Preparing young sibling for your labor? — The Bump
3rd Trimester

Preparing young sibling for your labor?

Hey mamas. I'm 31 weeks with my second child, and starting to get nervous about how things are going to play out with the birth, especially in regards to my 3 year old. With her, my labor was fast and furious (from water breaking to getting admitted and checked at the hospital was 90 minutes, and I was already dilated to 8cm). As second labors tend to go faster, I think my daughter will witness most (if not all) of my labor, simply due to family members not being able to get to the hospital quickly enough. I plan to explain contractions and birth to her as best as I can, explain that I may be in pain during contractions, and role play the scenario a bit with her. Anything else you ladies can recommend? Are A Baby Story episodes too intense for a 3 year old to watch? It's been a long time since I've seen that show lol. I looked up youtube videos of birth videos, but they all seem to show full on shots of lady bits, which I'm not on board with showing my 3 year old lol. We plan on bringing a tablet with games, coloring, etc., but I just don't know if that will even hold her attention if I'm in obvious pain. She's extremely sensitive and empathetic, and gets worked up pretty easily if she thinks I'm not ok.... Any and all suggestions appreciated. :)

Re: Preparing young sibling for your labor?

  • Have u spoken to the hospital you are delivering at in regard to what their policy is? Some will not allow young children to be in the room while you are actively pushing.  
    so that would be my first suggestion.

    if they do allow her to be in the room just be prepared for the fact that it MAY be extremely upsetting for her.   No matter how much you prepare a child for it, it's always going to be distressing to see mom in severe pain.    

    I would suggest doing doing everything you possibly can to prevent her from having to watch you actually push.  However, if it comes down to it and she HAS to be in the room, your husband/SO will just need to tend to her if she gets upset.  

    Again though, I would talk to the hospital.    I'm sure they deal with this situation all of the time and have suggestions/options for u.

  • I know this may be a stretch but is it possible to have a family member stay with you as you get closer to your due date?  This way they can tend to your child while you get to a hospital and she doesn't have to see anything that may upset her.

    I agree with PP, that as much as you prepare for it, the real deal could very well scare her.  If this would add to the stress of the situation, I'd begin making other arrangements to avoid having her there altogether.



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  • Does your hospital have sibling classes?  They were a big help for our DDs, both in understanding more about the baby and in getting familiar with the hospital and what delivery might be like.

    Also, some hospitals have onsite childcare for patients.  Any chance yours does?  That could be a good option instead of having your daughter with you while you labor (if that's even permitted-it's not at ours, unless there is an adult (not you) who takes responsibility for her).
  • I know this may be a stretch but is it possible to have a family member stay with you as you get closer to your due date?  This way they can tend to your child while you get to a hospital and she doesn't have to see anything that may upset her.

    I agree with PP, that as much as you prepare for it, the real deal could very well scare her.  If this would add to the stress of the situation, I'd begin making other arrangements to avoid having her there altogether.
    After reading your response - this is probably why we stayed at my grandma's for about a month before my mom was due with my sister when my dad was on nights. Sister is ten years younger than I am. My mom had incredibly fast labours with me and my brother (and I was ten weeks early, brother five). The hospital is in a town ten minutes away. My mom was told if she went into labour at home, she wouldn't make it to the hospital in time. We only stayed at grandma's when dad was on nights, though. We were in school during the day. However, good advice. 
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