Going to the hospital (especially for a Cesarean Section) can be a scary and intimidating bump in your road towards parenthood. Putting the right things in your hospital bag can prepare you for a wonderful stay that finds you prepared but not overwhelmed with stuff.
Of course, this is for people who have a planned cesarean section, but it’s important to remember that, on average, 33% of moms have a c-section, so this is just good info for all moms to briefly run through as they approach their due date.
How do I know all this? I’ve been an L&D nurse since 2001 and I have been an RN since 1998 #dinosaur. So, I really understand what you’ll want and won’t end up with a bag of stuff you have to paw through in order to find what you really need.
Come with me for your pregnancy journey:
And, if you’re wondering what happens in a C-section I have a WHOLE chapter on c-sections in my prenatal class. One of the best resources around there for what to expect!
I also love this interview I did with Katy about her unexpected cesarean.
C-section Hospital Bag
Don’t forget to check out my other bags I recommend:
- After the baby bag (this post will supplement that one)
- What to pack in the diaper bag for the hospital
- What to pack in hospital bag for dad
- I also have a pre-baby hospital bag (which you won’t need to focus on as much)
Things you don’t need in your c-section bag
The main difference of things you don’t need is what you will need in labor.
You really likely won’t need any time-consuming items if you have a scheduled c-section. That means no playing cards, no videos, none of that.
Yes, it is possible that you’ll be bored after the baby, but I find that you can either sleep or fill out some boring paperwork after the baby is born. I have rarely seen any new moms playing cards in my almost 20 years of doing this job.
You still will likely want a tablet and phone, as I fear regular TV channels don’t hold a candle to Netflix, so having other options can be nice.
Don’t miss my regular hospital packing list (just be sure to add the four things below to it):
I recommend you have a small bag for pre-surgery (could even be your regular purse if it has some room), and one for postpartum. Dad can run go grab the postpartum bag after the baby (it’s also often nice to get some fresh air as well).
**Some doctors ask that you bring your own health information to the hospital, be SURE to do this if this is the case, it’s very helpful for the medical team. Bring that, and your birth plan if you have it!
Pre Surgery Cesarean Section Bag
This bag should be super small, and mainly just have my big three.
- Phone Charger &/or external charger
- Something to pull up your hair with
- Lip Balm because hospitals make dry, dry lips! This one is my favorite, and I love this one if you want a bit of color.
Of course, you also want your camera (we allow pictures as soon as the baby is out in the OR, and only photos of the baby (not the surgical area). This one is small and tiny and I love it! Of course, if your cell phone takes good pictures, go with that.
The MAIN difference is going to come with your postpartum C-section bag
**Wondering what to expect in the hospital after having the baby — my course covers it all in-depth!
Postpartum Cesarean Bag
Once the baby is out, your recovery will be different from people who used the vaginal exit area. The good news is that babies have lots of ways to come out — and your postpartum nurses are prepared to help you with either way!
Here are 4 Things I’d add in addition to a regular post-baby bag
Some hospitals give these out, but some require you to pay for them as they aren’t paid for in a doctor’s order. The Amazon band is likely better, cheaper than the hospital one.
Why have a belly band? It just helps maintain your enlarged uterus “in place” vs flopping around in your belly. Some women don’t love them (they find them hot) but most think they help them get up — which is the KEY to postpartum success!
High Waisted Yoga Pants
The hospital will 100% provide you a hospital gown to wear on your stay. BUT, some women don’t like living without pants the whole time (because you will likely be walking the halls post-surgery). Which is why I recommend these.
Why High-Waisted Pants? Because they will come far above your scar. You don’t want a waistband, zipper, snap, or button anywhere near your scar. Hence, these pants!
Moms love these once they’re not in the hospital bed as much.
Pro Tip: If you’re buying these new (not ones you wore while you were pregnant) — be sure to buy up a size or two. Your body will probably be back to about 5-6 months pregnant.
You might even want to bring a second pair to wear as your home outfit.
Again, they will provide you with a gown, but the longer you’re in the hospital it is likely going to be more and more annoying. You can either go with a hospital-type gown of your own or a regular nightgown (that one’s nice for nursing!)
A Word of Advice: We will likely not allow your own gown into the OR, we much prefer using our own gowns as there are many fluids that could get on your own gown, and if there was an emergency, it’s easier for us to deal with in a hospital gown.
But, once you’re out of the recovery unit (and we talk more about that in here) you can feel free to change into something else once you’re ready. Also, most moms enjoy wearing a nursing bra if they’re there longer than a day.
While I don’t normally recommend these in the hospital, I think that they can be more helpful when you’re nursing to make sure pressure stays off your surgical area. That’s harder to do with our hospital pillows (but not un-doable).
**Keep in mind that most C-section moms stay around 3 days in the hospital (some leave at 48-hours, and some stay up to 4 days), so you might need more of the items previously mentioned.
Pro Tip: Don’t bring up all of baby’s stuff (especially the car seat) until you’re headed into the final stretch. It will just crowd your room!
And if you’re not quite ready for the full prenatal class — check-out my free birth prep kit: