Who Can Visit You When You’re In Labor? Hospital Visitation Policies

Who will be with you once you've had your baby? Hospital visitor policies differ, so find out before you go into labor. Image by babykrul

Who will be with you once you’ve had your baby? Hospital visitor policies differ, so find out before you go into labor. Image by babykrul

Labor and delivery is a place in the hospital like no other – it’s a family setting that can be a happy place, but both patients and caregivers need to be ready for medical emergencies as well as routine births and happy parents. Be aware of your hospital’s policies before you bring your extended family to be with you when you go into labor – they might not agree with your plans.

Labor and Delivery Visitor Policies

Most hospitals have a policy on visitors. Most visitors are welcome, but usually not more than three at a time in the labor and delivery area. The reason for the rule of three is because if bad things happen, they happen fast and the medical professionals have to act quickly. The last thing nurses or doctors need is someone in the way – and any more than 3 people will certainly be in the way if there’s any sort of medical emergency. That being said, all hospitals have waiting rooms, so if you want to bring your whole clan along, there’s a place for them to sit and wait for their turn in the L&D room.

Remember – in labor, you’ll be in pain and may not want to be social. Discuss your feelings about visitors before the fact with your birth team, but don’t hesitate to let them know if you change your mind. You’re the one giving birth, so your support team needs to respect your wishes.

After Baby is Born

After delivery, there is always a baby fan club! It is great for medical personnel to see such great support. In the hospital’s labor and delivery unit, we don’t mind if you gawk over this bundle of joy you have waited almost a year to meet. We encourage it! Afterwards though, when recovery is over, about two to three hours after delivery, we encourage rest.

Most new moms are exhausted from the long day and it is now only beginning – the earliest phase of the lack of sleep you’ll be experiencing for the next year, or eighteen, however you want to look at it. You may want your other kids to stay the night, but most hospitals discourage that since you might not get as much rest if there are other people in the room. Our goal is to make sure you and the baby are as well-rested as possible, so while visits are wonderful, and again, encouraged, most hospitals won’t support your requests to allow overnight visitors. If this is a big problem for you, research in advance to find out your hospital’s policies.

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After Labor: Visitors and Support

As much as the labor and delivery personnel in my hospital love to see our patient’s families, we encourage one support person, over the age of eighteen, to be with the patient for help after delivery. I like to stress the fact that, indeed, many hospitals look like hotels, but truly, it is still a hospital, so please be aware of policies beforehand, and talk them over with your birth support team in advance to avoid any surprises after the fact.

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