Millennials—the most egalitarian generation to date—are redefining the question, how many people fit in a birthing room? It’s all about the crowd birthing trend. Before writing it into their birth plan, women can ask themselves, is crowd birthing right for me?
With the comfort the millennial generation has sharing nearly everything on social media, bringing baby into the world seems as natural as anything else to share online. Kourtney Kardashian’s birth with Penelope—where she planned for television cameras and eight relatives to be in the room with her—is indicative of the popularity of the crowd birthing trend. But, in the same tribe another couple – Kanye and Kim – took the opposite stance.
For some laboring moms, having friends and family pop in for good wishes and support is just what the doctor ordered, because it helps. For others, it’s a distraction that takes attention away from dealing with increasingly intense labor and birth demands.
Dr. Michel Odent says it this way: “The passage towards the fetus ejection reflex is inhibited by any interference with the state of privacy. It does not occur if there is a birth attendant who behaves like a “coach”, or an observer, or a helper, or a guide, or a “support person.” It can be inhibited by vaginal exams, by an eye-to-eye contact, or by the imposition of a change of environment. It does not occur if the intellect of the laboring woman is stimulated by a rational language (“Now you are at complete dilation; you must push”). It does not occur if the room is not warm enough or if there are bright lights.”
YOUR PREFERENCES WILL DECIDE IF YOU’LL FEEL COMFORTABLE AND SAFE CROWD BIRTHING.
As you plan your birth, here’s a quick list of questions to ask yourself to help you decide if crowd birthing is right to include in your birth plan:
- Am I a public or a private person?
- Who makes me feel strong and secure?
- Does having a group in the room fit with my other birth plans?
- How do I deal with interruptions (people coming and going during your hours of labor)?
- Can I ignore chatting, laughing, or discussions on the sidelines when I’m focusing or am in pain?
- Who am I comfortable with seeing my belches, vomit, tears, vulnerability, anger, exhaustion, poop or private parts?
- How sensitive are my friends and family?
- Am I comfortable asking others to be quiet or do something useful?
- Will my partner or doula run interference for me if someone needs to be asked to do something, not do something, or leave?
- What jobs can the crowd do to help my birthing process (take pictures, choose music, run for food, bring supplies like socks or hair bands)?
- How will I feel afterward having exposed my body, fluids, and emotions to the people in the room?
Crowd birthing is changing the way we think about privacy and safety during one of life’s most intense rites of passage.
When you write the final version of your birth plan – the one listed on your hospital bag checklist – you can state whether the crowd can join you on center stage during your baby’s birth, or whether they need to remain on the sidelines, in the visitor’s room, waiting patiently to hear baby has made his entrance.
To learn more about birthing preferences, 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: December 6, 2015 | By SP Turgon, Certified Labor Doula | Reviewed by: Kim Walls, Natural Products Expert, Elizabeth Bachner, LM, CPM, L.Ac., Midwife | Last reviewed: December, 2015