This is a question I get asked a lot.  What should a woman wear for birth?

There are lots of options.  A few companies out there even make special skirts and dresses for labouring.  But what if you don’t want to buy anything special?  I have a few practical recommendations.

Yoga Pants

Whether they are long or short, yoga pants are the comfiest of comfy pants.  They are designed to stretch and move with you so they are perfect for any position you use while you labour.  They won’t dig uncomfortably into your waist and hips.  They are easy to get on and off quickly for exams and they are lightweight.

Alternative: cotton tights

Tank top

The humble tank top is the perfect shirt for birthing.  It is soft and stretchy. It can move out of the way and will stay out of the way when your healthcare provider wants to listen to baby’s heart. If you get hot, it will allow you to cool off. And, when baby is born it’s easy to pull off to allow baby a warm snuggle on your chest.

Alternative: a loose t-shirt


Whatever the weather, women in birth tend to get cold and then hot and then cold again. You need something you can slip on and off easily.  Bonus points if your cardigan is snuggly like a favourite blanket.

Alternative: hoodie

Fuzzy Socks

You’re not going to want to keep your shoes on at the hospital.  Unless you are out in the hall, most women find it comfortable to labour shoeless.  Of course, you definitely want some protection on your feet to keep them warm, cozy and clean.  A cheap pair of fuzzy socks are up to the job.  And, if they are inexpensive you can toss them in the garbage at the end of the day.

Alternative: slippers

The most important factor in deciding what to wear to the hospital is comfort.  If you feel comfortable moving around in something, wear it!  Washability is a good second consideration since birth often entails a bit of mess.

What will you wear to your birth?  If you already had a baby, tell us what you decided to wear!