Millennials are the generation that shares the most and the most easily. Now they are creating a new way of giving birth that reminds us how we used to live in community and share all of life. Instead of making baby’s birth an intimate event with just mom, her support person, and the birth team, many people are choosing to have family and friends in their labor room. Crowd birthing and your personal choice may be the best of friends, or at opposite ends of a long pole.
For some women, crowd birthing is a welcome change, for others it’s not. The trend is new, increasingly popular, and un-researched.
Planning whether to invite other family or friends to your birth can be part of choosing your birth preferences and writing your birth plan. On your hospital bag checklist, the one-page birth plan you list there can say you’ll want to have select people at your birth.
IF YOU ARE A FIRST-TIME MOM, GIVING BIRTH IS NEW TERRITORY
You may not know how you’ll feel being in the social spotlight during this vulnerable time. If you wonder whether crowd birthing right for you, here are some questions to ask:
- Does your hospital or birthing center have a limit? Sometimes hospitals limit how many people can be in the birth room. Some hospitals and birthing centers have expanded their rules because of the crowd-birthing trend, while others restrict the number of people in the room. If you’re going to give birth in the hospital or birthing center, does yours have a people limit?
- Who have you included in your birth plans and conversations? If you were comfortable talking about fluids, gas, mucus plugs, poop, and breastfeeding with a friend, you might also be comfortable showing them your breasts or vagina as your baby is born.
- How do you deal with pain? Research shows that women who are emotionally attached to their partner feel less pain during labor when that partner is with them. But, women who do not have that emotional attachment feel more pain when their partner is with them.
Labor is intense and requires your concentration. If you’re not emotionally attached to all the people in the room watching you breathe, grunt, holler, weep, or bleed, will you be OK with their presence during one of the most vulnerable moments of your life?
- How does your partner feel about including others? Oftentimes, each person in the relationship has a different way of dealing with stress and challenge. Low-risk labor and birth may be natural, but they are hours of big sensations and emotions. If you are fine showing your stuff to the world but your partner is a private or introverted person, is crowd-birthing the right choice for both of you?
Or, if your partner loves to show their stuff and would love the world to see baby show her first stuff, too, can you still choose your privacy? Talking about this together helps you plan the birth you’re both comfortable with.
- What about your midwife or doctor? Do they work well despite side-comments and the energy of casual spectators while they are focused on bringing your baby into the world? If you’re considering crowd birthing, this is a conversation you need to have with your care provider. You may want to include this decision in your birth plan.
Social media sharing is perfect before and after your baby’s here with you. Only you, your partner, and your care provider can decide if bringing the crowd into your labor room is the best choice for your birth, your baby, and your future.
To learn more about privacy, pregnancy, and labor, download our free Birth Plan eBook now. After three years of research, collaboration with more than 100 childbirth experts and resource centers from Healthy Child Healthy World to the American Association of Neonatal Nurses, the Best Ever Baby Birth Plan Guide is available for a free download.
This new resource for pregnant families is a compilation of top tips and advice from more than 20 nationally-recognized experts in the field including renowned pediatrician, Dr. Alan Greene and GraceFull Birthing founder, midwife Elizabeth Bachner. These trusted experts offer thoughtful guidance for whatever type of birthing experience parents want, in whichever setting they choose.
Published: Dec 3, 2015 | By SP Turgon, Certified Labor Doula | Reviewed by: Kim Walls, Natural Products Expert, Elizabeth Bachner, LM, CPM, L.Ac., Midwife | Last reviewed: Dec, 2015