Preparing for the Hospital

At OSF HealthCare, we believe the more you know about what to expect for the labor and birth of your child, the better prepared you will be for the experience.

If you are experiencing the joys of childbirth for a second time around or more, we are happy to refresh your memory, as every pregnancy is unique – as is the child.

We are committed to giving you an individualized birth experience for your child's birthday celebration.

How to prepare for your baby’s birth

As an expectant parent, you are probably feeling a mixture of excitement, anticipation and maybe even a little anxiety.

You may not be thinking of your birthing experience as a party, but at OSF HealthCare, we are dedicated to making it a warm, comfortable and celebratory experience. 

Some suggestions:

  • Tour the venue.
    Schedule a tour of the birthing center you will be attending. It is best to schedule 4-8 weeks prior to your delivery date (around your 7th month). Our team would love to meet you and answer any of your questions.
  • Practice can help the party go more smoothly.
    Attend one of the many childbirth classes and be as prepared, ready and confident as possible. We recommend classes be taken 8-10 weeks before your due date.

    We have to prepare you for childbirth, baby care, and breastfeeding. We also offer specialized classes to help siblings adjust to their new brother or sister, prepare parents for a premature delivery or delivery of multiples.
  • Learn about feeding options for your child
    We encourage you to learn about the benefits of different feeding options for your little one, including breastfeeding, the very best nutrition and start for your baby. By knowing the options, you can make an informed choice for your new arrival when it comes time.
  • Prepare to bring the birthday girl or boy home
    Do you have a going home outfit packed to bring to the hospital? Do you have your car seat ready and do you know how to safely install it in your vehicle? Do you have a safe place for your baby to sleep?

    These are only a few of the important questions you should be asking yourself as your prepare to bring your newborn home.

What to bring with you

  • List of current medications
  • Personal items, such as eyeglasses, contact lenses (case and solution), phone, camera, laptop and chargers
  • Cash for your support person’s meals and snacks
  • Breastfeeding bra and nursing pads – this will ensure you have good support and leak protection
  • Comfortable going-home clothes in six-month maternity size and flat shoes
  • Insurance information
  • Two to three pairs of warm, non-skid socks for walking before and after labor
  • Toiletries and personal items, such as hairbrush, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, face wash, makeup, shampoo, conditioner, lotion and lip balm
  • Headband or ponytail holder (avoid clips, as they may not be comfortable)
  • Bag packed with a change of clothes and basic hygiene products for your support person

For baby

  • Car seat carrier (please familiarize yourself with your car seat before coming to the hospital)
  • Outfit for going home
  • Baby book – we will be glad to take your infant’s footprints for your book
  • Blankets and outdoor gear for the ride home, seasonally appropriate (remember, babies are extra sensitive to cold)

Take it or leave it

  • Extra pillow in a pattern distinguishable from hospital white
  • Bath towel (We supply towels, but moms sometimes like to have their own.)
  • Your favorite soap, shampoo or heavy flow sanitary pads (The hospital supplies these, but you are welcome to bring your own.)
  • A few pairs of maternity underwear (The hospital issues some disposable pairs, which some women find handy.)
  • iPod, iPad, tablet, MP3 player, etc. (loaded with your favorite music)

Leave at home

  • Your medications, unless instructed by your health care provider to bring
  • Clothes you do not want ruined
  • Other valuables – We do not take responsible for personal property; please do not bring large amounts of money, jewelry or other valuables.

Car seats

It is the law that all newborns go home in a car seat. If your car seat has a base, please strap it in to your car before coming to the hospital. 

Most OSF HealthCare hospitals offer on-site car seat checks and car seat safety check events.

If you are unable to attend one of these, you may also find certified car seat checks by visiting the National Highway Traffic Administration’s website or

If you need assistance, our staff can help you find a certified technician to help you install the car seat.