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Labor, birth and spectators


Specializes in NICU.

You guys, I'm only 5 months pregnant and I'm already stressing about this. Can I have some opinions?

My problem is that my husband does not want me to have my best friend in the delivery room but he does want his mom in there. Now, I'm not limited to a certain number so that isn't an issue. However, this does not set well because I KNOW my best friend will be a wonderful supporter and cheerleader to me, possibly even more supportive than my husband because that's the way she is. His mom will likely be there to watch, be excited and take pictures. I'm not close to her. I am modest and I don't particularly want my MIL seeing me deliver. I've seen births and they aren't clean and they aren't pretty!

I also told my husband that I didn't want down and dirty pictures taken of me during the birth and he seemed appalled that I wouldn't want pictures of that. He thinks that since it is his baby too and that WE are going through a delivery that he should have a say so in whether pictures are taken of my crotch and whether or not his mom or my best friend is present. He almost sees it like its a family occurrence that the mom should get to be there for, while my best friend will be an outsider and shouldn't be there. We've had various issues with his mother in the past and me barring her from seeing this could cause 3-way problems between me, her and my husband. Most importantly it would cause issues between me and my husband.

What do you guys think? Should I just give in and let her be there? Am I out of line to want my best friend (who is like a sister to me) there and his mom not? Is it as much his decision as mine?

(and of course whether or not my own mother is there is a whole other issue)

tntrn, ASN, RN

Specializes in L & D; Postpartum. Has 34 years experience.

It is YOUR decision who is can be there and who cannot. It is YOUR body. Maybe he'd "get" it you suggested that that your mom wants to watch when he gets a vasectomy or something equally private.

I don't like having to work with huge crowds in labor rooms. Seldom are they all being supportive. Most times they are partying.

Stick to you guns, girl.

If I were you I'd limit it to just my husband because you will never win if you let one person in and not another.

The truth for me is that when transition hits and you have to concentrate, the last thing you need is alot of spectators, loved or not.

This is your birth experience and I completely agree with you about photos.


ERNurse752, RN

Has 8 years experience.

I think you should have the ultimate say as to who is in the room with you. Yes, your husband as the father is important, but you're the one who's lying in the bed enduring labor and delivering the baby. The physical part and your needs are all about YOU and what you need to be able to do it.

As for the pictures...one of my coworkers just suggested a few pictures from "a non-crotch shot angle." ;)

Like from up by your head looking down at the baby coming out. That way you see maybe just your abd/legs/baby, but nothing too private. Pictures are great, but not if they make you uncomfortable.

Hope you find a way to compromise so that both of you are happy!

PS - Is this your first baby? He may not know what he's getting into as to what things are really going to look like! ;)

canoehead, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 30 years experience.

This is your experience, and if you are uncomfortable he should be all about making it easier for you. A compromise of no MIL and no best friend might be reached although I still think that your friend would be a wonderful support.

As for the pictures- so long as they are not digital you can "lose" them once they get home.

You stick to your guns girl! This is YOUR experience. It is YOUR body and YOUR best friend WILL be there if you want. I'm sorry but this is NOT your husband's choice whether his mother will be there. She can wait patiently outside the door and be one of the first invited people to see your beautiful daughter. If it was my husband I'd be telling him if he broached this subject even ONCE more he'd be joining her OUTSIDE until the midwife invited him in at your request. Oh and absolutely NO photo's either. They are far too personal. JMHO.

Good luck in your pregnancy and delivery!


I might say something like this in your shoes. I was in a very similar situation when I had my first 16 years ago. Well____(husband's name) I really think it would be good for both of us if____(friend's name) were there because it will take some of the pressure of you to be supportive of me since this may be stressful for you too. You've never seen me in this kind of pain before and it may be difficult for you. I really want your mom to be a big part of everything, but I just feel too modest to have her in the room at the time of delivery or to have explicit pictures taken of me during birth. She can come in as soon as the delivery is over with and take some of the very first shots of the baby. We can even have the staff take a picture of all of us and her w/ the baby shortly after delivery. Please try to see my point of view. Most of all, I want our first moments as a family to be special and memorable, not a contentious scene.

If I were your nurse, I would speak with both of you about this at the time of your admission. It is YOUR birth (not your husband's). When I take care of a couple, I go on Mom's wishes: not Dad's. It's not that the father is unimportant. It's just that it is your body and your mind. The mind is a powerful thing and it can inhibit labor progress as well as enhance it. I would start discussing this with your husband NOW. Nurses are very tuned in to controlling dads and we have a pretty good way of putting them in their place, so to speak. If you have to compromise, go for having just your husband and NOT your friend or MIL. Also, as far as crotch shots, that's also your right not to allow those. If your husband does not comply with your wishes, we nurses and the doctor can tell him he has to turn off the cameras altogether. That is our perogative. Make sure he is aware of that. Let him know that we are there for YOU and not him. If you really need someone else with you, you might want to consider investing in hiring a doula who will support you both and keep the politics of your mother and best friend out of the look altogether. Hold fast on this. Better you work this out with your husband beforehand. If he is truly thinking about your health and well-being (which is the point here), he will go along with you. Also, write a birth plan with what YOU want and speak privately with your labor nurse (after you arrive) without your husband present. She can ask him to leave the room at any time and you can let her know of your concerns. Jump on this quick so you have plenty of time to work through all of your concerns. You might also talk with your OB at one of your regular visits so he/she knows before and can help you should you have continued trouble with your husband and these choices. Bottom line, is your doctor can dictate that everyone leaves the room at the time of birth (if need be). That knowledge should encourage your husband to back off.


Specializes in private duty/home health, med/surg. Has 10+ years experience.

I agree with the posters who say stick to your guns. This is your body being exposed. If you want your best friend & not your mother-in-law, then that's what should happen. The poster who suggested having your MIL in the waiting room had a great idea. That way, she can feel a part of the process, but you won't have to stress about having her in the room.

Congratulations on your upcoming big event! I hope all goes okay.

I think it comes as a shock to Dad's but their wishes are irrelevant when mom wants something else. Talk to your MW/Dr. My hubby wanted our boys circed (they weren't) and I threatened to not let HIM in the delivery room. He said he had a right to be there. He didn't believe I could have him kicked out. At an appt he asked the MW if moms could kick the dads out. She said mom could make anyone she wants leave, including dad. So as the others have said, let the nurses and your mw/dr know. Have it in your birthplan and in your file. The nurses are good at keeping people out mom doesn't want, imho. You are the one going through labor. Tell him when he pushes a baby out of his penis, then his mom (and yours) can be there. Until then you get to decide.

I thought about having others there but my hubby wanted us to be alone. It wasn't a big deal so it was just us. You know what. It was such an intimate moment that I am glad just the two of us, plus baby, shared it. A real bonding moment.

tntrn, ASN, RN

Specializes in L & D; Postpartum. Has 34 years experience.

Oh, boy! I can see that when I posted last night, I was tired! I really can spell better than that post might indicate.

All of the posts here are right on. When I have a couple with an issue of who will be there and who won't, I tell them with a grin "if they weren't invited to the conception, then maybe they aren't invited to the birth." That always gets a warm understanding from both parents.

Tell him you'll let his mom be present as soon as he lays down naked and spread eagle in front of your mom for a few hours. I hate this notion that it's a couple who give birth. It isn't.

Seriously, support people are a very important part of the birth. Having someone there who makes you feel inhibited is a terrible idea. Explain that to your husband and make it very clear, HE isn't going through labor, YOU are. You need to have the people there that make you feel most comfortable. His mom can wait outside and come in to see the baby once it's born. She doesn't have to be in the room for the whole process to be included and your husband should be a little more supportive of you.

You know, you mil could come in for awhile during the early stages of your labor if that would be a compromise. Also I like the idea about her being able to come in as soon you feel ready.

Our moms are NOT ogres. .they are excited about having a grandchild. It is very hard though to draw a line in the sand with some.

Making the nurse the bad guy is a role I've played and I'm happy to do it.



Specializes in ER. Has 3 years experience.

We have had different numbers of people at each delivery. The first 4, the second 11, and the last one 5. I personally love having lots of people at my delivery that are supportive of me. However, my MIL and grandmother-in-law have not been at any of them:) If fact we did not even call them until the child was almost there for the last two. During the delivery of my first my husbands grandmother watched the delivery through a small window that looked into the room without my permission. We had been expecting a girl and when it was a boy I could hear her in the hall yelling "it's a boy" even before I saw him myself!

When you are in labor you need those around you that are YOUR support people not your husbands. And this ceratinly is not an oportunity for your husband to reward his mother for her fine care as he was growing up, as I suspect is his motivation. When it really comes down to it his number one focus should be on what is going to make you, the laboring women, happy and relaxed.

As far as pictures, I allowed video and still pictures with the stipulation that I could destroy any that I felt were too graphic. All shots were taken from up by my head and except for one brief shot everything was fine.

Good luck!!!


CoffeeRTC, BSN, RN

Has 25 years experience.

You know, you mil could come in for awhile during the early stages of your labor if that would be a compromise. Also I like the idea about her being able to come in as soon you feel ready.


from Fergus51:

Tell him you'll let his mom be present as soon as he lays down naked and spread eagle in front of your mom for a few hours. I hate this notion that it's a couple who give birth. It isn't.

This is the best bit of advice. It still is YOUR body. I had my MIL in at the delivery..she stood up at the head of the bead and just peaked a few times. :uhoh21: I asked her and at first she wasn't sure, but I figured this is the third and prob final baby we were having and I wanted to include her.

prmenrs, RN

Specializes in NICU, Infection Control. Has 42 years experience.

Are MIL and GF acquainted? If they were friends, it would be easier to have them trade off periodically. You do get to pick--just try not to get to stressed over it. You've got some time, don't make the decision right now. Bring each to various appts so they're included. The GF will probably be the most flexible, whatever you decide.

You can always call me, I'll punch someone's lights out if you want. just kidding, really. :)

Burnt Out, ASN, RN

Specializes in Med-surg; OB/Well baby; pulmonology; RTS. Has 19 years experience.

I agree with the other posters-this is your body. I would definately tell your doctor or midwife that you don't want your MIL in there and also tell your nurses.

When I was pg with my son, my mom kept telling me she wanted to be in the delivery room-don't get me wrong, I love my mom and wanted her there, but not while all my nether regions were exposed (yes, I know, she has seen it all before when she changed my diapers-that was her argument :rolleyes: :chuckle ). I finally let my mom and MIL and all know that if they weren't there for the conception, they weren't going to be there when he was born. That pretty much made them shut up :D

We ended up having a c-section anyway, so only DH was allowed back there. And we will be having another c-section this time as well.

When i was prego I absolutely did not want ANYONE in the room but my husband. Mind you, I have no problem saying my peace and if anyone was offended too bad because it was my body. My mom ended up staying longer than I had planned but by the time I realized it I didnt care anymore - I just wanted baby out! Then later my MIL comes by at the request of my hubby and for whatever reason I didnt care. In fact, at the end of it all I was glad they were there. My poor husband would have died if he didnt have some relief from the moms.

Pictures, on the other hand... Heck NO! Perhaps the compromise could be Yes to MIL, Yes to best friend, but NO to pics. Let them be offended. They should be glad just to be there.

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