Your birth is incredibly personal. No matter how many parents I talk to, I'm always amazed at the way no two birth stories are the same.
The fact is, over 95% of these unique stories take place in one of the most impersonal settings you could find: a hospital room. If you're dreading the sight of peach and beige walls during this important moment in your life I have good news; You can have a hospital birth and still make the space your own!
Here's my top 5 tricks for sprucing up those drab walls and getting cozy in your room. Try out these easy steps to set the scene for your perfect birth story.
1. Labor in your own clothes.
If you've ever been to the hospital, you know the open backed gown is not very comfortable or stylish! While your baby's birthday is certainly no fashion show, being comfortable and confident in your clothing can help you feel confident in labor.
The good news is, you can usually wear your own clothes! Choose bottoms that are easy to remove, or something open like a cute nightgown. You can even buy custom hospital-style gowns in fun prints! I love this one from Gownies.
*pro tip: Don't wear your favorite PJs, you might not want to wear them again after the birth.
2. Dim the lights.
Hospital lighting is harsh. You can create a more relaxing environment by turning off unnecessary lights in the room. Create diffused light by only using the bathroom light and propping the door open. You can also bring a lamp with soft light to plug in by your bed. I especially like the pink light of a salt lamp to give the room a warm glow.
Don't worry, the hospital staff will turn the ceiling lights on if they need them.
I like to set out some small nick nacks that show off my client's personality. Whether it's a photo of your dog, vase of bright sunflowers, or printed affirmation cards, choose a small table and set up a corner full of objects that bring you joy. Plan these ahead of time so they're ready to go in your hospital bag. When you get to the hospital, have your doula or partner set them up for you in the room.
4. Block out the noise.
Hospitals are often loud and bustling places, especially on the labor & delivery floor. In order to maintain a calm environment that's optimal for birth, try out some gentle music, white noise, or even a playlist of your favorite jams! You can play these from a small portable speaker, or use headphones to really stay in the zone.
Many parents also choose a "birth song" to welcome their new baby and listen to while pushing, or even play in the OR during a cesarean birth. This is another fun detail to plan in the last few weeks of pregnancy!
5. Keep things organized.
Finally, ask your doula or partner to try and keep things tidy in the laboring space. It's easy for your unpacked hospital bag, birth support tools, and half used cups of ice chips to become cluttered, especially during a long labor. This can make the room feel hectic and unwelcoming. Discuss the need for a calm and neat space with your birth team and ask them to help maintain the space for you while you're busy laboring.
Bonus: Bring your own pillow! Hospital pillows are notoriously awful. Bring your favorite pillows to use during labor, and they'll also help you sleep better during your postpartum stay.
With a few simple touches your hospital room can be a warm, inviting place to welcome your new baby into the world.