Who Is Typically in the Delivery Room During the Birth of a Baby

Newborn being put on his mother's chest after being delivered

Karen Strauss / Getty Images

When you imagine the day you give birth, you probably think about being surrounded by family, maybe friends, and of course your doctor or midwife. But in reality, there are lots of potential people involved who may attend your birth.

Monty Python's The Meaning of Life had the scene nearly perfect when they let everyone come in the room, but tell the father, "Only people involved with the birth allowed..." In truth, most hospitals and birth centers are not this bad, but there are still some out there with strict protocols about who can attend the birth of your baby.

People Who Are Typically in the Room During Delivery

Here is a brief introduction to potential attendees to your birth.

Doctor or Midwife

This is usually someone you have met and developed a relationship with prior to giving birth. Hopefully it is your main practitioner or at least one with whom you have developed a relationship. Be sure to ask your doctor or midwife about their call schedule. Do they have back-ups? Can you meet them? Do they have any vacations or time off near the time of your due date?

The chance of actually getting your practitioner will depend on the above factors. Being able to meet any back-ups will greatly ease your mind. This will also allow you to go over any specific requests or birth plans prior to your due date.

Partner

You might believe it is a given that your partner is invited into the delivery room at your local hospital or birth center. This is not always true. Partners may or may not be allowed in the delivery room during a cesarean. Restrictions depend on hospital policy and if the mother is having medical complications.

In areas affected by Covid-19, many hospitals allow only one family member in the area, and they must be screened for the virus before entering.

Doula

Hiring a doula can help you reduce your risks of needing a cesarean section, analgesia, or other medical interventions. Doulas and other support figures can also help you draw boundaries and refuse medical procedures that you may not desire, such as episiotomies.

Typically, most hospitals or birth centers have no restrictions on the use of a doula. However, in areas affected by Covid-19, many facilities have a limit on the number of people you can invite to your birth. Many organizations recommend that hospitals do not count the doula in this number because they recognize the value of the doula's role. However, some hospitals do count doulas as visitors, so some pregnant individuals are being forced to decide whether to have their partner in the room or their doula.

Labor Nurse

Your labor nurse will be your direct link to the facility where you are giving birth. You will likely have the same nurse for your entire labor and birth, but you may, because of shifts or multiple patients, see more than one nurse.

The nurse will be responsible for communicating with your doctor or midwife and letting them know how your labor is progressing and relaying any requests that you have back to the practitioner. They will also attend your birth to assist your doctor and others in the room. The labor nurse will be responsible for blood work, paperwork, monitoring, vaginal exams, etc.

A labor nurse cannot usually spend a lot of time physically comforting you during labor, but she can provide you with suggestions for comfort, from positioning to medications.

OB Tech

The OB Tech comes in at the very end to set up a table of instruments and things to be used at your birth, like gauze, oils for perineal massage, scissors, and suture material. The OB tech's main job is to assist your doctor or midwife in the actual birth. You will usually not have a chance to meet them beforehand.

Nursery Nurse

Some places also have a nursery nurse attend the birth of your baby. In some facilities, they attend every birth, in others, only cesarean births. Ask your facility for their policy. This nurse is someone who will come at the end specifically to care for your new baby (or babies).

Specialists

There are many potential specialists who could potentially be available for your birth. These can include but are not limited to: the anesthesiologist for epidurals, spinal anesthesia, and other medications; pediatrician, to care for your baby; neonatologist, who offers specialized care for at-risk newborns; assistant surgeons, used particularly for cesarean births; medical students, nursing students, residents in OB, family practice, etc. Ask about your facility's policy for students at birth.

Be sure to talk to the place where you are giving birth to find out all policies about who can attend your birth. This can be particularly important for your child's siblings, who may not be old enough to fully understand the childbirth process.

If you are planning a home birth, talk to your midwife or doctor about who you are able to invite to the birth and if they need special training. Also be sure to ask who they bring with them to attend the birth, such as other midwives or physicians, apprentices, doulas, etc. Many families choose to give birth at home to allow them more freedom as to whom they may invite to the birth of their child.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Rubashkin N, Minckas N. How Should Trainees Respond in Situations of Obstetric Violence? AMA J Ethics. 2018;20(3):246-283. doi:10.1001/journalofethics.2018.20.3.ecas2-1803

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Considerations for Inpatient Obstetric Healthcare Settings. Updated May 20, 2020.