Many women choose to pack two bags for the hospital or birthing center trip to deliver their baby. One bag can contain what you'll need for labor and delivery, the other bag for recovery. Most women pack their bags at 8 months pregnant, and stow the "labor" bag in the trunk of the car. On the day you go into labor, you can finish up adding toiletries to the "recovery" bag, grab it and go.
The essentials for the "labor" bag include a picture ID, insurance information, eyeglasses, and your birth plan if you have one. Eyeglasses might come in handy if your contacts bother you during labor.
The "recovery" bag should include a bathrobe, a nightgown (preferably one with nursing access), and a pair of socks and slippers. Don't bring an expensive nightie, because it could very well get soiled during your hospital stay. You might want to bring your own toothbrush and toothpaste, hairbrush, makeup and lotion, even though the hospital may provide these items for you. Don't forget an outfit to wear home. Look for something loose and comfortable, that would have fit you went you were 5 or 6 months pregnant.
Bring something that will help you relax. Many women prefer their own pillows from home, music and something to play it on, or some reading material. You could bring a photo of someone you love to focus on.
For your partner, bring a camera, batteries, charger and memory card. He will need comfortable shoes and clothes, snacks, something to read, and money for parking and vending machines.
Many hospitals have wireless internet in their recovery rooms, but be mindful bringing expensive electronics to the hospital. Keep in mind that you bring your laptop, digital camera, cell phones, etc at your own risk.
After the baby is born, you will want to have some snacks, a comfortable nursing bra and your list of people to call or text after the blessed event happens.
Most hospitals won't let the baby leave the hospital without a car seat. It might be wise to practice with it before the baby is born, and install the base before you go into labor (or let your husband do it). Baby will need an outfit to go home in, including socks and a cap. Something with separate legs (as opposed to a nightgown) will be more conducive to putting the baby in the car seat. Baby will need a blanket if it's cold outside.
You can leave the following items at home:
* Cash, jewelry and valuable items
* Medications, including your prenatal vitamins
* Diapers (the hospital will provide those during your stay, no need to waste your own)
* Breast pump (if you need one during your stay, the hospital will provide it)