Allowing 7 Year Old to Join in Birth Experience

Updated on May 18, 2011
C.P. asks from Schenectady, NY
23 answers


I am 35 weeks pregnant and my 7 year old keeps telling me that he wants to be at the hospital to witness the birth of his sister. He has been asking for a few months and I honestly thought he would give up on the idea. I had been against the idea , as I was worried about him being scared/traumatized but our doula said she had experienced young children at births with no problems. Does anyone have any experience with this matter?

Thanks for all your feedback!


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answers from Tampa on

I'm having my 5 y/o as part of my birth experience - which is a home birth VBAC. I know many children are left IN the loop of life, which birth is definitely a major part of it. I think males that are kept in the 'mysticism' of what vaginas are really for tend to respect women MORE and realize how important they are.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

At 26 i experienced my friend giving birth and i was traumatized!!!! I think it could be a very overwhelming experience for a 7 yr old. But then again he may be too young to understand the whole thing and it may not bother him. Personally I would try to avoid him being there.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Portland on

My daughter had a home water birth 6 weeks ago. Her children, ages 10 and 7 were involved. They were fascinated. They were not frightened by their mothers cries and obvious experiences of pain. They mostly played in their rooms until Mom got in the tub and they were told the baby was coming. They stood right next to the tub and watched it all, asking questions. There were 3 midwives and one of them kept them far enough back that they didn't interfere with the birth. She also answered their questions. They were so excited. It was definitely a positive experience for them.

They have been attached to that baby since before it was born. I think seeing her born increased their sense of being big sister, big brother, who has some responsibility to her. They cuddle with her, lay down on the bed or floor next to her and talk to her. Are eager to help by getting diapers, clothes, blankets for her.

Both kids were involved with the pregnancy, hugging mom and baby, talking to the baby. Talking with the rest of us about what it would be like once the baby was born. It seemed that watching the birth was a natural follow up to that.

Added: they did watch births on TV programs. My grandson wasn't very interested in the TV births but was right there very interested in the birth of his baby sister.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Rockford on

Have you considered checking a dvd from the library to show an actual birth? He may not be as interested if he knew exactly what he was getting into. Or if he still is, at least he will be more prepared for the experience.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I agree with showing an actual birth on video first so that he'll know what he's getting himself into a bit. Back when my daughter was 4 yr old, she was at the hospital when our son was born. She thought it was AMAZING!! My mom never let us in there when she had babies, and I think it would have been awesome. What a natural, normal thing to experience...but for some reason it's not terribly normal in our culture and most people grow up having never seen the birth of a baby. I've still never seen someone else have a baby. But i've had four myself, so I guess that's okay;-) I'd do it if you're comfortable with it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

How does Dad feel about this?
It would depend on the child. Some kids could handle it a lot better than others. Other kids would freak out at the sight of Mom in pain and/or all that goo and blood.
Also, how are his friends parents going to respond if your son tells all his friends about it?
If an emergency comes up and you have end up having a C section, I'm assuming someone will be looking after your son.
I wanted my husband with me, but I really didn't want any other family members in the birthing room with me.
It's not something I would do.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I think its a horrible idea. Some experiences are meant to be private. Just because he wants this you are the one in charge. If you think he should not tell him no. The amount of fluids coming out of your body might really traumize him.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I honestly can't give you an opinion or insight, but your question reminded me of a quote from "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe" by Fannie Flagg. In her diary, the 11-yr-old (girl) protagonist writes; "I watched the cat have kittens today. I ain't never having no babies!"

Whatever you decide to do, I hope you have an easy birth and a wonderful experience -- with or without your son present.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I don't have experience, but I don't think it would necessarily be bad. At 7, though, does he fully understand what giving birth involves? Could he be there, but maybe not in the actual room? Either that, or make sure there is someone else there that can take him out if things get too scary or gross for him to handle. Also, consider how long it might take, and he may be tired or bored, and would be better off to wait it out at home. Also, you might want to check with the hospital's policy as they might not allow children. I guess if it were me, I would sit down and tell him about how long it might take, that there will be blood, that you might scream or yell because it hurts, etc. Then if he still wants to go and the hospital allows it, make sure you bring along someone who can watch him and take him out of the room if it starts to be too much. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

my oldest son(who is 8 now) was in the room and watched the birth of his baby brother when he was 3 years old. we really didn't plan it out that way, but when it came time to push, the OB and nurses asked me if i wanted my mom and son in the room, and i said "sure". my mom was present at the birth of the first child as well, and upon being offered to be included, she just said "i'll step outside with him if he gets scared". she and my son proceeded to watch the(very fast) delivery, there was no screaming or scary noises - very quiet and peaceful - 1 push. he just pointed and said "BABY!!!!!!!!". i'm really glad that it worked out that way - my oldest has high functioning autism and i think it really helped him to SEE our middle son join our family! when i had my 3rd child, my boys were 6 and 3, my 6yo BEGGED to witness that delivery, but it happened VERY fast, and my mom was gone getting the boys from preschool and school and they all missed it. i don't think there's anything at all wrong with it - just be sure that there is an adult there that is ONLY in charge of your 7yo son just in case he does get uncomfortable and wants to leave. good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

My neice and nephew both came to mine. LOL... my neice (who was 5 at the time) said

"R. had a big owee"

They were both fine, and got to have their fingers squeezed by their new cousin when he was less than an hour old.

Personally I HATE it being 'grand central station' when I'm in labor. My SIL &BIL kept them out of the room until I was pushing.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Let him see a few births on the Discovery Channel, he may change his mind. My daughter used to love watching them, then one day she said that the blood disgusted her and that she didn't want to watch anymore. She is 7 now and maintains that maybe she will come to the hospital to meet our new baby if I can promise her that the birthing part is long gone. Personally, I wouldn't want my kids there when I was laboring. I would feel like I had to censor everything I did and said, and labor can have some scary things happen. Let him meet his sister after she is out.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I think it would be really cool! He can stand up by your head and not at the business end. He wouldn't actually see anything. It depends on the kid, but if you think your little guy is up for it then why not? Oh, and check the hospital's policy on kids in the room!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

It depends on YOUR comfort level. He could be there for labor but may want to go grab a snack or something when delivery starts.
That's a way to involve him yet respect your own modestly.
Depends on what you, dad & son are comfortable.
I don't think a 7 year old needs to see for himself YOUR vagina, or any vagina in order to learn to respect women more.
I have an 8 yo son and I would not be comfortable having him watch me deliver a baby.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Joplin on

I let my MIL be in the room with us when I gave birth to my daughter, as long as you are comfortable with it and lay down the ground rules I don't see how it is a bad idea. MY SO was adamant he did not want to "see" anything, but changed his mind and ended up watching our daughter crown...I really believe birth is a beautiful miracle. I am just not sure a 7 year old needs to "see" all the ummm details...maybe someone could sit in the waiting room with him and send for him right after? I don't know, I did not have my kids in the room with me during labor...its such a personal moment, I think you need to do some heavy thinking before making a decision. Just wanted you to know I don't personally see anything "wrong" with it.


answers from Los Angeles on

My first thought was no...but maybe if he stayed up at the head of the bed? Then he could be there to experience it but not have to be traumatized by it?

~I was 18 when my sister had her first child and I got freaked out by all the blood when they gave her the episiotomy (sp?) one warned me! There my sister was, giving birth, and helping me and talking me through it..HA!



answers from New York on

Hi C.,
I was a childbirth educator for 13 years, and I think it's wonderful for siblings to be present for birth under a few conditions. It's good for your child to have an adult dedicated to him to explain things that are going on and to be able to take him out of the room if he no longer wants to be there. He should be prepared well for the birth - birth isn't scary or traumatic if he knows what is going to happen. Have your doula or a childbirth educator do some sibling at birth preparation for him - this is not the same as "sibling classes" at the hospital. I prepared siblings to attend a birth several times. I did that preparation with my own daughter when she was 4, including showing her a birth film, in case she asked to be present when our baby was born. Many people asked if I was having or did have my daughter present when our son was born, since we had a home birth and could have included anyone we wanted. She did not attend the birth, for the simple reason that she did not ask to be there. I think that is the most important thing about siblings attending a birth, that it should be their desire and not something their parent thinks would be cool to do - I've heard moms say that they wanted their child at the birth and I don't think that's the reason to have them there.
Also remember that when anyone comes to witness a birth, they are there for the action. Some people make the mistake of having their children (or other relatives) there for the entire thing and kids/observers really don't want to watch you go through 10 hours of contractions, they want the action so don't have your son come in to stay until the baby is actually getting ready to crown.
I would get started on that education/preparation now if you are going to have him there. Normal birth is not scary or traumatic if the child understands the process. Note that the people saying "no" are not the ones who had children present at their births, none of the people who actually included their kids is saying that they regretted it.



answers from Phoenix on

With our third baby girl I wanted my girls to be apart of the last baby and see what mom has been working so hard to produce, protect, and grow inside my tummy. My babies were 5 and 3 years old at the time going on 6 and 4 within 2 months. My mom flew down from TX and was there to provide assistance if needed. My hubby was against it at first but with motherinlaw and wife for it he was at a losing battle lol! I was induced and my girls were apart of the 5 hours of labor. The only times they left the room was when I got an epidural because I did not want them to faint at the sight of it and my hubby can't handle that part either. So they went outside the door and reentered when it was done. At the pushing part they ended up falling asleep I am not a screamer or anything so it was just like push I did and etc. They did wake up when the baby came out automatically crying because they never heard that sound before and saw her being held by the doctor the cord being cut and the baby being laid on top of me. My 3 year old loved it and didnt say anything. My 5 year old saw the umbilica cord hanging outside of me and was a little taken back by it so my mom covered her eyes while I pushed out the placenta and etc. After that we all were back to normal. I think it was a great experience but maybe grandma should walk them out when the after birth happens because that is the only part my daughter didn't like. She swears she is not having kids because of the shots and stretch marks lol! Good luck your a mommy and I am sure you will make the best decision that works for you and your family. Congrats!



answers from San Francisco on

My sister had her 9-year-old daughter in the labor room, but my mom was on hand to take her out once the delivery got imminent. There can be a lot of down time where your son should be included, but for the actual delivery, I don't know that he needs to be there for that. Once the baby was out, my niece went back in the room, and was in line to hold the newly cleaned-up bundle.



answers from New York on

My sister's older daughter wanted to be present at the birth of her younger daughter. She was much younger, only 2, so keep that in mind. My sister had a friend there who was dedicated to staying with her daughter--that way, if she got freaked out, needed to leave the room, etc., she could do that. She did leave early on in the labor. I think it all depends on the child. My advice would be to have an adult assigned to him and to talk to him ahead of time about some of the sounds he might hear, things he might see, let him take the hospital tour, etc.


answers from Hartford on

When my youngest daughter was born my eldest wanted to be in the room and be a participant too. But I'll be honest. I didn't have it in me to parent her and have to remind my husband to keep and eye on her and parent her while I was in labor let alone during delivery. I did not want the distraction of children in my laboring room. Period. I had my two daughters stay with my mother who had help from my best friend while my husband and I enjoyed the labor and delivery privately. I have no regrets over that decision.



answers from New York on

I don't think he would necessarily be traumatized by a perfectly normal delivery, it as long as he is very well prepared for what to expect, BUT that's only if everything goes perfectly. You never know what will happen at a birth - you might have hemorraging, excessive bleeding, the cord might be wrapped around the neck, and a host of many many more complications might arise involving you and/or the baby that you might not want your child to witness.

Personally I think I would be the one traumatized if my 7yo son saw my vagina, with or without a baby coming out of it! But maybe that's just me..



answers from Chicago on

If he is asking and wanting to be a part of the process, then I don't see a problem with it. But, be absolutely sure that he understand everything that will happen prior to your birth. Watch Life's Greatest Miracle ( with him to educate him about childbirth. Also, he needs to know that childbirth isn't like the movies - done and over in mere minutes. Have a backup plan/exit strategy if he changes his mind, gets bored during labor, or just can't handle it.

Follow his lead - this has to be all about HIM wanting to be a part of the experience. I get really annoyed when pregnant women INSIST that their children be present at their birth without being respectful of the child's feelings. In this case, it sounds like he is totally onboard. Best wishes!

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