Who Gets to Be In the Delivery Room? How Many Is Too Many? Who Decides?

When I was pregnant with my first son, my husband and I came to an easy agreement about who we wanted in the delivery room (besides the necessary medical staff, of course): Just the two of us and our doula. Our families live in the midwest -- far from our New York home -- so the issue of having my mom, his mom or anyone else in the room never really even came up for serious debate. (A good thing, too, considering that I went into labor three weeks early!)

But what if you and your hubby disagree about who gets to be in on the birthing action? That's the dilemma one iVillage community member is facing, and it's proving to be a big topic of discussion on our message boards. "I tried to have a discussion with my sweetie tonight about hospital visitors and who gets to be in the delivery room," writes bonniebethicus. "He interrupts me before I get very far and tells me that he doesn't want anyone there during the delivery except for him (and he'd rather it's just me and the doctor/nurses, with him in the waiting room 1950s style)." Mama-to-be, on the other hand, wants her daughter and sister there, too. "We go back and forth for a few minutes with him telling me that it's OUR baby ... Yes, it's OUR baby but it's MY labor!! Shouldn't I get to decide who's going to be there?"

Personally, I can't imagine having a crowd watching my baby crown, so count me in the fewer-is-better camp. (As one iVillage community member put it, "childbirth is not a gawking event.") And some hospitals have policies that limit the number of "guests" allowed in the delivery room. But birthing mamas need support, and if her husband is hoping to be a bit player in that production, why not let sis fill the role? Bottom line: When it comes to labor, I say what mama wants, mama gets!

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