What to Wear During Labor: The Best Labor and Delivery Gown, Easy Access Clothing, and Birthing Clothes for Comfort and Confidence.
I don’t know about you, but even with a closet full of clothes, there are days when I just don’t know what to wear. Styles depend on the occasion, where I’m going, how I feel that day, the climate…there are so many variables.
If you struggle figuring out what to wear in the best of times, then how are you managing planning your “outfit” for one of the most important days of your life?
I’m talking, of course, about choosing an outfit for labor.
And while you can opt for whatever standard issue gown they have at your hospital or birthing center, I’d like to suggest you take a bit of time to plan what to wear during labor (and after, for recovery), so you can maximize your own comfort and your caregivers’ access as labor progresses.
Not to mention your baby’s access for that first nursing and cuddle session!
Why You Should Plan What You’re Going to Wear During Labor
Many women opt to wear whatever the hospital gives them, which is absolutely fine.
However, if you’re one of those women wondering, can I wear my own clothes during labor, then this post is for you!
(The answer is yes, you probably can, in most circumstances, but it’s worth double checking).
In my view, giving birth is one of the most memorable days of your life. And while this article definitely isn’t about being glamorous for that special moment when you welcome your new bundle of joy into the world, wearing something that’s comfortable and practical can make all the difference on the big day.
And, let’s be honest, looking somewhat cute is a bonus too, especially once you’re ready for that first family selfie.
For those of you who’ve stayed in a hospital before, or have given birth to a child already, you’ll know that if you don’t take your own delivery clothes with you to the hospital, you’ll be provided with a standard-issue hospital gown.
While it will be clean and practical, a hospital gown isn’t known for being the comfiest, with some being a bit stiff and scratchy.
(And the mesh hospital standard underwear? Your best bet is to avoid them with these birth recovery undies!)
With that in mind, we’ve compiled the ultimate list of birthing clothes you need to bring for the big day.
(Don’t worry – this list is scratchy gown free!)
What to Wear When Giving Birth
The main stays on this list are a comfy labor and delivery gown to replace scratchy hospital gowns, a comfy robe, non-slip labor socks, and your own recovery undies.
This article focuses on the gown and robe.
Specifically, here’s what you’ll find on this list:
- Best Labor and Delivery Gown
- Best Maternity Robe for the Hospital
- Best Labor Gown Alternative
- Cute Mommy & Me Robe and Onesie Sets
- Additional Accessories
Taken together, this list is designed to keep you as happy and comfy as possible, and ensure you don’t get stuck wearing a hospital gown and mesh hospital undies!
A Labor and Delivery Gown (Aka: A Luxe Answer to the Hospital Gown)
A labor and delivery gown is specifically designed for moms about to give birth.
They look like a super loose dress, with lots of room for a bulging maternity tummy.
Add to that, they typically open at the back to give access for an epidural, if needed. And also have openings and closings along the front for fetal monitoring and easy access for doctors, nursers, etc as you progress through your labor.
These gowns are probably the best piece of labor clothing you can buy, since they offer a lot more comfort than hospital-issued gowns, and are super practical, too. They’re also very affordable, making them a must pack piece!
Offering the comfort of a favorite oversized T-shirt with the functionality of a hospital gown, this Kindred Bravely delivery nightgown is the best of both worlds.
It has Velcro closures that extend the full length of both front and back gown openings (so no worry about flashing your backside!).
This makes it easy to access different parts needed for fetal monitoring, ultrasounds, epidural placement, cesarean incision inspections, and skin-to-skin contact.
The designers have also taken special consideration to keep the scratchy velcro away from your baby’s sensitive skin, meaning it’s good for those first few hours with baby, too!
It also has snaps along both shoulders so it can be used as a nursing nightgown in the first few days, and for the months at home after the birth too.
Whats more – this nightgown has two large pockets which are perfect for keeping your phone and other essentials on hand.
It comes in 2 sizes, with the S/M/L fits baby bumps up to 45 inches; XL/XXL fits baby bumps 46-51 inches.
Step away from the drab standard birthing dress and pack this gorgeous Posh Pushers delivery gown.
Flower power will help you to push in comfort in this labor and delivery gown, that you’ll feel confident wearing not only inside your hospital room but also for a stroll along the corridors when the baby doesn’t want to move!
Created by labor and delivery nurses, these cute floral gowns have the same necessary features as standard hospital gowns, with easy IV and epidural access points, and convenient shoulder snaps that can pull down for breastfeeding and immediate skin-to-skin bonding with your new arrival.
It comes in two sizing options, a small / medium for women at pre-pregnancy sizes up to size 12, or a large / plus for women who are a pre-pregnancy size 14-22.
When a labor delivery gown is described as ‘soft as butter’ you know it’s going to feel great against your skin. Your push day is when you want to be completely comfortable, and having a smooth, luxe fabric against your skin will make contractions that little more bearable.
This is a delivery gown with all of the functionality doctors need. They are super stretchy, breathable, and oh-so-soft, making them great to lounge in after the ordeal of giving birth (and during breastfeeding for the weeks at home that follow too!)
At the shoulder are easy-open snaps for examinations, IVs, breastfeeding, and skin-to-skin contact. Plus these gowns have snaps all down the back giving you full coverage of your bottom, while still allowing easy access for epidurals.
This gown comes in 3 size options and as well as the rose option, you can also get in in blue and floral print too. Plus to twin with your new little one, you can get the coordinating, Soft as Butter knotted gown & bow set.
This cute handmade option looks more like an adorable summer dress but has the functionality of a birthing nightgown.
The sleeveless dress style is flattering, with concealed shoulder snaps for breastfeeding access and a pull-down elasticated neckline for instant skin-to-skin contact with baby.
It has an adjustable empire waistline that is functional but makes you feel feminine too, cutely fitting over your bump and after-bump.
As with most other gowns, this dress has a full back opening with snaps along the entire length to keep you covered, and a hidden front opening too.
It’s made from 100% cotton, so as well as being soft, it’s breathable too. If you prefer a floral print, this dress comes in a huge range of color options.
There are 2 size options, that fit from 2-20.
Best Robes to Wear for Labor
In addition to a gown, I recommend you pack a robe to slip on when you’re walking around during early labor, or for after you’ve given birth.
They’re a comfortable layer that can keep you cozy if it cools off, and gives you a bit more coverage and privacy when walking the hallway or welcoming visitors without changing into other clothing.
For a robe that can work for you through the pregnancy and in postpartum, the Kindred Bravely Emmaline Robe is a must-have. It’s been specially designed for bodies with bumps, with two places to tie the belt, offering an empire or traditional waist.
With buttery smooth, ultra-soft fabric, and stylish satin trim and belt, it’s comfortable while being feminine too. Plus, it has extra-deep pockets for storage for keeping things close at hand, great for breastfeeding, or for keeping things stored when comforting your new bundle of joy.
It comes in 3 sizes, with options that fit from 2-24.
You are never going to find anything as soft as the French terry of this Hatch Nesting robe. Perfectly named for your nesting period, this cozy robe feels so good to wear, you’ll be comfortable keeping it on for all of those postpartum visits after the baby is born.
Cute features include bell sleeves and the ever necessary large pockets, and for double function, wear this robe also without a belt, and it fits more like an oversized or loose cardigan.
Can we put the floral prints aside for a moment, and check out something a bit more quirky?! This Bold Bikes printed robe is super fun, featuring whimsical cruiser bikes, and a black trim.
They’re great for cuddle time and are made from a soft, breathable fabric blend that’s 95% viscose from bamboo and 5% spandex for a cozy stretch.
These robes feature 3/4 length sleeves, which are convenient for breastfeeding and managing baby changes after birth. Plus for your own mom modesty, they have a below-the-knee length. And, the essential pockets!
We also love the co-ordinating baby bike onesie too, for matching mommy and me clothing.
Whether you’re waiting for baby to arrive, keep your hospital look stylish and demure with this cozy Storq labor delivery robe.
The luxuriously silky robe has a relaxed fit, to accommodate your fully grown bump, but still looks sleek. It has loose, wide sleeves, for free movement and breathable airflow, and comes to a modest mid-calf length. The detachable belt ties above the belly for ultimate nursing and c-section friendly comfort, both pre-and-postpartum, with a clever inner waist tie to keep it closed.
For an alternative to a robe or gown, you can try a birthing skirt.
These are becoming more popular with women who would prefer to wear a more supportive sports bra or nursing bra on top, and allow modesty, but freedom for baby to come.
Made from a stretchy, lightweight bathing suit material, this is suitable for laboring in a bed or room, and also for water births or a shower mid-labor.
The wide waistband sits under the belly for comfort, with one size fits most, wrapping from a size 4-20, with a modest 18″ length at the center back.
Mommy and Me Sets
How about twinning with your new arrival? Check out these labor and delivery gown options that have matching patterns in the mini version for your new baby!
This gorgeous set features a matching floral hospital robe for mom and a blanket with a headband for baby. Perfect for those first new family pictures, these botanical patterns in these sets allow you to swaddle baby, while you twin in an oversized kimono, thats super soft and stretchy.
It fits at the knee, for good levels of modesty, and comes in two sizes, for 2-16 range.
For a boy option, Aspen Lane also makes a co-ord set with a cozy hat for your little man, instead of the pretty hairband. This buffalo check robe and blanket is made from a soft mid-weight brushed rayon/spandex blend, which is perfect for newborn skin.
What Else to Wear for Giving Birth
Hospital Socks for Labor
While you’re in the hospital, you’ll want to have something to keep your tootsies warm too. Slippers are an option for walking on the cold tiled floors, but if your legs are up in stirrups, socks can stay on too. We like socks with non-slip soles as an option for walking in hospital corridors.
We’ve done a full round up on why we love them here!
The Bodily Mesh Undies are a must in my opinion. Use these instead of hospital issued mesh undies, and you’ll thank me!
These comfy undies are boy-short shaped for belly comfort. They don’t necessarily offer a great level of support for your butt, but they do come up high over your tummy – so are great for after even c-section births. They hold maxi-pads securely too.
If you have longer hair or bangs/a fringe, you’ll want to keep your hair out of your face during labor.
What I love about this Hatch Collection Cooling Head Wrap is you can use it as either a plain old turban/hair wrap or as a cooling wrap for headache relief.
To use it for a bit of relief during labor, pop the gel inserts into the fridge, and then insert into the wrap.
It’s also great during pregnancy to deal with hormonal headaches, if you don’t want to take any pain relieving medication.
After labor, your body will feel like it’s been through a war! Both cesarean births and vaginal births have their own issues and implications for recovery, but these awesome post-labor Bodily kits can help to heal and soothe!
After the trauma of a vaginal birth (and I mean trauma in the nicest possible way!), this V-Kit is made to treat your lady parts and help to soothe them back to health.
They will have been through what nature pushes them to do, at the most extreme level, and this kit contains everything you’ll need to give your uterus the love it deserves.
As well as mesh undies and maxi pads, it also contains special salts and a vaginal-shaped salt bath to soothe and relax your yoni, along with a spritz spray to cool and refresh. Plus it contains a guidebook to help your recovery too.
If you have a cesarean birth, a C-Kit will be the better option.
It has a belly band to help hold your muscles in your tummy as they knit back together, and compresses for support and comfort. There are also some great high-rise undies that come above where your scar will sit, along with mesh undies and maxi pads, and the necessary stool softeners too. Plus it contains a guidebook to help your recovery.
Final Thoughts on What to Wear During Labor and Delivery
I hope this has been a useful guide on what to include in your hospital bag ready to wear when push day finally arrives! The most important thing after all is your comfort, and while giving birth to a new human isn’t the easiest of things to do, you can at least do it wearing the best possible clothes for the job, that keep you stylish and snug.
If you think that this article on what to wear during labor will be useful for any other mom-to-be in your life, please feel free to share it with them too!