Did you know that it’s not uncommon that when women get to the hospital in labor that they experience their contractions slowing down? As someone who has attended many births, I will tell you that I’ve seen this happen on multiple occasions. Our bodies respond better in labor when we are somewhere familiar. A place we trust, a place that’s dark and has continuous hands-on support. It’s only natural for our bodies to freak out and stall when we go to an unfamiliar place.
Our minds know better, but our bodies physiologically respond differently. The trick to keep things going is to make your hospital room and your experience feel more like home. The sights, smells, and feel. The more comfortable you are in the hospital, the more your body will respond and will be able to relax, open, and allow things to progress. Here are some things to help you feel more at home at your hospital birth, which can help you have a more positive birth experience.
1. Labor Gown
As soon as you get into a triage room or your labor and delivery room, the hospital will give you a hospital gown to wear during the labor and birth of your child. Their hospital gown allows your care providers to have easy access to reposition your external monitors, check your blood pressure, perform cervical exams, administer medications, and other interventions. Even though these gowns are convenient for everything necessary during birth, unfortunately, these gowns are very thin, are not soft whatsoever, and are overall plain ugly. Nothing about them is comfortable. And a lot of people associate these gowns with sick people lying in hospital beds. If only there were something just as functional but cute and comfortable. Oh wait, there is!
Whether you are being induced, spontaneously going into labor, or having an emergency or scheduled c-section, you should feel comfortable and confident during your baby’s birth. That starts with what you are wearing. This is why I love Kindred Bravely’s Bravely Labor and Delivery Gown. It’s a gown for every woman and every birth.
Their gown combines the comfort of a soft, favorite t-shirt feel and the functionality of a hospital gown. It features a Velcro front, allowing you to have skin-to-skin with your newborn without removing your gown. It has easy access for your medical team to adjust your external baby monitors, do ultrasounds, get an epidural, and have C-section incision inspections.
The labor gown also features easy-to-use snaps along both shoulders. These snaps allow you to have convenient access for breastfeeding and make the IV transition go smoothly. You don’t want to be tangled up with your gown hanging around your IV tubes.
This pregnancy hospital gown also includes two large pockets. Who doesn’t love having pockets?! You can have your phone with you, chapstick, or other essentials. Super convenient!
What I also really like about this gown is that you can walk the hospital halls without the worry of showing your backside. Since this delivery gown doesn’t have snaps on the back, you will be comfortable while lying in bed, and you won’t experience “drafts” or unexpected flashings. It really is the updated, much-needed gown we’ve all been waiting for. Order one of these and add this to your hospital bag.
Another thing that the hospital gives you once you arrive is nonskid socks. They don’t want you to slip and fall while walking around the hospital or in your room and potentially hurt yourself or your baby. The socks they give you are usually some awkward color, scratchy feeling, and an awkward way-too-big size. This is why I needed to find a new alternative. These are the perfect ones. 🙂
These Labor and Delivery Socks from Kindred Bravely are extremely soft, keep your feet warm and cozy before and after birth, and keep you safe. No slipping and falling for you! These are ankle socks made with terry knit and are such a great gift to bring a mother-to-be. Make a statement with your labor socks and check these out!
To feel good during labor and birth, think of all of your senses that you can influence — smell, sight, touch, taste, and sound. We covered touch with the Kindred Bravely Labor and Delivery Gown and Non-Skid Brave Socks. Now we are on to sound. Playing music or positive birth affirmations during your labor that you’ve been listening to during your pregnancy can help you in labor. It can help you get into a groove and set the tone, especially if the music is playing out loud. It’s been proven that listening to music can help promote relaxation, reduce anxiety, and lift your mood and energy. For inspiration, here are 100+ songs to put on your birth playlist.
4. Focal Point
Some women find having a focal point in labor very helpful. If you’re wondering what a focal point is, it’s merely something to look at while in labor. It could be something as small as a button on your partner’s shirt, a crack on the wall, or even staring into one of your support person’s eyes. What I’ve seen and love is bringing an ultrasound picture of your baby. It may sound strange, but sometimes women forget why they are going through all their contractions. They forget that each wave is bringing them closer to a baby. Looking at that ultrasound image with each passing wave can give you the strength and the oxytocin to keep things going.
Something else that all women should bring with them to make their hospital room feel more like home is their pillow. (Dads should do the same thing too!) The pillows at the hospital are very thin and aren’t comfortable. They also don’t have very many, so you will get two usually. Trust me, it’s not enough because of how thin they are. I suggest bringing your own since the smells and comfort of your pillow will help you relax. Pro-tip: Be sure to have your pillow in a different color pillowcase than white. White is what they have at the hospital, so they might take yours thinking it’s theirs.
6. Birth Ball
Some hospitals have birth balls there for you to use! Others don’t so you should bring your own. Even if it’s not something you’ve used at home, you will appreciate having one during labor. All you have is the hospital bed and a chair at the hospital. So your options for position changes are limited. Not to mention, sitting on a hospital bed can get boring, uncomfortable, and prolong your labor. A birth ball helps your baby get into a good position, helps speed up labor, is excellent for your lower back, great for your perineum, and more. Seriously, have one.
I don’t know about you but wearing a comfy robe with cozy socks makes me feel way more comfortable. Like I’m at home. I particularly love this Emmaline Maternity & Nursing robe because 1) it’s lightweight, so you will stay warm but not get overheated. 2) It has deep pockets to grab and bring all the things you need for a nursing session. 3) it ties in two places, so nothing will come undone and reveal anything you don’t want to show. This robe is a perfect option for expecting and nursing moms.
8. Essential Oils
Several essential oils can help you during labor. I recommend peppermint (this can help with nausea and headaches and helps you keep focused). Lavender (helps with relaxing your mind and body). Clary sage (can help strengthen your contractions and keep them coming). Frankincense (excellent to apply on your skin and perineum after delivery). Also, Panaway (helps relieve pain). The more you use these oils at home and then use them at the hospital, the more your body will quickly adjust and positively respond to labor.
With all of these helpful products, you will feel more at home as you welcome your child into the world. Congratulations to you!