Birthing and Hospital Attire

Updated on April 03, 2012
M.L. asks from Spokane, WA
25 answers

When I delivered my first child, I had to stay in the hospital two full days, maybe even leave the third morning, I can't remember. I had a vacuum delivery and was pretty torn up, plus had some other major pains from swelling issues, so I had to stay a little longer.

Early on the second day, (it may have even been the first night), my mil told me I needed to take off my hospital gown and put on the nightgown I brought with me, like I was doing something wrong still wearing the gown. I felt embarrassed, (even though the nurses brought me several fresh ones to change into), so I changed. The nightgown I brought made the physical checks more uncomfortable and difficult, and being a new mother, it made it more difficult to nurse, and I ended up flashing several people trying to unbutton it, than I did when I used the hospital gown. I also bled all over it, which made me sad. *I'm pretty sure I did change back that night after the mil left.

So, having said that... what is the norm here? Do you mom's wear the hospital gown most of your stay, or at what point do you say, "Okay, I'm ready to take off the gown and put on my own outfit."

I can't remember what I did with my second child's birth, all I know is that it always bothered me that my mil told me to do that, and it made things physically more uncomfortable not to wear the hospital gown. I'm having my 3rd child in a few weeks and I wonder if she will do it again, this is why I ask what the standard practice is here.

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answers from Bellingham on

I only wore the hospital gown when I was actually giving birth to my third child. After that I showered, put on comfy track pants and a loose t- shirt. I still wear the oversize shirt I wore when i gave birth to my first two to bed.

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answers from Detroit on

I don't think there is any "standard practice" what makes you the most comfortable. You can pack something from home if you want to but if you realize that the hospital gowns work better for you, don't worry about what anyone else says or thinks! They are not the ones who have just given birth and are recovering!

And in case you were wondering, I wore the hospital gowns, but doubled up on them, since they never cover you up all the way. I wore one with the ties in the back and then another like a jacket so I was completely covered. If you want to throw a robe on on top of that for when you have visitors, I would think that would be fine. I didn't change into anything from home until the morning I was being discharged - and I had stayed in the hospital for 5 days after having a c-section!

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answers from San Francisco on

Girlfriend, you are growing a human being inside of your body and pushing it out through your hoo haa, you are a super hero so DO NOT let anyone embarass you or make you feel bad.

Take loose fitting clothing that is comfortable for your physically and emotionally when trying to navigate nursing your new bundle of joy and accomodating the nurses and doctors who are checking on you.

If your MIL says anything tell her what you told us. The hospital gown (or whatever you do chose to wear) is more comfortable for your current state and you plan on staying this way until changing into something different makes sense for you (not her) to do so.

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answers from Philadelphia on

i wore the hospital gown. Why didnt you change back when you realized it was uncomfortable?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I stayed in the hospital gown provided me by the hospital. So sad your MIL gave you such poor advice. Perhaps it's what she wanted for herself but was unable to so she imposed that on you. Who knows. The only "outfit" I put on was my going home clothes. No need to bring your own nightgown. Just use what the hospital provides and make it easier on yourself.

And if darling MIL suggests you change, tell her lovingly that you are nice and comfy just the way you are. She really has no right to insist you do anything her way anyway.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I wore the hospital gowns the whole time. No need to ruin my own clothes with blood and other fluids. Your MIL sounds old fashioned and may be thinking back to the days when people didn't breastfeed, didn't room with their babies, and stayed for 4-5 days (what the hell one would do for 5 days in the hospital - outside of recover from a c-section - is beyond me but I digress). She sounds like the type who thinks you should put on a little lipstick and freshen up to look pretty for guests...

You do what works for you and know that you are perfectly normal! That said, I hated being in the hospital so with my 3rd and 4th deliveries, I checked out the next day. Being in my own clothes felt great, but I didn't have to deal with nurses coming in a poking and prodding and examining me either, which is made so much easier by wearing the gown.

Best wishes for a fast and easy labor!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I think with both of mine I stayed in the hospital gown. I don't think I changed till the day I was leaving but I had c sections with both. It just made it much easier to nurse since the gowns where made for that.

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answers from San Francisco on

I stayed in the hospital gown with all of mine. Much easier for nursing and comfort for where I was and I didn't ruin my own stuff with the bleeding as you mentioned. Bless your dear old MIL but she is just old fashioned I am assuming. You have learned from your own experience what is best for you.

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answers from Rapid City on

As a OB nurse, please wear the gowns we supply. As you stated it makes it easier for you and your baby, not to mention saving yourself a lot of unnessasary discomfort. It is always YOUR choice what you wear.
Most of my moms wear the gowns supplied by us and save thiers for home. If you want percentages...I would say 1 out of 15 might wear thier own and usually on the final day of thier stay with us. Plus it makes it easier for us to do your exams and are designed for breastfeeding.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dayton on

Do what works for you!

I was in the hospital for 3 days w/ w/ 1st. And learned I had really not packed appropriately (mostly jammies that were not in great shape-ok for postbirth but not to be seen by tons of people). I was in and out of my room all day long as my baby was held hostage in the nursery.

W/ my 2nd, I got to give birth in a tank top (in the water)! Put on hospital gown afterwards...but next day after my shower I was outta that sucker.

I HATE wearing the hospital gowns. They don't fit and for me, make breastfeeding harder.
I hate gowns in general though. I bring soft pants and comfy shirts. And nursing tanks.
I've never had anything get blood on it. Again, that's me.
I just don't feel like a human wearing a sheet. ;)

I'm sure if my MIL said something I'd be irked too. Fortunately she ignores me as she thinks childbirth is icky and unnatural. (And that I'm crazy for always going against the norm.) ;)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I just used the hospital gown until I left. The nurses told me I had enough to worry about with a new baby that I didn't need to add extra laundry to the list.

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answers from Cincinnati on

I hated the hospital gowns. As soon as my epidural wore off (with all three), I would get in the shower and change into pj's that I brought. I always treat myself to a new pair of super soft, comfy pj's to take to the hospital. I nurse and didn't have any problems doing so with my own clothes on. I just made sure that my top either buttoned, or had a low neckline.
I also always make sure to have a new set of travel toiletries...Aveda, Crabtree & Evelyn, etc. I felt like a new woman after washing my hair with nice shampoo and putting on a new pair of pj's :)

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answers from Seattle on

I used the hospital gown the first two or three days. I was there for 4 days (hard C-section recovery). I brought my own nightgown which I did wear towards the end of my stay, but that was for me to feel more *me*. I wore about 30 of the hospital gowns. Better they do the laundry then send my husband home with so much!

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answers from Milwaukee on

My first the hospital gown, my 2nd and 3rd I brought by own nursing gowns and robe.

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answers from Chicago on

Remember: it's YOUR body and you need to be comfortable. You should do whatever makes YOU feel best. Focus on yourself and your baby and everything else will fall into place. If she suggests it again, I would politely say, "Thanks for the suggestion but I'm quite comfortable the way I am." Best of luck to you with your next delivery!!!


answers from El Paso on

I stay'd in the Hospital gown. But wore my own comfy undergarments. I cant breast feed so I didnt mind the gown, plus theres no need to ruin, your clothes will your in a recovering stage no need to stress.

You can order your own hospital gown online though, theres a mother site thag has a line of beautiful gowns.



answers from Utica on

I just had my second baby last month and because she came so fast I didnt have a chance to get an epidural so I was able to walk very soon after the delivery. Once we were moved to my room I think I was up and out of bed within minutes to change into my clothes that I brought. I am a serious control freak and a germaphobe and I just wanted to be out of the hospital so that I could feel normal. My own clothes helped with that. But they broughth me a fresh gown if I wanted to wear that instead. With my first I had the epidural so I wasnt able to get up and out of bed for many hrs afterwards but I think once we were all settled in my own room I again had my husband help me to the shower and then I was dressed in my own clothes. This is just me though and I see absolutely nothing wrong with staying in the gowns that they supply for you at the hospital if that is what makes YOU more comfortable. Im not sure why your MIL feels that you shouldnt be wearing them but I wouldnt let it concern you. Do what makes you feel the most comfortable, especially at this time when you should be most focused on you and baby



answers from Houston on

It is still fresh in my mind considering my second child is 16 months old.

I stayed in my hospital gown until I was feeling good enough to change into my pajamas ( which I did not spend a lot of money on. I get pants and tops from JCPenney's.).

I am csection so I am definitely soar. Usually in the afternoon on the second day, the nurse or husband helps you take your first shower and that is when I am feeling better and want to put on my own clothes. After that, I take a shower everyday and change pjs. I am in the hospital typically up to 4 to 5 days.

I do still use the hospital undergarments and pads because they can handle everything without any leakages.



answers from Portland on

I don't know what her problem is, its probably just an old fashioned mind set. I used the hospital gowns all tree days after my C-section. Like you said why flash everyone, bleed all over your good PJ's & make checks harder for you. Three valid reason to use the hospital gowns. Tell her with love that when you want her opinion you will ask for it.



answers from Waco on

Honey, you just need to wear whatever you feel comfortable in. And you don't need your MIL telling you what you need to wear. You are a grown woman, not a 4 year old. Good grief. Some people just don't know how to keep their mouth shut. With my first, I bought special new pj's and a comfy robe. I figured out quickly that wasn't a good idea. With my second, I did take some PJ's to the hospital (they were black - I didn't want to risk staining anything), but I only wore the hospital gown while I was there. It was honestly what made me feel most comfortable. Congrats on your upcoming arrival! :)



answers from Houston on

The RIGHT thing to do is whatever makes you and baby comfortable!! I knew going in that i would be nursing my kiddos so i bought nightgowns with slits in front instead of snaps or buttons. I had three c sections so i stayed in hospital garb until I was ready to get into my own. I am sure your mil means well but YOU know what YOU need.


answers from Laredo on

I wasn't really aware that there was any attire etiquette for the hospital after you just spent who knows how long laboring and giving birth to a baby. I'm pretty sure the nurses don't judge you for still wearing the hospital gowns. That being said, I didn't like the hospital gowns. I brought a t-shirt and pj pants to wear. Personally, I found it much more comfortable. It didn't really matter what I wore, I flashed a lot of people trying to nurse my son.

After having myself completely exposed in the stirrups, I just kind of lost all sense of modesty. I realized I didn't really care if I flashed anyone. I remember after I had my son sitting at my home in my underwear at the computer which was right by the door. I thought to myself that if anyone decided to just drop in without knocking (like family) they were going to see my in my underwear. I asked myself if I cared. The answer was no.

I say, you just had a baby. If anyone judges you for wearing the hospital gown, let them have a baby and see if they cares what anyone else thinks.


answers from Kansas City on

With my first two I took gowns and was there 6 days with first and 5 days with second. Then with the others it was a little different and the stay by then was shorter, 3 days, so think I did both as I got up and down and hated the open backed flopping hospital gowns. I nursed and it wasn't a problem with nursing gowns, etc.


answers from Beaumont on

When you are in the hospital you wear hospital garb. Sorry you had a bad experience. It is not a beauty contest. Your MIL probably mean't well but was misguided.



answers from Austin on

I agree that you need to be comfortable. If your MIL mentions anything, just tell her that the nurses suggested that you stay in the hospital gown as it is easier for them to to do physical checks, etc. If she continues. just tell her how wonderfully the nurses are caring for you. If she persists at this point, just ask if it bothers HER. That's when I'd have to really try and keep a straight face.

I just brought my own robe so I could cover up more when I wanted.

Keep this in mind also when people tell you how to take care of your children. Just say, "Well, my pediatrician says,..." That really shuts them up.

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