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A Doula's Warning: Make sure your visitors pass our test

October 23, 2013

Doula Warning about Visitors


Too many times I have seen labors negatively impacted by very well-meaning visitors.   A very kind grandmother to be can sit quietly in the corner of a birthing room wringing her hands and biting her nails which only makes the laboring mom concerned.  A sweet sister might ask nicely about when laboring mom will be getting her epidural which is the last thing that mom wants to hear.  I've seen labors slow and even stop when a well-meaning visitor arrives.

Before you extend invitations to your friends and family to be part of your labor and birth please consider this warning.  I have developed a very quick and easy test to weed out the visitors that might not be right for this occasion.

Labor/Birth Visitor Test

1)  I feel comfortable doing the following in front of this visitor?

a) Pee

b) Poop

c) Sweat

d) Scream

e) Swear

f) Moacn

g) Fart

h) Vomit

i) All of the above

If you answered i) All of the above then you should consider the following list of to-dos.

1) Talk everything over with your partner.  You both should be in agreement when it comes to this important aspect of the big day.

2) Tell all visitors what you expect of them.  Do you want them to support, comfort, help your partner, get food etc.

3) Tell visitors about your birth preferences.  They should know how you want it to go.

4) Make sure all visitors know that you can change your mind at anytime and kick them out of the room.  Reserve this right up front!

If you aren't 100% confident in your selection of visitors then don't invite them to be part of this big day.  There will be plenty of time once the baby arrives for visitors.  You are allowed to keep things quiet, personal and free from company.  Your birth is not a baby shower or a party.  It is a once in a lifetime day.  Choose your visitors (or lack of) wisely!  Check out our Infographic on this topic.

Also...check out our Infographic on this topic.  We have a great PDF download on this topic as well. 




9 Responses

Lorie Lape
Lorie Lape

August 26, 2016

Alice, can you make an infographic to hang in the waiting room? It can say, “Do you visit ____ (laboring mom) while she is vomiting, pooping, screaming, …” If not, then you should not visit her while she is in labor."

Ear be
Ear be

April 20, 2015

Great suggestion! To those saying they would be “hurt”, realize that you don’t have the right to attend a birth just because you share DNA with one of the involved parties. It is 100% ok for mom to pick and choose who is in attendance. I’m sure you love her and this baby, but your presence could seriously put a kink in things. Furthermore, you have to realize the relationship between mother and daughter is totally different than mother in law and daughter. I would have been open to having my mother at my births, but my mother in law? No way. Birth is so private- I would never want her there in my sacred space. That doesn’t mean I don’t love her, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable with her there at all.


October 16, 2014

I will be very hurt if my daughter in laws mother is allowed to be in the delivery room, but I Am not & even more hurt if this is her plan and my son doesn’t say or do anything about it.
I also think it should be known ahead of time where everyone is allowed/not allowed/or expected to be.


October 05, 2014

I love this! I will share with any friends struggling with people pushing their way in to the delivery room. Makes it so cut and dry – hard to argue with the mama to be if she makes these great points!

Sonia Davis
Sonia Davis

September 03, 2014

Alice…you never cease to amaze me….and make me laugh.

June 26, 2014

Yes yes yes, as a doula (and a mother) I could not agree with this more. I do sometimes think that women often forget to consider just exactly what they may be doing in labour, or may be sold on the myth that “you won’t care about anything in the labour room”. That’s just not true – it may be by the time a mother is in second stage (but it’s not guaranteed even then) however there is often a long time before she gets to that stage, and feeling embarrassed and self-conscious can have a monumentally negative impact upon her hormonal state.
Great list. Love it!


May 07, 2014

I wish I had read this before my first was born!! My Mil and Sil showed up when I went to be induced. Sil complained she was cold while I was sitting there sweating. Although they went outside when I requested it they stayed right outside the door, which was open. I didn’t have the presence of mind to ask for it to be closed, but felt very uncomfortable knowing they could hear me. As soon as DS was born I heard my SIL clamoring to come in. The doctor was stitching me up and there was no way I wanted her in there and so I kept yelling out the door that she couldn’t come in. Next birth we are having a doula and it will be just me and DR otherwise.


January 27, 2014

I did not tell anyone when my c section was scheduled for my twins. I wanted it to be just my husband and i. afterwards i called family and friends and told them it was a last minute decision (to keep from hurt feelings, like my moms)


November 05, 2013

This is an awesome list! I just pinned it and I will be putting it to use in the next year or so hopefully!

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