Hospital bag list

Hospital bag list for a GD mother

Do we need a special hospital bag list with gestational diabetes? Well when it comes to food & drink, yes we do! No you may not be allowed or want to eat during active labour, but some ladies may be in hospital for a while before they are in ‘active’ labour.

Remember, you still have gestational diabetes right up until you deliver your baby and placenta. Keeping your blood sugar levels stabilised throughout labour is extremely important. If you have high blood sugar levels during your labour then your baby will over produce insulin to help process the sugar that is being passed through to them. Once born your baby will continue to overproduce insulin which results in hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar levels) in baby.
Hospital bag list

Hospital meals

warning*Warning! – meals in hospital are rarely suitable for gestational diabetes patients. Many have ‘diabetic’ options, but you’ll be surprised as to what a diabetic option can be! Play safe and pack some things that will help you get through, until you’ve given birth

hospital breakfast
typical diabetic breakfast!

GD snacks  – pack a mini cool bag with an ice pack for cold things!

GD drinks

  • Sports cap (squirty) bottled water
  • Robinsons squash’d or ‘Go Splash’ mini concentrate drinking squash to add to a hospital water jug
  • diet or zero fizzy drinks
  • Virtue Energy Water
  • Lucozade ZERO
  • Caffeine free tea bags or coffee
  • Sweeteners if you use them in drinks
hospital bag list for gestational diabetes mothers
don’t forget your peanut butter!

Energy drinks for labour

You may be advised in birthing classes to pack energy or isotonic drinks for labour. Please note that these drinks will cause extremely high blood sugar levels, which you need to avoid during labour due to the risk of neonatal hypoglycaemia.

No added sugar versions may still contain high amounts of sugar, remember that no added sugar is just that, not sugar free! Check labels for total carbohydrate amounts.

There are a few ‘sugar free’ energy drinks available to buy, carefully check the labels and remember total caffeine amounts when deciding whether to purchase these energy drinks. The daily recommended amount of caffeine is 200mg or less.

Lucozade have Lucozade Zero drinks available in Orange (1.9g total carbs per 380ml bottle) or Pink Lemonade (0.4g carbs per 380ml bottle) which would be a good choice if you are looking for a GD friendly energy drink for labour. **WARNING! Do not get the original Lucozade confused with the ZERO ones!

Lucozade ZERO
Lucozade ZERO

Another popular drink for use during labour is Virtue Energy Water. Virtue Energy Water is free from sugar, sweeteners and artificial ingredients and contains naturally occurring caffeine – the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee. It is vegan and available in 2 flavours, Berries or Lemon and Lime.

Virtue Energy Water

Keeping your levels stable is key and eating your normal GD diet snacks and drinking water to keep well hydrated will be the best option during long labours or induction. Go for slow release carbohydrates, nuts and peanut butter to give you an energy boost.

Pack a hypo kit – insulin controlled gestational diabetics

If you’re on insulin or glibenclamide, take your usual hypo treatment items such as OJ, jelly babies etc. and oatcakes for a carbohydrate to help stabilise levels after treating low levels. If you can keep your levels stabilised, between 4.0 – 7.0mmol/L then you are less likely to need a sliding scale insulin & glucose drip.

For you during the induction and/or labour:

  • insulin, meds & test monitor – take enough supplies to last. Some hospitals will use their own monitor to test your blood sugar levels, others will like you to use your own. You should also renew your prescription so that  you have enough supplies to complete any tests you would like to do following the birth of the baby.
  • old nightie or long t-shirt to give birth in
  • lip balm
  • V pillow/your own pillow
  • birthing/gym ball (some hospitals have these available for use)
  • cooling spray
  • handheld fan
  • tens machine & batteries
  • earplugs & eye mask
  • tablet or mobile device with downloads & headphones
  • books, magazines, e-reader
  • change for parking, phone, TV, vending machines, shop etc.
  • socks
  • slippers
  • dressing gown or cardigan
  • hairbands/bobbles
  • hairbrush
  • toiletries bag (flannel, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, facial wash, moisturiser, deodorant, razor, dry shampoo)
  • toothbrush & toothpaste
  • camera or camera phone

For your birthing partner:

  • toothbrush
  • deodorant
  • change of clothes
  • snacks & drinks
  • flannel & hand towel
  • earplugs & eye mask if staying overnight during induction/labour
  • tablet or mobile device with downloads & headphones
  • books, magazines, e-reader
  • a copy of your birth plan
  • a gift to say thank you!


For you after the birth:

  • old/cheap/disposable knickers – LOTS!
  • comfy PJs/nighties, preferably with buttoned fronts if breast feeding.  Nighties may be better after a c-section.
  • nursing bras
  • flip flops
  • clothes to go home in
  • maternity pads – LOADS!
  • breast pads
  • nipple cream
  • nipple shields if required
  • make up with stand up mirror
  • hairdryer/straighteners (some hospitals may not ley you use these)
  • soft, decent loo roll/moist toilet wipes
  • wet wipes/baby wipes – multiple uses
  • squirty/sports cap water bottle for pouring on yourself when having a wee
  • piles (haemorrhoids) cream
  • any other meds
  • arnica gel
  • spare plastic bags for wet, dirty things
  • drinking straws and/or sports cap bottle for drinking when lying down
  • chargers for mobiles, tablet etc. (some hospitals may not let you use these)
  • own teabags/coffee/sweeteners
  • towel (some hospitals provide towels)

For baby:

*Most popular clothes sizes of newborns in the group have been newborn size

  • vests
  • sleepsuits/onesies
  • blanket
  • hats
  • scratch mitts
  • muslin cloths
  • nappies (some hospitals provide nappies)
  • wipes and/or cotton wool
  • nappy sacks
  • disposable/small foldable changing mat
  • dummy/soother
  • starter pack of bottles and formula (some hospitals provide formula)
  • going home outfit
  • light snowsuit/star wrap if cold weather – cardigan for warmer weather
  • car seat
  • new baby present/card for siblings
  • thank you card/gift for midwives

!Don’t forget!…

  • your maternity notes
  • red book for baby (if it’s already been given to you)
  • any harvested, frozen colostrum – sealed, labelled, in a cool bag with ice packs

facebookThis hospital bag list was created with thanks to all the Gestational Diabetes UK Mums Facebook support group members between Feb – Mar 2015