Comfy, cozy, relaxed. How to make your hospital room feel more like home.
What do you think of when you think of a hospital room? The first words that pop into my mind are: COLD-STERILE-GREEN ( you know that weird shade of pale green that seems to pop up everywhere?)-CLEAN-BLEACH-SICK-SAD…ok, I could go on and on. Hospitals are not usually a place that we think of as being “comfortable”. Most women in my area deliver their babies in the hospital setting because of the homebirth/midwife laws in our state. I think for most women they don’t have a second thought about bunking up in the hospital room to labor and deliver their precious little bundle, and that’s great. Once you step into that room it can be a little shocking. Although we have some beautiful hospitals with beautifully upgraded birthing suites…they just are not as comfy as home. Our hospital staff is amazing and usually on board with whatever it takes to make the birthing person comfortable. There are a few simple and small things you can throw in your hospital bag to make your birthing space a little homier and more comfortable.
One of the first things I like to suggest to my clients is their own gown, or whatever type of PJ’s they are comfortable in. Just keep in mind that you will #1: Probably get hot, #2: Need easy access to the chest/breast for nursing and/or skin to skin and #3: need easy access to your bottom half. Bringing either a gown that is long enough to cover the booty or some shorts that can be easily removed, is usually the best. There is nothing wrong with the hospital gowns provided but, if you want to walk around, you will have to wear two. And let’s be real, they aren’t very aesthetically pleasing. Look good, feel good; right??
The next suggestion comes with a disclaimer: Double check with your hospital staff to see if you can bring things that plug in. Due to specific fire codes, some items are off limits. That being said, diffusers are a great way to make your room smell nice and get you in that relaxed state. If you are unable to bring a diffuser there are several alternatives such as diffuser sticks or room spray. Make sure the scents you use are soft and not overpowering.
Up next: Lighting! Most hospitals have dimmer switches on their big bright lights so that you can turn the lights down low. Remember, melatonin and oxytocin work together hand in hand so keep those lights low even if you’re feeling extra peppy! Aside from dimming the lights, bring some battery-operated string lights and some battery-operated candles or tealights. There is nothing more cozy than a few candle flames to set the mood.
Bedding: BRING YOUR OWN PILLOWS! If you do not use any of these suggestions, at least use this one! Trust me. You want your own pillow with the familiar scents of home on it. I heard a description recently of hospital pillows and it is so true. She said hospital pillows feel like laying on a ziplock bag filled with a little air with an itchy thin sheet on top. She isn’t wrong! When you throw the pillows in the car, grab a couple comfy throw blankets as well. You may have the night sweats after delivery and not want the extra heat, but your partner will thank you later!
Sounds! Bring your Alexa, or whatever media player you happen to use, along with your earbuds! You can make a playlist before-hand in preparation for the big day. REMEMBER: Dancing is a GREAT way to keep labor moving and keeping your pelvis open!
Lotion or massage oil: Bring a soft scented lotion or massage oil so that your doula and/or partner can give you a nice massage. Massage is so relaxing and so helpful during labor as a comfort measure. Remember the more relaxed you are, the easier labor will be. We want this to be an enjoyable experience and these small things can have a big impact on the atmosphere of your birthing space!