Not “Hospital Property” Gowns

A friend sent me this link, and it intrigued me, and I wanted to get other people’s opinions on it, as well as get it to a broader audience: More than Maternity Hospital Gowns. Go see the fabric choices, as well as read the descriptions. The website looks very preliminary, with the likelihood of them adding other items for sale in the near future.

While the gowns may seem expensive, it is worth noting that they are hand-made. Although at first glance it appeared that the gowns would not allow for easy nursing (few dresses do allow for that, I’ve noticed), the description says that the shoulders unsnap, which then does allow the babies to nurse. There are snaps up the back, so that if you need access to your back (for instance, for an epidural), the dress/gown will accommodate that. It’s certainly better than those horrid hospital-issue gowns (particularly the ones that proclaim “Property of X County Hospital” like one might see in jails). These gowns are cut with an empire waist to allow plenty of room for the pregnant belly; plus the fabric selections are quite nice — certainly no comparison to hospital johnnies.

You know the saying, “The clothes make the man”? Have you ever noticed that you act differently, based on how you’re dressed? I do. I dress one way to go to a wedding and another way to go to the store; and I carry and comport myself a bit differently, based on not just the occasion, but also how I’m dressed. There’s a reason why uniforms are issued for soldiers and prisoners — to make them lose their individuality and conform to the standard set by authority (it works for the military; not so sure about the criminals). Robbie Davis-Floyd talks about this concept in her paper, “The Rituals of American Hospital Birth.”

Of course, you don’t have to wear a gown of any sort in the hospital — you can wear nothing at all if you want (although some people, and not just the laboring moms,  may be uncomfortable with that), or wear regular clothes. But if you do end up choosing or needing an intervention that requires you to change your clothes, you may end up stuck with an ugly johnny proclaiming that you are now the hospital’s property. A dress or gown of some sort allows for birth more easily than, say, blue jeans would. Although wearing some form of bottoms would perhaps keep vaginal exams to a minimum — some women have described their hospital labors in terms of having no privacy, with basically anyone in the building allowed to come and stick their hand in their vagina to perform a cervical check. Exaggerated, of course, but that’s the way they felt. When access is physically restricted, it becomes easier for the mom to say, “no,” or at least to be much more picky about who gets to do vaginal exams. When a nurse can’t just open her legs but must physically undress her, that’s a bit more of a barrier (and I’ve heard of such pushy nurses or doctors, although those are hopefully rare). So, that’s a downside of any gown — although I suppose you could pair it with matching leggings (those are back in style again, aren’t they?) and then, problem solved. Of course, you’ll have to take them off eventually, which might be irritating and a hassle in late labor.

So, what do you think?

7 Responses

  1. Hmmm- never thought of wearing my own nightgown instead of the hospital gown. The hospital ones ARE ugly, but I never really cared or thought about it.

  2. These are super cute…however, I wanted nothing touching me while in late stages of labor! My doula told me that there was a chance I would end up naked. I laughed & said no way…it’s now a huge laugh between us how I ripped off the shirt I was wearing and screamed “screw it!” right to her, lol

    I think the amount of fabric this consists of would drive me insane.

    Would be cute for post partum, but, I’m good w/ yoga pants & a tank top🙂

  3. I just wore a tshirt and boxer shorts during my last labor, adding those sexy disposable fishnet undies and a pad when they broke my water. I felt much more in control, more confident in “real” clothes instead of a patient gown. I do wish I’d picked a plainer shirt though, because the logo on the shirt is kind of distracting in the new baby pictures.

    -lpnmon

  4. These are very cute gowns. They are designed to wear post partum. The mothers who have ordered them so far have had really cute pictures made in the hospital with their babies. Thanks for the interest.
    -rjw

  5. As a doula I love it when a mom chooses not to wear the hospital gown. Often nurses are taken back (it’s not personal!). I agree, how we dress makes a difference. If you want a normal natural birth or just want to feel more “at home” and more in control wear YOUR clothes. I have fond memories of Miriam giving birth in her thick fluffy bathrobe and of Kellee giving birth in her pink lace😀

  6. I also agree with the thoughts on women wearing their own clothes or nothing at all during labor. I encourage women to wear whatever will make them feel comfortable, and sometimes that’s nothing at all. I guess I have to give kudos to the nurses where I catch babies because even though they may drive me crazy about some things, no one seems to bat an eye when a patient of mine is nekkid! LOL!

    The hospital gowns are cute but definitely not for me. I preferred my own nursing nightgown that was shorter in length (just above the knees) and had discreet openings in the front for nursing (and they didn’t cause me to flash everyone either🙂

    Tiffany

  7. As creator of “More Than Maternity” I just wanted to add a couple of thoughts to the discussion. First of all, I appreciate all the comments.
    The mothers who have purchased my gowns generally do not intend to actually deliver in them. They are used postpartum for receiving visitors and being photographed with their newborn. I think they are just looking for something functional that they will look nice in as well. The use of the gown does not end when they go home. These gowns are designed similiar to a dress but with the convenience of the shoulders unsnapping they make nursing more accessible. The style of the gown makes it a nice clothing item to wear at home until they feel like something more fitted.
    I do respect each individuals opinion and just wanted to share this information for those who might be interested in learning more about my gowns. Thanks,Marilyn

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