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Here’s the Best Birthing Gown for Your Delivery

Woman wearing a beige dress holding her pregnant belly




Written by:

Barbara Mighdoll

You're about to embark on one of the most incredible journeys of your life – childbirth. As your due date draws closer, you might be wondering whether you should purchase your own birthing gown to wear during labor and delivery. I did, and I'm glad I had it to make me feel more comfortable. But what makes a birthing gown different than a night gown, and is it really worth it for your hospital stay?

The best birthing gown is not just about looking good for those first precious photos with your baby (though that's a definite perk!). It's about feeling comfortable, relaxed, and empowered during your labor and delivery.

A well-crafted birthing gown for the hospital is thoughtfully designed to cater to the practicalities of childbirth. It features convenient snaps for effortless medical access, promotes skin-to-skin contact, and facilitates breastfeeding after delivery. Moreover, it is crafted from gentle and breathable fabrics that ensure your comfort and minimize skin irritation.

There are different options depending on your birthing gown preferences, including simply using the birthing gown provided by your hospital. For some, a maternity birthing gown with a print brings an element of joy. For others, a simple design in a soothing hue brings a sense of calm and serenity.

best birthing gown

The Best Birthing Gown for Your Delivery

What Is a Labor and Delivery Gown?

A labor and delivery gown, or birthing gown, is a specialized piece of clothing designed with the needs of a laboring woman in mind. Think easy access for medical checks and specialized equipment, skin-to-skin contact, and breastfeeding, paired with comfort and style. Picture a regular hospital garment but with a few smart tweaks to accommodate the unique needs of a laboring mama. This ease of access is important for the medical team during labor and delivery, including the ability to easily attach any fetal monitoring devices.

Do I Need to Have a Birthing Gown?

Strictly speaking, no. Maternity wards do provide standard-issue hospital gowns. However, these one-size-fits-all garments are often lacking in both comfort and dignity. Plus, they aren’t tailored specifically for the needs of childbirth. And that’s where a birthing gown comes into play!

Can You Wear Your Own Delivery Gown During Childbirth?

Absolutely! Wearing your own delivery gown can help you feel more at ease during labor, which can actually aid progress. Just ensure your selection is practical for medical needs such as monitoring, IV access, and skin-to-skin contact post-delivery.

Are Labor and Delivery Gowns Worth It?

Well it depends. It's not every day that you give birth, and having a garment that makes you more comfortable during this life-altering event can make a difference. But not only for the reasons mentioned above; birthing gowns also empower you by allowing you to retain some control in an otherwise unpredictable situation.

What to Look For in a Birthing Gown

Comfort and Ease

When you're in the throes of labor, the last thing you want is a scratchy, ill-fitting garment. And that's where a birthing gown is a game-changer vs. standard hospital gowns. These gowns are designed to move with you, offering plenty of room for your baby bump, and are easy to open for those mandatory checks, but give you more modesty than the typical hospital gown option. A bathrobe is ideal to wear over your clothing after delivery, and since many hospital rooms are as busy as Grand Central Station, it’s nice to have something to cover up with.

Material and Durability

The best ones are often made from soft, breathable materials like cotton, a poly-cotton blend, or rayon, which are gentle on sensitive skin. Plus, they're durable and can withstand multiple washes without losing their shape or color – because if you want to have multiple kids, there is no reason to have to repurchase this for your hospital bag.

Size and Fit

Choosing the right size is crucial for ensuring the utmost comfort during labor. Often, they come in different sizes, from petite to plus size, so there's a good fit for every body shape. But remember, the fit should be loose and accommodating, never restrictive. Loose clothing such as maternity leggings and tops, including a maternity bra, are a good option, ensuring comfort during your delivery. And let's not forget adjustable closures that ensure easy breastfeeding access once your little one arrives.

Other Factors to Consider

Aside from comfort, material, size, and fit, there are other important elements to ponder. Check if your chosen gown has features like front and back openings for ease of medical checks, and a discreet opening for epidural access if you're planning to get one.

best birthing gown

Top Recommendations

best overall labor and delivery birthing gown

Best Overall Labor & Delivery Gown

Baby Be Mine 3 in 1 Labor/Delivery/Nursing Hospital Gown This was my pick for both my birthing experiences. The sleeveless design of this gown helped me stay cool during labor. It provides optimal breathability and freedom of movement, allowing you to navigate the hallways with ease. The easy access snaps in the back not only keep you covered better than a hospital gown for the hallway pacing you'll inevitably be doing, but also conveniently accommodate procedures like an epidural, ensuring your comfort and convenience throughout the entire process. The addition of shoulder snaps to this versatile gown makes immediate skin-to-skin and nursing easy.

Woman wearing a blue birthing gown showing front and the back

Best Plus-Size Labor & Delivery Gown

Ekouaer Women’s Nursing/Delivery/Labor/Hospital Nightdress This birthing gown comes in a range of sizes, ensuring a perfect fit for every expecting mother. With its high neckline design, it provides maximum coverage and comfort during this special time. The gown's soft and breathable fabric adds an extra touch of luxury, making it an ideal choice for a memorable birthing experience.

Best for a C-Section

If you are having a scheduled c-section, it is important to plan ahead and prepare to wear a hospital-provided gown during the procedure in the operating room (OR). This is a standard and necessary procedure followed to ensure the highest level of safety and hygiene for both the mother and the medical team involved in the delivery process.

Additionally, it is recommended that you take three changes of clothes with you to the hospital, including a set of clothes to wear on the way to the hospital. This will allow you to be prepared and have a fresh set of clothes to change into after the procedure.

Woman wearing a grey birthing gown; the woman is demonstrating how to open up the top of the dress for skin-to-skin contact

Best for Skin-to-Skin Contact

Frida Mom Delivery and Nursing Gown This convenient and thoughtful design allows for a quick and effortless way to expose your chest, facilitating precious skin-to-skin contact with your newborn baby immediately after birth. Experience the joy and bonding that comes from this intimate connection, promoting a sense of warmth, comfort, and closeness between you and your little one. The FridaMom gown is made of viscose, a soft fabric that absorbs sweat so you feel slightly fresher than you would in other materials.

Woman wearing a maternity bra and underwear

Best for a Water Birth

If you are planning to have a water birth, but still want to remain covered a bit, opt for a stretchy, breathable, black nursing bra. I recommend the Bodily Effortless Bra, which you most certainly can use before birth and will continue to use far after birth.

best birthing gown

Alternatives to Birthing Gowns

Using the birthing gowns provided by the hospital can be a practical and cost-effective choice for expecting mothers. Not to mention, it helps minimize what you actually need to bring to the hospital. Instead of purchasing your own birthing gown, you can take advantage of the gowns provided by the hospital. With functionality in mind, these gowns ensure ease of movement and accessibility for medical professionals during labor and delivery. Additionally, using the hospital-provided pieces eliminates the need for bringing home and washing anything.

What is the Best Outfit to Give Birth In?

And here we are, the million-dollar question, right? Well, it turns out that there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer to this. Here are some popular options to help you make the best decision for you:

  • Hospital-provided items – These might not be haute couture, but they're definitely practical. So if you're someone who values function over fashion, this might be your ideal match.
  • Birth Gowns – If the thought of wearing something already worn by countless other moms-to-be gives you the creeps, purchasing your own maternity outfit could be your ticket. The design has all the necessary openings for medical check-ups and procedures, offering both comfort and modesty. Oh, and they come in cute designs too!
  • Nightgown or T-Shirt – Some moms prefer to bring a piece of home into the delivery room, so they opt for their own nightgown or a comfortable, loose-fitting T-shirt. But remember, birthing can get messy, so it's important to choose an item that you don't mind parting ways with post-delivery.
  • Nude – Yes, you read right. Going au naturel is an option too! Some women find that less is more when it comes to birthing wear, especially for a water birth.

Remember, no matter what you choose, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable and at ease – because when you're about to bring a new life into the world, that's what really matters!

Cover Photo by Amina Filkins


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