Mondays are when I answer a question that a reader asked, and ask other readers to help out too!
Questions don’t have to be cloth diaper related, just email maria at change-diapers.com with “Mailbox Mondays” in the subject, or fill out my contact form for readers, which you will always be able to find on my Contact Page.
So here is a non cloth diaper related question…I am giving birth for the first time in November. I will be at a hospital, hopefully in their natural birthing center, but that just depends on if the little one cooperates 🙂 Either way my plan is to do it naturally. I will not be required to wear a hospital gown and would prefer not to. So, do you have any recommendations for what to wear while in labor? I have heard that all inhibitions go out the window during transition and birth, but there will be at least a few hours before that that I would like to be at least partially clothed but still have everything accessible for the nurses. I found an online retailer that makes birth skirts that I am intrigued with but I am not sure I am willing to fork over that much money for one. Any suggestions?
Thank you so much!
Hey this is a great question, and actually one I’ve been thinking about lately myself. My hospital wasn’t as accommodating, so I went with the ever stylish hospital gown, and saved my battles for other stuff!
First of all, congratulations!! I have seen the birth skirts you’re talking about and while fabulous, they are also a little spendy. After my post last week, you probably know I’m planning a home birth. It may not be as important a decision, since I won’t have to pack a bag & can change my mind easily, but I’ve still been trying to figure out what to wear! Weird as it sounds, I’m not comfortable being naked (even by myself), but obviously I can’t be wearing a 3-piece suit during labor/birth!
You definitely want something that is comfortable, not restrictive, allows easy access to medical staff (to check you, apply monitors, blood pressure cuffs etc.) and allows easy skin-to-skin contact and nursing access after the birth. You will probably want a backup labor outfit as well if you really want to avoid hospital gowns. There’s always the possibility that what you’re wearing might become soiled enough that you need to change. You also probably want to choose darker colors, or something that wasn’t too expensive since you won’t be able to rush home and pre-treat/soak it!
So here’s what I’m thinking…a loose fitting, elastic waist skirt. I actually have one from Target that isn’t maternity, but folds down like yoga pants to sit under my belly (and was considerably less expensive than that one!) You’ll want a loose fitting top that’s easy to pull up, gives access to your arms, and preferably also access to your chest (for baby!) Since I’m not sure if I will end up in the tub, I’m considering my maternity tankini top (which I never actually used this summer!) because the faux crossover front is easy to pull down/aside for skin to skin and nursing. Or consider a short sleeved, loose fitting top.
I think layers are the way to go since hormonal shifts made me go from sweltering hot to freezing cold in an instant. You could do a maternity/nursing tank top with a tie or button front sweater/shirt even. Depending on how modest (or not) you are, you could just wear a comfortable nursing sleep bra under your clothing, and plan to take your shirt off if you get hot/after the baby is born. Though hospital gowns make for easy chest access. I regret not fighting to keep my bra on, since I really don’t like going braless (especially while carrying around pregnancy sized boobs!)
I already mentioned having a backup change of clothes for labor, but you will also want something for the first day or so after the baby is born. Depending on how long you were in labor, you might feel like you’ve been wearing the same clothes forever, and nothing feels better than a shower and clean clothes! Most hospitals still check you quite a bit during that first day, so you will want something similar, or a nursing nightgown/robe. You will probably not want to be wearing pants or long sleeves.
You didn’t ask this, but you’ll also need something to wear home! Unless you have incredible genes/are a supermodel (in which I hate you…kidding…sort of…) you will not be skinny leaving the hospital. Most women are around the size they were at 5-6 months pregnant, so it’s probably not a good idea to bring pre-pregnancy clothes to wear home (unless you like feeling depressed!) I found jeans to be extremely uncomfortable because of the crotch seams, which seem about 1,000 times bigger/bumpier when you’re sore! What would be good are some maternity sweats or loose fitting yoga pants, along with a nursing top, or nursing tank and loose, zip up hoodie.
What about everyone else? Have you worn your own clothing during labor? What did you wear?