Adequate preparation can help you feel more confident when you go into labour.

For many parents, this is the most exciting and scariest part of pregnancy. Here you can find information to help prepare yourself for labour and birth.

  • Toronto Public Health offers a variety of prenatal programs and services to help you make informed decisions
  • Discuss your hopes or fears about labour and birth with your health care provider
  • Learn about signs of preterm labour and what to do if it happens
  • Learn about labour and birth from the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC)
  • Write a birth plan provided by the SOGC
  • Talk to your health care provider about your birth plan and ask questions
  • Go on a hospital tour
  • Decide who you want to have with you during labour and birth

What to Take to the Hospital

Once you’re in your third trimester, it will be a good time to pack a bag with everything you may need during labour, birth and after your baby is born. Even if you’re not planning a hospital birth, you may need to go in unexpectedly, so it’s a good idea to have a bag packed for you and your support person just in case.

Personal care items

  • Comb, brush, elastic bands if hair is long
  • Body lotion or oil
  • Sanitary pads
  • Deodorant and soap
  • Toothpaste, toothbrush, tissue


  • Bathrobe and slippers
  • Nightgowns to wear after birth
  • Cotton socks
  • Supporting or nursing bra, nursing pads
  • Clothing for return home from hospital

Things to help with labour

  • Pillow (in coloured pillow cases)
  • Watch, lip gloss or gel
  • Focal point (object or picture to look at during contractions)
  • Ice pack, tennis balls, rolling pin, hot water bottle

Other items

  • Pen, paper, magazine or book
  • List of telephone numbers
  • Chargers for electronic devices
  • Snacks e.g., juice, yogurt, biscuits, fruit, vegetables, nuts, dried fruits
  • Camera
  • Music
  • Eye glasses/Contacts
  • Diapers
  • Clothing to wear in hospital
  • Set of clothing for the trip home
  • Safety approved infant car seat for the trip home
  • Check with your hospital for anything else you need to bring