What to Wear During Labor: Things to Pack in a Hospital Bag For Delivery

By Lynn •  Updated: 02/13/24 •  10 min read
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Getting ready for labor? If so, it is imperative that you know what to wear during labor, and also, what you should pack in your hospital bag to make your baby’s birth go as smoothly as possible. So, grab a pen and paper and settle in. We’ve got the details you need to make sure you’re fully prepared for the big day! 

What Should I Wear During Labor?

What Should I Wear to Hospital for Labour?

What you should wear to the hospital for labor is something that is dark, that you won’t mind getting dirty, that is versatile, and that is relaxing.

Let us explain. 

Birth is a messy process. You won’t want to flaunt blood and other stains on light clothing. Not only that but the doctors, nurses, and your baby will need access to certain areas of your body at various times during your stay. Some moms may be in the hospital several days at a time (though not always). Thus, it is important to wear something comfortable, versatile, and dark-colored to stay looking your best.

Do I Have to Wear a Hospital Gown During Labor

Yes and no.

If you are having a traditional labor and delivery, you will not need to wear a hospital gown for labor. If, however, you are scheduled to have a C-Section then you likely will. 

Bear in mind that even if you do have a traditional birth, you can choose to wear the hospital gown if you wish. But if you don’t want to, that’s completely fine! Just be sure to wear something comfortable and that has an opening at the crotch of some sort so that doctors and nurses can have the access they need to deliver your little one. 

Push Delivery Gowns

Speaking of gowns, why not check out some push delivery gowns? There are plenty of beautiful options out there designed specifically for labor and delivery. These gowns often give access to the breasts for nursing and the back and spine for epidural placement. Push delivery gowns come in a variety of colors and patterns, although as mentioned before, we do recommend you get something dark-colored to hide potential staining that can occur during the birthing process. 

Birthing Skirt

A birthing skirt is also a great option if you plan to be squatting, utilizing a birthing ball, or plan to have a waterbirth

It’s great because it is removable and sometimes comes with a matching top. Moms who use birthing skirts love them for their flowy movement and versatility which comes in handy when birthing. Plus, they look much better than hospital gowns! 

Ekouaer Nursing Nightgown 3 in 1 Sleeveless Maternity Labor Delivery Gown Hospital Nursing Dress Breastfeeding Wine Red
Buy on Amazon

How Can I Look Pretty During Labor?

How to Look Good During Labor

Aside from what we’ve already mentioned about birthing skirts and push gowns, you may be wondering how to do your hair and makeup to look good before, after, and during labor. If this is you, you’ll be pleased to know that there are a variety of ways that you can get your makeup to stay put even when enduring rigorous labor. 

In order to get your makeup to stay in place during delivery, we recommend you purchase the following types of makeup: 

Note: If you aren’t into wearing makeup and doing your hair for delivery, don’t worry! The point is that you are giving birth to a beautiful and healthy baby. There is no need to be overly concerned with what you look like. Your body will be put through a lot, and it’s okay to concentrate on that!

What Kind of Bra to Wear During Labor

Do You Wear a Bra During Labor

You absolutely can wear a bra during labor, although you don’t have to. Not wearing a bra is helpful when it comes time to breastfeed–if you choose to do so–but even then, you can wear a bra for support if you’d prefer it. 

When selecting a bra, make sure it is comfortable, breathable, and feasible for nursing. We recommend you purchase a bra that is specifically for nursing as these are designed for ultimate comfort and accessibility.

Know also that if you choose to wear a birthing gown, your gown may be designed to give access to your breasts for breastfeeding. As such, it may not be necessary to wear a bra in this case.

Best Bra For Labor and Delivery

The best bra for labor and delivery will be the one that is lightweight, breathable, and that gives access to the breasts if you plan to breastfeed. These types of bras are plentiful in specialty maternity shops, but can also be found in common places like Target, Wal-Mart, or Amazon.

Women's Full Cup Lightly Padded Wirefree Maternity Breastfeeding Nursing Bra Size L, 3PCS/Pack(Pink-Black-Beige)
Buy on Amazon

What to Pack in Hospital Bag for Delivery

What Should I Pack in my Hospital Bag For Delivery?

When packing your hospital bag, you’ll need some key essentials to make sure that you, your baby, and your partner are fully prepared.

First, you’ll want to make sure you have everything you need for yourself. This includes extra hair ties, good socks (with grippers on the bottom), a robe, adult diapers (trust us, you’ll need them), a Bluetooth speaker that connects with your music program so you can hear your selected playlist, and so on. For specifics, see the following segment labeled, “Hospital Bag Checklist For Mom and Baby”.

In addition, you’ll also want to pack for your baby and the father. Ensure that you have a going home outfit for your little one, any bottles you may need if you aren’t breastfeeding, any soaps or creams you want to slather your little one in before heading home, a car seat (this is a must–hospitals won’t let you go home without one properly fitted for a newborn), and your pediatrician’s information. 

Haven’t decided on a pediatrician yet? Be sure to do so before you go into labor as nurses will ask you for this information before you head home.

You’ll also want to ensure that dad is stocked with snacks and various forms of entertainment (laptop, phones, iPads, you name it) to help pass the time until you go into active labor.

Hospital Bag Checklist For Mom and Baby

For Mom:

  • Birth Plan
  • Hair Accessories
  • Insurance Cards
  • Driver’s License 
  • Peri Bottle AMALINK- check for spelling
  • Adult Diapers LINK
  • Nipple Balm
  • Clothing (For Before, During and After)
  • Large and Comfortable Underwear 
  • Slip-On Shoes
  • Robe
  • Stretchy Leggings or Sweatpants
  • Nursing Bras or Nursing Tanks
  • Wipes (In Case You Aren’t Showering Right Away)
  • Hygiene Equipment
  • Glasses or Contacts (With Contact Solution and Case)
  • Water Bottle
  • Hard Candy or Gum (Optional)
  • Light Snacks
  • Chargers

For Baby:

  • Going Home Outfit
  • Hygiene Products (Optional- The hospital will give you plenty of these and will have diapers and wipes there too! Call if you are unsure about what they’ll provide)
  • Bottles if needed
  • Pediatrician Information

What to Pack in Hospital Bag For Dad

Consider packing the following for dad:

  • Snacks
  • Water Bottle
  • Laptop, Phone, and Electronics
  • Pillow and Blanket (Travel-Sized)
  • Hygiene Products (Toothbrush, Mouthwash, Gum, Soap)
  • Clothing
  • Charger
  • A Little Cash (For Additional Snacks, Parking, etc)

Hospital Bag Checklist COVID

What you should pack for your hospital bag during COVID is the same as what you would pack in normal circumstances, however, because the visitors often cannot flow in and out, it is imperative that you have all you need the first time. Be sure also to pack enough snacks and food, hand sanitizer, and masks on hand that are comfortable and breathable. 

When Should I Start Packing My Hospital Bag For Delivery?

The best time to start packing your hospital bag is a couple of weeks before you are due, but definitely by week 32 or 33. This will ensure that you are packed and ready to go in case your baby comes early– you never know when your little one might surprise you with an entrance!

hopsital bag


How exposed are you during labor?

Most of the time you can leave your top on during labor, but don’t count on being covered up during active delivery. Your breasts won’t likely be out until your baby is delivered, and even then, it is only if you choose to breastfeed that you’ll need to uncover. For some, this process may be uncomfortable, but there’s really no way around at least some exposure whilst giving birth.

Things to do before going to hospital for delivery?

Before heading to the hospital, make sure you have your birth plan written and ready to go. In addition, consider doing the following:
Feed Your Pets
Fill Prescriptions
Pack Your Last Minute Hospital Bag Items
Write Down the Name and Phone Number of Your Pediatrician 
Prep Make-Ahead Freezer Meals
Eat Before You Leave (Some Hospitals Won‘t Allow You to Eat During Labor)

What to Wear During Labor Depends on You!

What you should wear during labor will depend on you and your comfort level, however, you will want to wear a gown or birthing skirt of some sort if you’re not wanting to wear the hospital gown provided for you. 

Be sure to plan what you take with you to the hospital carefully but don’t overpack as this also can be stressful when trying to juggle everything for the big day. When in doubt, call your hospital to see what they’ll provide versus what you need, and don’t be afraid to bring an extra bag to stock up on the freebies they give you…you’ll likely be happy you did! 

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Lynn is a freelance writer, a wife, and a mother of two beautiful kids. Lynn started Infant Empire with the aim of making parenting easier for fellow mums and dads. She believes the parenting tips provided here will be of great help to all parents.

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