How Many People Can You Have in the Delivery Room?

Just delivered baby on their mother's chest in a hospital

Photo ? Karen Strauss / Getty Images

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Today's labor and delivery room is open to more than just the person giving birth and their partner. Many families choose to bring in other people including a doula, a friend, the baby's grandparents, and more. How many people you can have in the delivery room will largely depend on your hospital's policy.

In some facilities, the policy may also vary depending on the room you are in and the type of birth you are having. Some rooms might accommodate bigger families. Remember that hospital policy is in place for your safety and to ensure the hospital can deliver you and your baby the best care.

Typically, you can plan to have up to three people in the delivery room with you. Some hospitals may allow less and some may allow more. Check with your health care provider about what is allowed in the hospital or birth center where you plan to deliver.

Hospital Policies

Some hospitals allow a different number of people in the room during labor versus when the baby is actually being born. This makes sense, since during the birth some of the available space will be taken up with hospital personnel. You may also have your guests asked to leave during certain procedures, such as vaginal exams or the placement of an epidural. This is definitely a question to ask when you are taking a hospital tour so that you'll know what to expect.

Visitors During Other Procedures

Some hospitals will allow you to have one person, such as a doula, stay with you during the administration of an epidural, while some will not. Hospital policy may vary widely even in one city. The vast majority of hospitals only allow one person in the operating room during a c-section. Some are a bit more lenient if the second person is a doula or another medical professional. Other people may not be allowed if you require general anesthesia.

Home Birth and Birth Center Policies

If you are planning to deliver at a birth center or at home, you will want to talk to your care provider. Some birth centers have limits but others do not. At a home birth, the limits may be only on what your space will comfortably handle. That said, just because you don't have limits, doesn't mean that you should fill the space to the gills. There are many things to think about before inviting people, including your children.

Who Counts as an Extra Person?

Some hospitals and places of birth also do not count your partner and/or your doula as an additional person in the room. This means you could have more people with you than it seems. This can vary from hospital to hospital and is something you should ask when you take a tour.

A Word From Verywell

Having extra people at your birth can backfire. When you are trying to decide who will join you in the delivery room, invite people who will be supportive of you, and not just spectators. Also, you will want to be sure that visitors are people with whom you feel comfortable letting loose, making noise, and talking bodily functions. Alice Turner, a doula and childbirth educator in Atlanta, makes the important point: "Even the most well-meaning visitor can impact your labor."

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