Well Rounded Birth Prep

Well Rounded Birth Prep

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

What to wear for a hospital birth?

Question from a mother expecting her third baby (who gave me permission to post this):

"I haven't asked yet if it is even possible, but I have been thinking about what to wear for L & D at the hospital. I HATED the hospital gowns b4 and never even thought about wearing something different. Anyway I was just wondering if you had any ideas about what I could wear. I was thinking about easy access after birth too for skin-to-skin and nursing?? Thanks!"

My answer to her:

Anything goes. So long as you're not in a unitard, you should be good.

Whatever you're wearing, you can strip off or unbutton for skin-to-skin contact after birth.

Some options:

Your pjs. Your favorite Saturday-morning-loungewear (track pants and t-shirt). A long nightgown. A nursing gown.

A 2 piece swimsuit (great for laboring in tub or shower).

A long skirt (comfy cotton like a circle skirt, broomstick skirt or Binsi skirt) with a T-shirt, cami, sports bra, swimsuit top, or tank top.

Nothing at all. Many moms feel hot and don't like the feeling of clothes constraining them during labor or pushing.

Layers are good (tank top or swim top w/ shrug or cardigan) because it's common to feel too hot then too cold. Your bathrobe from home. Non-slip houseslippers. Socks with rubberized grips.

I've also heard you can go somewhere like Gabe's to the Big & Tall Men's section and buy a short sleeved button up shirt. Long enough to be modest, short sleeves don't burn you up, and easy to unbutton for breastfeeding.

If the clothes are dark (navy, black, brown, etc.), they will not stain. If any blood does get on your own clothing, it will usually come out with cool water (hot water will set the stain) and hydrogen peroxide. Don't stick it in the dryer until the stain is fully gone, or else the heat will set the stain.

For those who do want to wear the hospital gown, some moms ask for two of them and put one on frontways (it's a word, I promise) and the other one on backwards. That way the tushie is covered. Another option is to wear underthings under the gown. Some hospitals or providers balk at the idea, saying it doesn't allow quick enough access in case of an emergency, but they can cut through any fabric if they had to in a true emergency. Some moms wear any of the layering ideas from above under a hospital gown, including swimsuit top and/or bottom, bra and/or undies, camisole or tank top, whatever floats your boat.

Does this give you a springboard for ideas?

Readers: what have you worn for your hospital or birth center birth(s)?


Watch a 2 minute 38 second video on the benefits of skin-to-skin contact after birth here.


  1. I've seen this... http://www.fertilemind.com.au/product.asp?product=443385&brand=438416&gclid=CKaGpajJ3aICFcktpAodRkiBww

    When I went into the birth centre with baby #2 I was wearing track pants, a singlet & light jacket...but lost the pants quickly as I'd soaked them on the way lol. So I wore just a singlet, which got unceremoniously thrown off when the birth pool was ready! Honestly I didn't care about my modesty, I had my mind on the job!

  2. Thanks for sharing! The Womama dress is new to me, and I like to bookmark unique birth and breastfeeding products in case anyone asks me for resources. I had seen the Binsi birthing skirt before:

    These items are gorgeous, but I don't want moms to feel obligated to spend a lot of money on a specialty item in order to have a comfortable birth. There are lots of options.

    For mobility after mom's water has broken, I tell clients that they can either wear Depends or just use a maxi pad (or even one of baby's diapers, in a pinch) in undies. That way, mom doesn't feel stuck on a chux pad.

  3. when i had mimi i got so hot for some reason i pretty much was naked my entire labor!i made them crank up the air. everyone else was freezing. lol

  4. Denise, I say let 'em freeze! Whatever a laboring momma wants, a laboring momma should get! I'm glad you were comfortable enough to do what you want.

  5. I've only birthed one baby and can't imagine wearing anything while in labor...but I birthed at home and didn't have to get to a hospital...so I didn't wear anything for all of the hard labor.

  6. SarahDJ, I'm glad you got to wear what you wanted & needed, uninhibited.


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