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Labor and birth are exciting events that are significant for everyone in your family. Labor and birth can be difficult and beautiful all at once, and mothers often feel the need to have a family member of friend, or several, in the delivery room with them for support, and to experience it all together. Who should you invite into the delivery room when that time comes, and how do you make the decision?

Planning your birth, as far as birth can be planned, is an essential part of childbirth preparation for every woman. The first question that pregnant women should ask themselves when it comes to deciding who they want at their birth is, what do they think they will need? Do you think your partner (if you have one), will be able to cater to your needs during labor? If you want someone to go and get sandwiches, or give you a back rub, then the answer might well be that your partner will be great labor support. If you want someone who has given birth themselves and really understands what you are going through, a female and a mother would obviously be a better choice for you. If you have a good friend or a relative, like your mother or sister, who you are comfortable inviting to your birth, that can be great.

If you don't feel they would cope well with your labor, or you think they are likely to annoy you at this crucial point in your life, there are always professional birth doulas. A doula is trained in labor support, and has knowledge about the process of labor and birth. They are also often trained in things like massage, aromatherapy, and breathing techniques, which can be a nice bonus when you are in the throws of labor! Whatever support people you end up choosing for your birth, remember that you can always send them out of the room if you end up feeling uncomfortable about their presence. And don't forget to check with your hospital how many people are allowed in the room either. You can include your wishes for support people on your birth plan.

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