There’s no telling when your baby will arrive' it could be any time from up to a week or two before your due date, to over a week after it. Having your bags packed at 37 weeks will mean that you’ll be ready whenever your baby does decide to put in an appearance.
Ideally you should have a labour bag containing items you’ll need during labour and birth, along with a bag for after the birth with your baby’s things and your going-home clothes in it.
Your birth partner may want some personal items as well, in which case he or she may want their own holdall.
If you are having a home birth it’s still a good idea to have your bags prepared so that everything is ready and in one place. It also means that should you have to go into hospital at the last minute, no one will need to rush around trying to gather together the things you want to take with you.
It is also worth remembering that any bags you take into the maternity unit will need to be carried, so having your things divided into separate bags means that your birth partner doesn't have to carry everything at the same time.
The things you’ll need after the birth can be brought in later, or if you are driving to the hospital, left in the car until it is needed.
If you are having a hospital birth, you may be able to take in some items from home such as pillows and your duvet, which will make you more comfortable and help to make the environment more familiar.
However, do check the hospital’s policy about this first as space may be a problem and there could be limits on what they allow you to bring from home.
Now that you know what you need, why not check out our buyers guide section to help you decide what to buy ahead of the baby's arrival.