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What to wear for a hospital birth

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

Hi ladies!


I thought this might fit in the birth experiences/preparing for birth thread, but I liked reading your previous birth experiences so much I didn't want to derail it with logistical things like this.


So, my city has a fabulous midwifery group that practices at a hospital birth center. They have the respect of the obs and quite a bit of autonomy. They new center also has tubs! The hospital is cool with water births.


Logistically I'm thinking since


-I want to labor without an epidural = tubs and shower heads will be my friend.

-I'm not sure I'd be comfortable going completely naked

-Wet clothes are probably not great to labor in

-Changing clothes laboring might be tough? or may not?

-Access to vaginal area is need. Are pants annoying to get on and off in labor? Wear something a skirt?


What to do?

-labor in a bikini top in shower and switch to regular shirt when not in the shower

-what they heck do you wear to cover your tush?


I'd love to hear what you ladies wore, what you liked, or would've done differently.

post #2 of 21

I actually wore the hospital gown. I brought shorts, thinking I didn't want to be "in the buff" walking around and never put them on. You get to a point where you don't care. In fact, at some point, I have no memory of this, I lost the hospital gown and I've been told that was all me. 


I did wear a sleeping/nursing bra underneath, which looked nice in the pictures afterwards and was comfortable.



I had a few of these and changed after the bath for my first birth. I brought a bikini top, but never put it on. Just the nursing bra, both times.


Honestly, I didn't care at the time that I was nakid, but I did care when I saw the photos of baby on my belly and nothing was showing. Not to mention, I don't find it comfortable to have the "girls" loose. So, I believe the support helped me become more comfortable. 

post #3 of 21

I don't remember what I wore to the hospital . . .but I wore the hospital gown for most of the duration, and stripped completely during transition. I was never in the water but would have been fine in a sports or sleeping bra (as I don't ever wear bikinis, so dont' have a bikini top) had that been an option.


Trust me, you don't care about who sees what. I mean, in early labor when my dad was in the room, I was sitting on the bed or chair covered up, but he hightailed it out of there first chance he got. If you are really concerned about your back end showing, they will give you two hospital gowns.


Once I delivered, I switched to nursing nightgowns. easy access for baby, and I didn't want any bottoms, other than the disposable underwear.

post #4 of 21

And, don't be afraid to ask the nurse for extra disposable panties. The post-partum nurse wasn't as nice as the labor nurse (I had the best labor nurse in the world, so supportive of a natural birth) and the mesh things kept ripping when I changed the monster pads. She shamed me for going through them so fast, which really made me mad. In hindsight, I should have shamed her for being a jerk since she was also the one that told me I was nursing wrong and broke the "latch" for my son to fix it and then threw her hands up in the air and walked out when he would not latch back on. He didn't latch on, again, until he was 6 weeks old.

post #5 of 21

I wore a sports bra, a tank top, and a cotton mini skirt to the hospital (but this was in June and it was warm out).  It was comfy and I figured I could just take my undies off under the skirt... but they asked me to change into a gown when I got there anyway.  


For this time, I'm thinking of a bikini top (for the water) and having a bath robe handy for when i get in/out.  


I was at a friend's birth a couple weeks ago, and she just wore an oversized T-Shirt during labor... it was long enough to mostly cover her backside while allowing access to important areas.  

post #6 of 21

...and you should snag as many of those mesh panties as you can for after, because they are kind of awesome for postpartum wear.  Seriously.  A friend managed to obtain a whack of them after her last was born and she handed them down to me so I have a supersecret stash. lol.gif  But I'll still be hitting the hospital up for as many as I can.  My tax dollars etc.  Love the mesh panties.

When I saw the title to this thread, my first thought was "You should totally rock up to the hospital in a cocktail gown." lol.gif  But that's not really what it was about.


Hospital gowns are good for this - and yeah, I totally didn't care about the nekkid at all - but then I regularly swim at the nudie lake here so I'm not really one to take advice from on that score.  However, I will say that it is VERY IMPORTANT to make sure your hospital bag includes COMFY clothes to wear home.  I was all "I'm having a homebirth dammit" and didn't even pack a hospital bag (oh if only my future self could have reached back in time for a good smack) so I had to send DH home for clothes for me.  He brought some cords that I'd stopped wearing at about 3-4 months.  The only fortunate aspect of me putting on hardly any weight was that I actually fit into them pretty easily, 4 days post-partum.  But I was all "my closet is filled with track pants and you brought THESE???" which wasn't very kind of me and also, it was my own stupid fault.  I wasn't exactly at my best at that point.

post #7 of 21

On the way home I wore a comfy jersey nursing dress, both times. I think i might have worn it there, too. I can't remember.


And YES bring your own light cotton robe. It's the one thing I didnt think about with my first. hospitals are cold places.

post #8 of 21

My one hospital birth i was in labor for half an hour at the hospital before she was born, so I didn't really think about what I wore much. But, the hospital gown was not bad, you can wear two to cover your bum if you want to walk around. Plus, if you are getting in and out of the water you can just ask for extras so you don't have to put damp ones back on. With my home births I slowly stripped and once I was naked I stayed that way until after the baby and i got cleaned up. I think both times I may have worn some sort of sports bra until the baby was born and then DH helped me take it off as soon as the baby was out. I did feel a little more comfortable having some support for the ladies! The mesh panties are great! When we were in the hospital there was a supply closet in our room, so I helped myself to a few extra pairs. I order extra in my home birth kits also :)

post #9 of 21

If you're concerned about showing off your bum, there are these things that I discovered at the local cloth diaper store, called "Gownies." They're not cheap, but look pretty comfy.



post #10 of 21

There's always the fancy ones on Etsy....



I like the long t-shirt option. For my home birth, I have a long nightgown that I don't sleep well in that I was planning on wearing and not caring if it became ruined. I can't sleep in a nightgown, I toss and turn and wake up with it up around my waist. The gown around my waist wakes me up. :)

post #11 of 21

I got this dress to wear to the hospital this time: http://oldnavy.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=48687&vid=1&pid=123615022
I don't know if they will let me wear it throughout labor, though. I am also going to bring sports bras and a jersey skirt just in case. However, I'm anticipating having to wear the hospital gown, which I wore last time.

post #12 of 21
I have to chime in that the one thing I was unbelievebly grateful for after birth was a clean pair of warm comfy soft socks!!! My mw had warned me that socks often get wet during birth or you are barefoot. Either way getting in warm socks after was absolute bliss!!!
post #13 of 21

"Trust me, you don't care about who sees what."


I wore the hospital gown last time and thought of myself as a modest person, but when I was in labor, I think it just all went out the window. I was just in the zone or something and didn't really care about it. Just did what I wanted how I wanted and it was fine. I think I had a sports bra on at one point.


Comfy clothes for the way home, yes. I think I had yoga pants for that. Good tips on stocking up on the disposable underwear...

post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 

Mesh panties and socks - noted. Mesh panties...kinda strange but I could see those being really useful. Thanks for the tips!


I'm thinking a jersey knit wrap dress/skirt with a bikini top. I feel like I can look for stuff now that I know what is helpful.


I hadn't thought to bring yoga pants for AFTER the birth or actually any clothes to wear after delivery. I'll add that to the list.


spughy I could totally see my husband doing something similiar to yours, I'll pack my clothes ahead of time :)

post #15 of 21

I am going to go against the norm on the consensus of this thread.  


I HATED the mesh panties!!!!!  Ugh!  Absolutely couldn't stand them!  I couldn't wait to get into my regular underwear (which I forgot to pack, so had to wait for DH to get some from home).  


For my second birth, I was REALLY feeling private during labor until transition....  I wore some cute shorts that I took off *just* in time for DD2's water to break! I had gone shopping for cute (but inexpensive) labor clothes and ended up with a cute set of flannel PJs.  The top was a button up "men's shirt" style top.  The bottoms were drawstring shorts.  Both in a cute blue plaid fabric with satin lining.  I also bought a coordinating blue sports bra. I still wear them with fond memories as they didn't get messed up at all!  :D  I had no water during labor because their wasn't time to get the tub filled up all the way, but my plan was to be in the water in just my sports bra... no one can really see what I wanted covered up if it's under water.


This time around, I am having a homebirth, so don't have to worry about strangers making me feel private.  However, I have been feeling very private during the past month or so (barely want to leave my house... very un-Jodie-like) and I suspect that that will increase as I approach my due date.  So, my plan this time is to make a knee length birth skirt (for modesty's sake during early labor) that I will hopefully be able to wear again come summer time.  The type of skirt with a yoga waistband.  I will either wear a sportsbra with it or a tank top of some kind or my tankini top (haven't decided).  If I decide on a sports bra, I may buy a front fastening sports bra to make taking off a wet bra after birth (I *think* I may do a water birth) a little easier.  


Oh, and ditto on the socks!  I bought fuzzy ones... but those were a little slippery.  Maybe find some with some traction on the bottom!  :)

post #16 of 21

I had a homebirth, but just wanted to share that DH and I changed clothes so many times during my 31hr labor. We laughed about it afterward!

I went through a few sports bras, DH's underwear(those boxer type deals) and lot's of t-shirts. Dh went through quite a few t's and shorts.

Much of it had to do with the fact that I was in and out of the birth pool a few times. I also had a robe that I would wear of and on as well.

I was hot, then cold, hot, cold, etc


When babygirl was born, I was wearing an ill fitting bra and DH's shirt that he had worn earlier. Not sure how that happened, but it's nice to see when he wears it now :)

post #17 of 21

With DS, I labored at home for about 20 hrs in an oversized t-shirt & panties, which was comfortable for me. I slipped on some yoga pants when we made our way to the birth center & quickly lost the pants onces I got there. I also had a sports bra on at that point. When I was in the tub, I just wore the sports bra. I don't think I ever got the rest of my clothes back on (or back) for that matter. We cut the bra off once DS was born -- so much easier than trying to pull it up and/or off. I would suggest getting a cheapy sports bra for this.  For the ride home I had another pair of yoga pants & another t-shirt to wear. Since I'm staying home this time, my guess it that I'll choose the same t-shirt & panties options. I don't know about the bra, but I'll have one just in case.


As for hospital births, the ones I've attended as a doula, I've seen the gamut. I've had clients wear their own clothes (sweats & t's), the gown, and some just go bear. It is nice to have something to wear if you're going to walk around. One of my clients kept having these enormous gushes of amnio fluid, so the gowns were nice because it was a quick change and she didn't have to worry about her own clothes. I think you should bring what you think you'll be comfortable in (that is fairly easy access) and then you can decide when you get there. Just make sure you bring comfy pants & easy-to-nurse-in tops for after baby is born. I also was so-so with the mesh panties. I ended up just buying some cheap panties that I didn't care if they got ruined and wearing those postpartum. I actually also preferred Depends to the huge ppd pads.

post #18 of 21

While in labor, I wore the yoga stretch pants that I have on now, actually!  And I wore a maternity tank top.


The pants came off (obviously) at the very end. I think I may have had one cervix check where I had to pull my pants down, (I honestly don't recall) but they went right back on.  It wasn't inconvenient at all and no one minded.


Once DS was born,  my nurse tried to help me get my tank off to BF, but I just asked her to cut it off instead.  Cutting was much quicker and easier and I think most nurses are used to cutting clothes when necessary.  


I think you can pretty much do whatever you want!

post #19 of 21

As a side note for mamas that plan to birth in the hospital.  Bring a comfy dress if you can just in case you end up with a section in the event of an emergency.  Pants WILL NOT be comfy if you have one.  You don't have to wear it home but it's a nice precaution to have.  My DD was born in July so I wore a comfy dress there and a second one home.  I wore the gown while I was there.  I'm staring down the barrel of a scheduled section so I might ask about being allowed to bring my own gown to put on after delivery so I feel less frumpy in pictures.  Otherwise it'll just be hospital gown again.

post #20 of 21

Not quite a clothing issue, but the one thing I did forget to bring to the hospital were my glasses!  I showed up in my contacts, and birthed with them no problem, but after I took them off before going to sleep (I had no lense solution to store them, and they are disposable so  I just threw them out) and found myself as blind as a bat the next day!!!  I also think that a Dr. may have requested me to take my contacts out during birth in preparation of an emergency c-section, but my midwife was just like, whatever, we`ll deal with them if we get there.

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