Pregnant in labor and delivery roomA reader on the babyMed Facebook page asked for tips on how to make a hospital room feel more like home for childbirth. As a doula, I’ve seen quite a few things, some of which were incredibly creative!

I would say my single favorite thing was during my first birth when I took a shower and came out to find my husband eating a meatball sandwich…which stunk up the entire L&D room. It just made me feel right at home with that awful smell. Thanks, hubs. ;) (Yes, he really did do that. No, I did not kick him out though I strongly considered it when he put it right up to my face and asked me if I wanted a bite.)

In all seriousness, here are some suggestions for things to bring. These are things that I’ve tried myself, seen women do, and plenty ideas were shared by other women:

  • Your own pillow and/or small throw blanket (the coziness, the subtle smell of your own bed…it can truly add to your physical and emotional comfort).

  • iPod/MP3 player and speakers to play your favorite music.

  • Flameless candles (definitely not real candles, though!). You can turn off (or dim) the lights in the room to help you relax and/or sleep. The candlelight may help you relax or give you something to focus on through contractions.

  • One woman’s midwife took the clock down off the hospital wall. She said “Obviously they were keeping track of the time, but it helped me not to obsessively look at the clock after every contraction or obsess about how long it was taking. They kept it down until it was getting close to midnight as my daughter was crowning. She was either going to be born on my one grandma's birthday or the other's, and I wanted to know what time it was. She ended up being born at 12:15 on my living grandmother's birthday.”

  • Your own hospital gown or your own clothes/robe/pajamas/slippers. You can buy gowns online. One client of mine made her own! Tip: Check with your doctor or midwife ahead of time about wearing your own clothes as they may have suggestions for what may or may not work.

  • Without creating too much clutter, you can think about special items to bring to “decorate” the room. A framed photo of a loved one you want to feel is “with” you, a banner to welcome your new baby, a momento that you like or want to use as a focal point, etc.

  • Your own towel.

  • Lotions or oils for massaging or just certain smells that make you feel good/relaxed.

  • Talk to your nurses, get to know them. I have brought something for the nurses to eat for each of my own births to show appreciation for how hard they work! Chocolates, candy, muffins, bagels, cookies…one dad at a birth I attended tried to order Starbucks for the nurses but unfortunately the closest ‘bucks was closed! A good idea, nonetheless.

  • Extension cords for your tablet, phone, etc…this was a very popular idea shared that I never even thought about before but absolutely can see how it’d come in handy.

Have anything to add? Feel free to share your ideas in the comments!