In September 2018, I was quoted in this NY Post news story about the increasing trend for expectant parents to bring their own laboring gown to wear in labor instead of a hospital gown. This is something I always talk about in childbirth classes. I was first introduced to the concept a few years back when a doula client from Park Slope (a very trendy part of Brooklyn) wore her “pretty little black dress” to her labor, which helped her feel confident and beautiful. I was sold and have recommended it ever since.
Why would you want to wear your own gown instead of the hospital one? There’s quite a bit that the article didn’t mention, so let me add a couple things:
You should feel like the healthy, beautiful laboring woman you are, not like a sick patient. Wearing the hospital gown can contribute to the all-too-common U.S. “sick patient” way we tend to perceive birth
Laboring gowns are SO much more comfy and stretch along with you as you aim stay active for a healthy + shorter labor. Hospital gowns are usually scratchy and made of rigid fabric.
They’re designed to give access where necessary for monitoring of baby, to be cut low enough in the back that if a person opts for the epidural, the gown isn’t in the way, and it’s a halter top — perfect for breastfeeding
Side perk - they often come with a matching headband, which is helpful to keep your hair out of your face
Now, you might ask, “Couldn’t I just wear something I already own?” Yes, you absolutely could. However, the laboring gowns are designed in such a way that it’s more likely to be pleasing to the work that the hospital or birthing center staff need to do, as detailed above.
Actually, you might just get so hot and bothered in the — often literal — heat of active labor and just strip down to almost nothing, and that’s just fine, too! (It’s common to lose all inhibition when the body’s working so hard.)
The brand I recommend is Pretty Pushers. They’re made here in NYC (shop local!) and has several designs and colors. Find them here on my list of recommended products*. There are other brands, but this is my fave recommendation.
Now, go rock that labor “runway”!
*Disclosure: I may receive a small commission on any products you purchase through these links, at no additional cost to you.