children present at birth-yay or nay-ages of kids, your experiences, etc

Specialties Ob/Gyn


What has been your experience with children observing births (in the hospital)? yay or nay? how old? good or bad?

any opinions/experience would be appreciated, its something i am curious about. im preparing to graduate nursing school and OB is one area i am considering, hence the thinking about it.




443 Posts

Specializes in ER.


My older ones always attended the delivery of the next. I have three so my son has been to two deliveries, one when he was two and the last when he was 5. My oldest daughter was almost 3 when my last was born. I did alot to prepare them before hand. They met my midwife numerous times and we watched way toooo many episodes of A Baby Story and Birth Day. Honestly they did not seem very interested in the whole thing but that tells me that they were properly prepared and comfortable. Maybe when they have children of their own one day they will not freak out at the idea of a baby being born since they have witnessed it firsthand:)

Hope this helps



129 Posts

Specializes in RN Education, OB, ED, Administration.

I labored a patient the other day who had her 8 year old step-daughter with her the entire time (she has raised her since she was two). It was one of the most rewarding deliveries I have shared with someone. Her daughter supported her... rubbed her feet, offered her praise, held her leg... Bonded with her new little sister right away! I loved the entire experience. However... I have had some that did not go as well. For example, it's really important to have someone other than the Dad in the room to watch the little ones. In a hospital situation, the little ones can get in the way and a labor room can be a very busy place! I have also seen young children VERY upset to see their Mom's in pain. I guess I feel like it can be a wonderful experience if the children are well-prepared and supervised if younger. Also... Here in the south we often have labor rooms FULL of family up until the time of delivery. I am at the bedside the majority of the time. I am VERY often bombarded with questions from each and every family member (there might be ten!) about every intervention I do! I mean... I am there completely for the mother and dad and am eager to answer all of their questions but it can be a bit frustrating when you have constant queries fired at you from all directions. This is what happens with children as well. We all know that children ask a million questions (I've got two little ones). It can be very distracting at times.


20,964 Posts

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis.

You know what? It depends on the child and family and their dynamics, as well as adequate preparation (or not).

If a child is well-prepared and given a choice right up til the birth to be there or opt out , even at the last minute.....and IF said child is WELL-supervised ( esp. a young child) then I say "YAY". But I do not have the desire and time to babysit anyone's kids or try and keep them out of our equipment and instruments or from running up and down our halls, like wild animals.......

....and before you ask, yes some people actually have had the nerve to ask us to watch their kids as IF we have the time!

Dayray, RN

700 Posts

Yes,it really depends on the child's personality. I really agree about having extra supervision.

I've seen it both ways, good and bad.

One delivery I will never forget had a 6 year old little boy in attendance.

Right after I had cleaned up the mom following a beautiful delivery the dad laid on the bed next to mom holding the baby. They were sitting up and looking at the baby, the six year old crawled up on their laps and looked at the baby too. I guess its hard to explain but the doctor and I both almost burst out in tears, it was just too perfect. So for that kid it was defiantly appropriate for him to be there.

Another delivery I had that I wont forget involved a 6 year old girl who sat frozen in the corner. She was terrified I told the parents that they needed to get someone to watch her because she wasn't handling it well. They said they were trying but I know they weren't anyway she stared and shook and the father refused to take her out when the baby was being delivered and she passed out when the baby came out.

Then of course there are the people who think its okay to let there kids run up and down the halls, play hide and seek in the empty rooms or hang out at the nurses station. I play nice with them for a while but eventual end up sounding like a drill Sargent keeping the kids in line. I hate being the bad guy but what do you do when you've told the parents and the kids multiple times that they cannot run in the halls and they keep doing it?

When asked I tell parents that they know there kids better then I do and it's okay to keep them there if they feel they will handle things okay. I tell them to have back up plan if the child turns out to not be able to handle it.


488 Posts

Specializes in OB.

Sorry, dublicate post!


488 Posts

Specializes in OB.

Children under the age of twelve are not even allowed above lobby level durring RSV season (Oct-Apr) where I work. It makes people very upset that they can't have every child of every friend and relative that hey have ever know visit them and their new baby, but honestly, we the nurses love it for the most part. There are special families and children who is is great to have them at the birth, but most are only there because someone brought them, not because they want to be there.

I think it bothers me more because I work the night shift. NO child should be drug out of bed and forced to stay up all night because thier cousin is being born! Sorry just one of my little pet peves.

So I guess I would have to agree with the others. If the child is well prepared, has someone solely to watch them, and wants to be there it is a great experience. Otherwise, leave them at hoem, they can see the baby after it is born.


1,378 Posts

I have had several excellent experiences having siblings at a birth, but like the others, it depends on the child, the situation, and the parents' desires. Someitmes the parents want the sibling there and the sib does NOT want to be present. At my place, there must be an adult there for the child, who is expected to leave the room with the child, if the child decides that they do not want to be present.

lisamc1RN, LPN

943 Posts

Specializes in LTC/Behavioral/ Hospice.

At my homebirth, my 3 older children were present. They were ages 9, 7, and 4. My 7 year old daughter hopped up on the bed with me and touched Caleb's head as he was coming out. It was a very positive experience for all of them. They still talk about it, and Caleb is 2 1/2 years old. I prepared them for the birth for the entire pregnancy, and they had the option of leaving, with the adult in charge of them, at any time. On the other hand, my best friend had a homebirth, planned on having her children and myself there, but asked me to take them to my home after a short time. It was just too much for them. Flexibility and preparation is key to a successful experience for the children, IMO.

If OB is a P.R. aspect of a hospital, and mostly we are, since we don't historically make any money, do we really have a right to dictate whom a family chooses to have in delivery? Do I like children in deliveries, well, it isn't my delivery, it is theirs. I am the facilitator and advocate. If it makes it easier for the family and they have properly behaved and prepared children whom are healthy, it can be a very nice experience. Would I choose it? NO.

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