What did you wear in your hospital room?

Photos of two Peanut Shell Hospital Gowns with a floral and leaf pattern.

The following questions are for mothers and fathers (wait for it dads, see below).

What did you wear in the early hours of your birth experience at the hospital? What did you wear in the final moments?

Goo-Ga Style aka The Peanut Shell debuted its own line of hospital gowns this month. Designer birthing gowns are not new, but were news to me.

The pitch: "The couture Hospital Gowns provide the essential design elements found on a normal hospital gown, but have added fashion necessities. Hospital Gowns by the Peanut Shell use only the strongest designer snaps, are hand-made in the USA, use lightweight breathable fabrics, have a comfortable neckline, and come in two sizes to fit most body types."

It got me thinking… what do most men and women wear in their hospital room? From the get-go, my wife wore a sarong for both of our children, but with the second child she went au gratin near the end. A sarong is comfortable and more flexible and easier to remove than a dress.

(Sorry, au gratin is my word for naked. Yeah, I don’t have a reason why. It’s just one of those things. Maybe it’s because I like potatoes.)

Now, being a dad, my only conceivable concern for my own attire was the vanity of wanting to not look too pathetic in photos my kids would be seeing decades from now. I wore a plain red shirt the first time and my Domo-kun shirt the second time.

I asked my wife, who is a labor and delivery nurse, what most new parents do. She said half of the women she assists wear a hospital gown when offered, but it’s not required. The other half of women wear a variety of garments, such as night gowns, stretch pants or summer dresses. Whatever you wear gets pulled up or down in the end anyway, and some women find it more comfortable to shed everything.

I asked if she has ever assisted in a birth by a nudist family. You know, walk in the room and all of the assembled family members are naked. She said "no" and gave me a disapproving look, but it still seems plausible to me. Hey, if they need an excuse, they’re naked in solidarity with the mother-to-be.

It turns out that, while there is no guideline for mothers, there is one for fathers — underwear, preferably swim trunks, if doing a water birth.

So… it’s sharing time… What did you wear moms and dads?


30 Responses to “What did you wear in your hospital room?”

  1. Tanya says:

    We called our unborn baby “Peanut” and I wore a shirt that said “I don’t work for peanuts” intil about 4 cm. Then I was au gratin, as you would call it.

    August 6th, 2008 at 1:00 am

  2. Anji says:

    I birthed in the nude; I was sweating profusely and needed the air!

    August 6th, 2008 at 1:11 am

  3. Darby says:

    I was au gratin while laboring in the shower, but then wore a hospital gown, which turned out to be pointless eventually and I might as well have been au gratin the whole time as it was almost up to my neck by the end.

    August 6th, 2008 at 5:10 am

  4. Sara says:

    I opted for the hospital gown during birth. Way too messy to think about wearing my own clothes, and I wasn’t quite comfy with being totally naked. After the baby was born, and I showered, I wore my own stuff. I would NEVER buy something to wear specifically to wear during birth. Waste of $$$.

    August 6th, 2008 at 5:41 am

  5. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    Agree with Sara

    If the gown got stained, I did not want to have to be the one ot wash it. One of the benefits of a hospital birth after all is someone else does all the cleaning up!

    I did buy nightgowns to be used in the hospital/after I got home on recommendations of folk. And those turned out not to be needed either. Maybe if I’d had a C-section it would have been different?

    August 6th, 2008 at 6:27 am

  6. Groovymarlin says:

    I had a c-section, so I wore what they put on me, which was a gown and a bunch of electronic things and eventually some betadine! Ha ha ha!

    OK seriously, once I recovered and could dress myself again afterwards, I wore a hospital-issue gown the first day, along with the strange, stretchy gauze underpants things they put on me. The panties were not so great but the hospital gown was surprisingly comfortable. I’m glad I didn’t put on my own stuff right away, since I did puke quite a few times after leaving recovery. After a day or two, once I was sure that various bodily fluids wouldn’t be escaping from me anymore, I wore my own nightgown and underwear until I finally got to put on a skirt and t-shirt and come home. I did not buy anything special for the hospital, attire-wise. But I did bring lots of extra socks and boy am I glad. :)

    August 6th, 2008 at 7:24 am

  7. Marketing Mommy says:

    I started out in a hospital gown, but spent the last 4 or 5 hours as naked as my baby arrived. Heck, I was in and out of the tub and shower constantly anyway.

    August 6th, 2008 at 7:59 am

  8. Allison (CodeCrafter) says:

    I showed up to the hospital in sweat pants and a tank top and I also brought a robe. Pretty much the only time I wore the robe was on the short walk from triage to my room. Once in the room I shed everything except the really cool birthing necklace a friend gave me because I was in transition and every piece of clothing felt too restrictive.

    August 6th, 2008 at 8:01 am

  9. MoJo says:

    I wore the standard gown which ended up being nearly around my neck. For each birth (3 of them) my mom bought me a new pair of PJ’s that I would pack in my bag. I know it sounds silly, but afterwards when I was all clean, I really enjoyed putting them on. Nothing fancy, just cotton tops and bottoms so I could nurse and look presentable for people who came to visit. I still wear all 3. I am wearing PJ’s right now from #3!

    August 6th, 2008 at 8:13 am

  10. midge says:

    For birth #1, hospital birth, I wore a robe most of the time, but au gratin once I started the in and out of the shower routine. After baby was born I put on a hospital gown which was pretty comfy.

    For birth #2, at home, I wore stretch pants and a t-shirt until I got into the tub, then was au gratin afterward. We stayed skin to skin through the night, I put on a nursing night gown the next morning for visitors.

    FYI, my home birth midwives cleaned everything up, too. Hubby and I did no clean up at all! It was great.

    I agree with Sara, it seems silly to buy something just to give birth in!

    August 6th, 2008 at 8:48 am

  11. K G S says:

    Standard-issue hospital gown for me too. Seriously, between the exhaustion and the raging hormones, I had only ONE thing on my mind and couldn’t have cared less who saw me or in what state of undress. I wore my own clothes once visitors started to arrive, but I can’t remember what they were– T-shirt and big stretchy maternity pants most likely.

    August 6th, 2008 at 10:00 am

  12. Hope says:

    Totally naked. And both times the nurses kept offering me gowns. I thought maybe I was the only person in the world to deliver babies naked, but apparently not. : )
    My husband was wearing…um jeans? and some form of t-shirt? But maybe I’ll suggest he be naked for the next one. And I’ll keep you posted. (evil chuckle..)

    August 6th, 2008 at 10:54 am

  13. RookieMom Whitney says:

    During labor/birth I wore the gown and those stretchy undies – I think – until it was time for them to come off. But it didn’t occur to me to make any alternative suggestion to the gown that was handed to me.

    I have headed for the hospital in sweats and a tshirt and both times packed some sort of (huge) athletic pants and (huge) tank top, knowing that the post partum days are pretty sweaty so that I could hang out in something other than the gown and not feel hideous.

    A big shift/gown/muumuu does nothing for the ego. When you find yourself to be no longer pregnant but still sporting all the skin required to house a large fetus, I think a comfy maternity-ish waistband is nice for the support it gives to the jelly belly.

    In conclusion… those dresses in the pictures are cute fabrics, but seem ridiculous for real life. Those women should be more sweaty and bloated, don’t you think?

    August 6th, 2008 at 1:07 pm

  14. Christy says:

    I had a c-section, so I had on a gown (that was hiked up to my neck) and a surgical cap. After they turned my epidural off and forced me to get out of bed, I showered and put on my gowns that I bought for this.

    I decided on gowns that were lightweight cotton and had buttons around the center of the front (easier boob access that way). They were VERY comfy for me and they were cuter than the standard issue gowns. I also bought a lightweight robe. I still wear all of these things!

    August 6th, 2008 at 1:15 pm

  15. Amy says:

    For the birth, hospital gown all the way. I was induced, which lead to a c-section. Surprise! Ok, not really in the giant urban hospital where I delivered. The boy was big, so it was probably inevitable, but still I delivered at 5:15, hummmn quitting time, maybe.

    Anyway, the best thing in my bag besides a bunch of hubbies old tube socks was the super soft fuzzy top and bottom pj set. The top kept me warm and covered the hospital gown the first day. Giant urban hospital was not very temp. stable. Plus it covered me up nicely for visitors.

    And I highly recommend nursing tank tops! Keeps the tummy covered when the boobaloobs are doing their thing.

    August 6th, 2008 at 1:16 pm

  16. Swimmers'Mom says:

    I had a scheduled c-section with Swimmer number 1 (August baby) and have been told that owing to the twinage of my current pregnancy a c-section again is probably in the cards (darn it!).

    I wore only the hospital issued gowns. Why? I did not have to clean them, they were really really soft from multiple washings, and between what goes on even after a C-section, and baby spitting up, formula leaking on you and over all the bloating and discomfort from abdominal surgery, those gowns were very very comfy (and covered all the important bits). That and the Yukata bathroom I brought to the hospital.

    I see no reason to spend $$$$ on something that won’t be as soft and will frankly be spit up on, bleed on, leaked on etc….. It’s just another way to suck expectant momma’s into spending unnecessary dough.

    For this expected delivery (in the winter) I will be packing extra socks and perhaps sweatpants that I don’t care about. Maybe. And a nice comfy old bathrobe.

    August 6th, 2008 at 1:19 pm

  17. My Boaz's RUth says:

    Amy: Induced does NOT always equal C-section — Mine did not end up there (And I was afraid it would. if anything else went wrong I was going to choose a C-section) Also, our induction started at 4:00 pm and 8:12am was when the baby was born. So 5:00 isn’t exactly quitting time that one would rush to a C-section to get out by.

    I’m sorry you have so many doubts about your birth experience.

    August 6th, 2008 at 1:28 pm

  18. Erin says:

    home birth. naked for most of if, but for a while i had a soft shirt on to keep warm (i got a bit of the chills….)
    i tried to put pants on to take a walk outside, but they made the contractions too crazy!

    i have also seen ads for expensive “birthing clothes” and think its a waste of money…. might as well spend that money on good labor snacks & juice and some really yummy ice cream for the freezer after baby is born!

    August 6th, 2008 at 1:40 pm

  19. Mary says:

    I wore a hospital gown. I was unaware you could do anything else. Even after I gave birth I stayed mostly in a hospital gown. The last night I changed into pj’s that were meant for breastfeeding (basically pj’s with two slits at the chest).

    It seems like showering/bathing while in labor is popular. I wasn’t aware I could do that either — but I ended up having an epidural so I was stuck in bed until after birth. Maybe if I can stick it out this time around I should try that. I’m going to a newer hospital where they have suites for labor, delivery, and care after birth in one private room.

    Oh, and my husband wore jeans and a t-shirt. I went into labor middle of the night, so he put on the first thing he could find.

    August 6th, 2008 at 7:08 pm

  20. Adrienne says:

    I wore a hospital gown for both of my birthing experiences. By that time I was so big that the last thing I wanted to do was look for a “special” outfit, so I wore what was provided.

    My husband made sure to wear the same t-shirt for both. (My children are 3 years apart.) He thought it would be cool to have the same shirt on in each set of pictures.

    August 7th, 2008 at 3:09 pm

  21. Inki says:

    I wore my own t-shirt and pants until transition I think (although to be honest, the details are lost in the haze of a night-time labor!), then went au gratin ( I love that term!) for getting in the tub and staying through the water birth of my DD.
    I (and eventually my DD) were the only ones in the tub, hubby was behind the tub fully clothed giving me his arms for me to push off of and the midwife was at the other end, ready to catch the baby, so no dress code required for hubby there.

    August 8th, 2008 at 3:48 am

  22. Christy says:

    I was induced at 41 weeks so I wore the hospital gown. I ended up with a c-section because the little (I use that term loosely because he was over 8.5 pounds) sucker just did not want to move and my body did not want to dilate. Once it was all over and I could take a shower I wore fleece pajamas which was a HUGE mistake. It felt like it was aobut 300 degrees in my room but close to the window it was freezing (it was February). So I was sweating and my husband was shivering. The fact that my mattress was covered with vinyl or plastic or somethign waterproof did not help the night sweats I had at all. Next time I am going to take a nursing nightgown because I think it would be infinitely more comfortable afterwards.

    August 8th, 2008 at 7:35 am

  23. Kara says:

    During the actual delivery I had on a sports bra and that was it. I had a water birth.

    When I wasn’t in the tub I was either wearing a night shirt (if we were in the house) or a long sundress (if we were walking around the block).

    August 8th, 2008 at 5:18 pm

  24. Chacoy says:

    I had an emergency c-section and delivered my 2lb. 4.5oz. baby at 28 weeks. I didn’t get to choose what to wear, but I think that it is great! Now that I sit here and think about how many thousands of people bled, peed, pooped, went au gratin in the same old hospital issued gown as me it makes me wish that I had the option!

    August 8th, 2008 at 10:45 pm

  25. Kara says:

    Perhaps your “au gratin” morphed from “au naturel”?

    I wore the hospital gown the entire time, but I think for any future births I would like to bring something else for afterwards.

    My husband wore his uniform, because I went into labor just two hours after he got to work. Our baby arrived on his due date. Before my husband got the call, the other guys at the station (He’s a firefighter) kept teasing him, “It’s 8:30am, is she in labor yet?” “It’s 9:00, is she in labor yet?” “The phone is ringing, I bet she’s in labor!” etc. Boy were they all surprised when the call really was from me!

    August 9th, 2008 at 12:49 am

  26. RobMonroe says:

    My wife went with the standard hospital issued gown for all of the reasons mentioned above.

    I wore jeans and a special shirt. We had decided on a name months earlier and went onto CafePress and ordered “Team Abigail” tee shirts for the two of us. I wore mine the whole time, and once everything had calmed back down and we were in the recovery room my wife held hers over herself as well.

    Part of the thought behind this was that if we ever have a second child, it will be easy to figure out which child is in the pictures….their name is on my shirt!

    August 11th, 2008 at 6:03 am

  27. Jen M says:

    Yeah, no special outfit. I know I was wearing a sports bra until about 30 minutes before birth (ironically, I never went braless until after breastfeeding). I think I was wearing a pair of gym shorts until I got in the birth tub.

    I had thought my sarong would be useful but I ending up finding hands-and-knees to be the best position so a sarong would have been inconvenient. It didn’t get used until afterward when I wore it as a dress.

    Side note – Contrary to assumptions, a home birth doesn’t mean a mess for new parents to deal with. The midwife’s assistant cleaned everything up and did the laundry (shorts, bra, and sarong included) before she left.

    August 11th, 2008 at 9:41 am

  28. Andria says:

    Where were these when I was birthing?

    August 15th, 2008 at 5:30 am

  29. Ari says:

    OH seriously? If the hospital provided them, sure, i’d wear it.. but I’m pretty sure these adorable little frocks come with a hefty price tag….. my guess is $89 plus tax. no?

    So i wore the standard-issue hospital gown during my 12 hour labor. Seriously? seriously? as if i cared about what i was wearing at that point…. I just wanted my first dose of fentanyl / buprenorphine to kick in!!!!

    April 5th, 2009 at 9:14 am

  30. Ari says:

    WOW. can i guess that, or what? I seriously did NOT cheat! i searched and yeah… $89 bucks.

    TMI alert:
    for something that is likely going to get quite icky and bloody and if you’re anything like me your first thought becomes “OMG i have to do laundry as soon as I get home” when you see your garments *that* dirty.
    Gross, let the hospital do my laundry for the 3 days I’m there, thankyouverymuch.

    April 5th, 2009 at 9:17 am

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