Reviewed by Traci Johnson on October 24, 2016

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Cleveland Clinic: "What Is a Birth Plan?"

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Video Transcript

Use this checklist to round up everything and everyone you'll need to feel your best while you're in labor at the hospital.

Start with what you'll wear. Pack some soft, stretchy clothes and comfy slippers. You might want sandals for the shower, too. And even though the hospital usually gives you gowns or robes, you might feel comfier in ones you bring from your home. Also, if you're planning on breastfeeding, pack a nursing tank top or gown.

Next, take some key tech gear. You'll need a phone charger to handle all those congratulations calls and texts. And maybe you'd like some music to set the mood in the delivery room -- if so, make a labor playlist! Also, how about a string of party lights for a fun, festive touch?

If you want someone to snap pics of your baby's arrival, just let them know whether anything is off-limits -- like certain body parts!

Next, think of who you'd like in the delivery room with you. Do you want your partner for encouragement and a hand squeeze? A doula or birth coach to motivate and guide you? It's 100% your choice which VIPs you include, though there might be a limit on how many people can be in the room.

By the way, think about asking a family member or a friend to bring you some food -- you might be really, really hungry after hours of labor. So even some homemade leftovers could taste amazing.

Last, round of any important paperwork you'll need. A birth plan tells your hospital your preferences, like the environment you want in the delivery room, whether you want pain meds or not, visitors you're expecting, and more. Bring at least one type of ID, like your driver's license, and also take your insurance card.

You might be able to pre-register for your hospital stay. You fill out admissions and insurance forms ahead of time -- which lets you focus on powering through labor once those contractions start coming on strong.

Take care of all these things in advance, and your big day will go that much more smoothly.