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 got naked to get into the birth pool (I’m still amazed at how quickly the embarrassment vanished!) and then stayed in the nip for 10 hours until the Niblet was born – perfect 🙂

  2. I brought a bunch of stuff to wear for labor/delivery and the stay after the birth, but just ended up wearing the hospital gowns provided, and even the stretchy disposable hospital underwear for after. I wore my own socks. I thought it would matter to me wearing something “normal” but it turns out I just didn’t care, and didn’t need to pack so much stuff. I was so focused on my relaxation that I didn’t notice a lot of what was going on except when important questions came up.

    My baby was breech and no one knew, so I had an unplanned surgical birth. It was better at first to just toss the gown in their laundry basket instead of taking it home. the last couple days in the hospital, I liked wearing my own gowns.

  3. Yay – this was my question! So yes, I had my baby last August, so I’m reading all the responses with my chunky 6 month old Frankie nursing on my lap, but oh well – it’s still fun to hear everyone’s choices. For me the question wasn’t so much about modesty, but about working hard to not feel like my labor and delivery was a medical event (as one of the other commenters had mentioned). It was a busy summer, and “awesome friend mo” spent more time helping us finish our basement than sewing, so the skirt we had planned never panned out.

    I ended up choosing a light, stretchy cotton knee-length skirt from old navy maternity and a basic ribbed maternity tank. It was comfy for the first 8 or so (largely uneventful, induced) hours of my labor, but as soon as things started to kick into gear I was in and out of the tub and was naked from there on out (i.e. the next 19 hours). Except, of course, for the wild and energetic charm necklace my girlfriends had made for me from my blessingway.

    Post-delivery I had a nursing tank and gaucho/yoga style pants plus a zip-up hoodie for when I got chilly. I’m so glad I had “me” clothes, especially for recovery, so that I didn’t have to feel medicalized in the hospital gown.

  4. I think i’ll just have a sarong tied around me, easy access and comfortable. I don’t like wearing clothes at the best of times (at home!) so i don’t think i’ll be too concerned about showing my bits and pieces! And i only plan on having my husband and midwife present, and maybe my mother or sister if he needs a break, so i don’t think i’ll care!

  5. Nothing but socks 🙂 When in labour I could care less about who sees what. I could be in the middle of a crowd but I just have a primal instinct to strip off!

  6. I started off in a hospital gown + cheap robe I’d gotten for laboring in/to walk the hospital halls. Once I hit transition (at 6 cm), I was suddenly burning up & spent the rest of labor & delivery naked.

    After my baby was born, I took the greatest shower of my life & spent the rest of my hospital time in nursing tanks with yoga capris. I probably had a sweater, too, in case the room got cold.

  7. A week before I gave birth I went to the thrift store and bought black stretchy sweat pants/yoga pants and loose thin drapey t shirts for postpartum.
    Giving birth I wore the hospital gown and my necklace from my blessingway.
    If you’re reading this and thinking of what to pack, warm socks without any elastic cuff would be a great idea to bring. I packed mine, but in the wrong bag. 🙁

  8. I wore a sports type bra and a short thin house coat as it was summer time. The house coat was really great because i didn’t have to pull it over my head at any point and it could accomidate the monitors( clearly I have a hospital birth!). Actually now that I think about it I have one arm out for most of the time because of the IV I had for the drip.

  9. I gave birth in a hospital, so I wore a hospital gown. When I was laboring at home, before we went to the hospital, I’m pretty sure I was wearing some cotton drawstring pants and a maternity t-shirt. Seriously, don’t wear anything you don’t want ruined. In DH’s words, “I have never seen so much grossness come out of my wife.” (he was talking about the amniotic fluid and later the afterbirth- not the baby!!)

    When I went home, I wore a jogging suit and a maternity top. I finally stopped wearing my maternity jeans a few weeks later and broke down and bought a pair of jeans in my post-partum size, but I probably would have lived in yoga pants longer if we didn’t move across the country when my son was 3 weeks old. (I know, it was CRAZY!!)

  10. I just wanted to say that it’s awesome reading everyone’s replies. I’ve been thinking about this because my baby is going to be born in a hospital but I abhor hospital gowns. Which is hard because I know I’ll have an IV. Looks like I’m either going nekkid for the whole thing, or I’ll be in clothes that I don’t mind throwing out when they get stained. Maybe I can get crafty and alter some old clothes so I can get them on and off without disturbing an IV?

    • As a medical professional, it’s pretty easy to switch the IV around, even if you’re not wearing a hospital gown. you could wear something button/zip front to make it even easier. But I wouldn’t let that limit what you wore.

      I mostly labored at home (didn’t realize it at the time). When I finally broke down and asked my husband to drive me to the hospital (the OB on the phone had told me earlier in the evening that I was probably in false labor…I was clearly minimizing my symptoms) I wore an old pair of yoga pants with a stretchy waist band as well as a t shirt with the word “PAINFUL” on it (it was an work joke, but totally appropriate). I think I put a gown on when I got to the hospital…but really, no memory of it. All the nice little things I packed in my bag, yeah, didn’t use a thing. Probably because I had transitioned in the car and was 9cm when I got there.

  11. I’m kind of embarrassed at the ridiculous amount of time I’ve spent thinking about this exact question!

    First of all, I have enormous boobs so the thought of having them free and wobbling all over the place grosses me out. Second of all, I’ve never been comfortable with my body (I’m somewhat “plus sized”) so the thought of people seeing me naked for many hours in particularly unflattering positions is quite unsettling to me.

    Ideally I was looking for something that would give bust support, have easy lady bits access (so dress or skirt), no problem to throw out after, and could be whipped open in a second for that precious skin to skin contact.

    I’m 33 weeks now and in my labour bag I’ve packed a long maternity tankini for the shower and bath and I figure if I end up having an epidural I’ll wear a nursing sleep bra and a hospital gown (they may be ugly but their well designed!)

    Though who knows, maybe at the time I wont care at all and spend the whole thing in my birthday suit!

  12. I started out in a long tank top dress from Le Chateau along with socks and a bra. I think that all lasted about an hour and half until I didnt care anymore.

    After that it was a hospital gown, I had to be monitored at all times because my daughter was so overdue, so the gown was really the easiest option.

  13. I got sent to the hospital unexpectedly, so I arrived in jeans and a t-shirt. I’d packed a great dress to wear, but as soon as I got there, they insisted that I take everything off, jewelry, bra, socks, everything, and put on a hospital gown. I wore gowns for 2 days, and ended up stealing my husband’s pajama pants for the remainder. Dress never came out of the bag. lol

  14. Good grief!

    This question never occurred to me during either of my pregnancies. Both my children were born in a hospital, both times I was in a hospital gown. Had a hospital gown not been available I’d have worn a men’s XXXL t-shirt.

  15. I birthed in the buff but AFTER the birth I wore my husband’s cotton (black) boxer-briefs for days (they look kind of like biking shorts, but not as tight). Perfect for the huge pads I was wearing, and way less constricting than my own undies.

  16. For some of my labor I wore a duck towel. It helped me keep my humor. The rest of the time I was naked. I’m a naked person even when I’m not in labor, though.

  17. I am definitely NOT comfortable being naked in front of everyone and given how much the boobs have grown already in only three months, its also physically uncomfortable for them to be completely unencumbered. I bought a cute sports bra at Target and am planning a water birth so hopefully my nether-regions will be kind of eclipsed by the water/pool…but when you’re in the throes of labor you won’t care. Everyone saw my business with my first birth.

  18. While planning out my home birth, I specifically bought a cool, short tie dye skirt and a black sports bra for the occasion. My thought was not about being modest for my family or midwives present, but for the birth video. Funny how when the contractions hit full force and NOTHING and I mean NOTHING helps, the idea of putting on the planned attire goes right out the window. I ended up completely nude. 🙂

  19. Since I am NOT a modest person (still wear an itsy-bitsy bikini to the beach), I wore underwear and a tank top, which after a few hours on the birthing ball, got taken off to feel less scrachy bits. We were at the hospital and my whole family was there (mom, dad and brother, plus baby daddy). Poor dad and brother will never forget a naked sister/daughter giving birth. HAHA. They’re better becasue of it, I like to say.

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