As a childbirth educator, people often ask me what to wear during labor. The short answer is whatever you want. Your own clothes, going naked, or wearing the hospital gown are all great options.
Since labor comes with physical exertion of some kind, you will want to consider the following when deciding what to wear during labor:
Comfort is key.
During labor you can wear anything you wish but the more comfortable the better. The skin of a laboring person can become more sensitive due to all the hormones, sweat, and work they are doing. Wearing soft clothes that are easy to move in is important for comfort.
Clothes that can be removed easily is also among the top considerations when planning your labor wardrobe. You may get hot and sweaty and decide wearing clothes just isn’t worth it anymore. When you are pushing and baby is ready to be born, you may want to remove what you are wearing to facilitate skin to skin.
During labor there will be times the nurses or your provider need to monitor how you and baby are doing. When considering your labor outfit, think about how easy it will be to have your blood pressure taken, an IV placed, a cervical exam done, or the fetal monitor in place. Wearing something that is easily moved out of the way is less constraining.
Extra support enhances comfort.
Nursing bras are important for breast support. Your bra can be easily removed for skin to skin when baby arrives. Some parents prefer to wear a bra regardless of their other wardrobe choices. If you plan to spend time in the shower and don’t want to wear just your birthday suit, a bra or bikini top is a great way to stay covered and supported. That support is also important as your breastmilk comes in.
Footwear is important!
For your health and safety, it is recommended that you wear something on your feet if you are out of bed. Slippers, flip flops, or the hospital socks with grippy bottoms keep your feet clean and steady. I had a client that wore bright rainbow knee socks during labor! Who said footwear in the hospital has to be boring?
Whatever you choose to wear, be comfortable. Add some flair or bling if you wish.
This is the day you meet your little one!