Here's your field guide to birthing personnel—those who may be in the room and those who you can ditch.
Your first birth is super exciting—and stressful, so we understand the desire to cut down on unnecessary commotion in the delivery room. (Sorry, third cousin once removed, we'll see you in the waiting room afterward.)
Distant relatives aside, it can be difficult to determine who's really necessary, and who you can ask to leave—especially if it's your first rodeo. Use this list to help you plan your posse.
These people are all crucial in the proceedings:
Doctor or Midwife Chances are, you've been seeing this person throughout your pregnancy. She'll pop by every few hours to check in; a nurse will tell her your progress at other times. She'll arrive when it's time to push.
Nurse She's with you for much of your labor, suggesting various positions and probably performing exams. Your delivery may span shift changes, especially if it's long, so expect to get acquainted with a new nurse or two.
Your Birth Partner Whether this is your husband, partner, sister or mom, your loved one is your go-to support to hold your hand through the pain, help you relax and feed you ice chips.
If you want, you can tell this group to beat it:
Anesthesiologist Present only if you request an epidural, this M.D. will swab your back, numb the site by your spine, insert the medicine and be on her way.
Doula Totally optional, but if you do choose to have a doula, her primary focus is easing your discomfort. She'll hold you up, help you onto a birthing ball—you name it. She'll also stay with you when your partner needs to use the bathroom.
Resident If you deliver at a teaching hospital, this M.D., who is being further trained in L&D, will assist, though he will be overseen by either your OB or another doctor (it varies by hospital).
Medical Student At a teaching hospital, this doctor-to-be may pop in.
If you need a C-secion, here's whom you'll see:
Surgeons Two surgeons, one on either side of your abdomen, operate if you need a C-section. (In some practices, your OB will scrub in and perform the surgery; ask your doctor ahead of time.)
Circulating Nurse He will move throughout the room, handing tools to the surgeons and keeping tabs on you.
Tech Nurse She'll stand with the surgeons and assist as they open and close your incision.
Pediatric Team If you're having surgery or complications, a doctor, pediatric nurse and specialist, such as a respiratory therapist, will hang in the background with their equipment (e.g., a resuscitation mask) until needed.