Updated: Nov 22, 2022
Creating a Cozy Hospital Birth Space
by Kristin Revere, co-owner of Gold Coast Doulas
If you choose to give birth at a hospital, but still want the comforts of home, there are things you can do to make the experience less sterile. Birth is as mental as it is physical, so let’s involve all your senses in preparing your space for the arrival of your baby!
Here are my top tips for making your hospital room feel cozy for birth:
In nature, animals will seek out a dark and quiet place that makes them feel safe. There is a reason for this. Most hospital rooms have dimming lights and you can request to have them turned down.
Bring LED candles to add a lovely glow throughout the room like in the bathroom or on the windowsill. You could even consider bringing in twinkle lights for a fun vibe.
Some scents like lavender are known to have calming effects. Pack your favorite lotion or essential oil. Some hospitals do not allow diffusers but you can bring one in case they do. Keep in mind that your sense of smell will often be heightened during labor.
Ask visitors to eat their food in the cafeteria if it bothers you.
Consider the textures of what you’ll wear. You usually do not have to wear the hospital-given labor gown! If you prefer your own cozy robe or a long skirt and nursing tank, go for it. It can help you feel less like a patient and more in control when you’re comfortable. Same thing with bringing a pillow from home.
Physical human touch can release Oxytocin and reduce the perception of pain. Try slow dancing with your partner or a massage to help you through labor.
You can’t fully control the noises inside the hospital room, but you can influence them. Bring your own playlist of favorite songs to transport you to a calm place. Guided meditations can also help you stay focused and relaxed.
You can’t count on your room always being quiet. Hospitals are typically noisy places. Bring a set of earplugs or noise-canceling headphones if you want to be able to create your own quiet oasis.
We often decorate our homes and desks with pictures of loved ones and our favorite art. There’s no denying that having the sights of home and our favorite people around can make us feel supported and comforted. Don’t be afraid to bring a favorite picture from home to put on your bedside table. You don’t have to go crazy in decorating a hospital room but you can keep it simple and impactful with a few special items.
Do affirmations motivate you? Write out your favorites and hang a few up in the room. You can even purchase affirmation decks online from sites like Mama Natural. A sleep mask can also help you “tune out” when you need some rest but nurses are busy coming and going.
Hydration is so important during labor but sometimes, plain water doesn’t seem too appealing.
Bring an electrolyte drink or coconut water if those tastes are comforting to you. Sometimes a flavored lip balm and mints next to your bed can also help you throughout labor.
Last, don’t overlook the importance of who is in the room with you when you deliver. Really consider how the potential support people will make you feel. Will your mom’s presence calm you or stress you out? Communicate your needs with others and tell them how they can best support you. If you still want more support during your hospital labor, hiring a professional doula can help you set up a calming birth space. They also can bring everything from hair ties to massage rollers and LED candles. Doulas are experts in supporting you and your partner emotionally and physically during and after the birthing process.
Engage all your senses and don’t be afraid to hire help if you want extra support so you can have a comfortable, cozy hospital birth.
About the Author
Kristin Revere is the co-owner of Gold Coast Doulas and is an elite certified birth and postpartum and infant care doula. She is also the co-founder of The Becoming a Mother course and co-host of the Ask the Doulas podcast. Kristin teaches Comfort Measures for Labor and stresses the importance of making a hospital room feel more like home to her students and doula clients.