Creating a Healthy Hospital Bag for Your Childbirth

You have been nurturing your developing baby inside of your belly throughout your entire pregnancy. You make sure to eat right, go for checkups, rest, avoid alcohol and drugs, and stay away from dangerous off-limit foods, so why would you stop when it’s time to birth your baby?

If you are planning to birth your precious baby in a hospital or birthing center, do you know what products will be given to you and used on your newborn? Unfortunately, due to the economic times, lack of general knowledge and lax chemical regulations, products containing potentially hazardous chemicals like phthalates are commonly used in hospitals and other birthing facilities. 

Research conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics has found that phthalates in personal care products (chemicals that have been linked to hormonal disruptions and reproductive problems) are “widespread and variable in infants.” These phthalates come from well-known, trusted brands of baby washes, lotions, powders, and shampoos. 

Your baby is not the only one exposed to and affected by these harmful ingredients. When you are exposed, so is your baby. The Environmental Working Group estimates that the average person uses up to 25 products a day and each product contains multiple chemicals. Before birth, your baby receives nutrients from you via the umbilical cord. Did you know that blood moves through the umbilical cord at an approximate rate of 4 miles/hour? This means that nutrients and oxygen get to your baby quickly, as do toxic chemicals. After your baby is born, these ingredients can be excreted through your breastmilk.

Don’t fret, there are actions that you can start taking now to help reduce both you and your baby’s exposure to potentially harmful chemicals. Here are some tips to help as you prepare for your childbirth experience:

1.  When you take a tour of your birthing facility, ask questions like: 

    • “What wash do you use to give a baby bath?”
    • “Do you use diaper wipes? If so, what kind?”
    • “Has this facility initiated any ‘Going Green’ measures?”
    • “Can I bring my own products for my baby?”
    • “Do you offer organic or locally produced food?”

2.  Pack your own labor bag not only for yourself but also for baby. Include products that contain healthy ingredients which you have researched and chosen. See our Labor Bag Checklist

      • Start by reading the ingredients on your product labels. Know what you are putting on you and your child. (Find a list of potentially worrisome ingredients here)
      • When you’re on the go, use a mobile app like Think Dirty to get product safety information right at your fingertips.
      • Include items for baby such as diapers, wipes, and baby wash.
      • Include items for yourself like shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, gel, hair spray, feminine products, nursing pads, lip balm, lotion, and massage oil.
      • Don’t forget to pack a bag for your labor support coach, too! 

    3.  If the research is too time consuming or overwhelming, start small. You don’t have to eliminate everything all at once, every little change is meaningful.

    4.  Let your birthing facility’s staff know that you wish to use your own products on your newborn. Never assume that they will know because you brought something with you. Communication is key!

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***The information provided on our website is intended solely for general educational and informational purposes only. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician for any questions you may have regarding your or your child’s medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have received in this information.***