As a doula I don’t get to get dressed up to go to work, but there are occasionally times when I get to “clean up well”. These are my favorite dress shoes. I wear them with my Colorado dress jeans and a nice black top.
What does this have to do with “what to wear during labor”? I think how you dress can get you in the right state of mind. There are different types of clothing for different types of events. I wouldn’t last a minute in these heels at a 12 hour birth and I don’t wear my comfy “birth” shoes to go out on date night. Clothing in our culture is a symbol of our individuality. Most hospitals do routine interventions like placing an IV once a patient is admitted, not allowing food or drink (except for clear liquids) during labor and continuous fetal monitoring. Having you put on a hospital gown is probably the smallest routine intervention but for some it is the first place advocating during birth begins.
Some women advocate for wearing their own clothes or wearing clothes especially made for birth (like Binsi) or nothing at all. We all say we are too modest for the last option but when you are in labor brain you don’t really care what you have on. Trust me! I opted for the sports bra and skirt option but I can’t remember where those went to afterwards. They ended up back in my bag somehow, probably thanks to my doula doing her magic.
Some of the reasons I have heard about not wearing your own clothes include:
- They will get dirty, there are lots of fluids during labor.
- I won’t be able to get an Epidural.
- They might have to cut my clothes off.
All of these are valid reasons for wearing the hospital gown and I completely understand.
The only thing to keep in mind if you decide to wear your own clothes is cotton is washable and anything you get on them will come out with the right laundering. You probably won’t have it on when the going gets good. Easy access for the hospital staff to all important parts is something to consider, snaps and Velcro are the best closures. Being comfortable is the most important thing and wear what you want, not what you are told because at the end of the day this is your birth!