those who’ve had a C-section, although this may vary
• Cleaning supplies. Hospitals are equipped with surface cleaning products
• Linen and food. Hospitals will supply bed linen and a blanket. In some countries they will also supply food.
• Gloves. Gloves are made to be disposable (medical staff only wear them once). If you reuse them they can carry germs. It’s better to practise good hygiene by washing your hands often with soap or disinfectant.

Booking and documents

Government hospitals in some countries* may require you to book your bed early – preferably at about eight weeks into your pregnancy. Take with the following when booking:
– Your clinic card (or doctor’s referral letter)
– ID
– Proof of residence
– Employment certificate or other proof of income
– If you’re not working you need three consecutive current bank statements.
• It’s important to give the correct details and not to alter your clinic card yourself.
• You may then receive a hospital appointment card along with your registration number and payment classification.
* Check the hospital requirements beforehand in your country/area.
Disclaimer: All information regarding protective gear and COVID-19 was correct at the time of publishing.

Compiled by: Rufaro Fanadzo