If you are pregnant, you may be wondering if the babyâ€™s older siblings should be present at the birth. Some women believe that birth is a family event and welcome their children at the birth. Others prefer to give birth without the children present. Here are some things to consider...
If you are pregnant, you may be wondering if the baby’s older siblings should be present at the birth. This is largely a matter of choice. Some women believe that birth is a family event and welcome their children at the birth. Others prefer to give birth without the children present, but welcome them into the room after the baby is born to meet the newest member of the family.
The personality of each child is an important consideration. Some children are more sensitive and easily upset than others. A very sensitive child may find seeing mommy in pain to be very upsetting. In this case, waiting until after the baby is born may be best for the child. This is a matter of knowing the personality of your child and figuring out what is best in your situation.
The policies of the place where you plan to give birth may influence your decision. Obviously, women planning to give birth at home will have more control over who is present at the time of the birth. However, women giving birth at a hospital or birthing center will want to check about the policies regarding children at the birth.
If you have decided to include your older children in the birth of your baby, it is advisable to arrange care for the children. Someone should be in charge of the children to care for their needs and take them out of the room, if needed. Sometimes kids get scared and want to leave the room. In addition, birth can be a long process and your children may need a break or to be taken out for food at some point.
The person in charge of your child should not be your spouse or labor support person. This person needs to be focused on you and meeting your needs in labor. The kids need someone that will be focused on them and meeting their needs. This is especially true for younger children. A close friend or family member is probably the best choice for back up childcare.
You should spend some time preparing your children for the birth of their sibling. There are books and DVDs that are useful for preparing children for birth. You can read a few books and watch the video with your kids, while discussing what they will see when the baby comes. This will help prepare your child for the realities of birth.
Choose books and DVDs that show images of actual child birth and offer information about what to expect at a birth. Watching television shows such as A Baby Story and Birth Day won’t give kids a true picture of an actual birth. These shows tend to give a more sanitized view of birth and cut out the actual birth. You can ask your health care provider or child birth educator for recommendations. Some birthing centers have books and DVDs available for loan.
Birth Books for Kids
- I Watched My Brother Being Born by Anne and Katarina Vondruska
- My Brother Jimi Jazz by Chrissy Butler
- Waiting for the Sun by Alison Lohans
- Welcome with Love by Jenni Overend
Birth DVDs for Kids
- I Watched My Brother Being Born
- In the Womb
- Water Birth DVD
- Celebrate Birth
- The Miracle of Birth
comment by David from Anchorage, AK on the DVD in the Womb
"We have 4 kids and have another one on the way. The kids had some questions that covered a broad range. (what does the baby look like now to how will it come out) We sat all four of them down (ages 3 to 11) in front of it. They all enjoyed it and got their questions answered better than we had answered them. Good Show from National Geographic – 5 stars"