Whether it’s your first or your fifth, the birth of your child is a very special experience. And while some people pack the participants into their birthing room, other moms-to-be prefer to push with just their partner present — or even solo. Since this is really an invitation-only event, how many people are allowed in a delivery room?
For the most part, hospitals have rules regarding labor and delivery, and the amount of people allowed is no exception. “Every hospital will have different policies regarding the number of people allowed in a birthing room,” obstetrician Dr. Candice Fraser M.D. tells Romper. “But in most cases, I think two people is the perfect number.”
The main reason why hospitals don’t allow a party to take place while you’re pushing is primarily because of safety. “Most delivery rooms will have a labor bed, fetal monitors, a baby warmer, and all the equipment necessary for an uncomplicated vaginal delivery as well as everything that’s needed in an emergency,” says Dr. Fraser. “It can get very crowded when you add visitors, a physician or midwife, nurses, and pediatric staff.” Imagine having to ask Aunt Cathy to move over so that your OB can see how many centimeters dilated you are, or your mom wanting to know if the epidural is slowing down your contractions, and you can see why having a packed house can delay your delivery.
Plus, if there’s some sort of crisis situation, it can become chaotic and even more stressful for the staff as well as the new mom if there are lots of people present. “During an emergency, there needs to be quiet and order so that the physician can communicate with the patient and support staff,” says Dr. Fraser. “This can be difficult when there are many visitors presents asking questions or giving the patient their own well-intentioned instructions. Sometimes, they can become concerned, hysterical, and even combative.” Because really, the last thing you want is your super worried dad trying to take a swing at the OB because your baby is breech and you might need a sudden C-section.
And then there’s the reality of delivering a baby in front of an eager audience. Although birth is almost an indescribably amazing experience, it’s also pretty graphic, too. “While this is usually a beautiful event, there is also just the realness of bowel movements from both mom and baby, as well as bleeding and the afterbirth,” OB/GYN Dr. Chi Amadi M.D. tells Romper. “So while every couple has the right to decide who should be at the birth of their baby, I find that any more than four people maximum is too many.” After all, you also don’t want to feel like you have to entertain your cohorts during your contractions, either.
So even if you’d like to have a full house for your baby’s debut, it might be best to check with the hospital to see how many cheerleaders you can really have rooting for you. Everyone else can participate by pitching in at home, getting your house ready and making some much-needed meals for when you bring your bundle of joy home from the hospital.
Dr. Candice Fraser, M.D., FACOG, an obstetrician at My Doctors Online
Dr. Chi Amadi, M.D., MPH, an OB/GYN at the University of Kansas Medical Center