Clothing for Birth: What can you wear during labour?

When you are packing your birth bag, it's the perfect time to choose your clothing for birth. What are some things that you would be comfortable labouring in?

However, if your first thought is, "Will they let me wear my own clothes?", stop and remember that this is your choice.   A hospital gown is a garment that has been worn by hundreds of people before you and one which we can only hope was properly sanitized.  It is not comfortable for moving around in.

If you are invited to change into a hospital gown, you can if you wish or you can decide to keep your own clothes on - you are not there as a patient but as a labouring client receiving support and services from great care-providers.  Lots of our clients labour in their own clothes.  Your clothes might get sweaty or wet but they are easily laundered.

Clothing For Birth 2

Photo by Blankevla (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license)

For some, the hospital gown might actually be a trigger that reminds them of previous negative experiences within the hospital setting, so that is good to be aware of.

And the standard gown is just not good for all-fours postures or whenever you lean forward to stand and sway - whereas your own clothes can be tried out, lived in and very comfortable in any position.

If an epidural is part of your plan, then the hospital gown allows access to your back so it might be a great option in this case.

The keywords are it's your birth.  So you get to think about this and decide.

Another way of phrasing that is: what do I want to wear to my birth?

Deciding what you will wear is a great way to plan something, control something and exercise your choice.

Most women choose comfortable, soft, stretchy clothing.

You can wear:


-your favorite nightshirt or oversized t-shirt, with or without leggings

-your PJs or nightie

-whatever you might wear if you were settling in to binge-watch Bridgerton

-any loungewear

-a swim coverup or sundress

-an after shower terry towel wrap

- a mumu 

-a bikini top, soft bra, sports bra and comfy shorts. Just remember it can be tricky to get a bra off if you want to do skin to skin with baby immediately after birth

Plan this beforehand and have some fun.   One client made her own gown out of fun fabric, another ordered a gown that was a duplicate of the one Pam used on The Office with fun polka dots, useful velcro tabs and a sense of individuality.  In fact, you can order all sorts of fun gowns to labour in if that feels interesting to you.

Clothing for birth

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