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Do you need to take towel to hospital labour?

Heading to the hospital to give birth can be an exciting yet stressful time. As your due date approaches, you likely have a hospital bag packed full of items you may need during your hospital stay. This often includes comfy pajamas, a robe, slippers, toiletries, and other personal items to make your hospital stay more comfortable. One item you may be wondering if you should pack is a towel. Read on to learn more about whether or not you need to bring your own towel when you go to the hospital to have your baby.

Why You May Want Your Own Towel

There are a few reasons why having your own towel during labor and postpartum may be preferable:


Your own towel from home will feel familiar, soft, and comforting. Hospital towels are often rough, small, and not very absorbent. Having a high quality, soft, full-size towel you’re used to may help enhance comfort during a stressful time.


As mentioned, hospital towels are often quite small and thin. They may not do a great job soaking up all the sweat, tears, etc. that come along with the process of labor and delivery. Your own fuller, plusher towel will likely be far more absorbent.

Cleaning Up

After delivery, you’ll likely want to shower and clean up. Using your own large bath towel will make this process easier. Hospital towels may leave you feeling exposed and cold.

Drying Baby

Your own towel can be used to gently dry and swaddle your newborn after their first bath. A soft, clean towel from home may be preferred over a rough hospital one.

Why You May Not Need Your Own Towel

While having your own towel may provide some benefits, there are also reasons why it may not be necessary:

Hospitals Provide Towels

Rest assured, hospitals do provide towels to laboring and postpartum mothers. While they likely won’t be as nice as your towels from home, they will serve their basic purpose for showers, drying off, etc.

One Less Thing to Remember

By skipping the towel, there’s one less thing you’ll need to remember to pack and bring. This can simplify the packing process to avoid overpacking.

Sanitary Practices

Hospital towels are laundered after every use. Your towels from home won’t have that same guarantee of cleanliness. Some may prefer the sterile hospital version.

Save Space

Hospital rooms are notoriously small. Opting for hospital provided towels saves precious space without an extra bag taking up room.

Cost Savings

If your insurance charges for additional amenities during your stay, bringing your own towel may result in charges you wouldn’t otherwise incur. Using the free hospital version may save you money.

Expert Opinions on Bringing Your Own Towel

When trying to decide whether or not you should pack a towel, it can be helpful to see what the experts say:


Most physicians agree bringing your own towel is an unnecessary addition. As Dr. Sarah Mitchell states: “The hospital provides towels that are fully sanitized and ready for use. I don’t recommend taking up valuable space in your hospital bag with your own.”


Midwives tend to have a differing opinion from traditional physicians. Midwife Lisa Harlem recommends: “I always encourage my patients to bring towels and other items that will provide home-like comfort during their stay.”


Doulas also often suggest bringing your own towel. As doula Angela Cape states: “A towel from home can be soothing and smell familiar after all the sterility of a hospital. It can provide a sense of calm.”


Labor and delivery nurses generally don’t have strong opinions either way. They simply advise not overpacking and taking more than you truly need. As nurse Wendy Jeffries advises: “Only pack what you actually will use – space is tight.”

Key Factors to Consider

When deciding if you should bring a towel to the hospital, keep the following factors in mind:

Your Hospital’s Amenities

Consider if your hospital advertises amenities like nice towels or pampering kits for laboring mothers. If so, their towels are likely far nicer than the average hospital version.

Space in Your Room

Opt for hospital towels if you’ll be in a smaller shared room without much space for extra bags and items.

Number of People in Your Room

If you have a single room, bringing your own towel is less likely to get mixed up with hospital ones. In shared rooms, hospital towels may be safer.

Length of Stay

For very short stays, sticking with hospital towels may be simpler. For longer stays of several days, your own may be preferred.

Your Modesty Level

If you’re less modest, a small hospital towel is less of an issue. For those wanting more coverage, bring your own.

Sensitivity to Fabrics

If your skin is more reactive and sensitive, your softer, gentler towel may help prevent irritation.

Packing Tips

If you decide to pack your own towel, be sure to:

– Choose a dark color that won’t easily show stains
– Select a large, plush bath sheet size for maximum comfort and coverage
– Bring 2-3 towels in case of messes and laundering needs
– Use a waterproof bag or container to keep clean/dirty separate
– Label your towels with your name to prevent mix-ups
– Opt for towels made of soft, absorbent fabrics like cotton

Alternative Option: Robe

While towels are the most common choice, some mothers opt to pack an oversized, absorbent robe rather than a towel. This provides coverage and warmth post-birth without taking too much space.


While the experts don’t always agree, most concur that bringing your own towel is an optional personal preference, not an outright necessity. Focus on packing only true essentials for the birthing process. If having your own towels will bring you comfort and peace of mind, by all means pack them. But rest assured the hospital will provide you with towels to meet all your needs if you opt to save the space and only use theirs. Do what feels right for your particular comfort level and needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I pack my own towels if having a c-section?

Most doctors recommend sticking with hospital provided towels after a c-section for sanitary reasons. However, if you feel strongly about using your own, just be sure they are freshly laundered.

How many towels should I pack?

Aim for 2-3 towels if bringing your own. This allows for at least one to remain clean and dry while another is being used or laundered.

Should my partner bring their own towel too?

Your partner can also bring their own towel if desired, but one is likely sufficient. Focus on your needs and comfort first when packing.

What size towel is best?

Choose a large bath sheet size for maximum absorbency and coverage. Smaller sizes may end up too saturated or expose more of your body.

Should my towel be used to dry or swaddle baby?

While your towel can be used for the baby, most hospitals prefer that only their fresh sterile towels touch the newborn. Check your hospital’s specific policies.

Should I use a hooded towel for baby?

A hooded towel from home may be used only if freshly laundered. But hospital staff typically prefers to only use their towels on all infants as protocol.

Item Pack Your Own? Reasoning
Towel Optional Can provide comfort & familiarity but not a necessity
Robe Recommended Provides coverage & warmth without taking much space
Baby Hooded Towel Not Recommended Hospitals prefer to use own towels for newborns
Partner’s Towel Optional May bring one for comfort but not essential

In Summary:

  • Your own towel can provide comfort, absorbency, and familiarity – but is not a necessity
  • Hospital towels are small and basic but will still meet your needs
  • Focus on only bringing items you know you will really use
  • Consider your birth plan, hospital amenities, room size and other factors
  • Talk to your doctor if still unsure what to pack
  • Alternative option is packing an oversized, absorbent robe

No matter what you decide on the towel front, the most important thing is that you and baby are happy, healthy, and comfortable. Trust your instincts and surround yourself with what will make your delivery the best experience possible. The hospital staff is there to guide you through the rest. Best of luck as you welcome your new bundle of joy into the world!