Usually, you can have at least two support people with you in the birthing suite. Some hospitals find that the rooms aren’t big enough to comfortably fit more than two support people.
Having a support person who is well prepared, who wants to be there for you and with whom you feel comfortable reduces the chance of you having birth interventions.
Continuous support from someone you trust, from the start of labour, will also help your labour to progress. But too many people in the birthing suite can distract you and even slow your labour. Some hospitals limit how many people can be in the room.
Your support people might include:
- your partner
- your birth partner
- other family member
- a friend
- your doula.
It’s worth finding out well ahead of the birth whether your partner, family, friends or doula (if you have one) can be at the birth.
If you need an emergency caesarean, your birth partner is usually allowed in with you if the operation is being done using spinal anaesthetic or an epidural. But if you need a general anaesthetic, your partner won’t be allowed in the operating theatre.
What your support people need to know
Food isn’t usually supplied for partners or family. They can bring their own or buy it at hospital cafes. Check the hospital rules about keeping and storing food in fridges and reheating food.
If your partner is staying overnight, a bed might be provided. Check with the hospital.
Limited visiting hours give women and their baby time for important rest. Most hospitals have visiting hours, although these are often more flexible for immediate family members. Hospitals sometimes have guidelines about how many people can visit at the same time. Check with the hospital.
Some public hospitals have this information on their websites. Or you could ask at birth classes or during your pregnancy appointments.