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 wore a bra, socks, and a hospital gown in labor. Not fashionable but I didn’t have to wash it after… Post delivery I mostly wore maternity sweats – like matching ones/ hoodie and pants. I had a c-Section so i needed something with an adjustable waist, and was bleeding pretty heavily so I ruined one pair. Don’t bring anything to the hospital that can’t get multiple bodily fluids on it! 😉

  2. I wore the hospital gown, I gave birth last summer (which apparently was one of the hottest we’ve had in a while) So I wanted to wear as little as possible without being naked.

  3. being a hawaii girl and hating hospital gowns, i wore a sarong (aka pareo) that i tied loosely and covered me up (when i cared) but could open and drape as necessary … i chose one in my favorite soothing colors (blues and greens).

  4. I gave birth in July in Oklahoma. It was 100 degrees outside so the air conditioning was overcompensating and it was about 55 in the delivery room. I wore a little nightgown from the junior section of Target that had a pink skull on the belly. About halfway through the labor my midwife suggested that I get in the tub for a while, so I was naked from that point on. The thing I’ll remember most is not what I wore but what my husband and midwife wore. I was working so hard I enjoyed the cool temperature but they were freezing. So they both kept getting heated blankets from the nursing station and they each had one draped over them for the entire delivery! My husband had arrived in sandals so my midwife gave him some hospital socks to wear as well!

  5. We are planning a homebirth in March in California and I am not planning anything about what I will wear since I will have my closet right there. 🙂 I am not modest, and it will only be my husband, midwife and her assistant, so I imagine that if it is comfortable temperature-wise, I will probably be nekked for the majority of the experience. We plan on taking pictures, but my thought is that if you don’t know me well enough to see photos of me laboring and giving birth nekked, then you don’t need to see those photos. It seems like such an intimate time to me — labor and birth — and I don’t want to plan to wear something just so I am covered in photos/video that will be circulated later. Those whom we don’t know well enough to share the nekked photos with will get the cleaned up baby wrapped in a cute blanket photos. 🙂

  6. During L&D I wore the hospital gown (induced at 42 weeks, ended up with a C-section 24 hours later) but after the first day of recovery I wore a nursing tank and yoga pants. I had a button-down shirt to put on when I found myself chilled, but when I was discharged it was 95 degrees outside and it was great to just have the tank and yoga pants!

  7. Nothing! I actually laugh now when I think how much time I put into thinking about what to wear during labor – if you knew me, you’d know I put exactly ZERO time into thinking about what I wear daily. And I guess there’s a reason for that; when given a valid excuse (and hello, birth is a valid excuse for ANYTHING) I will always choose my birthday suit!

  8. I wore a hospital gown and found it to be a complete hassle as I moved around during labor. I was constantly pulling it up or out from under me. It did get really messy though, so I was at least glad I wasn’t wearing anything I’d have to take home and wash myself.

  9. I had a homebirth and went into hard labor in the evening, so I was actually just wearing my usual nightgown — a knee-length ivory nylon slipdress that really doesn’t conceal much of what it covers — through most of the night, even when I was laboring in the tub. Then when it actually came to the pushing stage, the midwife needed the skirt out of the way, so I just flung the whole thing off, which had the fortunate side effect of keeping all the birth-related goop off of it. After everything got cleaned up, I put on my big fluffy bathrobe, which was nice because I could easily pull it aside to nurse, and put it back to let people visit.

    I had been worried about my midwife and my mom and assorted others seeing my bits (in fact, I had told my mom I didn’t want her there because of that, but I ended up inviting her anyway because she owns a TENS machine), but when the time came, it mattered precisely zero to me. I am kinda glad the only Y chromasomes in the room belonged to my husband and my baby, though.

  10. My childbirth educator was adamant about women wearing their own clothes during labor b/c she theorized that once a woman puts on the hospital gown, she starts viewing labor as a medical event instead of a natural life process and herself as a patient instead of a laboring woman.

    I went to the hospital twice so I wore two different cotton maxi dresses. One was an oversize beach dress from Target and the other was a maternity dress from Old Navy. Because they both had long skirts, I could pull the fabric up and off my legs when I was hot and let it back down when I was cold. Once I got to transition, I went naked partly so I could labor in a tub but also because I didn’t want anything on. This surprised me because, as someone with an eating disorder history, I’ve never felt comfortable naked in front of anyone. But that day, I wandered around naked in front of 6 or 7 people and I didn’t care!

    I’m due again in a few months and plan to use the same dresses.

  11. I don’t recall having any specific plan for what to wear – I’m not modest at all, so I probably expected to strip down at the birth center. But I ended up getting an infection as labor started and I was SO COLD (read: feverish) that I piled on the layers and sweaters and blankets. Once at the hOspital we discovered our formerly head down baby had rotated to a nasty breech, necessitating a cesarean, so I never got to test out what j would have birthed in given a choice!

  12. I had a homebirth. I labored for for first 7 hours in my thick bathrobe (and swept and mopped the kitchen floor to stay busy). Then, I got into the little baby pool we set up in the living room for the next 4 hours and was naked. That was it.

  13. I wore big tee-shirt style/material nighties for (most of) both of my births. Very easy to slip in and out of while having numerous showers. I did end up naked at the end with a sheet over my chest, just so that I could have easy skin-to-skin contact and a quick feed. The midwives loved them, one nightie had “Wild Child” with a cuddly teddy bear printed on it. The other had a dancing cow and “Shake it, Baby!”.
    Post-births I wore oversized tee-shirts with low-cut necklines (easy-feeding), comfy breastfeeding bras, comfy undies and loose cotton pants.

  14. I was so freaked out about people seeing me naked that I had a whole system of modesty-preserving clothing in place in my labor bag to take to the birth center when the time came. My midwife laughed at this, but told me to bring what made me comfortable. It took about two contractions before that modesty went out the window and the carefully planned labor tub attire was forgotten entirely. I went naked and genuinely didn’t care. It was the only time in my life that I have felt comfortable naked in front of anyone other than my husband. I promise you, when the time comes, the clothes you’re wearing will most likely be the last thing on your mind! 🙂

  15. Birth number one(birthcenter)I was a big planner and bought a black A shirt (tank top) to wear in the tub and yoga pants. I did end up using both.

    Birth two(birthcenter) I made no plans and ended up birthing next to the tub in my bra lol.

    Birth three was at home and knew whatever I wanted at the time I had available I ended up wearing one of my many camis into the tub. No real planning there I just wanted in now!

    As a doula I say bring whatever you think you will feel comfortable with all the while knowing you may change your mind entirely 🙂

  16. What did I wear during birth? You’d have to ask my fiance cause I stopped caring once those contractions got bad enough. I vaguely remember having some sort of outfit planned… but I very quickly came to realize that no one cared what I was wearing, least of all me! Between climbing in and out of the jacuzzi tub and having my lady parts checked a zillion times, whatever I came in wearing got vetoed one by one and I ended up in just a hospital gown, i think. Honestly I was so exhausted and overwhelmed that I can’t even be sure. In any case, it’s not like I would have brought the outfit home and cherished it always – that’s what I had the baby for!

  17. I wore a hospital gown during labor and delivery, as well as the entire time I was there. Well, until I put on my clothes to go home. I had bought a nice set of pajamas to wear around while I was there, but I felt like crap he next few days because I lost a bunch of blood and had a spinal headache. I didn’t have any ambition to get real clothes on at all.

  18. As a friend of mine says, you know a lady is really in labour when she suddenly can’t bear to be clothed.

    I felt so hot during contractions that I didn’t even want to put clothes on to transfer to hospital, but conceded to wear a light cotton wrap dress for the short drive. Once we got there the first thing I did was to rip if off and have my husband sponge me with a cool damp cloth.

    Later on, during the quiet, calm of pushing, I did get a cold spot on my lower back. I was squatting and my dear friend had to hold a little towel on this one square of my back, but I felt too hot if was any higher or any lower than that specific area.

    I really can’t imagine labouring in clothes. It just seems so cumbersome but, if that’s what’s going to enable you to drop your inhibitions then go for it. I reckon, if I had been so inclined, my wrap dress would have been the item of choice. I certainly found that it had nice easy access for nursing the next day.

  19. I was in an out of a tub once labor got going, so I didn’t wear much of anything. I sort of half put on a hospital gown sometimes, but during labor what I was wearing (and who saw what) was about the farthest thing from my mind.

  20. I labored in a big red flannel maternity shirt that had belonged to a Burning Man campmate & friend of mine who is the ultimate mama and her daughter is the reason my husband and I are together. She passed it to my best friend and also camp-mate who also wore it the first few months of her daughter’s life… a year later it was mine. Then I passed it on to another camp-mate. Our camp is getting bigger and bigger… (and we all have girls! )

    Once I got in the tub, though, I was au natural and pretty much stayed that way for about 3 days after Ruby was born! LOL!

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