Hospitals anywhere on the planet are really never a place you want to be. I remember visiting sick relatives there as a kid and hating every moment of it.
The fluorescent lighting and that humming sound it makes. The beeps of the equipment. The pages to doctors and nurses over the intercom. The smells.
And for many women, the hospital is where they go to give birth. In this loud, non-private area, you’re expected to squeeze a baby out or get ready for a c-section and recover from it.
How can you possibly get comfortable and focus on what you need to do?
Especially if other mamas are shouting in pain from their contractions?
Fortunately, you can bring a few things to make your hospital room a little bit more cozy and relaxed. But before I run through this list, please make sure you check with your hospital about any policies it may have about using any of these things.
- Hospitals have harsh environments that make it hard to relax and focus on giving birth.
- You can bring a few things to make it feel cozier.
- By being more relaxed, you’ll be able to focus on your body and have a better birthing experience.
How can I make my hospital room more comfortable for birth?
Ok, so while you won’t be able to fully erase the fact that you are in a hospital with a baby that is headbutting its way out of your body, you can bring comfort into your room.
Think med-spa experience! It won’t feel like home, but you can bring more chill to your hospital space.
Turn Down the Lights
First and foremost, you’ll want to kill those buzzy bright lights. The noise they make is annoying enough, but that glare is hard to relax underneath. Especially if you need to be dilated more. They’ll have you try to rest in there under that light that looks to be brighter than the sun.
Who can possibly relax like that? There will likely be a dimmer switch, but if not, you should turn them off and use your own hospital-approved lighting (again, make sure your hospital permits it). A soothing lamp may be approved, for example, or battery-operated lighting.
Incidentally, those harsh lights may make it harder for you to continue through labor. They say it can interfere with your melatonin production. So killing the lights may even make things go a bit faster. At the very least, you won’t have to go blind as they shine into your eyes.
Set the Mood
If med-spa is what we’re going for, some of those LED battery-operated candles may be a good idea. You can also bring aromatherapy (if permitted) to change the scent to one that is calming in the room. Even a room spray of essential oil could help. Throwing a soft blanket over one of the chairs makes your mind calmer and more serene.
Dial Down the Sound
There are certain hospital sounds that must be present. You may need to be monitored as I was or have an IV. Those beeping sounds can make it difficult to relax, but they can be turned down in most cases.
Never ever tinker with these things yourself. Summon a nurse and find out if you can lower the volume on these things to keep your nerves calm.
Bring Pillows from Home
While I have only given birth in China, I know from my friends here in the US that the pillows in hospitals here leave much to be desired too. That said, you may also bring your own pillows to keep you comfortable while you ride out labor in your hospital room.
Try Hand Lotion
If the hospital asks you not to bring essential oils or room sprays, you can try getting a scented lotion for your hands. Lavender is calming, while peppermint can keep you from feeling queasy. I wish I had that, for I threw up right after they told me I was dilated enough to go into the delivery room (this was before my eldest turned around inside of me).
Put on Some Tunes
Even in China, they encouraged us to listen to some music. Of course, there, the selection was all in Chinese. But still, music helps change your mood. You can make a playlist of soothing songs and let them run on and on. Make sure you’re not playing it at too high a volume though…you don’t want to disturb others in the maternity ward.
Enjoy Some Privacy
You should be able to close the door to your room. Because so many care providers often come in and out, they may leave the door open without thinking about it. You can ask them to please keep your door closed, which will prevent all the noises from the hallway from wafting into your room. You’ll also feel more comfortable when you have more semblance of privacy.
Bring Your Own Hospital Clothes
Hospital gowns do serve a purpose, but they aren’t comfortable. They make you feel like you’re in the hospital. You do not have to wear this garment though…if you look at this post, you can find a bunch of other options you can comfortably wear when you give birth.
The key to wearing your clothes for labor and delivery is choosing something that can provide easy access for the delivery team or be removed easily in case of a c-section.
Another option is to wear your own clothes until it’s time to go to the delivery room or the operating room if you have planned a c-section.
Remember, giving birth is a stressful and exciting time. The more relaxed and focused you are on getting through contractions and priming your body for the delivery, the smoother it will go. That’s why making your hospital room a little cozier is a great idea to help get things moving.
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California, where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs.
She loves eating too much sushi, exercising, and jamming out on her Fender. Read more about Leslie here.