What Hospital Bags Look Like In 20 Different Countries

Pregnant women in the western world are told usually 36 weeks that they need to pack up their hospital bags since labor could happen at literally any time. The last thing that any expecting mom would want to happen is going into labor without being properly prepared. Additionally, they need to pack their bags with the items that they will need for themselves as well as their newborns.

The items that are going to need are plenty of newborn clothing as well as extra clothes for themselves, diapers, toiletries, and books. Activity books containing crossword puzzles and word searches are also recommended to pack up because they are quite soothing for the mind. And, any new mom needs to be kept calm as much as possible.

Therefore, it is expected that any mom-to-be will pack these items in their hospital bags regardless of where they live. And they do, but a hospital bag that is packed by a mom from the USA will look completely different from one that is packed from a mom that lives in Madagascar. And, that said, here is an opportunity to take a look at the hospital bags that were packed by moms around the world, in at least one country from all of the continents (except for Antarctica) - and the not so subtle differences are quite noticeable.

20 The UK

This mom-to-be is living in the UK, even though she is from the Netherlands. According to The Atlantic, this British mom, Cathelijne Geuze stated that she added mostly the baby's clothing in the hospital bag. She also brought extra clothing for herself, as well as some snacks, an e-reader, and an iPod.

She also stated that she had to bring that water bottle because of the fact that she knew how important it was to stay hydrated during labor. She made it clear that she had to bring those snacks because the first time she gave birth, she was given a boring breakfast that consisted of white bread and cornflakes.

19 Japan

This is a hospital bag that was packed by a mom-to-be living in Japan. According to The Atlantic, the Japanese mom, Takako Ishikawa stated that she packed up clothing for the new baby, her insurance card and seal impression. Also, she made sure that she had the consent form for hospitalization and the consent form for a transfusion if needed.

She also made note that she packed a mother and child health record notebook as well as her registration ticket into the bag. She also packed up maternity shorts, a crop-top bra since it is easier to use for breastfeeding, and toiletries which included toilet paper.

18 Ethiopia

You may be curious about what the hospital bags look like in African countries. Thanks to The Atlantic, we have a peek at what a typical maternity bag looks like in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian mom, Mestawet Legesse, said that she already had three children before giving birth to the one that she packed the bag for.

She said she brought a towel so that the baby would be properly covered and kept warm. She also brought sweatpants, underwear, sanitary napkins, and a long and loose dress. She also brought a pair of socks and a bottle of Mirinda, which is orange soda. She stated the Mirinda helped ease nausea in the past, so it was an item that just needed to be packed.

17 Nicaragua

You may have wondered as well what hospital bags look like in the central American countries. The Atlantic has given us a peek at the hospital bag that belonged to mom, Chadla Suyhidy Morales Benjamio from Nicaragua.

She said that she made sure that she brought her sheets, a sweater, a towel, and cotton to put into her ears after the delivery, as well as something to use to tie her hair. That is actually a very good idea for any mom-to-be because the last thing you will want is your hair being a distraction or being in the way during the time you are in active labor.

16 Uganda

A mom-to-be at the time in Uganda, Kemisa Hidaya shared what she brought in her hospital bag with The Atlantic. According to that source, she had brought two nylon sheets to spread out onto the bed for the delivery, 10 pairs of gloves, new razor blades to use during the childbirth process, and a cotton wool roll for padding.

And, the roll was also to be used to clean up the fluids after the birth, and she also brought soap powder, as well as a bottle of Jik disinfectant. She also needed to bring a bucket and basin for bathing and going to the bathroom, as well as a flask for hot drinking water along with some cups. She could not forget to bring the blanket for the baby, diapers, and bedding along with emergency money.

15 Zambia

Here is an example of what a hospital bag looks like in Zambia. According to The Atlantic, the Zambian mom, Merina Milimo stated that she made sure that she packed the baby blanket, napkins, as well as a peg in order to clip the cord. She also brought cotton wool and chitenge, which are wraps.

She had to make sure that sanitary pads and a dish were brought along with baby's clothing. She did not know what she was having, and it is likely that ultrasounds in Zambia are not easily accessible to find out the gender the baby, or she purposely chose not to find out. But she said she brought a dress along just in case she had a girl.

14 Madagascar

If you have been curious to see what a typical hospital bag in Madagascar looks like, then you are in luck. According to The Atlantic, the mom Marie Lucette from Madagascar said that she was told by her midwife to bring a compress, a cotton wool, diapers, a receiving blanket, cotton-made clothing for the baby, warm clothing, a thermos, and flip-flops.

She also made it known that she could not forget to pack a sheet and sanitary pads. She also said that her family brought plenty of food after she had delivered, which included chicken soup because apparently, it helped her with breastfeeding. That is something I have not heard before, and that is pretty interesting to learn about.

13 Malawi

Via: Mashable.com

You have seen some hospital bags that are typically packed in several African countries. And, according to Mashable, a young mom named Ellen Phiri from Malawi showed off her hospital bag. And she stated that she needed to pack a razor blade to cut the cord, as well as a torch because there is no electricity at the hospital where she was delivering.

She also brought a black plastic sheet to use on the bed while delivering because there is not enough clean water to keep the beds clean. She also brought a string so that the cord can be tied, as well as money for food and three large sarong wraps for her to wear and for wrapping the baby.

12 Tanzania

Via: Mashable.com

Here is a hospital bag that was packed by a mom that lives in Tanzania. According to Mashable, Tanzanian mom, Agnes Noti said that she packed clothing such as a hat and a sleeper for the baby as well as a blanket, plenty of socks, a flask, a basin, and tea for herself.

She also said that it is imperative that water is purchased at a shop because the water otherwise is not safe and it is too risky to drink water from the tap. When you hear of these facts, it makes you quite grateful to be living in an area of the world where there is plenty of cleaner water.

11 Australia

Via: Mashable.com

You may be thinking that a hospital bag that is packed by a mom that lives in Australia would not be much different from a hospital bag packed by a mom living in North America. In some ways, it is not. However, the Australian mom, Katy Shaw, shared with Mashable that she packed a hat, socks, mittens, clothing, and swaddling blankets for the baby.

She also packed toiletries, her clothing, nightgowns, maternity underwear, nursing, and sanitary pads, as well as massage oils. She also mentioned that she could not believe that moms from many African countries could not get access to clean water unless they purchased bottles. She added that she could not imagine having to carry 25 liters of water while having to walk a fair distance, especially during the last trimester!

10 Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso
Via: TheGuardian.com

The one African country that many people in the Western world know very little about is Burkina Faso. According to The Guardian, the mom from that country, Zoenabo Karane, was getting ready to give birth to her fifth child. She included in her maternity bag some hats, socks, different clothing, trousers, a piece of fabric, a baby sling, pants, a tumbler, and a basin.

She also stated that she was lucky to have access to clean water because not many people do in the area where she lives. She said that she has never been ill from drinking water that was not clean, and the same went for her other children.

9 New York City, USA

New York City
Via: Mashable.com

This particular hospital bag will not seem unusual to you because it is packed by an American mom that lives in New York City. According to The Guardian, the mom named Deanna Neiers shared what she packed in her hospital bag.

Deanna packed a music player, snacks, a nursing pillow, a nursing bra, and pads, arnica gel, as well as coconut oil and lavender oil for relaxation. She could not forget clothes for herself and her baby, as well as a swaddling blanket, and a book. You can see the huge differences based on a hospital bag in North America and one in Africa, and even in Central America.

8 Canada

Via: abbeyskitchen.com

This hospital bag was packed by a Canadian mom. In fact, this mom is a registered dietician from Toronto, and her name is Abbey Sharp. According to her own site, Abbey's Kitchen, she had stated that she packed up plenty of diapers, wipes, cooling and heating pads to help with pain management, plenty of snacks.

She made it clear that the snacks were a necessity to pack because the cafeteria at the hospital would be closed in the middle of the night and she anticipated getting hungry. She wanted to bring enough for her husband as well.

Of course, she packed baby clothes, hair ties, her phone, and charger, slippers and warm socks, a belly band, granny panties, and sanitary pads. She also said she made sure that she brought a cord banking kit, flip flops, magazines, and a charged iPad.

7 South Africa

South Africa is one of the more advanced countries in Africa in the technological sense. And, according to Living And Loving, expecting moms in South Africa are advised to pack many items in their maternity bags.

These items include a nursing bra, disposable underwear, baby clothes, a diaper bag with an extra blanket and newborn essentials. It was also noted that warm socks and a hot water bottle were advised to be packed, and Arnica tablets for bruising after the delivery.

Toiletries, a few makeup essentials, books, and an iPod were also on the list of items to bring. However, no one could really forget to bring toiletries!

6 Ireland

Via: Pippa.ie

If you have wondered what a hospital bag looks like in Ireland, the Irish TV personality, Pippa O'Connor gave us a peek at what she packed in her maternity bag.

According to what she stated on her personal site, Pippa, she added a baby receiving gown, mittens, sleepers, vests, and a hat. She also added muslin cloths for feeding as well as newborn diapers, wipes, and cotton wool.

She also made it clear it was a good idea to pack up the baby's clothing in ziplock bags with labels so that nothing will get lost. She also packed her own gowns, clothing, toiletries, sanitary pads, nursing pads, towels, a nursing pillow, makeup, and snacks.

5 Montenegro


Maternity bags packed by moms that are in the Balkan region are also going to be unique. According to The Bump, Sarah Pavlovic of Herceg Novi, Montenegro stated that she packed Babylove nappies, baby clothing, cotton wadding (and said that you cannot purchase maternity pads there), disposable underwear, an iPad, and of course toiletries.

She also said she brought her slippers that she got from Switzerland, plenty of snacks, apple juice, water, Turkish coffee, books, and a nursing pillow. And, of course, she could not forget to bring some money that would be needed to buy additional snacks or anything else for that matter at the hospital.

4 Spain


If you want to get an idea of what items are placed in maternity bags by moms from Spain, then an example was given by a Spanish couple living in Barcelona. According to The Bump, the items placed in this hospital bag are Deliplus diapers, wipes, sanitizer, as well as a birth kit with Mustela baby products which included formula made by Nestle.

Also, a onesie was placed as well as mom and dad's Motorola phones, and a gateway laptop. They could not forget their flip UltraHD video camera. A breast pump and cream were also included in the bag. These items are not all that different from what we are used to, other than the name brands.

3 China

You may be incredibly curious about what a hospital bag in China would look like. According to The Bump, a mom Suki Lee from Guangzhou, China said that she brought many items with her to the hospital.

She had brought the parents' ID cards so that information is prepared for the birth certificates and a maternity insurance card for an insurance claim, diapers, clothes for the mom and baby, Jiao Xue maternity pads, iPhone, Canon camera, and VCR for filming the birth!

She also brought chocolate and red bull for energy to go through labor, socks, and antenatal records. She also said the most important thing that had to be brought was a birth permit since there is government-mandated birth population control. Without it, the baby will not be able to receive a birth certificate.

2 Brazil

A typical hospital bag items from South America have not yet been covered, but now you will learn about what Brazilian moms pack in their bags. According to The Bump, Emily Harteau of Florianopolis, Brazil stated that she added records of her prenatal history, her tax ID card, diapers, clothing for her and the baby, receiving blankets, a lip balm, and an iPhone.

She also added a postpartum outfit, her own meals since the hospital meals are not at all tasty, as well as a MIZU water bottle. That said, there really are not too many differences what you would typically see in hospital bags packed by North American, Australian, and European moms.

1 North Korea - Which Means There Is No Such Thing

North Korea does its best to keep the outside world out of the loop, and they only allow anyone from the outside to know about a few things that go on in the country just to satisfy curious minds a little. They also make it clear that they will not share more than what they are willing to share or else the consequences would be grave.

However, according to The Washington Post, reporters that visited the Pyongyang Maternity Hospital could not believe that North Korean moms did not have any belongings at all. That means these mothers are not allowed to bring any hospital bag, and there were also no signs of toiletries available for these moms.

They only provided some clothing and a remote control to watch probably the one channel that they have on television. That said, how do they stay clean? That is just unimaginable.

Sources: TheAtlantic.com, Mashable.com, TheGuardian.com, Abbeyskitchen.com, Livingandloving.co.za, Pippa.ie, TheBump.com, TheWashingtonPost.com

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