Our Labor Bag

Want to read more about pregnancy, labor, postpartum life, and newborn needs? Check out these posts:

Best Pregnancy Books

How to Relieve Pregnancy Swelling

Tips for a Natural Hospital Birth

Essential Oils for Labor and Delivery

Postpartum Care Kit

Placenta Encapsulation

How to Beat the Baby Blues

DIY Postpartum Belly Balm

How to Survive Colic

Our Baby Care Items


A huge part of my preparation for getting the baby here was our labor bag. I knew that I would need a well-stocked labor bag with lots of goodies to help with the entire birthing process, natural or not. Through reading various books and researching different mom blogs, I compiled a list of what I believed to be essentials to have on hand during labor. Looking back, I am so thankful I packed this bag early and made sure we had plenty of labor aids on hand because we used nearly all of them very frequently throughout labor.

So if you or someone you love are in the birthing market, my hope is that this list will help you form your own list of necessities. Birth is a terribly awesome thing, and you will be happy to have some comfort-inducing gems tucked away ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now, note that this is just our labor bag, and not all of our hospital bags. We had a separate bag for my clothes and toiletries, a separate bag for Dave’s clothes, toiletries, and snacks, and my diaper bag for the baby’s stuff. But excellent lists for these bagsย have been compiled here and here.

The first component of our labor bag was the bag itself. Since Dave and I didn’t have any extra hands on deck (minus the nurse and midwife), I knew that he would be the one retrieving the items from the labor bag as needed. But I also didn’t want him to be spending minutes years digging through a messy bag looking for what we wanted to use. I needed him by my side at all times and I wasn’t willing to compromise that support. So I dubbed my favorite Thirty-One bag as our labor bag for a few reasons: 1) it’s big and would fit everything; 2) it’s wide and not too deep, so itemsย are easy to locate; and 3) it’s cute (important). From there, I began to fill ‘er up.


Heating Padย // Dynamite for your lower back, especially during early labor.

Essential Oils and Diffuser // I plan to write a separate post solely dedicated to the various oils we used in labor; but suffice it to say that essential oils were an irreplaceable aid throughout all of labor. Even our nurses fell in love with the oils because of how relaxing they made the entire environment.

Hot/Cold Packs // Because you never really know if you’re going to need heat or chill applied to certain areas. Have both on hand!

Freeze-dried Pineapple // These saved me. Right before I began to push, I had been laboring on pitocin for about 19 hours and I was utterly exhausted. I hadn’t eaten in twenty-four hours. I was in desperate need of a boost in blood sugar and calories to get through the last phase of labor. Once I reached 10 cm, Dave snuck a few pieces of freeze-dried pineapple to me and it fueled me to the end! Also, there is some element in pineapple that is similar to the pain-killing ingredient in tylenol, so there’s that benefit as well.

Wooden Massager // We used this both in late pregnancy and labor. The wooden massager allows for a deep and consistent massage. This felt awesome on my lower back, gluts, thighs, and shoulders during labor. The wooden massager really relieved tensions and helped to disperse the intensity during contractions.

Head Scratcher // Ok, this baby is good to have on hand all the time because it’s amazing. Seriously, have you ever tried one? I almost don’t want to encourage you to get one of these because I’m afraid you will no longer want anything in life besides someone to sit by you and use this head scratcher on you forever and ever amen. The head scratcher helped me to relax between contractions and helped my general merriment. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Socks // Because you will have a huge hormonal shift during transition and after birth that will cause you to shake like Shakira and your tootsies will need some warm comfort.

Your Own Pillow and Blanket // Having items that remind you of home (smells, textures, etc.) are super comforting when doing something as vulnerable as giving birth in a strange place. I loved having my own pillow to sleep on after birth, and I was wrapped in my own blanket for most of the labor.

Tennis Balls // Tie three tennis balls in a sock. Use it as counter-pressure on your lower back so your partner’s hands don’t fall off.

Coconut Water // It looks like water so you won’t get fussed at and it provides electrolytes and extra calories for the marathon of labor.

Birthing Ball // Where would I be without our birthing ball? Probably still pregnant. This sucker was terrific at the end of pregnancy, and I spent about 1/3 of my labor sitting and rocking on it. The birthing ball is great to sit on or to lean over while laboring. It takes a lot of pressure off the hips and allows for smoother motions in order to help guide the baby down the birth canal.

Chamomile Tincture // Because relaxation is key. This helps you get there.

Chapstick // All the mouth-breathing you do throughout labor leaves your lips pretty dry. Having a good chapstick on hand is priceless.

Peppermints // Peppermints help with labor in a few ways: 1) they provide calories and you can easily sneak them; 2) the minty flavor refreshens and revives; 3) sucking on the peppermint gives you an action other than the labor to focus on (aka it’s a darn good distraction).

Rags // If you are giving birth in a hospital, then chances are that they will have rags on hand for you. But they were extremely vital to us. Dave and our nurse took turns wetting, re-wetting, and applying cold rags to my forehead during transition. This is what brought me the most relief during that time.

Ok now your turn! What would you include?


  1. I pretty much didn’t touch our labor bag. I had lavender to calm me down and I used it for every contraction in the car (I just inhaled it straight from the bottle – hah!). Looking back I SO should have used it more… and it was a mere 2 feet away from me on the nightstand by the bed. Oops. I did pull out a little crucifix and had that as a visual though. We also had a rebozo that we didn’t use (but we used nightly at the end of pregnancy), the birth ball that was at the center that we didn’t use (but again, I used non stop at the end of pregnancy)… and a few other things. For my next labor I REALLY need to focus on the staying calm aspect… haha

  2. Ohhh I didn’t know much about essential oils when I went through labor the first time. I’m curious to see what you have to say on that ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m loving what I’ve used them for so far so I’m guessing that will be a good addition.

    Totally agree with your other ones ๐Ÿ™‚ The ball and heating pad were life savers. My midwife was fine with me eating (thank goodness since my labor was 23 hours lol) so I didn’t have to worry about sneaking food.

  3. Tennis balls were wonderful so glad I read about those somewhere! Though as the wife of a tennis player I should have known better than to crack open a new jar/bottle ๐Ÿ˜‰ I made my sister run and buy a heating pack once I got to the hospital, but then I couldn’t stand it any longer and needed ice anyway! You really never know what you’ll need to you’re there.
    This time around I really need to use the birth ball more and I want a wooden massager! And good snacks too! Oh and tell us more about oils ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Seriously, if you weren’t like, Miss (or should I say “Mrs.”?) list-maker/teacher, I would have gotten lost way back at the beginning of the post, but no … now I have half of it naturally memorized. Not once have I read your stuff and thought (like I usually do in real life) “Oh Gosh, please don’t let that happen to me …” Thanks for being so ‘approachable’ about all of this, it’s like a gift ๐Ÿ™‚
    ~ Clara

  5. I am a Doula, and have been off and on since 1990. I love your list! I have never thought of frozen pineapple but will now. I would add Arnica Oil for massage of back, belly, legs. Also good for OB or Midwives to put on warm cloth when providing pelvic floor compress for pushing.

    Most of my Doula families are in my Prenatal Yoga class. I am also a Rebozo Novice, and share techniques when visiting with my Doula families. I have found the Rebozo to be the only thing I really need.

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