'Crowd Birthing' Latest Delivery Room Trend

Is this a party or a delivery? Both.

July 30, 2015, 10:14 AM
PHOTO: A new trend in childbirth is having many people in the delivery room.
A new trend in childbirth is having many people in the delivery room.
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— -- Could the Kardashian influence have finally infiltrated even the hospital delivery room of an expectant mother?

Fans of the show will remember Kourtney Kardashian's documented-for-TV delivery of her daughter, Penelope. There were eight family members in the room (not to mention the thousands of people who later watched at home), including son Mason, sisters Kim and Khloe, brother Rob, half siblings Kendall and Kylie, mom Kris Jenner and Scott Disick, the baby's father.

"Crowd birthing" -- or inviting throngs of people into the delivery room and/or documenting the experience on social media -- might be the latest trend among pregnant women. One U.K. parenting site, Channel Mum, said the average number of friends and family present for a birth is eight. In other words, the same number of people as Kourtney Kardashian.

"The term is one I'm just starting to hear, but the practice of having a lot of people in the delivery room has been getting popular for some time," Babble blogger and birth doula Bailey Gaddis told ABC News. The Ojai, California mom had five family and friends in the room for the birth of her son, her husband, her mother, her mother-in-law, her brother-in-law and a friend. She recently attended at the birth of a woman with seven friends and family in the room.

All those people, combined with additional medical staff, easily adds up to double-digits.

Gaddis said it's typical that a laboring mom might have friends and family coming in and out of the hospital room to say hello and check in. But as the moment of birth arrives "people just pour in and the room fills up," she said. "If the mom or the father don't object, it's unlikely that the nurses will tell anyone to leave, especially in the case of a delivery where there's little medical intervention needed."

Demand for more people in the delivery room led one hospital to increase the number of people allowed from two to three to unlimited, said Dr. Marjorie Greenfield, Division Chief of General Obstetrics and Gynecology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Ohio. But then, nurses sometimes felt they "lost control of the room."

The hospital then went back to a three-person rule, but would turned a blind eye to more people as long as the nurses felt comfortable that the mother was being well taken care of.

"There's been a lot of back-and-forth discussion on this," Greenfield said, "it's definitely a key issue."

Greenfield pointed out that having a lot of people in a small delivery room can be a big issue in an emergency when medical staff may need to enter and exit the room quickly.

And for moms who want to share the details of the birth of their child with even more people than can fit in the hospital room, there's always social media.

In 2013, Ruth Iorio live-tweeted the details of her birth, complete with placenta photos and her very own hashtag #ruthshomebirth.

Greenfield said that when it comes to deciding who and how many people witness the birth of your child, a friend of hers lent a piece of advice that moms might want to consider. "Never invite anyone to the birth if you would feel bad if they saw you throw up," she said. "It's often not very pretty."

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