Video Conferencing During Childbirth

Why the heck would you want to video call someone during labor? I’m hesitant to even consider it…

However, there are many reasons to have a video conference during childbirth. Maybe, someone, you want there is ill, or unable to travel. Maybe the cost of getting them close enough to come is just too much.

Or maybe your hospital has restricted access for support personal. Or the labor is going so quickly it’s unlikely anyone else can make it before the birth.

Whatever the reason, if you know you want this person in the room with you then Video Conferencing them in during labor or delivery might be an option for you.

The Benefits of Video Calls During Delivery

Let’s face it, not all of us want to be on camera at our best moments so being on camera when we are very vulnerable can be even scarier.

However, there are some perks to bringing people in via today’s technology that make it worth facing the camera.

You can shut it off

I know, I know, if you have invited someone to the delivery they “should” be there for the whole thing.

Well if they piss you off it’s easier to get rid of them if they are on video than if there were there in person. Just turn off the device…no fighting or protests to deal with.

You can get more people in (if you want to)

If your Birth Location of choice is limiting how many people you can have in the room with you this is an easy way to get more in the door.

Added bonus you can’t really overfill the room and you can still have everyone you want to attend you.

Last Minute Invitations

Did you forget to tell your sister that you wanted her there for the birth? Call her, and she will be right there. Just maybe call via audio first and let her know you are in labor before you go to video.

Sick People are now Safe

Want someone there who is Immune Compromised? or sicker than a Dog? If they are well enough to handle their fav piece of tech you can call them and still be safe while they lend their support.

What to do Before Labour Starts

As with many things before you go into labor there are a few things that will help this go more smoothly if you do them beforehand.

Ask for Permission

With many of the hospitals limiting the number of people in the delivery room chances are you might actually be advised to prepare for video support during the delivery.

If your doctor hasn’t already brought it up by now you need to ask about the hospital’s video call rules. This may be new to them but should be similar to having a Videographer in the room with you.

And that’s the other thing if you plan on having a video chat a number of the services will record everything… so if that is something you want to record you will need permission to do so. I say this because all the hospital staff that are in your room need to be aware that they are on video due to the legal implications of being recorded.

Ask about WI-FI access

Depending on where you birth there may or may not be Wi-Fi access. Some may have paid and others could be free. Better to ask upfront so you know.

It’s also a good idea to see if you can test how well the wi-fi will work, I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to have your video call freeze randomly when you are talking to someone.

If Wi-Fi isn’t accessible then you will need to stick to Cell coverage, so double check your data costs and look at upgrading or getting an add on during the time frame baby is estimated to arrive.

Decide Who you will call

This is not really something that should be decided at the last minute, thinking about this now will affect how the birth experience for you goes.

I recommend using all the same guidelines as though you were picking them to physically be in the room with you.

If you want to know best practices for that check out Who You Really Need In the Delivery Room where I go over all the things to think about.

Establish Your Rules/Guidelines While on the Call

In a virtual business meeting, there are clear outlined etiquette rules that everyone uses. Things like not going to the washroom on camera, or no popping into the shower are pretty common sense for a business meeting.

But when you are in labor things like pooping or needing to be in the shower are part of the whole experience for you. When I labored with our Second Son I spent a good couple hours in the shower wearing nothing but my bra, not even underwear.

So the rules will be a little different, one of the big ones here is who (if anyone) is allowed to record the video or take screenshots for photos?

Assign Duties

You’ll want to have some assigned tasks here, like when you go into labor who is going to get the call started?

If your hubby is driving you to the hospital he should be focused on driving safely NOT messing with tech, so make sure he does it before you leave the house so it’s on you when you get there.

If you know for sure that he will be permitted into the delivery room then he can set that up once you get there. But if there is a chance the rules may have changed I wouldn’t count on this.

One word of caution here, if you are in labor chances are you will not want to do much of any messing around with the technology once you are in the hospital, I would highly recommend having someone else being able to let people in.

Also, will anyone else be permitted to invite others to the call or will it all be on you?

Print Signs for your delivery room door

Being on video, especially when it is being recorded, has a TONE of legal ramifications. This means that even with verbal permission from the hospital/doctor you still should put up some kind of notice so people don’t forget.

Let’s face it our health care staff are dealing with SO MUCH on any given normal day. Something like which room has a video call going could easily slip their mind. So be nice and prepare for making their lives that much easier.

Pick Your Equipment

Most video calls can be made on any smartphone, but it will likely be easier for you to see who is there if you have a laptop or tablet. Especially if you have more than one person on the call.

So test a few apps out on different devices you already have and see which one you like best.

And while you are at it pack your charging cord in your hospital bag, or at least put a sticky note on the bag to remind you to take the charger.

Pick Your App

There are a lot of apps out there that will permit video calls. Test a few out to see which one works best for you. And make sure you test it with anyone who will be on the call so you know they know how to use it too.

(See below for my recommended apps)

Prep a backup option

By this I mean snag photos of the people you want there and figure out the whole audio conference calling.

Sometimes as much as we prep for these things the tech doesn’t work, or there isn’t enough time, or the rules or plan might change.

Either way, it’s a good idea to prepare yourself that this amazing person you want to share the moment with may not be there.

Once Labor has started

Remember YOU need to focus on that baby & yourself

Once the excitement begins other people need to know what they are supposed to do without bugging you.

Let’s say you want Hubs, Your Mom and your Sister with you in the delivery room, and Mom and Sis can’t make it. Hubs needs to know how to start the call, and maybe have him call Sis, who then is in charge of getting Mom on the line.

This is not saying you can’t or won’t be able to make the call yourself, but you should have it set up so that it is easy and no thought needed to do so.

Your focus will more than likely be on you and baby, and rightly so.

Stay Home as Long as You can

This goes for all labors, stay home as long as you can. You want to be arriving at the hospital with as little time before the delivery as possible.

Now I’m not saying wait until you are going to have the kiddo in the car on the way there, but the longer you are home the more of the labor you can be with people physically so you don’t have to make calls.

Arriving at the Hospital

Once you have arrived at the hospital and been admitted double check that everything is working and get those signs up. If hubby isn’t with you ask a nurse to help you out.

Safety First

Ok, so things are working and you are in the delivery room… but the power is running low on your device. What do you do? Plug it in.

I would recommend making sure that you plug it in where the cord won’t get in the way! First off you don’t want to be tripping over it and neither should the nurses or doctors have to worry about it.

Second, if a situation arises where the staff tells you that the video needs to be turned off, listen to them.

I know it hurts to be separated from your loved ones at any time and especially now, but your support will understand that the staff are there to take care of you. And right now you and baby are the important part of this equation.

Audio before Video

It could come as a big surprise to see you in labor when people start their video with you. I recommend starting all calls with audio first to give them the heads up that the fun has begun and the video will start soon.

It’s not only polite but gives them a chance to get anyone you DON’T want to see you out of the room.

Recommended Apps

In no particular order here are some of my favorite and a few that friends have recommended to me as well.

Zoom

Zoom is a business meeting app that has been used for a while for many professional meetings and conferences. If you are planning to use this one I recommend a paid account as free ones have some limitations on time when you have 3 or more people on the call. The program can be set up to invite as many people as you would like and can record both the video and audio if that is something you want to do.

If you are interested in checking out zoom you can do so here.

WhatsApp

A well known messaging app owned by Facebook WhatsApp lets you text people, make calls and place video calls. Chances are many of the people you already have in your contacts are already on WhatsApp and it’s relatively easy to handle conference calls from any device it’s installed on.

Just make the first call by taping on your contact, then taping to call on the screen that pops up select video. Once the other person picks up you will see a little people icon in the top right-hand corner, tap that to add others to the call.

If you are interested in checking out WhatsApp you can do so here.

FaceTime

If everyone has Apple products you can easily call each other using FaceTime. Once you find the contact on your phone you can easily select the video option.

If you are interested in finding out more about FaceTime you can do so here.

FaceBook Messenger

IF you use Facebook already you likely have this app on your phone too. Messenger may have started out as a texting app but now it supports video calls too.

To start a call from here just tap on the name of your friend, then tap the video call icon to connect.

If you are interested in learning more about how to make group calls with Facebook Messenger you can do so here.

Viber

Viber is another app similar to WhatsApp that permits texting and calling via Wi-fi. It works off the contacts already in your phone so you don’t have to worry about updating them.

If you are interested in trying out Viber you can download it here.

Skype

Skype is one of the longest living video calling apps out there with software for both Mac and Windows as well as every tablet and smartphone currently on the market.

The software and calls are free so long as you are on Wi-Fi and the program is simple to make calls from. Just find the person in your contacts and hit the call button.

You can download Skype for any phone or computer here.

Google Duo

This relatively newer app is fairly simple to use as well. But because it is so new many people haven’t jumped on board just yet. However, the interface is clean and relatively intuitive.

Learn more about Google Duo and how it works here.

Getting the Support You Need

The big thing to remember is that while you are in labor the whole event is about you and your baby. So speak up and get the support you need.

As much as Birthing Locations are limiting the number of support personnel and visitors there are ways to handle this and still have those around you that you love and need.

Either by Video and having your essential people where you can see and hear them, or call them on the phone. You can totally do this!