Who Gets To Be In Your Birthing Room? ….. By Midwife Zoe

It amazes me when women talk about who they want at the birth of their baby, and that other people in their life just assume that they are allowed in the birthing room. This is definitely not the case. This is the day you get to meet your baby. It is not a day for everyone else in your life. This is YOUR day. You have to choose who will be your best support team. Who will be there for you and your partner when things are getting intense? It is a big decision and one that deserves some thought.

Recently there was a conversation between a group of girlfriends and myself about ‘who would you have in the delivery room at the birth of your baby’. One of my friends said “NO ONE”.  She went on to say that the day she gives birth honestly sounds like a day where she will loose total control and she does not want many people seeing her in that compromised state. She went on to say “sweating, cursing and lots of bodily fluids involved that she can’t control – why would I want people to see that?” You can totally see where she is coming from and why she would think that, but it is extremely important to have your partner and maybe your mother, sister or best friend there to help you through your labour and birth.

At the birth of your baby you will have a Midwife with you all the time plus an Obstetrician (if needed). That is a given. But who else will you have in the room?
Most birth suites have policies for limiting the amount of people you can have in the birth room. 2-3 support people maximum is usually the case. This is to ensure that the room is not too full of people if an emergency was to happen.

In general most women will have just their partner. Yet some women realize that their partner may also need some support and so invite in their mother, sister or best friend. I think it is always a great idea to have 2 people, especially with the first baby. The first labour can be a long event and by having 2 people with you they can take turns in leaving the room to go get a coffee, something to eat or some fresh air. On top of that you need people around you who are going to be understanding of what is going on, and have faith in the whole process. Faith that “you CAN do it”. Not someone that is going to sit there and talk about their birth experience or what happened to their friend. It is going to make all the difference having someone there you trust who can rub your back, reassure you and tell you everything is going to be ok!

Some support people find it really difficult to watch the person they love go through the pain of the labour and birth, that’s OK and is normal. This is when it is great to have that second person in the labour room so that they can tag team in and out of the room and recoup.

We find as midwives that the support people are often the ones asking for the pain relief for you. “She needs an epidural” or “You have to give her something” are commonly heard by us. Often you, the woman in labour,  haven’t actually asked for anything but the intensity of watching someone they love in pain can be too much for the support person. This is also why it is extremely important to pick the right support team.  Once you have in your head that your support people think you aren’t doing well and they believe you’re in need of pain relief,  it is often very hard to get this idea out of your head. The support team needs to be aware of your strengths and empower you throughout your labour. They need to look at you and say “you’re doing a great job” or “you can do this” rather than “she needs an epidural”

So what about the unwanted guests?

There are plenty of stories from women who have had a grandparent burst in the birthing room unannounced and uninvited – and at inopportune times – like when you have your legs in stirrups, or having your perineal tear sutured. Another woman’s mother-in-law somehow gained unauthorized entry to the operating room and held the baby after the caesarean section, and before the mother had even seen the baby. Stories like this make me appreciate that most people in my extended family seem to understand personal boundaries and this would never happen to me when my time comes along, but that is not the case for everyone. This is why it is so important to let it be known early in the piece who you want at the hospital/birthing centre with you when you have the baby!

Remember this is not a spectator’s sport. You don’t want someone just sitting there watching you. You want someone to care for you, massage your back, offer you a wet cloth to wipe your brow, offer you a drink and have lots of words of encouragement.

Time to get your thinking caps on ladies. Who are you going to have at the birth of your baby?



(This article contains general information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional. All information is written from the experience and knowledge of the person writing the post).