What do you wear during labor and birth?

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Photo courtesy of Pretty Pushers, maker of somewhat cute birthing gowns.
Photo courtesy of Pretty Pushers, maker of somewhat cute birthing gowns.
I’d love to hear about what Offbeat Families readers wore or are planning to wear during labor and delivery.

My awesome friend Mo is going to make me a skirt or dress or something that will be comfortable and not outrageously expensive (just in case the blood and meconium stains don’t come out :D)

I’m just looking for style ideas, and I figured this was just the community to ask!


We’re betting some of you will have amazing suggestions in the comments… ready, set, GO!

Comments on What do you wear during labor and birth?

  1. I spent most of my labor naked in the tub, if I wanted to get up to walk around I wore only a hospital gown. That way I didn’t have to deal with laundry or worry about staining.

  2. I labored in a VERY large t-shirt that was a dark blue and underwear. It wasn’t my style at all however, my father in-law passed away 14 months prior and it was his shirt. It really meant a lot to my husband and my mother in-law. For the birth I was naked. We had a water birth. This time, I plan on laboring in the same t-shirt and birthing in the water wearing a “sleep” style nursing bra.

  3. I have been trying to figure this part out. I am having a natural birth with many people in the room and I am super…shy ill say. I want my belly to be open for as soon as the baby comes for skin to skin and easy access to brestfeed, but I don’t want to be nakie in front of everyone. Lol

    • i wonder….. are you sure you want a lot of people present?

      now, i am not dissing that choice at all; when i was 5 months prego i attended a close friend’s birth (with like 6 other people) and she drew strength from our presence, loved sharing the experience, and wouldn’t have it any other way.

      after witnessing her wonderful birth i thought i wanted something similar, but once i was in labor i had some major regrets. of course i love my family & friends dearly, but i found that their presence had me thinking and worrying about THEM! and i too, felt a little shy all naked in the tub.

      so this time around ( i’m 2 months along with my second child), it’s just me, papa, the midwife and maybe a doula.

      • I had way too many people involved for my 1st birth experience: partner, mother, aunt, best friend, plus midwife and nurses. I love them all dearly and figured all the woman energy could only be positive. The problem was that I labored for a long time and everyone (besides partner and midwife) got worn out and emotional and ended up distracting me with their drama. It especially didn’t help that my mother did not at all understand why I wanted to labor naturally. She endured for as long as she could before she yelled at my midwife to DO SOMETHING. Not helpful!

        This time around, it’ll just be my partner, doula, and midwife and nurses.

        • Most doctors and midwives agree that the having one’s mother in the delivery room is the most difficult. They have an instinctive desire to attempt to shield their children from pain. Even if that “child” happens to be a grown woman about to give birth.

          I had a very stern/earnest conversation with my mom when I was about to give birth in which I told her, “This is the most difficult and womanly thing I will ever have to do and I need you to treat me like a peer and not your child.” She sucked it up and remained calm and supportive and was such a trooper.

  4. NOTHING!! I was completely naked the entire time (24+ hours). When I got up to walk around the birth center I put on a large pj shirt but the place was deserted due to the BLIZZARD outside so I could have stayed naked but it was freezing in the hallways. during prelabor (another 20+ hours) i wore a large fleece robe

  5. I remember worrying about that. 🙂 I had a wore a (size huge) silky nightie. It was weightless and short, didn’t get in the way, yet gave me a little coverage, until I got to that “I don’t CARE” stage of labor. (And I had a great birth!)

  6. I labored and delivered in a hospital gown and socks. Throughout my stay I went through several gowns because of all the mess/fluids. I would do it that way again. I see no point in buying/wearing something special as it will likely get ruined.

  7. I spent 36 hours of drug-free labor in a hospital setting (and another 8 hours tied to a bed after pitocin/epidural/etc interventions). I spent the first 24 hours or so in a pair of supersoft knit baggy gaucho pants and soft sports bra, with a cardigan/hospital gown/robe added or removed according to comfort. I also spent time in and out of the shower/bath – clothes that were comfy to get in and out of were wonderful!

  8. I wore a bra and tank top under the stupid hospital gown thing for a day and a half (although, to be honest, I really only put the gown on if I was getting up to pee or something), up until it was decided that a c-section was happening. Post-delivery I wore comfy pajama-type clothes (tshirts, pajama pants, etc).

  9. I layered up and peeled them off as the labor progressed. I started in yoga pants and a sarong top with a sports bra. Later the pants, bra and panties came off in that order. I gave birth in the sarong. It worked great cause skin-to-skin was just a tug away.

  10. I have not birthed yet, but we plan to have an unassisted home waterbirth when we do plan to have a child.

    Only my husband will be accompanying me at our birth, but we will be recording the birth and posting it on youtube. I don’t want to be exposed for all the world to see, so I want to wear my wedding dress, which is just an ivory-colored convertible maxi dress made from a very soft modal fabric, made by IsadoraClothing on Etsy. It’s comfortable, gives great coverage wherever I want it, and any part of the dress can be easily removed or pulled aside should I feel the irresistable urge to get nekkid or I want to give skin-to-skin to my newborn. It can also be tied in a way to nurse modestly without covering the baby. (sort of like a “slurp n burp”)

    It’s also very forgiving on a less-than-perfect figure, so it would be perfect to wear all throughout my pregnancy, and afterwards! 🙂

    And it’s machine washable! Modal doesn’t stain easily either. 🙂

  11. I debated this internally A LOT. After much discussion, both in my head and with mom friends, I ended up going with the hospital gown. I wanted to still feel like ME, so I wore really wicked socks which are a very key piece of my wardrobe on a daily basis. I ruined three pair… but it was worth it to have some part of my style intact.

  12. I wish I could show you what I wore. If I could, I would give everyone a copy of the dress that I had cause it was perfect for laboring and post-delivery. (Delivery was in a tub and was just a really stretchy black bra.) But the 30-something hours before that, I wore a maxi dress.

    Notes on the style that made it awesome:
    The skirt was two layers. Bottom layer was about as thick as a well-worn tshirt, and the top was just paper thin cotton. It was very light to wear.
    Straps that fastened to the back with buttons so it could be undone if necessary.
    Deep V-neck, one side overlapped the other (like a wrap dress would) so there was enough give to make nursing access really easy.

    Every piece of the dress could be easily moved aside, which meant I could keep it on despite being checked on and monitored. And it being a really busy swirly black and white pattern meant it hid any grossness so I ended up wearing it for like… three days.

    • I lived in my yoga pants for days. stretchy, soft, the most comfortable things I own. On top I stayed in a sports bra style nursing bra and a tank top if I got out of bed.

  13. I wore a hospital gown draped over me. I tore badly and bled quite a bit and am glad no one made me anything to wear for the event. The gowns were so comfortable, I didn’t get dressed until I left the hospital.

    • This sounds almost exactly like my story. The only difference is I wore a huge hooded sweatshirt over my hospital gown. (After birth of course.) I personally think that whoever designed the gown I wore knew what they were doing. It had the holes for nursing and it was easy to just grab the bottom and throw it up out-of-the-way for the birth. Plus, I didn’t even think twice about staining, that’s what it was made for!

  14. With my first I went back and forth from tub to bed and wore a hospital gown out of the tub. With my second I was induced so I wore a hospital gown in the beginning once things got started I was in the tub and had nothing on for the rest of my labor (which was only about an hour)

  15. i wore a hospital gown for all four deliveries. when i was recovering for the first day, i wore a nursing hospital gown. afterward, i wore comfy pjs and a nursing shirt. i would put on a sweater if i got cold. it was comfy, i didn’t care if it got stained, and i could nurse easily, plus take off and put back on my pants easily. i had a c-section for two pregnancies, so it wouldn’t hurt my stitches. i did not care about fashion during or after. i was too tired and busy to care!

  16. i wore my beloved blue-white-striped nightgown, which is essentially just a long t-shirt. for the first hours also underwear, sweatpants and a hoodie, after the tub just the shirt ^^
    afterwards i hat a lovely little spaghetti strap nightgown- “easy to pop out the boob”-style…

  17. I labored in a oversized tank top, like one or two sizes too big (so it would fit my belly) and a sports bra. I had comfortable pajama pants on until about 5 cm. Then I took a shower and put on a robe. I don’t know, as much as I am usually totally concerned with what I wear. I definitely could not have cared less, nothing was going to make me more comfortable. And I danced and walked until I pushed, so I felt like I needed some clothing… I guess the question isn’t really about your style of clothing but more about your style of labor!

  18. I wore this super comfy maternity dress from Old Navy. I bought it for looking cute and keeping cool in the summer months but it was far too nightgowny to wear out of the house. It was soft, sleeveless and just had a bit of elastic at the empire waist. While laboring on the toilet I just tucked the skirt up into the neckline, while pushing on my knees my midwives hoisted it up over my butt, and then when it was time to climb into bed with the baby, it was super easy to strip right off. I thought clothing might annoy me, but this dress was so light and soft I didn’t even notice it. Also it’s really stretchy so when I wore it in the following weeks, I just had to tug it down and whip my boob out for easy feeding! This is totally not an ad for Old Navy, it was just a really comfy dress. They have a lot in this style on their site right now.

      • I just checked out their website and got all excited about yoga pants for $13… Until they wanted to charge me $92 for shipping! Damn you international postage rates! Guess I’m just going to ruin the yoga pants I already have.

        • I found this to, they’re international shipping is outrageous. If you’re in Australia, I used this website to buy stuff from them instead http://www.priceusa.com.au/ The process is a bit complicated, but the shipping ended up being about a third of the price, and since the Old Navy maternity sales were so good, I decided it was worth it.

          • Genius! Although probably a bit late now given that bubs is due in a week. The outrageous shipping saved me from an impulse buy, but I’ll keep that website in mind for future international online cravings. Thanks!

        • I realise i don’t know where you live but if it’s Canada there is a Canadian Old Navy site. Make sure you type in .CA at the end to avoid crazy shipping costs. At the moment it’s free if your spending over $50.00

  19. I had planned so much before my labor and delivery, I had packed a cheap dress that tied around the neck, bought a new bikini top for my tub time, and brought a few sets of clothes for the days after. I ended up wearing a pair of stretchy yoga-style pants and one of my ex-husband’s big shirts for the ride to the hospital, and was nekked after that. Thanks in part to my labor being so progressed by the time I got there, I just went into the tub nakkie and stayed that way. After the birth, with all the blood and everything, I ended up spending the rest of my hospital time in a backwards hospital gown so I could have easy nursing and skin-to-skin access. Definitely don’t plan to wear anything you care about for the next week. No one tells you how much you bleed!

  20. i wore an awesome soft stretchy nightie from target. i had an (unexpected) hospital birth, but i didn’t want to feel like a patient, so i kept my clothes on. (this unnerved several nurses.)

    • Heh.

      I was transferred from a home birth (preeclampsia) where I had been laboring in a long tube / summer dress.

      I stripped nude and gave birth that way, but all of the nurses kept asking me at least every half hour if I wanted a gown so “I’d be more comfortable”. At some point between contractions I came around and told one of them that the gown had nothing to do with my comfort, that it was more about theirs and to stop asking me.

      I’m a little shocked at how weird they were about women who choose to labor nude. Especially since they knew I was being given magnesium, which increases perception of ambient heat.

      • thats interesting. My nurses looked at me like I was a silly person for asking for 2 gowns, one for the back and one for the front while I walked down the hall from triage to my room. Like, um, the night janitor doesnt need to see my ass…

        But once in my room I got nude. It was May, and warm, but when I started getting the shakes, I regretted leaving my warm robe at home.

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