Can Someone Stay with Me During a C-section?

The Answer Depends on the Hospital Policy

Skin to Skin After a Cesarean
Photo © Heather

Question: Can someone stay with you during a cesarean section?

A cesarean section or c-section is a surgical birth. This means that the birth will take place in an operating room. In general, guests are not allowed to attend a surgery, but with the birth component, there is an added twist.

Answer: The basic answer is that whether or not you can have someone with you during a c-section will be up to the hospital policy.

The vast majority of hospitals will allow you to have one person of your choice attend the birth. This can be your husband or partner, doula, grandma, friend, etc. The operating room is meant to be a very clean room and space can be tight. The room is filled with people who will assist in your surgery, and that is more people than you might think. 

Some of the people in the room will include:

  • You
  • Your doctor
  • Your assistant surgeon/first assistant
  • Scrub nurse
  • Anesthesiologist
  • Circulating nurse
  • Nursery nurse

Having someone with you helps you to stay calm and focused on the birth. It is also important to have others witness the birth with you, which is why pregnant people often chose their partners to go with them to the surgery, even though that person may or may not be the most comforting to them. 

Having someone stay with you is generally only allowed if you are having an epidural or spinal and not general anesthesia.

It may also not be allowed if you have an emergency situation. Your doctor, nurse or hospital administration can give you the specifics or when someone might not be allowed to stay with you. It may also depend on if you've been in labor or if this is a scheduled cesarean section.

Typically the person who will be attending the birth with you will be asked to wait in the hall outside the operating room for a few minutes before joining you.

They will be asked to wear scrubs or a special suit that covers their clothing. This includes a hat, shoe covers, and a face mask. This is all for your protection during the surgery. During this time, you will have your body prepared for the birth, including draping your body, giving you oxygen,  and generally preparing you for the surgery in general. If you have not already had an epidural in labor, you will typically be given a spinal or epidural during this point of the process.

Some hospitals will allow you to have one person plus your doula. Though this varies from hospital to hospital and sometimes even depends on the doula. Be sure to ask about the policies of a hospital when you take a hospital tour before giving birth.

Many times you will be allowed to have two people total in the recovery room, even if you only had one person in the operating room. This is a great time to have your doula or other supportive person come back to help you with holding the baby and getting breastfeeding off on the right foot.

While you should not be in pain, you did just have surgery and may find yourself feeling anxious, shaky, etc. So this tends to not be a great time for visitors in general.

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