Would you invite your mother-in-law into the delivery room while you gave birth? How about allowing your aunts and uncles to pace the corridor?
On Mumsnet, women have been debating who should be allowed to come to the hospital after a mum-to-be revealed she’s been arguing with her husband about upcoming plans.
The unnamed woman wanted her husband and mum present during the birth, then have some quiet time alone with her husband and the new baby for a couple of hours. The husband, however, says this will create tension with his family as his mum and grandma would like to wait outside during the delivery room throughout the labour, ready to greet their new relative.
As you can tell, it’s a minefield. In light of this, we asked mums who they chose to have by their side when they gave birth and of course how many is too many.
The amount of people allowed in the delivery room varies between NHS Trusts, although most hospitals will request no more than two people. Private hospitals tend to have looser restrictions and if you opt for a home birth, you can invite the entire street.
Miranda Newsom, who’s originally from America but now lives in London, did allow her mother-in-law to “pop in to say hi” while she was in a birthing pool in hospital.
“Luckily I had a shower head going to make ripples in the water to protect my modesty,” she joked.
“I love my mother-in-law, but would have been uncomfortable to be naked in front of her. She came to hospital as was looking after our two-year-old and picking up house keys...and so when she asked to come in I said yes.
“I know she would have loved a daughter and probably would have enjoyed being at the birth, as she had worked in nursing. And of course, my mother was 3000 miles away. It’s important for women to have a supportive person with them.”
Rebecca Pearson, from Luton, Bedfordshire, chose to have her mum and her partner with her in the delivery room when she gave birth to a baby boy 11 days ago.
“I wanted my mum in there as well as she’s been there before so she could give me different advice and support than my partner,” she said. “I would say two people is just right as any more would be a bit too crowded. You do need to concentrate and their support was just perfect.”
Meanwhile Fiona Brennan, who lives in Worcester, is a firm believer in having the fewest number of people present as possible when giving birth, but admits “you don’t give a damn by the end”.
“With my first, I actually refused entry to a second midwife and the obs team. So it was just me, my husband and my midwife,” she explained.
For her second labour she was largely alone having a home birth. “Eventually my husband and son were present before my son went off for a play date. The midwives turned up at the end, the very end, as my husband delivered. Ironically, I ended up with my husband, three midwives and two ambulance workers in my tiny living room, all around the birth pool.”
Sally Bentley Read, from the West Midlands, ended up having 12 people in the delivery room with her when she required a caesarean to give birth to her twins, who were breech. Her husband was among a huge team of NHS staff, including midwives, surgeons, anaesthetists and nurses.
″[It was] not out of choice, but a lot of people doing wonderful jobs,” she said.
But even when you keep the crowd small, there’s no guarantee your birthing pals will be everything you dreamed of.
“My husband and the (male) anaesthetist for some reason started talking about wines,” one mum, who wished to remain anonymous, joked. “Yes wines. Just when I’d had the epidural for a caesarean. The whole room shook and I was close to throwing up and they were talking about wine...”