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When you’re thinking about your labor and delivery experience, you might consider writing a birth plan, if you’ll want massage tools, whether you’ll have an epidural. You may just spend time Googling birth stories. What you’re likely not thinking about? Googling “hospital Gowns maternity.”
We get so wrapped up in what our baby will be wearing home from the hospital that we often forget about what WE will be wearing when we deliver! You know…that paper-thin, scratchy robe that ties in the back, leaving you fully exposed to walk around your hospital room, breathing through contractions, butt out for all to see.
Mamas are opting for better, cuter, or more comfortable alternatives these days. Your hospital gown for labor is made by private companies that meet hospital standards so you can wear it during your labor experience!
What to Look for in Hospital Gowns for Labor
There are maternity labor gowns of all styles, so consider what you want to wear it for.
Are you hoping for a gown you can actually labor and birth in? If so, you’ll need back snaps or velcro in the back (we prefer snaps if you plan to get an epidural). You’ll also want something that snaps down at the shoulders or in the top of the front to allow for skin-to-skin time, and for breastfeeding if that’s your choice.
Are you looking for a gown to wear in the hospital after birth? Plan for comfort and snaps for skin time. Buttons in the front can be especially helpful if you’re having a c-section (or will surprise you with their utility if you end up with a c-section unexpectedly.)
Want something beautiful for hospital photos? Choose a lovely print (there are so many!), and you can even get matching pillows, mommy-and-me sets, and even matching t-shirts for partners.
Another decision to make is who you want to support with your purchase. These gowns are made by large companies and by small businesses run by moms themselves. We’ll suggest some of each.
How to Choose the Best Maternity Hospital Gown
Once you’ve decided what you want a gown for, these considerations can help you narrow your search.
- Material: Most are made or jersey or cotton, some are also silk. Choose based on comfort and purpose. If you want to wear the gown during labor, a slippery silk gown that you can’t machine wash if you want to keep it probably isn’t the best choice.
- Styles: Gowns range from very traditional–they look much like hospital gowns, but they’re more comfortable, cuter, and don’t leave you bare-butted. Others are more fashion-forward. Choose what works best for you and what you’ll be most comfortable giving birth in.
- Sizing: Choose the size you’re comfortable in during pregnancy. These gowns are made for pregnant belly, so sizing works just like your maternity clothes. Just make sure you choose large enough to stay comfortable!
Now that you know how to choose the hospital gown for YOU, dive into our favorites, grab the one(s) you want, and toss it into your hospital bag for mom!
Best Labor and Delivery Gowns of 2021
So you’ve decided you want to bring your own gown to the hospital. You won’t regret it, mama. Here are our favorite gowns, broken down by when you’ll wear them.
Best Hospital Gowns for Labor
Hospital gowns for labor and delivery should be relatively inexpensive (you may not get to wash and wear again–and you may not want to!)
Remember that your care team will need easy access to just about every part of your body. Arms for blood pressure cuffs and your IV, belly for your monitor, vagina (obviously), and your back if you choose to have an epidural.
Choose something loose and sleeveless or short-sleeved. Look for gowns with buttons or velcro in the back and with snaps in the front that allow for skin time and nursing access (if that’s your feeding choice.)
If you’ve been on this site for more than 5 minutes, you know that Kindred Bravely is our FAVORITE place to get maternity and postpartum pajamas. And of course, one of our favorite nursing and maternity clothing brands really brings their A game with this L&D gown!
It has durable velcro in the front and back, and it’s as comfortable as your favorite, super soft T-shirt! It also has deep pockets (always a win!) and comes in different colors and patterns. We especially love the velcro in the front for easy access to fetal monitors. It’s no wonder that this gown is favored by medical professionals for labor and delivery!
Want something that will carry you through labor, delivery, and postpartum…but make it REALLY CUTE? For those of you who like to take amazing photos a few moments after your little one makes her appearance, first of all, KUDOS, and second of all, this gown is for YOU.
It’s stylish and comes in lots of fun patterns and colors. We especially love the empire waist, which makes it a great fit no matter your belly size at the time of delivery. The wrap bottom allows for the easiest fetal monitoring access we’ve seen, plus it has snaps in all the right places. Honestly, what’s not to love?
This delivery and nursing gown literally has snaps in all the places you’ll need them! It has snaps for nursing access and snaps down the back, as well.
Plus, it’s super soft, AND it has pockets! What’s not to love? (Also, we LOVE the Frida Mom Postpartum Recovery Kit if you’re in the market to make life a lot easier when you return home from the hospital or delivery center).
The company claims this is the #1 selling labor & delivery gown on the market, and we believe them. Not only do we know tons of mamas who’ve worn it, but it has all the specs to make it a perfect choice if you want a traditional hospital gown style with a flair of cuteness.
It has snaps down the back, so it’s a great fit for mamas who want an epidural. The front snaps are perfect for skin time and breastfeeding, and give your doctors easy access to your chest for checkups and monitoring your vital signs. Designed by moms, for moms.
These beautiful gowns come in a variety of colors and are super functional–it’s no wonder moms all over Etsy rave about this gown!
The breathable cotton fabric is soft and allows the flexibility to labor in any position. And as you can see in the photo, this dress has snaps in all the right places.
We love how stretchy this cozy fabric is and the comfort of buttons in the back instead of snaps.
The only downside to this delivery gown is that it doesn’t have snaps at the top for skin-time access, but it does have nursing access through side openings. Size up–this gown runs small!
Best Hospital Gowns for Recovery
You can use any of the gowns above as recovery gowns, but there are a few reasons we’d choose something different. The main one is back snaps. While great for labor, they aren’t really necessary during postpartum recovery, and since you’ll spend most of your time sitting or lying in a hospital bed, we prefer softer backs.
What you do still need, though, are easy nursing access (if you choose to breastfeed), comfort, and easy access to your arms, chest, and perineum for checkups.
Here are our favorites.
Another Kindred Bravely favorite, we LOVE this gown because it helps keep your arms warm but still buttons down in the front to give easy access to baby, doctors, midwives, and nurses!
The bamboo fabric means you get to enjoy breathable, super-soft comfort, as well as pajamas that are easy to wash and re-wear when you get home. Another favorite feature–pockets. We aren’t sure that you’ll need pockets while in the hospital, but you will once you get home!
This super cute gown is also incredibly functional for the hospital–it buttons down exactly where you need it to, and it’s short-sleeved, making it ideal for monitoring blood pressure (which should happen about every 3 hours or so when you’re postpartum.)
There’s just a hint of spandex in this cotton fabric, making it stretchy enough to provide the perfect amount of comfort.
We love this gown for the mama who runs hot, which is fairly common as your postpartum hormones rage. It’s sleeveless, which will keep you cool, but also make it super easy for your care team to monitor your blood pressure.
We love the easy access to your chest and breasts, and the rayon fabric is soft, delicate, and super stretchy!
Best Hospital Gowns Maternity & Baby Category
Want to take some gorgeous mama-and-baby photos in a comfy nightgown or robe? We’ve got your covered with comfort and cuteness!
This soft, gorgeous robe and matching swaddle are a fantastic addition to any new mom’s wardrobe.
It’s handmade, cotton, and gets rave reviews on Etsy. Choose a matching swaddle for baby for sweet pictures, and enjoy the soft feel of the fabric. But note: it’s one-size-fits-all, which we all know is not always true.
This gorgeous delivery gown is something special. It’s soft and feels silky, but mamas rave that it doesn’t slip like many such robes.
If you’re hoping for a photo op after delivery, this robe is perfect for your hospital bag essential. Don’t love the print? Check out other items from the same company for tons of gorgeous options!
This gorgeous robe-and-swaddle-set is perfect for photos that include dad. The design is stunning, and the matching dad t-shirt is a unique and fun touch!
The swaddle can come with or without a headband, and you can also get t-shirts that say “bro” and “sis.” Not as inclusive as we’d like for all different types of families, but it’s still an adorable option for hospital gowns maternity!
Essentials About Maternity Gowns for Hospital
No matter what type of hospital gown you choose, make sure you prioritize comfort, and always read the sizing guides!
Also, if you’re ordering on Etsy, be sure you order far enough in advance to receive your order, as many are made-to-order and not ready to ship when you buy. Thus, your hospital gowns for maternity might not be ready when you need it, so get a head start!
Remember to look for snap access in the places where you’ll need it, and comfortable fabric is key. Only buy breathable materials, and check user reviews before purchasing!
Did you bring your own hospital gown for labor? Tell us in the comments!
Katy Huie Harrison, PhD, is an author, mom, recurrent miscarriage survivor, & owner of Undefining Motherhood. She lives in Atlanta with her husband (affectionately known on the internet as “Husband,”) son (Jack), and dog (Charlotte). She believes our society puts too many expectations on women that make womanhood and motherhood restrictive. Her goal is to shift the paradigm about what it means to be a woman and mother, giving all women a greater sense of agency over their own lives. You can find Katy and her work featured in places like CNN’s Headline News, Romper, Scary Mommy, Demeter Press’s Motherhood and Social Exclusion, & more.