Can family members and friends be present during childbirth?


My question is about the presence of a husband during childbirth. As home birth is gaining more and more advocacy and popularity as a safe, dignified, intervention-free and optimal way for healthy women to deliver babies, we are facing some practical questions concerning fiqh and ethics of the process, and it is hard to distinguish between tradition and Islamic rulings sometimes.

Is it permissible for a husband (provided both him and his wife are comfortable with it) to be present with his wife during the active stage of labour and delivery? Is it different for cases where a third person is present (as it happens usually, a midwife and/or doula), provided there is no emergency situation? If it is, what would be the boundaries? Could you elaborate in details on the ethical side of the question?  Also, when a woman has a selection of birth attendants and an opportunity to choose – should we have certain criteria/priorities, such as religion and lifestyle of birth attendant?


There is no issues or problems in Islam with regards to the attendance of the husband during birth, nor towards the attendance of another family member such as a brother or uncle, as long this person is not looking at the private part, nor is there a problem if it is a female friend or family member as long they are not looking at the private part.

As for selecting a doctor, a female doctor is highly recommended, unless such a thing is impossible to achieve in certain situations.

Answered by: Sheikh Haytham Hujaij