Childbirth is beautiful yet intense, exciting but also alarming, life-changing, and momentous. As you prepare your mind and body for this all-encompassing experience, it’s important to feel like you’re in a comfortable, safe, and private space. But let’s face it, hospital rooms are cold, bleak, and downright depressing. They sure don’t scream, “Hooray, I’m about to have a baby!”
To put yourself in the right mindset during labor, it may be a good idea to give your bland hospital room a facelift and transform it into an intimate birth cave that is lined with your favorite objects. We’ve crafted a handful of options that will keep you in good spirits and help you get to the finish line of meeting your new baby.
Turn Your Hospital Room Into a Birth Cave
Have a Doula by Your Side
Labor and childbirth are challenging experiences, and moms-to-be require a strong support system to help them physically, mentally, and emotionally during this time. And with any special place that is your own, carefully choose who’s allowed into your peaceful bubble. Doulas, a professional birth coach who provides guidance and aid pre- and post-delivery, are a wonderful companion to help you feel safe and comfortable.
In need of the lights off? They’re on it. Want a pillow to be fluffed? They have your back (literally and figuratively). Need someone to ease your anxiety? They’ll be your voice of reason. In fact, in one systematic review, women who received continuous support from doulas reported having a more positive childbirth experience, as they are “neither part of the hospital staff nor the woman’s social network.”1
Wear Your Own Nightgown
Not a fan of the standard, cloth hospital gown? There are options you can wear at your hospital birth, like a flowy skirt and loose tank top, for some very-much needed relaxation and comfort. Another great option is a soft, knee-length nightgown that may look similar to a patient gown but is more appealing and cozy.
Look to Motherhood Maternity for their three-in-one gown that’s specially designed for labor, delivery, and nursing. With back and front snaps and waist slide slits, the outfit provides access for an epidural, fetal monitors, or an IV. The gown also touts shoulder snaps so you can easily nurse your newborn or have skin-to-skin contact, which has numerous benefits upon delivery.
Fill Your Room With Aromatic Fragrances
Giving birth is stress-inducing, and while we know this to be true, there are statistics to back up the claim. According to one study, 80 percent of women in labor experience anxiety.2 Although the number is high, researchers also found a simple yet effective way to calm laboring women’s nerves: Neroli (also known as orange blossom oil).
Opt for an electric essential oils diffuser to fill your hospital room with essential oils during labor and delivery that’ll make you feel serene and put you in a good headspace. Lavender and chamomile are a great addition to your arsenal of oils to induce further relaxation and add a touch of jasmine to ease pain and subdue discomfort.
Create a Playlist of Serene Tunes
Think peaceful sounds of waves crashing, birds chirping in the early morning, or your favorite song that gets your day going. With a Bluetooth speaker by your side, you’ll be able to easily tune out the beeping, buzzing, and distractive noises coming from the machines in your hospital room and can relish in the pain-reducing endorphins that’ll be emitted throughout your body.
Music is also a great way to lower your stress levels and wind down from any worries or concerns, so don’t hesitate to crank up the volume on your birth playlist.
Say Hello to Peaceful Lighting
Hospital rooms sometimes have a dreary atmosphere, and when you need a mood booster, their dull lights just won’t cut it. Hang up some battery-powered fairy lights or Christmas lights that provide just the right amount of lighting that’s not only fun but also soothing.
Battery-operated candles are also a great addition that provides dim lighting to calm you and keep you in positive spirits.
Keep Heat Packs on Hand
When in the comforts of your home, you have access to all the supplies you need to be comfy throughout your pregnancy. Be sure to pack your go-to pain relievers in your hospital bag, such as a heat pack, so you can quickly divert to them during labor.
Heat packs are a savior for pregnant women experiencing back pain or discomfort in their lower abdomen during various stages of labor. It’s also handy for in-between, or during, contractions to soothe the tension in your back. The warming sensation will relieve your aches and help you get through the long hours ahead.
Don’t Forget Your Birthing Ball
To further aid with the pains and aches of labor, be sure to keep a birthing ball in your labor cave corner. Similar to the exercise balls you’ve spotted at the gym, birthing balls are large inflated balls that are durable and have an anti-slip finish to aid you while you’re in labor.
Sit wide-legged on the ball to distribute your weight more evenly and alleviate spinal pressure and lower back pain. Sit on the side of the hospital bed and lean over to hold the ball on your lap. These positions can further assist with back pressure and help you throughout the many stages of labor. The birthing ball also allows an increase in blood flow to the uterus and helps open up the pelvis and hips.
Bring Your Favorite Pillow and Blankets
Bring a little bit of home to your hospital room birth cave, and what better way to trick your brain into feeling like you’re simply lounging on your bed than by bringing your favorite fleece blanket and pillow? Not only will you feel comforted by the scent of safety, but you’ll also feel happier knowing that you can make labor seem bearable with items that are familiar to you. (These will also be helpful and comforting to have in your postpartum room after you give birth to your baby.)
Remind your significant other to pack their own, too, because nothing says a night’s worth of terrible sleep than the dreaded hospital sleeper chair.
Lightly Decorate Your Room
Whether you put up a few picture frames of family, friends, your pet, or your favorite travel adventure, or have motivational sayings and birth affirmations that keep you in the zone, these small but familiar reminders can mentally transport you to a happy space.
A mood board is also a great option for providing solace. Add affirmations, cutouts of specific phrases and words, and other uplifting graphics that you can focus on when in labor or during delivery.
Pack Up Entertainment Options
While your hospital room will have a TV, there’s nothing like having your special shows on hand. Pack up your tablet or laptop so you can enjoy a movie or a few episodes of your current Netflix series to create a distraction.
A deck of cards or board game can also help pass the time throughout labor and help you relax. Ask your significant other to play with you, so the hours feel like they’re flying by and are not going by painfully slow.
No matter how you decide to turn your hospital room into a birth cave, just remember to do what will keep you happy and help you focus on the end goal of saying hello to your new, beautiful baby!