When it comes to giving birth, we cannot overemphasise how important it is to find comfortable options.
Let's face it - having a baby is no walk in the park, but it's certainly not something you want to attempt in skinny jeans. Consider that things are going to get messy, the whole experience can take time and often simple is the best choice.
Kidadl is on hand to help you decide what you need to pack and what is the best thing for you to wear. And one final word - don't be so focused on sorting your own clothes that you forget to pack anything for the baby (guilty as charged).
For Your Trip To Hospital
What you wear usually comes down to what stage of labour you're in. If the baby is well and truly on its way then frankly, you'll be showing up in whatever you happened to pull out the wardrobe that morning. This is where having your bag ready for your stay is important. Make sure you have plenty of comfy options stashed in there to wear post-birth.
If you're having an induction or planned section then opt for something you know you'll be cool and relaxed in. You may be asked to attend in the morning but that doesn't mean you'll be holding your baby come lunchtime. You could spend many hours waiting before you're even prepped for surgery or the induction is started.
If you're having a section then you'll have to change into a hospital gown before you give birth. But in the time before you'll want something that is non-restrictive so you can move around. Plus go for layers so you strip off and wrap up according to how you're feeling.
Now is not the time for modesty nor do you have to resort to a draughty hospital gown. There are plenty of other choices. Bear in mind that you're going to get messy so don't wear anything that you'll be sad to bin after. Once you're home with the baby you may not feel like scrubbing stains out of your favourite Springsteen tee. The best plan is to have a good selection in your bag so you can change if something isn't working out.
An Old T-Shirt: In the throes of labour above all else you want to be as comfortable as you possibly can, so an old t-shirt will tick the boxes. Look for the oversized rather than fitted styles and something in cotton or cotton blend will help to keep you cool. Cotton threads are lightweight and will wick away moisture.
A Roomy Nightie: Much like the above choice a roomy night will offer comfort. Don't go for a long-line style though as the extra fabric will only get in the way at crucial moments – keep it knee-length or above. It's also worth looking for a maternity nightie which has buttons down the front. This will enable you to unbutton and have the baby on your bare chest immediately after their arrival, without having to strip naked.
A Bikini: Labour is certainly no day by the pool but many women opt to have a water element to the birth – so a bikini could be a smart move. It doesn't have to mean giving birth in a birthing pool. You can also enjoy baths or showers while in labour and wearing a bikini makes it easy to move between shower and birthing ball to bath and hospital bed. Some women chose a one-piece for the same reasons but do consider that a bikini offers additional benefits if you need to take off just the top or the bottom half.
Your Birthday Suit: You'll be hard pushed to find anything more comfortable to wear while giving birth than your own skin. Choosing to be naked for labour means there's easy access to your tummy if midwives need to run any checks plus no clothes mean no restrictions in moving into different positions. You can spare your blushes with a sheet over you if you want to cover up a little. And just remember – you won't be the only one naked. Your baby won't be wearing anything either!
A Bathrobe: A bathrobe or something similar like a button-down shirt or loose dress is ideal for providing coverage when you need it but with the bonus of providing easy access for doctors and midwives. Should the midwife want to check how dilated you are you won't need to undress and can still keep your modesty. Likewise, it's easy to shrug off the top part of this clothing so that the baby can be placed on your chest immediately.
Some women are able to leave within hours of giving birth and some may find they need to stay in for longer. It's best to be prepared and take more than one days' worth of clothes.
Comfy Undies: Once you've had that baby comfort will rocket to the very top of your must-have list. So forget skimpy knickers, high cut legs and the like and pick out full-coverage granny pants. You can buy disposable knickers for this time, or just get a cheap pack of pants and dispose of them when you're done.
Nursing Bra: If you're planning on breastfeeding then make sure you include a couple of nursing bras on your hospital bag checklist. It will make those early days trying to get the hang of feeding much simpler and offers discretion when it comes to feeding time.
Cosy Socks: In my experience hospitals are either boiling hot or freezing cold. So you'll need to pack for all eventualities. Thick socks are a winner as you can wander around the wards in them without needing to pop shoes on. Look for options that include grips so you're not sliding around.
Pyjamas: The looser the better. No matter how you've given birth you don't want anything too tight. Also, look for items that are easy to slip on and off. Button-down tops also aid breastfeeding if you choose this option.
Yoga Pants: Or any type of stretchy or loose-fitting trousers. Don't even think about packing those skinny jeans. Now is the time for clothing that can easily be pulled up and down, is super soft and non-restrictive. Leggings are also a good option.
At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things, that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.
We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it's important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.
Kidadl provides inspiration for everything from family days out to online classes, arts, crafts and science experiments. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.
Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong.
We also link to other websites, but are not responsible for their content.