Making the choice about who should be in the delivery room can be hard. Mothers, mothers in law? Do they get to come? I’ll talk about usual delivery room etiquette and how to make the tough calls.
I have seen anywhere from none to maybe 10 people in a delivery (besides the patient). I certainly make sure the room is safe, but the majority of that choice is up to you as a couple.
You might wonder why I have a clue about this. It’s because it’s my job to be in delivery room since 2001. I’ve seen hundreds of deliveries and I want you to have the best delivery you can.
I really believe these types of questions (and others) are best gone through well before delivery day with a high-quality prenatal class. I recommend this one.
Who should be in the delivery room?
It’s up to you.
How’s that for helpful?
People I often see include
- Father of the baby (or husband)
- Mother in law
- Patient’s father
And I’ve seen all of those people be supportive and helpful.
Sometimes I see the opposite….
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Delivery room etiquette
The reality is that you are likely delivering at a hospital if you’re asking this question.
And my #1 is ALWAYS safety.
Making sure I have enough room to maneuver if something goes wrong. I will clear out a room if I feel like it’s unsafe. That’s my job.
Also, as a side note — always ask your nurse if you could take her picture or video her. Never video procedures without their permission.
And absolutely NO live video from the room. That includes Youtube, Facebook Instagram, Snapchat — nothing.
And yes, this is a thing.
It makes us nervous – and it may end up getting you in trouble if our images are shown online without our consent.
Mostly it makes us nervous though. And the last thing you want is us concentrating on that, vs your wife/baby.
Ok, back to the people in the room….
Related post: What to pack in your hospital bag
Should my mom be in the delivery room?
I am a big believer in the couple deciding TOGETHER who they would like in the delivery room.
To me, it is obvious that the wife’s opinion might have a little more weight than the husband’s, but if he is adamant that no one else is in the room — then that’s something you should really discuss.
But, I also didn’t have my mom in my room. She was nervous, and checking up — and I’m well, a labor nurse and I am nervous enough for all of us — so I didn’t need that.
You’ll need to think it out for yourself:
- Will she be supportive of any choice you make
- Will she hover, or be actually helpful
- Will the moment turn into her or you (even if only in your mind)
- Is this a moment you want to share with her?
In retrospect, I sort of wish she had been there, so she’d always have that memory, but it is what it is at this point. 🙂
Related Post: Labor predictor
Should mother-in-law be in the delivery room
This one is mostly up to the woman. Frankly.
Men — I mean, would you want to stand naked in front of your father in law?
Although, if the man doesn’t want her there — that should end the story.
BUT, if the man does, and the woman doesn’t — that should end there. It’s just her body. Her privacy, her moment. Let her make some choices in this event.
Related Post: Tips for Dads at Delivery
I don’t want my mom in the delivery room
This is pretty normal too. Here are a few steps I’d take:
Be upfront with them in the beginning “Mom, this is something that I want us to do together, and we will be sure to keep you updated and you can come as soon as I’m all put back together”
Consider not telling them when you’re in labor — that way they don’t worry and you don’t have them bothering you
I would NOT recommend having them come and wait in the waiting room — that often impedes on your space as they “poke their head in” to find out what’s going on.
Keep in mind we aren’t allowed to give updates to family members (it’s a HIPPA violation) so, we have to call your partner out every time they ask a question. It can just be distracting to the actual process.
Can the hospital keep people out of my delivery room?
The short answer. yes.
If someone is violent or we feel they are unsafe, we can have them removed from the hospital grounds by security.
The long answer…. if it’s your choice. I’d say it depends.
If you’ve put on Facebook and every social media that you’re at xyz hospital and you’re in labor, you need to be aware people may stop by.
We CAN put a sign on your door that says to check at the nurse’s station before entering (but not everyone heeds that warning).
We CAN stop all visitors to your room at the front desk.
But, sometimes people say “I want my mom, but not my cousins” and I wonder how they think I know who their mom is vs their cousins….
So, in general, it’s really up to you to police the situation.
BUT, if you think a large number of family might be an issue — discuss it with your nurse.
We are certainly used to herding people out of rooms, and we can do that for you.
I will say you need rest, or your vital signs show you need some time out. I will politely ask them to leave. Hopefully, they listen…
I may start to get less polite. 🙂
Related Post: What Does my Nurse Do?
Who is allowed in the delivery room
As I said before, we only allow in the # that is safe.
In general, I don’t want any more than about 5 people in the room. I prefer no more than 3 visitors.
If you plan to bring your children to the delivery, check with the hospital in advance.
Some hospitals require the child attend a class to be at the delivery.
Our hospital asks that you have another adult that is in charge of that child as if the child becomes an issue, someone needs to take them out — and I would guess you prefer your husband to be in the room.
Also, if there is an emergency we need the child out immediately. And yes, you’re in the hospital because emergencies happen.
And the reality is that Labor and Delivery is probably the place in the hospital where things can go from great, to absolutely horrible within minutes. We are constantly vigilant because we, as nurses, know that.
How many people can come to a C-section?
If your cesarean is a true emergency (you are put under general anethsesia) no one is allowed in the room.
If you have a planned cesarean your husband/partner/support person will likely be able to come in the room.
In general, they limit visitors to one person in the OR, but sometimes they allow two. At the hospitals I have worked at, that us up to the anesthesiologist.
Related Post: 5 Tips for C-sections
PLEASE do not have sick friends come visit you. With technology, keep your friends with colds & flus at home (face time them, skype — whatever). It really isn’t worth it if you or the baby were to get sick.
I also recommend you not have friend’s kids come to visit. Kids are germ festivals, and you never know what they’re carrying. Siblings of the baby, of course, are fine (as long as they are well).
What Medical Staff is at Delivery
In every delivery, there should be (at least)
- A labor nurse (for you)
- A doctor (for you)
- A nursery nurse (for the baby)
Other people that might be there
- Other nurses
- A neonatologist (a pediatrician who specilizes in newborns)
- Anesthesia (especially in a C-section)
- Residents (doctors in training)
It all depends on how complicated your delivery is (in the OR there will also be another person to assist your doctor, plus a tech to hand instruments during the surgery).
Related post: What happens at delivery?
So, to sum it all up:
- You and your partner should discuss, together who you want in the delivery room
- I would limit sharing where you are, to limit visitors
- Be sure that all visitors are well.
- Be respectful of hospital staff and absolutely no photos without permission.
I hope that helps you plan for your delivery day a bit more.
Tips like this are so helpful because I have been in hundreds of delivery rooms. I’ve been in so many situations.
Getting a prenatal class can be awesome to help think through things like this. I recommend this one. It’s:
- Quick — won’t waste your time on needless info
- Accurate — with hundreds of deliveries, this one is one you can always trust
- All about you — your timeline, your couch, all about you
The best part (when you’re thinking about stuff like who will be in the room) is the couples questions — so you guys can talk about what’s going to happen beforehand. That is TRULY a gift!
You can even save 10% with code PC10.
Sign up to get a free birth plan below — and check out my other delivery tips below that.