PREGNANCY

Who Should Be In the Delivery Room? Delivery Room Etiquette from an L&D Nurse

Making the choice about who should be in the delivery room with you can be hard. Mothers, mothers-in-law? Do they get to come? This L&D RN will share with you valuable info on usual delivery room etiquette and how to make tough calls.

should mother in law be at delivery?

I have seen anywhere from none to maybe 10 people in a delivery (besides the patient). I will 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. First off, hello! I’m Hilary — many people know me as The Pregnancy Nurse 👩‍⚕️. I have been a nurse since 1997 and I have 20 years of OB nursing experience, I am also the curly head behind this website Pulling Curls, and The Online Prenatal Class for Couples. 🩺​ after seeing THOUSANDS (literally) of couples and families in the delivery room, I believe I am an expert on this topic. 🙂 

It is a good idea to go through these types of questions (and others) well before delivery day. In fact, I believe so strongly in getting on the same page as a couple that it is a foundation for my own prenatal class — this one. It can really help you make the “tough calls” in advance — together.

Which, is a skill you’re going to use frequently as a parent. 🙂 And yes, we go through this and LOTS of other questions in that class.

How many people can be at a delivery?

As long as the room is safe and people are appropriate (and I can tell they will get out of my way should the need arise) I am comfortable with quite a few.

However, I would check with your delivery hospital or birth center to see if they have a hospital policy on it.

Most hospitals and birth centers let it be up to the delivering health care providers and nurses.

AND, if your visitors are unsafe/unruly/inappropriate, it doesn’t matter — we can kick them out at any time.

Who should be in the delivery room?

It’s up to you.

How’s that for helpful?

People I often see on the guest list

  • Father of the baby (or husband, birth partner)
  • Mothers
  • Mother in law
  • Sisters
  • Best Friend / close friends
  • Patient’s father

And I’ve seen all of those people be supportive and helpful.

Sometimes I see the opposite…

Also, the hospital may have policies about the number of people in the room (and during Covid, I know all of that was turned on its end).

Related Post: Printable Birth Plan Template.

I like the feelings many new moms expressed in this BabyCenter post on whether your mom should be in the room. It’s nice to know you’re not alone in trying to figure this out. 🙂

As you get closer to your due date, this really is something important to discuss as both partners may have opposing viewpoints (which can be resolved with some communication).

That’s why I recommend a couple takes a prenatal class together.  This one takes just a few hours, and can 100% be done on your own time. Couples love it (read all the reviews here).

The Most Important Thing About Who Comes To Your Delivery

The MOST important thing is that they are people that you can have frank, open, and honest communication with. And that means that you can ask them to leave at any time.

If these aren’t those types of people I personally think it is best not to invite them.

Delivery room etiquette

The reality is that you are likely delivering at a hospital if you’re asking this question.

And my #1 concern is ALWAYS safety. In fact, I have a whole post on the rules in L&D.

Making sure I have enough room to maneuver if something goes wrong — like the baby’s heart rate dropping. I will clear out a delivery unit 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 your healthcare provider 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.

Also be aware that during medical procedures, we may ask all visitors to step out (sometimes even dad, but most often he can stay).

Ok, back to the people in the room…

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 pregnant person’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.

At the end of the day you’lll need to think it out for yourself:

  • Will she be supportive of any choice you make?
  • Will she hover or actually be helpful?
  • Will the moment turn into her or you (even if only in your mind) — like, will it be ALL ABOUT HER?
  • Is this a moment you want to share with her?

In retrospect, I sort of wish she had been there for the actual birth, so she’d always have that memory, but it is what it is at this point. 🙂

Also, keep in mind maybe you don’t want her there the first time, but then let her in for other times.

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.

While this is the birth of YOUR baby, this is a very vulnerable time for her and that’s important to remember.

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, 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 birth process.

When should People Come to the Hospital?

I really don’t recommend visitors if you are in early labor or are being induced. You have a long way to go. It is just a LOT of waiting and questions/forms etc. I would recommend you call them closer to delivery — but it is up to you and how supportive they are of your needs.

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 as we are a private business (we can not do this to patients though).

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 the family might be an issue — discuss it with your delivery nurse.

We are certainly used to herding people out of rooms and we can do that for you.

Often I do that if I am giving pain medicine to make sure mom gets some rest (it’s a good time for others to get something to eat or stretch their legs).

I will say you need rest or your vital signs show you need some time alone. I will politely ask them to leave. Hopefully, they listen…

I may start to get less polite. 🙂

Related Post:  What Does my Nurse Do?

I will say that hospital policing people is something people like about a hospital vs a home birth. It’s just less easy in your own home sometimes.

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 to attend a class to be at the delivery.

Our hospital asks that you have another adult that is in charge of that child in case 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 a medical emergency we need the child out immediately. And yes, you have chosen a hospital birth 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.

Who can come to stay after your birth?

We mostly leave that up to you.

We really try not to separate mom and baby during that first hour. If the mom isn’t available or needs some of her own time we will use your support person instead in what we call the “Golden Hour” where a baby has a lot of skin-to-skin contact.

Honestly, most often all the hype is up and most people are not excited to stick around and watch you bleed or try to breastfeed. Once they’ve had a peek at your new baby they often just leave on their own.

How many people can come for a Cesarean Section?

If your cesarean birth is a true emergency (you are put under general anesthesia) no one is allowed in the room.

If you have a planned cesarean your husband/partner/support person will likely be able to come into the operating room.

In general, they limit visitors to one person in the OR, but sometimes they allow two at cesarean births. At the hospitals I have worked at, that is up to the anesthesiologist.

Related Post:  5 Tips for C-sections

Who Can Come to the Cesarean Recovery Room

This REALLY depends on how you are doing and what type of anesthesia you had. Most often we start with just your partner, and then sometimes we let moms take a peek to remove some anxiety, but most often we try to just keep it to mom and dad.

Who Can Come to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Most often just mom and dad. Sometimes in extenuating circumstances others can come.

This Nurse’s final plea:

PLEASE do not have sick friends come to visit you. With advanced technology, keep your friends with colds & flu at home (face time them, skype — whatever). It really isn’t worth it if you or the newborn baby were to get sick.

I also recommend you not have friends’ 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?

At a minimum, the delivery team consists of (at least)

  • A labor nurse (for you)
  • A doctor (for you)
  • A nursery nurse (for the baby)

Other people might be there (they are only there if there is a good reason or if medical interventions are necessary).

  • Other nurses
  • Pediatrician
  • A neonatologist (a pediatrician who specializes in newborns)
  • Anesthesia (especially in a C-section)
  • Residents (doctors in training) 

Keep in mind they may ask if medical students or observers can watch your delivery. Keep in mind that every healthcare provider has to learn about the delivery process and your assistance in that is valued. However, you will always have the choice to say no.

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 ahead of time — and I’d recommend taking a prenatal class together.
  • I would limit sharing where you are, to limit visitors.
  • Make 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.  This one is mine. It is:

  • Quick — won’t waste your time on needless info
  • Accurate — with hundreds of deliveries, this 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 can talk about what’s going to happen beforehand. That is TRULY a gift!

You can even save 10% with code PC10.

Not sure you’re ready for the whole class, check out my Free Beginning Prenatal Class:

Making the choice about who should be in the delivery room with you can be hard. Mothers, mothers-in-law? Do they get to come? This L&D RN will share with you valuable info on usual delivery room etiquette and how to make tough calls.

should mother in law be at delivery?

I have seen anywhere from none to maybe 10 people in a delivery (besides the patient). I will 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. First off, hello! I’m Hilary — many people know me as The Pregnancy Nurse 👩‍⚕️. I have been a nurse since 1997 and I have 20 years of OB nursing experience, I am also the curly head behind this website Pulling Curls, and The Online Prenatal Class for Couples. 🩺​ after seeing THOUSANDS (literally) of couples and families in the delivery room, I believe I am an expert on this topic. 🙂 

It is a good idea to go through these types of questions (and others) well before delivery day. In fact, I believe so strongly in getting on the same page as a couple that it is a foundation for my own prenatal class — this one. It can really help you make the “tough calls” in advance — together.

Which, is a skill you’re going to use frequently as a parent. 🙂 And yes, we go through this and LOTS of other questions in that class.

How many people can be at a delivery?

As long as the room is safe and people are appropriate (and I can tell they will get out of my way should the need arise) I am comfortable with quite a few.

However, I would check with your delivery hospital or birth center to see if they have a hospital policy on it.

Most hospitals and birth centers let it be up to the delivering health care providers and nurses.

AND, if your visitors are unsafe/unruly/inappropriate, it doesn’t matter — we can kick them out at any time.

Who should be in the delivery room?

It’s up to you.

How’s that for helpful?

People I often see on the guest list

  • Father of the baby (or husband, birth partner)
  • Mothers
  • Mother in law
  • Sisters
  • Best Friend / close friends
  • Patient’s father

And I’ve seen all of those people be supportive and helpful.

Sometimes I see the opposite…

Also, the hospital may have policies about the number of people in the room (and during Covid, I know all of that was turned on its end).

Related Post: Printable Birth Plan Template.

I like the feelings many new moms expressed in this BabyCenter post on whether your mom should be in the room. It’s nice to know you’re not alone in trying to figure this out. 🙂

As you get closer to your due date, this really is something important to discuss as both partners may have opposing viewpoints (which can be resolved with some communication).

That’s why I recommend a couple takes a prenatal class together.  This one takes just a few hours, and can 100% be done on your own time. Couples love it (read all the reviews here).

The Most Important Thing About Who Comes To Your Delivery

The MOST important thing is that they are people that you can have frank, open, and honest communication with. And that means that you can ask them to leave at any time.

If these aren’t those types of people I personally think it is best not to invite them.

Delivery room etiquette

The reality is that you are likely delivering at a hospital if you’re asking this question.

And my #1 concern is ALWAYS safety. In fact, I have a whole post on the rules in L&D.

Making sure I have enough room to maneuver if something goes wrong — like the baby’s heart rate dropping. I will clear out a delivery unit 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 your healthcare provider 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.

Also be aware that during medical procedures, we may ask all visitors to step out (sometimes even dad, but most often he can stay).

Ok, back to the people in the room…

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 pregnant person’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.

At the end of the day you’lll need to think it out for yourself:

  • Will she be supportive of any choice you make?
  • Will she hover or actually be helpful?
  • Will the moment turn into her or you (even if only in your mind) — like, will it be ALL ABOUT HER?
  • Is this a moment you want to share with her?

In retrospect, I sort of wish she had been there for the actual birth, so she’d always have that memory, but it is what it is at this point. 🙂

Also, keep in mind maybe you don’t want her there the first time, but then let her in for other times.

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.

While this is the birth of YOUR baby, this is a very vulnerable time for her and that’s important to remember.

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, 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 birth process.

When should People Come to the Hospital?

I really don’t recommend visitors if you are in early labor or are being induced. You have a long way to go. It is just a LOT of waiting and questions/forms etc. I would recommend you call them closer to delivery — but it is up to you and how supportive they are of your needs.

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 as we are a private business (we can not do this to patients though).

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 the family might be an issue — discuss it with your delivery nurse.

We are certainly used to herding people out of rooms and we can do that for you.

Often I do that if I am giving pain medicine to make sure mom gets some rest (it’s a good time for others to get something to eat or stretch their legs).

I will say you need rest or your vital signs show you need some time alone. I will politely ask them to leave. Hopefully, they listen…

I may start to get less polite. 🙂

Related Post:  What Does my Nurse Do?

I will say that hospital policing people is something people like about a hospital vs a home birth. It’s just less easy in your own home sometimes.

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 to attend a class to be at the delivery.

Our hospital asks that you have another adult that is in charge of that child in case 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 a medical emergency we need the child out immediately. And yes, you have chosen a hospital birth 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.

Who can come to stay after your birth?

We mostly leave that up to you.

We really try not to separate mom and baby during that first hour. If the mom isn’t available or needs some of her own time we will use your support person instead in what we call the “Golden Hour” where a baby has a lot of skin-to-skin contact.

Honestly, most often all the hype is up and most people are not excited to stick around and watch you bleed or try to breastfeed. Once they’ve had a peek at your new baby they often just leave on their own.

How many people can come for a Cesarean Section?

If your cesarean birth is a true emergency (you are put under general anesthesia) no one is allowed in the room.

If you have a planned cesarean your husband/partner/support person will likely be able to come into the operating room.

In general, they limit visitors to one person in the OR, but sometimes they allow two at cesarean births. At the hospitals I have worked at, that is up to the anesthesiologist.

Related Post:  5 Tips for C-sections

Who Can Come to the Cesarean Recovery Room

This REALLY depends on how you are doing and what type of anesthesia you had. Most often we start with just your partner, and then sometimes we let moms take a peek to remove some anxiety, but most often we try to just keep it to mom and dad.

Who Can Come to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Most often just mom and dad. Sometimes in extenuating circumstances others can come.

This Nurse’s final plea:

PLEASE do not have sick friends come to visit you. With advanced technology, keep your friends with colds & flu at home (face time them, skype — whatever). It really isn’t worth it if you or the newborn baby were to get sick.

I also recommend you not have friends’ 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?

At a minimum, the delivery team consists of (at least)

  • A labor nurse (for you)
  • A doctor (for you)
  • A nursery nurse (for the baby)

Other people might be there (they are only there if there is a good reason or if medical interventions are necessary).

  • Other nurses
  • Pediatrician
  • A neonatologist (a pediatrician who specializes in newborns)
  • Anesthesia (especially in a C-section)
  • Residents (doctors in training) 

Keep in mind they may ask if medical students or observers can watch your delivery. Keep in mind that every healthcare provider has to learn about the delivery process and your assistance in that is valued. However, you will always have the choice to say no.

This was a great course! We really appreciated your style, your humor, and your knowledge. You definitely made us feel more at ease and better prepared for the whole experience from check-in, to labor, to delivery and then on to postpartum and babies first days. Thank you so much for all of the detail and making this a more understood and less frightening journey.

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 ahead of time — and I’d recommend taking a prenatal class together.
  • I would limit sharing where you are, to limit visitors.
  • Make 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.  This one is mine. It is:

  • Quick — won’t waste your time on needless info
  • Accurate — with hundreds of deliveries, this 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 can talk about what’s going to happen beforehand. That is TRULY a gift!

You can even save 10% with code PC10.

Not sure you’re ready for the whole class, check out my Free Beginning Prenatal Class:

click here to join the free beginning prenatal class

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