As baby's due date approaches, future mommys and daddys will be thinking about the delivery of their baby. One hot topic that comes up is: Who should be present in the delivery room? Make sure that both mom and dad have a say in this and always decide on a plan before the delivery. Also, check with your planned hospital for their policies on guests!

Step one is to come up with the plan! There are stages that you go through to bring a baby into the world, so let's cover all our bases. First, the couple needs to determine how mommy is going to get to the hospital. Is a friend going to be waiting by the phone? Is hubby going to come home from work? Do you have other children that need to be cared for at the drop of a hat? This is the most important step ensuring that you arrive to labor and delivery safely to deliver the baby!

Now that you have arrived at the hospital, you never know how long you are going to be in labor. It could be an hour or it could be 24. Who do you want in your room during labor? Your body will be contracting and relaxing, your uterus opening up the canal prepping it for the baby to be born. These emotions and feelings can be intense! Do you feel comforted by your mother's voice, or powerful and confident through your partners coaching? Has your best friend asked to be there so you can squeeze her hand? Or does the thought of your mother-in-law being there through labor make you nervous? Does your younger sister want to be a part of this big day? Or do you feel as though you want this experienced shared by you and your partner only? These are all questions to be discussed and determined prior to your due date.

I'm sure there are many people excited and anxious for the baby to come but ultimately mommy and daddy need to have the final say. It is best to let loved ones know beforehand what your plans are, and be honest. That way they won't be upset and feel left out on delivery day. Simply mention, "We have decided that it will be my husband, his mother, and I at the hospital during labor." Or, "My sister is going to be there through the whole birth to give me her positive vibes!" or whatever it may be.

If people are hinting that they would like to be involved make it clear to them at which part they are invited to join. While laboring through contractions, you move on to the actual pushing, and delivery. This could last minutes or hours. You may feel more comfortable with some people being there through labor but not delivery. Make it clear that you would like their support during labor but when the baby is actually born for them to please wait until recovery. Whatever you and your partner decide is your right, do not feel obligated to let anyone in on this experience!

After the baby is born, mommy and baby will stay in recovery for a while. Who would you like to invite to the hospital now? Maybe there was someone who really wanted to be a part of the birth but you didn't feel comfortable with them seeing you in labor? After your baby's birth is usually a non-stressful time to invite friends and family to see the baby. And you'll want to celebrate and show off your little one! Keep in mind though, don't overwhelm yourself, you just went through a life changing experience physically and emotionally and you need to take care of yourself as well as the baby.

Remember, the goal is to bring home a healthy baby. It will be loved and supported by all who will be thinking and praying for your family, not just the people who were physically present during the process! Delivering a baby truly is a miracle and will forever be a cherished memory, sealing the bond between a mom, dad and child.