Hospital bags from around the world – in pictures

String, swaddle blanket, insurance card, water dish, iPad and disinfectant - we look inside the maternity bags of pregnant women from across the globe


Can you remember the must-have items you put in your hospital bag? Maybe you’re pregnant right now and waiting for the big day – have you packed yet or thought about what to include?


Whether it’s on your mind right now or not – we reckon you’ll love these photos.

Produced by charity WaterAid, they’re designed to highlight some of the issues for women who might find themselves giving birth in hospitals with no clean running water.

Take a look…



Ellen gave birth in a hospital in Malawi with no clean running water. Her hospital bag (top of page) contained:

  • a torch
  • a black plastic sheet, to put on the delivery bed
  • a razor blade to cut the umbilical cord
  • string to tie the umbilical cord
  • a 200 Malawian kwacha note for food
  • three large sarongs for her to wear during her stay, which could be as long as four weeks, and to wrap the baby in



Deanna is expecting her first baby. Her hospital bag contains:

  • a music player
  • coconut massage oil
  • lavender oil
  • Arnica gel
  • snacks
  • a nursing bra and pads
  • a nursing pillow
  • comfortable clothes for her
  • a soft swaddle blanket
  • a long-sleeve onesie
  • a knitted hat



Takako Ishikawa has one child already. Her bag includes:

  • her insurance card
  • her hospitalisation consent form
  • her blood-transfusion consent form
  • her patient’s registration ticket
  • her mother-and-child health-record notebook
  • her personal seal impression, for official documents
  • a crop-top bra, for breast-feeding training
  • maternity shorts
  • shampoo
  • a toothbrush
  • tissue paper
  • baby clothes



27-year-old Hazel Shandumba packed the following in her bag:

  • a sarong
  • cotton wool
  • napkins
  • a water dish, for washing
  • a polythene roll to put on the delivery bed
  • a baby blanket
  • a baby suit



Joanne Laurie from London is expecting her first baby, and will be taking:

  • lots of snacks
  • clothes
  • towel
  • toiletries
  • maternity pads
  • a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (Tens) machine
  • an iPad
  • a water bottle
  • medical notes
  • nappies
  • little white clothes for the baby
  • some knitted trousers
  • a blanket



Kemisa Hidaya’s bag includes:

  • two nylon sheets to spread on the bed during childbirth
  • 10 pairs of gloves, but I only bought two because I did not have money to buy 10
  • a pair of new razorblades for use during the childbirth process
  • cotton wool roll for padding and cleaning blood in the process of delivery
  • washing soap powder for cleaning the labour room after delivery
  • a bottle of Jik disinfectant
  • a bucket and basin for bathing and urination
  • a flask for hot drinking water and cups
  • a roll of toilet paper
  • a baby receiver to cover the baby
  • nappies
  • bedding for use while in the hospital
  • emergency money

The maternity bags project is part of WaterAid’s Deliver Life appeal, which aims to reach 130,000 mums and their families around the world this winter with safe water.

Every pound donated to WaterAid’s Deliver Life appeal until 10 February will be doubled by the UK Government – meaning WaterAid can help twice as many mothers and babies stay safe and well. Find out more on the WaterAid website

All images courtesy of WaterAid

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