What To Wear During Water Birth (11 Birthing Clothing Ideas)

Are you trying to have a water birth probably out of curiosity or because of how magical you think water birth is, and you think of what to wear during a water birth?

The very thought of water birth is beautiful, and women often want to try it out because they feel it is an experience one should have or because they believe it eases labor pains.

Either way, this article will answer the question on everything you need to know about water birth, including what to wear during water birth and its pros and cons. 

Water Birth: Everything You Need To Know

Water birth is a name given to a type of birthing or delivery of babies by expectant mothers that happens in water.

It is a process of giving birth in water, using a deep bath, or employing the aid of a birthing pool.

There are various opinions and acclaimed reasons why many women would want to try water birth, and top on the list is the fact that being in water during labor relieves pains.

Also, many go for a water birth because they feel it has a more relaxing and soothing effect than other birthing options.

It also helps with supporting the pregnant mother’s weight, thus making movement in the water easier and labor control comfortable.

Where Can I Have A Water Birth?

  • At home, with a hired birthing pool
  • In a birth center
  • On the labor ward.

Who Can Have a Water Birth?

Water birth can be considered if one has a low-risk pregnancy and there is approval by a certified midwife or obstetric doctor, and if they consider it safe for you, then you can go ahead and have your water birth.

Do not have a water birth if it is not approved by a certified midwife or obstetric doctor to avoid putting yourself and your baby at risk.

Reasons Why One Can’t Have a Water Birth

A water birth becomes risky if one or more of the following conditions is observed during pregnancy.

  • The baby is in breach
  • When one is having twins or triplets 
  • When the baby is pre-term
  • When there are chances of infections
  • High temperature during labor 
  • The baby has passed meconium before or during labor 
  • Presence of active herpes in the mother
  • Mother has pre-eclampsia
  • The water bag has been broken for over 24 hours
  • History of cesarean section
  • Induced labor
  • High risk of birth difficulties

Having a water birth when any of the above conditions are present is risky because once there is an emergency, the doctor may not attend to the mother and child appropriately.

What To Wear During Water Birth

During water birth, one is advised to wear what makes one feel comfortable. Comfort is the key thing during such a birth session.

Whatever gives you comfort in the top half is fine and okay, but in the bottom half, you should be naked to enable the midwife to see and monitor what is happening.

Below are examples of what to wear during water birth and still be comfortable.

1. A Wrap Labor Top

This labor top is also soft and drapey, the manufacturing material is of bathing suit, and the design intends to replace hospital gowns.

Another beautiful thing about this gown is that you can tie it in many ways to get the best fit on your body.

2. Birthing Bra

Bras are the most familiar waterbirth clothes. These wears are simple little garments that won’t get in the way during child delivery.

Here are some of the best bras to wear during waterbirth:

Nursing bras 

Nursing bras are comfortable with no underwires poking into your double-sized breast. In addition, they’re excellent for immediate skin-to-skin with your newborn after birth.

And also for easy access to your breasts for breastfeeding your baby for the first time. A black or dark-colored bra is a good choice because your newborn will be covered in blood and other fluids that will stain it.

A sports bra

You can use this bra during pregnancy, birthing, or nursing. The bra also has removable foam cups and can be ditched before getting into the tub.


The bralette is a light bra that doesn’t have an underwire. It was designed especially for comfort, so there is no poking or prodding during delivery.

A Lacey Option

The bra fits perfectly and feels almost the same as the skin. It is knitted and wire-free for ultimate comfort and with six rungs on the hook and an eye closure that makes it grow with the changing body.

3. An Actual Bathing Suit

This wear is okay and can be used by summer mamas-to-be, and you can use this bikini on the beach and even birthing tub.

Another beautiful feature of this wear is that it is super soft and has additional supportive ribbings. The manufacturing content is 80% polyamide and 20% elastane.

4. A Birthing Skirt

This skirt was manufactured with the birthing process in mind, and I can attest that it is soft and has a side slit.

The slit up to the side was done so that you could easily accommodate the birthing ball if one chooses to get out of the tub.

The birthing skirt has a drawstring that can be tied or loosened as the situation requires. This water skirt also lacks underwear hence its uniqueness amongst other water birthing skirts.

5. Maternity Tankini Top

This choice of wear becomes necessary when one wants to look modest and, at the same time, dry off easily once one is off the birthing pool.

The only difficulty you may experience is skin-to-skin contact after childbirth.

6. Bikini Top

This choice becomes handy for women who are in love with a bikini top, and the beautiful thing about this is that it enables skin-to-skin contact and poses no difficulty to breastfeeding once you have your baby.

Do not wear complicated ones nor ones with crisscrosses and multiple ties or racerback ones.

7. Light T-Shirt

A light t-shirt is also a beautiful choice for a water birth, but ensure that it is light so that a soaking wet t-shirt does not drag you down.

If you want to use a shirt, remember that you would have to remove it for skin-to-skin contact once your baby is born.

8Maternity Swim Dress 

If you’re still thinking of what to wear during waterbirth, this maternity swim dress is another waterbirth clothing that allows for comfort without jeopardizing your modesty.

Many women say you won’t care what you wear in labor, but everybody is not the same. Some women do care. If you aren’t confident about it, you should get birthing pool swimwear just in case.        

9. Tanktop or Camisole

tank top or camisole is not as popular as bras, but some mums-to-be like it because it makes them feel comfortable and less exposed during labor.

Remember that a top may feel sticky during delivery because it sticks to your body. Yet, a water birth top may be an excellent option if you’re concerned about decency. You can match it with a water birth skirt for full body coverage.

10. A Short Gown

You can wear a short gown for modesty like a tank top. 

If you want to document or vlog your water birth and are concerned about exposure, a short black gown is a good choice. It’s short enough and won’t get in the way during water delivery. 

11. Naked 

At this point in labor, most women don’t care what they wear and want nothing on them.

They don’t care about anything except getting through with the delivery. Chances are that you may end up in the birthing pool completely naked despite all your plans and not minding one bit!

Read: What to eat and what not to eat before labor

Must-Have during Water Birth: Hospital Checklist

Now that you know the type of clothing to wear during a water birth. The next thing is what you need before labor. 

Firstly, you should pack your waterbirth clothes in your hospital bag before anything else.

Along with the generic hospital bag checklist, here are some specific items you should include in your water birth hospital bag:

  • A big sized dark towel for drying after all that water
  • A body moisturizer to keep your skin smooth
  • Loose PJs or a cute night dress to wear after delivery
  • A lip ointment, many women’s lips get dry during labor.

Water Birth: Pros & Cons

Pros of Having a Water Birth

  • The warm water can help relax, soothe and comfort your body.
  • The support of the water can help you try different positions and move your body more freely.
  • Gravity will help move the baby down towards the birth canal when upright in the water.
  • Being in water can lower your blood pressure and reduce anxiety, allowing your body to release endorphins, which can help ease the pain.
  • It can help improve back pain and the feeling of pressure, especially when fully dilated.
  • Being in the pool during labor and childbirth can be a “relaxing” experience, making you feel safe and secure.
  • Water can help stretch your perineum gradually during birth, thus reducing the chances of injury risks.

Cons of Having a Water Birth

  • There are no pain-relief options. An epidural, for instance, and opiates, such as pethidine, cannot be taken for at least six hours before entering the pool.
  • You can’t use a Tens machine.
  • Your contractions may slow down or weaken, especially if you go into the pool too soon.
  • If the pool water is too cool during delivery, your baby is at risk of hypothermia. But, you can prevent this as your midwife can help check the water temperature regularly. If your baby’s temperature is low, skin-to-skin contact with your towel can help keep you warm.
  • You might be required to stop and leave the pool if the midwife senses something unusual.

Read: How to stimulate nipples to induce labor


Can My Baby Drown During a Water Birth?

Many women are concerned that their baby may drown if they give birth in water, but it is very unlikely to happen.

When a baby is in the womb, they do not need to breathe because they receive oxygen from the blood that comes from their mother through the placenta. 

As soon as they are born in water, their bodies behave as if they are still in the womb until they breathe their first air when their lungs open. 

After safely delivering your baby in the water, you and your midwife will slowly bring them to the surface. After briefly submerging, your baby won’t breathe until they are out of the water. 

Do Waterbirth Reduce Tear During Childbirth?

Some women may wonder if they’re less likely to tear up during waterbirth. Interestingly, studies have shown that water birth significantly reduces your chances of perineal tears and episiotomy during delivery.

Is Water Birth Less Painful?

Researchers have found that even though the water did not reduce pain, it helped many mums cope with labor’s pain.

Water birth help reduces the fear of pain and childbirth itself. Not only does it help with this, but it also helps you maintain control over the birth process.

Read: How Many Squats To Induce Labor (Explained)

Wind Up

Hopefully, this article has given in-depth knowledge on water birth, including what to wear during water birth and its pros and cons. 

There are different birthing clothing ideas to choose from, as discussed in this article.

We suggest you wear anything that makes you comfortable while having in mind at the same time that you may be getting in and off water for various reasons during labor.

So, choosing what gives you comfort, choose something that can dry off easily.