A FAMILY CENTERED EVENT?: Preparing the Child for Sharing in the Experience of Childbirth


  • Susan Parma

    Corresponding author
    1. Susan Parma studied liberal arts and worked in early childhood education before the birth of her son in 1967. Since then she has been a childbirth preparation teacher and maternity nurse. She has worked at Mt. Zion's Alternative Birth Center in San Francisco, and is currently seeking midwifery education.
    • Address correspondence to: Susan Parma, 215 Hearst Avenue, San Francisco, California 94131.

    Search for more papers by this author


“Family Centered Childbirth” has traditionally come to mean that the mother giving birth and the father, or coach, will be fully present when the new being emerges. What about the child waiting at home? Both the value of maternal–child bonding and early skin-to-skin contact between parents and infant have become well known and widely accepted. It is time now to consider the possibilities for sibling bonding and for family bonding. Just as the parents' opportunity for a joyous and positive birth experience can most often be enhanced by prior exposure to appropriate specialized information and training, so can siblings benefit by access to thorough preparation. This article makes specific recommendations as to the kinds of communications found by the author to be most helpful in preparing future sisters and brothers who may be present at the births of their siblings. Suggestions for teaching aids are given, and a bibliography is included.