You're having contractions. You walk up to Labor and Delivery. They take you into triage and the first item they hand you is a hospital gown. For some women, this is no big deal. For some women, this is the start of feeling like a cog in the hospital's ever churning machine. Each of these emotions are valid and can play a role in how you view your labor and how labor can progress. Praise the Lord! You have options. This is one piece of your birthing experience that hospitals are typically not against. Make sure you explore your desires and your options to choose what is best for you!
Let's be honest! These ARE incredibly practical. The gown is light weight for when you enter transition and feel like you are radiating the fire of hades. It has easy rip off top for quick skin to skin contact after birth. It also has large sleeves that make it easier for any cords or IVs to slide through and you have zero worries about any stains!
Hospital Gown and Robe
This is a great option if you love the functionality of the hospital gown but want something a little more homey! Grab a light weight robe that you've worn at home. It will smell like home and help get rid of the hospital feel. It is also easily removed if you get too hot or uncomfortable. Lastly, it is easily put on so that as you are walking the halls it will cover your rear end.
Clothes From Home
This is the sure fire option if you want to feel at home. BRING YOUR OWN CLOTHES. Put it in your birth plan and talk with your doctor about this desire. There are a few things to remember when choosing what to wear. You will want something you won't worry about getting stained, light weight, comfortable, and has easy access for your doctor or midwife.
If you can't find anything in your closet that fits what you are looking for, go for a labor gown like this! They're pretty. They're comfortable. They're great for delivery and immediate skin to skin.
Remember no two moms are going to be the same. For some moms, a hospital gown is comforting and promotes feelings of safety. For other mothers, a hospital gown reminds them of fearful situation and can feel sterile. Analyze your heart and decide for yourself what works best.
Your Birthday Suit
I've seen it time and time again. It's a carnal instinct. GET NAKED! If you are comfortable with it, you can take it all off. Your skin can get very sensitive during labor so having fabric rubbing against you can be quite the nuisance. If you are a bit more of a modest person, you could have your doula hold a sheet around you or just wear a nursing bra. If you are having a water birth you could wear a swim top instead of a nursing bra.
This is a valuable topic to think about before going into labor, however once in labor it becomes very low on the priority list. Comfort and mobility will trump all other emotions during that time. When choosing which option is best for you make sure you pick something that fits that category best.