Health / Pregnancy

How to Pack Your Hospital Bag Like Your Race Day Bag

Starting to think about packing your hospital bag? There are actually many parallels to your race day bag!

You’re stocked up on baby gear, your nursery is decorated to perfection, and now it’s time to pack the hospital bag. Your hospital bag is basically a kit of essentials for your baby and you to make your time in the hospital before, during, and after labor as comfortable and successful as possible.

I’m pregnant with baby No. 2 and am beginning to prepare for my delivery and pack my bag again. I’ll spare you what didn’t work for me and go right to some of my top must-haves for my bag. Of course, be sure you first pack the essentials for you, the baby, and your partner. Your physician may give you a starter list, but with my first baby, I found that there’s another somewhat out-of-the-box way to fill your hospital bag: Approach labor like an athlete.

Yes, you read that right! There are numerous parallels between athletic training and birth preparation. Interestingly enough, physiological changes to a woman’s body during pregnancy are more athletically inclined than not. Cardiac output increases by 30-50 percent, blood volume nearly doubles, and the amount of air inhaled with each breath increases.

The more I thought about what actually happens to the body physically during pregnancy and labor, the more I realized that I could use items that were very similar to what I often pack for race day. I compartmentalized some of these items for different stages of labor. Let’s break it down.


Nutrition During Labor

Some hospitals will let you eat and drink during labor. Some won’t. Have these items handy for the car trip, laboring at home, or if you are at a location that is eating- and drinking-friendly.

Nutrition Post-Labor

The baby is here! So many feels! So many questions! And all that brain fog may keep you from focusing and remembering crucial info. Brain fog is real and similar to what you may have experienced after a long run or marathon. When you exert yourself for an extended period of time, your body’s glycogen stores become depleted. This often results in “bonking,” or feeling like you hit a wall. Because your brain relies heavily on glucose to fuel cellular activities, this glycogen depletion affects cognitive thinking and reaction time.

One way to tackle that brain fog is to stay on top of nutrition. Since hospitals aren’t always known for their 5-star menus, I make sure to pack nutrient-dense and tasty items.

Here’s what I recommend:

Feel ready? Just like on race day, there’s always a chance that a few unforeseen circumstances may occur. Birth is exciting, but may not go as planned. Regardless, packing a few items in advance can not only help you feel prepared physically but mentally as well.

Health Pregnancy


Welcome to the guidebook to your healthiest life. Aaptiv delivers the highest quality fitness and health information from personal trainers and industry experts. Subscribe now for a weekly dose of inspiration and education.

I would like to receive weekly fitness articles and inspiration from Aaptiv Magazine.

Please click the checkbox to subscribe.