Choosing who should be at your baby's birth may be easy… or not. Your needs and emotions, and often those of family members, are important factors in the decision.
Start by deciding where to give birth. Hospital policy may limit the number of people you can invite to your baby's birth. Birth center and home birth mean you can invite as many people as you want – but that doesn't mean you should.
Some Important Considerations
You'll be working, and working hard, during your baby's birth. Some women like to talk between contractions and others prefer to rest and relax. You want focus during a contraction – not talking or chatting. All the energy in the room should be directed towards you, or to useful tasks to help you and prepare for baby.
You want people there to focus on helping you. Choose people you know will support you and help you. Don't choose people who will sit and watch you – and especially not people who will sit and watch the monitors. You can tell your support team when a contraction is occurring!
You aren't putting on a show. You and your baby are not a media event. Don't choose someone just because they want to see the baby born.
The more people there, the slower your labor goes. Many people bring a lot of energy but a lot of distraction. People might have their own issues to process. Your birth is not the time to do that. Think long and hard before inviting a lot of people.
Thinking About Those Very Important People
Our mothers and grandmothers had to fight for their husbands to be with them, but you're able to have your husband with you the entire time you're giving birth 🙂
What if you want your man there – but not as a “coach?” Consider a doula. Your doula will be totally focused and devoted to you. Many men feel the deep need to “guard the cave” so to speak – they would rather watch over you protectively than actively “coach” during labor. Other families have prepared together using birthing courses and want Dad to be the labor support person. Make sure you're both clear on the role your husband will play, and practice your birthing class skills together if he'll be your labor coach.
Your mother is another person to think about. It's important to weigh the pro's and con's if you're not sure if you want your mother or mother-in-law there. Don't ask your mother to be there just to watch the baby's birth. You and your child are not a show and you shouldn't feel obligated to have her there. If she's there it's to be your support person. She should be there to focus solely on you – the baby is a great bonus!
It's your choice to invite somebody to be there during your birthing time – be gentle, but firm if you need to tell them they won't be there.
Friends and other relatives are really up to you. Do you think it would be good to have them at birth? Perhaps you have a girlfriend who has had a baby or babies and you know she'd be an excellent support person to you. Maybe you'd love to have your sister there.
Use the same guidelines as above and make your choice based on who will help and support you the most. The baby is a wonderful thing and you will have plenty of time to show him or her off to everyone – let your labor and birth be about the support you need.
(NOTE: Want Real Mom Tested Techniques for Handling Labor Pain? Use these 11 proven natural childbirth techniques to handle labor and keep things moving right along. Get them here.)
Photo by James Cridland