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Your whole pregnancy is in some way a preparation for labor and birth but have you made practical preparations for this all-important event? Nobody wants to have to pack their bags for the hospital in between contractions! So it is obvious that your hospital bag should be packed in advance, and that this is something pregnant women are best off doing this at the beginning of the third trimester. After all, you never know when you will go into labor, and you want to be able to just grab your bags and leave. What should be packed in that famous hospital bag for labor and birth, then?

1) Personal hygiene items like your toothbrush, shampoo, soap or shower gel, and deodorant are essential. Though some of these things are available at most hospitals, it is always best to bring your own.

2) Hospitals do usually provide baby diapers and post-partum pads for mom, but you might prefer to bring your own, for the way home too. Mind you, a lot of hospitals hand out freebie diapers, so you might not have the need to use them.

3) A comfortable night gown that allows breastfeeding. For obvious reasons, don't bring pajamas, because giving birth in those would be quite the struggle! Some women have special labor skirts, but what you end up wearing is really up to you, as long as it is practical. You will also need post-partum clothes because your maternity clothes will probably be too big after you give birth.

4) Of course, you have been shopping for your baby for months already. You'll need to take enough of those cute newborn outfits to last for the duration of your hospital stay.

5) Your camera to take pictures of your labor (if you wish) and the baby once he or she is born.

6) Your birth plan.

7) Music you think you want to listen to during labor.

8) Anything else that you think might make you more comfortable, and that can personalize the labor and delivery room such as pillows you use at home, a comfort blanket, or scented candles. A little touch of home can really help women who are about to give birth more comfortable!

9) Your newborn's car seat for the ride home. Many hospitals will not let you leave without one, and with good reason your baby's safety is important!

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