When you are at the last stretch of your pregnancy, concern and questions about labor and delivery begin flooding your mind. You may feel anxious about the physical pain of labor, the wellbeing of your baby, and what kind of embarrassing things (like poop) might happen while you are pushing. You may also be a little concerned about how many people will be around you as you give birth, so knowing who is usually in the delivery room when you're in labor can ease some of your anxieties.
Romper reached out to baby expert Janine Rudin of Birth, Baby, and Family, who says that depending on your medical needs, you may be able to have a roomful of people, or there may just be a midwife or birth partner allowed. “For labor to flow well, the less people in the room the better,” says Rudin, “but when there is a medical need, there can be several doctors, obstetricians, and pediatricians, as well as midwives.”
Rudin notes that when it comes to birth partners, some women choose their partners, while others also ask for their birth doula, a friend, or a family member to be with them. “It is about the labouring woman having the right support,” adds Rudin, “and having who she feels safe and comfortable with.”
That being said, the final decision on who gets to be in the delivery room will fall upon the doctors and hospital policies. According to Parents, most hospitals and birth centers have policies in place, and while each vary, many will allow up to three people, but it can depend on the amount of space in the room. Unlike most hospitals, birth centers may allow children in the delivery room, the article explained, as long as there is another adult in the room to take care of the child in case of an emergency.
Parents noted that in case of a complicated birth or C-section, the hospital may only allow one person in the room. Understandably, during a surgery or emergency procedure, your healthcare team will need a clear room so they have space and quiet to work in. With all the doctors, nurses, assistants, and anesthesiologists needed to work on you during a complicated procedure, the last thing you want is people getting in their way.
If you know which hospital or birth center you will be delivering in, you should take some time out to talk to their staff about delivery room policies and procedures. This way you can figure how many people are allowed in and choose your delivery room company accordingly. Try to choose supportive and tireless people, suggested What To Expect, so that they can give you strength and support through the process. The website also noted that you should have backups in mind, in case someone you wanted with you can’t be there.
I knew when I was giving birth that my mother would freak out at the sight of me in pain, so I asked her to wait outside. I kept my sister and my husband with me through both deliveries, because I trusted them to be strong when I couldn’t be. My husband was there holding my hand through labor, and my sister made sure to talk about celebrity gossip to distract me from the epidural needle. That's why I think it's important to pick people who know what you'll need during this emotionally and physically draining experience.
As far as the hospital staff, when I gave birth to my first daughter, I had a team of nurses and doctors around me during delivery, but with my second (at a different hospital), I had just one doctor and one nurse working with me. It just shows that with each case, each delivery, and every hospital, policies and procedures can vary, so it’s a good idea to acquainted with the policies of your specific facility and ask about any extra needs you might have.
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