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A quick look at pregnant mother's blogs will reveal that many think about having their older children at the birth of their new sibling. Some mothers feel that kids will bond more easily with their new brother or sister when they are present at its birth, and that it helps them understand where the baby came from better. Sure enough, when a toddler sees their brother or sister come into the world, he or she is unlikely to make famous comments along the lines of "OK, I've seen the baby now, can we bring him back to the hospital?" There are plenty of reasons to include older kids in a birth, and just as many not to. Let's examine the pros and cons of allowing your older children to witness a new sibling's delivery.

Reasons to include your older kids

Pregnancy and birth are natural, every day events in the big picture of things, but they are totally magical at the same time. There is nothing quite as sweet as a little newborn who has just emerged from its mother's belly. The mothers who decide to ask their older children to be present at the birth of a little baby brother or sister do so because they feel that it is, above all, a family event that is relevant to all members of their family. Most hospitals and birth centers are open to the idea of having older children present. Maternity facilities do require that there is a support person present just for the child attending, and some offer classes to prepare both the child and support person for the birth. If you choose to ask your mother, for instance, to accompany your older child, this means that both and come and go as they please, walk around the block or the hospital, go buy sandwiches, or anything else they feel like doing. And remember, having your children present for labor and delivery does not mean that they have to look at your... lower parts! Most visitors don't get any "gynecological shots" at all, preferring instead to stay near the head of the laboring mother.

And reasons not to have your older children at your birth

Some mothers worry that the sounds of labor (vocalizing, sometimes screaming) would scare kids. They don't want to worry their children. Some women get distracted by the presence of children, and prefer to focus on the birth process instead. If a complication arises, and you need additional medical intervention or a cesarean section, you will need to be taken to the OR something that can be a frightening event for kids. Finally, labor can simply take a long time, and be boring. What are your thoughts? For more birth topics, also look at what you should pack in your hospital bag for labor and birth, and can you give birth vaginally after a c-section?

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