What to Wear at a Hospital Birth
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Almost every woman I know has this problem. They have nothing to wear…with a closet full of clothes. You know what I’m talking about. I feel like I have this problem almost every morning. What am I going to wear? Obviously, what you wear can help you feel more beautiful and confident each day. And with that confidence, it can also affect the outcome and productivity of your day. When I feel that I look like a million bucks, I usually rock that day! Other days when I’m not feeling my best, I’m usually not doing my very best. So when you’re preparing for your baby’s birth day, these questions may come up. What do you wear during labor? But have you thought about how this decision could also possibly affect your comfort and confidence and potentially outcome of your labor and birth? If you are having a hospital birth, you may be thinking that you are going to wear the standard unisex hospital gown that opens in the back that they provide you when you first arrive in triage. Well, here are some of your options that are available to you for your labor and birth.
OPTION #1: Hospital Gown
If you are the mom that prefers the hospital gown, go for it. I support all women and their choices and I want what they feel is best for themselves and their babies. If you think the hospital gown is uncomfortable, annoying, or unfashionable, then you don’t have to wear it. The hospital staff will not be offended if you decide to bring your own clothes to wear.
If you are still weighing the option on whether or not to wear their gown, here are my pros and cons:
- You don’t have to purchase a new set of clothes to wear for your labor and birth.
- You get a fresh new gown that is just for you.
- You don’t have to worry about getting it dirty since it will be thrown away.
- And if you get the gown dirty, they have more that they can provide you.
- The gown is designed specifically for patients to easily be monitored and or them to check your vitals. Because of that you can also easily breastfeed in it.
- They are one size fits most and can either be entirely too large or too small which can leave you feeling exposed and uncomfortable.
- They aren’t made of the best material and can feel a bit scratchy on your skin.
- Since all hospital patients wear these gowns, it can make you feel like you are a sick patient at the hospital instead of a strong, confident and empowered woman getting ready to give birth.
- They’re ugly. The end.
Unfortunately, it isn’t well known that you can wear whatever you want at the hospital during your labor and birth. I tell my clients that as long as you wear something that still allows your caregivers to perform cervical checks, monitor your baby’s heart rate and your contractions, and your blood pressure, you can wear whatever you’d like. Here are some other options.
OPTION #2: Birthing Gowns
There are actually a lot of different birthing gowns available on the market. They serve the exact same purpose as a hospital gown, but make the laboring woman feel beautiful and empowered. And let’s be honest, they are so much cuter! Some of the birthing gowns that are available are:
1. BG Birthing Gowns – I love this birthing gown. The material is so soft and I love that there is full coverage in the front and back. I also really like that women can re-wear this again during their postpartum period (the first three months after the baby is born). Obviously after it’s been washed after birth… 🙂
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2. Pretty Pushers – This is another great and less expensive option. I like how the back is a bit lower so if a mom is wanting to have an epidural, the access to the epidural site is a lot easier for the medical staff. I also like that I (a doula) have full access to her back and can use massage lotion and massage the mama’s back more easily.
3. Gownies – These are just like hospital gowns but cuter prints. That’s really the only difference. I do like how they have more colors and pattern options than the first two options listed above and that you can get a matching pillowcase. The matching pillowcase is really unnecessary. If you decide to have professional birth/newborn photos taken at the hospital, it might look nice as a whole for your pictures.
4. Dressed to Deliver – This option is a little more expensive but it can also be used during your pregnancy, birth and postpartum. The dress is soft yet has thicker material so it feels like you are getting more coverage and feeling a bit more secure. Two thumbs up from me!
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5. Etsy – Etsy always has the cutest options so take a peek at what they have in there. I saw several photos that I loved. Like this one for example!
OPTION #3: Birthing Skirts
If you feel like a gown is too much and will be a hassle for you, here are two companies just for you the design birthing skirts. Most women who prefer wearing a birthing skirt and top or sports bra are women that are wanting to have a natural birth, however, all women can have this as an option.
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OPTION #4: Large T-Shirt
Some of my clients have decided that they would just bring worn-in, comfortable, oversized t-shirts of their own or their husband’s/partner’s. This way if things get ruined it doesn’t matter. Also, I think having those familiar scents on clothes can make you feel more comfortable and more at home so I think this is a great option. Your care providers still have access to everything that they need. The only minor issue that could arise is getting the shirt off so you can have skin-to-skin and breastfeed once the baby is born. You will more than likely have an IV in your hand/arm so your shirt will get stuck with all of the tubing. Your nurse will have to help you with this.
OPTION #5: Bath/Towel Wrap
I’ve actually had a few clients use this during their labor between getting in and out of the tub or shower and I thought it was genius! It helps you dry off and stay covered front and back. It’s also super convenient since you can get these at Target, Etsy, and pretty much everywhere. And they are relatively inexpensive. I’m a fan! Again, this is a great option for women that are wanting a natural, med-free birth. Here are some cute designs that I found from Kohl’s:
OPTION #6: In the Nude
You’d be surprised at how many women actually labor and give birth fully nude. It can get hot in labor. And then cold. And then hot. So being able to take off your clothes and then put them back on is usually something that happens and can becoming tiring for the laboring mama. Everyone in the room has seen hundreds if not thousands of women giving birth so don’t feel like you’re the only one. You’re definitely not! If you don’t feel comfortable with this option, no problem. A lot of women aren’t. But if you’re cool with letting it all out, do it!
So, bottom line, when you are in labor, wear what makes you feel like the strong, competent and beautiful woman that you are. Wear (or don’t wear) clothes that enhance your experience of labor. Remember that it is your choice and that the more confident that you feel inside and out, the more likely you will have a better outcome and will be happier with your laboring and birthing experience. The choice of what to wear may turn out to be the most frivolous of the choices you make that day, but you may find laboring in your clothes to be the first step toward a more empowering labor and birth.