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Childbirth Cubby

What to Wear, What to Wear
by Sarah Hilbert-West

How great is it to be laboring in comfort at home, in your sports bra and your favorite maternity yoga pants, only to go to the hospital and have them shove a ugly, immodest, impractical, MEDICAL gown at you? Do you have to wear what they give you? I don't think so.

Here are some ideas of what to wear in labor, if you have go to the hospital, or even at home.

Sports bras are great - they are comfortable, stretchy and supportive. If you crave that skin to skin contact after birth, and we know you do, try wearing your newly purchased nursing sports-type bra. Then you can easily offer babe access to his or her new favorite things (your nipples) after birth.

Nursing tanks or regular built in-bra camisoles are also very comfortable for labor. They offer belly coverage and breast support.

Try wearing a sarong and tying it over your breasts or at your waist. This offers any medical practitioners in attendance at your birth the same access as a medical gown but offers you the comfort of your own duds. A brightly colored sarong also sends a message that you are not a patient, you are a person. And a pretty funky one, thank you!

How about wearing your own robe? Make it a nice one and you'll feel much more human. Try a long fuzzy fleece one in winter months or a lovely satin one in spring or summer. Who says you have to be pastel, or institutional in what you wear? Not me!

When nurse X offers you that pastel gown, practice this phrase: "no thanks, I am comfortable in what I have on."

When she says, "oh, you don't want to get your nice (robe, nightie, pants, shirt) all messy, do you?" practice this phrase: "that's okay, I don't mind doing laundry" or "I'm willing to rinse out some stains."

You are about to have a new baby, after all. Who are they kidding? Stains will soon become a big part of your life.

There is no rule that says you have to wear a dress either, with the wind blowing around your bits. If they wish to examine you, you are perfectly capable of pulling down your pants. Skip the undies if you want!

How about incorporating "labor support" into your attire? Have your friends and family decorate an oversized t-shirt or simple cotton nightie with their art and words of support. You can do great things with fabric paint or iron-on transfer paper for the computer. Or you can make one for yourself with personal motivations, poetry, focal points, or birth art.

Labor wear should be comfortable, familiar and speak to your personality. You can be as creative as you wish. The key is to think of your own personal wishes and comfort level. And, yes, be willing to scrub some stains.

About the Author
Sarah Hilbert-West is a Childbirth Educator, Birth Doula, Breastfeeding Counsellor and Post-Partum Depression Support Group Facilitator. She owns and operates http://www.birthwares.com, offering birth stools, unique teaching aids and useful resources for childbirth educators, doulas, parents, and midwives.

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