5 Things to Wear in Labor (That Aren’t a Hospital Gown)

wear in labor

Trust us: no one cares what you wear in labor and birth or how you look in that very first photo of you with your baby. They’ll be looking at those sweet, tiny toes; your happy, exhausted smile; and that almost palpable spark between you and your baby as you gaze into each other’s eyes.

But even though no one else minds, you may wish to appear in something other than a drab, toothpaste-colored hospital gown. We’re not talking about your Sunday best, of course, but a quick brush through your hair and a swift change of clothes may have you smiling instead of cringing every time you see that photo.

In fact, if you wear one of our suggestions during your labor, you won’t have to change your outfit at all! Here are five options for clothes to wear during labor, delivery, and that post-partum photo that are miles above a hospital gown.

What to wear in labor

  1. A pretty, loose-fitting dress. Pick a breathable material like a lightweight cotton or a poly blend that wicks away moisture. Something that buttons up the front is perfect, since it gives you easy accessibility for breastfeeding as well. Steer clear of maxi dresses; that extra fabric will just get in the way. Many maternity dresses double as nursing dresses. It’s likely to get a little messy, so it’s best to choose one on the less expensive side.
  2. A lucky t-shirt. My favorite t-shirt is a large gray Heineken shirt that I got for free at a Dave Matthews Band concert. It’s got paint stains in various colors since it’s my comfy around-the-house shirt. Each one reminds me of the rooms I painted in the homes I’ve lived in, and it’s my favorite thing to wear to bed. There’s nothing more appropriate to wear when you bring your child into this world than something that makes you feel lucky and brings back happy memories.
  3. A bikini. Bikinis are actually a surprisingly perfect choice to wear in labor. You can slip off the bottoms quickly and easily. Many women find that laboring in the tub or shower is especially soothing and helps to manage pain, and a bikini lets you take advantage of those benefits if you’re shy or body-conscious (or your mother-in-law is in the room!). When it’s time to breastfeed, you won’t need to kick your relatives out, either; the top is easy to push aside so baby can nurse.
  4. A labor gown. If you like the idea of a dress but don’t want anything to get in the way, try a gown made just for women in labor. Pretty Pushers makes several feminine dresses that are designed with every convenience in mind. They tie down the front, so the nurse or midwife can monitor your baby’s vitals and the baby can lay on your abdomen for skin-to-skin contact before the cord is even cut. Baby Be Mine “Gownies” and BG Birthinggowns are good options, as well.
  5. Nothing! Your birthday suit offers easy access to your belly, allows you to comfortably position yourself in whatever way feels best for you, and is even waterproof for the birthing shower or tub. You may want to use a sheet to cover up for your postpartum picture, but during labor and delivery, you won’t find anything more comfortable than your skin suit. Besides, you’ll be in good company – Baby isn’t wearing anything, either!

So what’s the best option when you’re choosing a labor and delivery outfit? Wear what makes you feel best, as long as you don’t mind getting it dirty. If you’re uncomfortable going nude, a labor and delivery gown could be the perfect choice for you. If you just want to be comfortable, go with an old t-shirt. Women who want to labor in the tub or shower (or who may have in-laws in the delivery room) can opt for a bikini to wear in labor. And if you’re one of those ladies who wants to look perfect, even during labor? A button-down dress could be right for you.

Whatever you choose to wear in labor, you should be comfortable in both your outfit and your environment. At Baby+Company, we are dedicated to celebrating the joy of motherhood and birth by creating a safe, home-like environment for women to deliver their newest family members. If you want a birth experience that’s truly personalized for your peace of mind, contact us. We can’t wait to meet you.

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