Birth can be messy, beautiful, long, scary, uncomfortable; the list goes on.
How long did you plan your wedding? Was it days, months, years? Now, how long have you been preparing for the birth of your baby? I'm guessing you looked for the best health care provider, decided where you're going to give birth, found a Doula who fits right in with your personality, and researched your options for labour and delivery. Your all set, right? But what's your plan from the time you feel that first contraction, or water breaking, to the time of delivery? We all know birth can be completely unpredictable, but is your plan to lie in a hospital bed while you dilate from 4 - 10, and just wait for your baby to make his arrival, or do you like to be proactive?
What does “proactive during labour” look like? Our bodies are an intricate unit, and birth can be a complicated process where the intricacies of our bodies work together to bring a baby into the world. Muscles and ligaments have to stretch, hips widen, the uterus contracts, cervix thins and dilate, new hormones are extracted or heightened, and sometimes we have to do a bit of work to help these changes happen more smoothly.
Now, I can tell you firsthand that wearing a hospital gown limits movement; you may also feel institutionalized, or like a sick patient, not a woman who's experiencing what may be one of the most important and memorable days of her life. Yes, they have easy access to an epidural and sometimes have snaps along the shoulder for nursing afterwards. You also don't have to worry about getting it dirty, or having to take it home to wash, but is it your best option for comfort and functionality during labour and delivery?
As a doula, and a mother of four, I have a list of activities to help labour progress or act as comfort measures. When I work with clients, whether they are limited to a bed or free to move around, I can honestly say that I would rather my client's labour wearing nothing, than have to work around a long, baggy hospital gown.
Some women plan for a water birth, but would rather remain a bit more modest, especially if they are having the birth photographed. So what are their options to wear in the water? A sports bra, bikini top, bra, tank top...all ok options, but have you ever tried to take off a wet sports bra? Or found a bikini top to hold up pre-nursing breasts? Or held your new baby against a cold, wet tank top?
This was my precise dilemma when planning my water birth, I wanted something comfortable, that wouldn't weigh down in the water. Nothing that tied at my neck or back, it had to cover all my intimate areas (especially for labouring outside of the pool). It needed to come off easily, with good access for the Doppler, internal exams, and pushing.
That's when I put my costume cutting diploma to good use, designing an outfit that way out-performed the old hospital gown that I had (reluctantly) become familiar. After using this outfit and experiencing the glories of proper birthing wear, I realized that other women needed to feel comfortable and empowered during their labour and delivery as well! I believe that the GB birthing outfit should be worn by all women planning vaginal births, whether in a hospital, home, or birthing centre.
Designer and Owner,
~Taken from my first birthing experience - baby number 1, although the my two subsequent births looked similar.~
~Taken from my fourth birth - at home, in water. It was sublime and surreal~