Should Dads Be Allowed To Stay Overnight On Labour Wards In Canada?

Dads Staying Overnight On Labour Wards?
11 June 2016

The Hot Topic now over at our sister website, Playpennies in the UK, is: Hospital Lets Dads Stay Overnight On The Labour Wards

This will be an interesting topic for our readers, too. From the comments arising on Playpennies from their readers it seems that most feel it should be a given - family is family, and after all, dads need time to bond with their newborns too. Obviously mom can definitely use the help! There are some comments posted on Playpennies showing us not everyone would be happy if dads were able to stay with mom and baby. The general sentiment for those against dad staying overnight is that it is an invasion of privacy to have dads in the same area, but would be acceptable to them if the rooms were private.

In Canada, although we have some advantages in our health care system, unfortunately, having a private room is not usually one of them. In addition, our hospitals are not equipped for an additional overnight guest, typically only having one or two chairs in the room. (But what's a little discomfort for dad sleeping in a hard chair overnight, compared to labour and delivery?) You won't see him complaining about it after he sees what you went through.

Playpennies writer Heidi Scrimgeour succinctly states what so many Canadian women can very clearly identify with after giving birth:

"I love this move by a hospital to make the hours after a new baby's arrival easier for both mums and dads. I stayed in hospital overnight after the birth of my first baby and I can vividly recall the horror of the experience. Neither I nor my baby slept and I barely had the strength to sit up in my bed, never mind lift my baby up and comfort him properly. I'd have given anything to have my husband there for moral support."

Ironically, the family such as dads of a newborn who want to stay with their baby and mom, are often the best care givers of all! (In terms of comforting the mom and helping with baby so mom can get some rest after a long and difficult delivery.)

Visiting hours can vary between hospitals, with some being fairly lenient with allowing dad to stay, but - not necessarily overnight. Every hospital seems to set their own standards and policies.

What we want to know from our readers is: Were you able to have your significant other, or a personally selected support person available to you immediately following the birth of your child and through that first night? How did it turn out? Would you have done anything differently? If you are expecting, what are your current plans for when baby is born?

TOPICS:   Parenting


  • Moose98

    Are you kidding?? Of course it's a given for the Father to be able to stay there. This shouldn't even be a conversation.  The mothers need support throughout.

  • Katee

    I live in Quebec, and have never heard of a dad NOT sleeping at the hospital after his child was born. Most visitor chairs in many (if not all) of our hospitals convert into tiny cots for the dads. 

  • Bridgette

    Yes, Dad's should be allowed to stay with their newborn child!

  • Bhst

    my husband stayed with me, our baby was born at 1010am and we stayed together there for 24 hours. Don't know what I would have done without him! 

  • Katee

    I live in Quebec and have never even heard of a dad not staying overnight after the birth of his child (in a Quebec hospital). My husband stayed after the birth of all three of our children (1, 2 and 4 nights), and I'm so glad it was possible. He was a huge help!

    • Nicdou

      I was going to say the exact same thing! What kind of a place does not allow dads to stay after the birth of their child? This is not the 1950s anymore... I have 2 daughters: one born in Connecticut (USA) and another one in Montreal (QC). Not only was I allowed to stay in both instances, I was asked to stay, both by my wife and by the personel. I would have not had it any other way.

  • Melissa82

    My husband was able to spend every night with me in the hospital, with both babies. I live in Canada, and our maternity floor has all private rooms. 

  • kwater

    My son was born in California, and my daughter was born in Ontario.  

    California: private hospital room (we had great insurance) with an armchair that folded to a bed for dad. My husband stayed and it was so amazing to have his help. I know he really enjoyed being there. In addition, there was a nursery, and they would take my son for a few hours at a time to let us sleep.

    Ontario: private hospital room and my husband couldn't stay. The room was big enough for it - for the same type of pull out chair bed. California certainly provided the nicer, less stressful experience, and it allowed the three of us to bond as a family in the hospital together.

    ...but then in California I was back to work when my son was 4 months old, and that was with extended disability insurance coverage. I saw women dropping off their one month old babies at daycare, just sobbing. When I think of that, the nicer experience at the hospital really pales in comparison to the year we have here in Ontario.

  • Tam123

    My husband was able to stay overnight and in fact the hospital where I had my two children, in the Vancouver area, was set up with mostly private rooms with benches for dads to crash on. (I think there were a few non-private rooms that didn't have as great a setup, but those rooms were only used in rare instances where there was a rush of births.) I can't imagine my husband not being there for such a key time!

  • Noahsmum

    yes! In Vancouver in a private room my hubby stayed.  My baby was also jaundiced so he needed to be with me which I was very fortunate we didn't have to be apart but stayed in the same room.  The cot was uncomfortable but I needed help to even go to the bathroom for the first 24 hours!! Now with my second I had the baby at home with a midwife since my son wasn't allowed in the delivery room and we didn't have family or friends to watch our son in case in Calgary!!

  • Rosemarie S.


  • Erin B.

    I vote yay. I wished my husband was at the hospital when we had our first. I was a new mom and totally clueless and my support system was gone the first night I had to recover and take care of a new born. Not a great experience. Now that we're having our second, were delivering in a different hospital, closer to our new home and will be able to handle things differently.

    • Deborah A.

      I hear yah, had the same experience as we only used the city bus to get around and didn't have much money. My boyfriend didn't stay with me at all while I was in the hospital for a week but I didn't mind as he was with me/us all day until late at night!

  • Hgf

    I think it's a nice for a supportive person (not necessarily a husband) stay over night with mom and baby but from recent experience staying in the ward overnight, someone else's snoring husband kept me up after my labor. She was clearly used to it, but this man snored so loudly the nurses joked about it. I think it is unacceptable if women who have just labored can't sleep because someone's husband is sleeping/snoring.

  • Lacey B.

    Wait I don't get this post. My husband was with me for the 5days I was in the hospital with my first and the 2days with our second. He didn't even have to leave to shower, the hospital showed him where he could shower away from the new moms. He only left me once and that was to buy me a welcome home gift. There was a bed for him and everything. And I am in Canada

    • Erin B.

      Depends on your hospital. My husband was asked to leave.

    • Lacey B.

      Really!? In Canada?

    • Melissa K.

      Wtf?! My hubby was with me all 4 days. That would be absurd for them to be asked to leave!

    • Lacey B.

      I would have thrown a temper tantrum lol

    • Elaine H.

      My hubby stayed as well with me and I'm also in Canada

    • Tanya U.

      Same my hubby and or my mom were allowed to stay. We were in Surrey BC.

    • Amanda K.

      Our hospital only allows it if you have a private room

  • Marta P.


  • Michelle S.

    I had no idea this was even the case! My husband was there every step of my 32 hour labour and then recovery from a csection so 5 full days! In ottawa.

  • Zoe A.

    Am shocked this is a question but I'm in Canada! My hubby was with me and our first 2 and he'll stay a bit with #3 hopefully the first night. It's an important time for mums to have their spouse support and help! And a nice bonding time

  • Leona J.

    In Canada. The husband or one other person can stay with the new mom I am a grand ma and stayed with my daughter for all her kids when her husband or boyfriend had to go to work or just needed time away and her first was is the hospital for a while

    • Carrie L.

      Not in all hospitals. My husband was sent home. :(

  • Jamie H.

    Is this really a question? I'm sure there was no Facebook in the 1930's so this can't be an old post

  • Stacey D.

    Mine came and went as I needed some sleep too. He usually brought me coffee and our other daughter up but he needed to be with her as a new sister coming In was alot for a 4 year old. :wink:

  • Courtney W.

    Is this a real thing? As if, in 2016, we need to discuss whether or not a FATHER should be allowed in a room with HIS family! Share in the journey of the first night, the first 2am,2:15, 2:30..etc wake-ups. Have a CHOICE whether or not to be present? IS this real? Do we not want to encourage active parenting? Shared responsibilities? Equal RIGHTS??? No wonder there's still 'mom guilt' and 'dad shaming'. It's stemming from the very beginning, from the very first night, when dads are not 'allowed' to parent and mom (who might I add is EXHAUSTED, EMOTIONAL, bruised, ripped, tired, violated, and everything else that comes with deliveries of all kind) is forced to parent alone?! No wonder we feel guilty, we're not even set up for success. How are we supposed to be 'the best mom' when we can't ask for help, or lean on someone?! Unbelievable. Dads are IMPORTANT for development, for support, for growth! They're integral. YES YES YES dad's should be allowed on the maternity ward. Not ALLOWED, but EXPECTED, and welcomed, and supported, and encouraged, and TAUGHT, to be on the maternity ward. It's THEIR baby, it's the start of THEIR journey, it's THEIR family too. All of it. Not just the mother's!

    • Brandi S.

      Very well said. Totally agree!

    • Jackie B.

      100% agree!!! Love this response

    • Adrienne L.

      Bang on :raising_hand_tone1:

    • Barbara B.


    • Tammy P.


  • Michele K.

    People they are talking about the ward room the room with 4 women in it.. I personally wouldn't want someone's else husband in the room with me... I was in a ward and there hardly was room fir us women.. so no I wouldn't want other husbands in the room, I would feel very uncomfortable

    • Samantha W.

      I was in a four person room. My husband stayed the first night with me. I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. We kept the privacy curtains pulled and bonded as a family those first few hours. I can't imagine not having his support in that time.

    • Michele K.

      That is fine.. but some people won't do that.. and for me I like my privacy, with my last child I was by the window so no one would se me but they still kept opening the curtin and looking so I complained.. some women when breastfeeding don't want others around... So for some they may like it but fir me I don't and I didn't find much room for anyone else to stay

    • Wendy R.

      Totally agree. If u are in a private room then fine. If you are sharing a room NO. I had shit experiences with both my births thanks to selfish roommates who couldn't be without their spouse for 8 hours. The men snored like freight trains, ran into my bed, dragged the curtains open every time they passed them, nice when I'm trying to breast feed or adjust my nightie. If u can't manage to be alone for one friggin night u aren't ready to be a parent.

  • Kirsten K.

    It must be some crappy hospitals stuck in old ways with old policies. I had all 4 of my kids in the same hospital and never once was my husband asked to leave. If anything, they will bring you one of the chairs that turns into a bed for the father, if there is not already one in the room. I had no idea these antiquated rules still existed.

  • Linda A.


  • Cindy F.

    My husband stayed with me the three night I spent in the hospital,actually he did most of the diaper changes as well. His role is just as important as mine

  • Melissa L.

    How is this even a question? Clearly whoever thought of it is thinking ass backwards

  • Heather G.


  • Joel D.

    I didn't even know it was a possibility that a father wouldn't be allowed. That's outrageous! I don't think my wife would have agreed to get pregnant if I couldn't be there for support.

  • Hugh T.

    Is this an issue?

  • Valerie W.

    I don't think there's anything wrong with it.....there half the reason children are born so I say they should be completely involved in all aspects.... they've heard women scream before...Women scream during sex so whats the issue

    • Richard V.

      Ok your making it sound like the guy doesn't want to be there but has a responsibility to be there. I don't think your understanding this post very well. Get off the sexist train and pay attention to the post.

    • Valerie W.

      Go away your a man ...your sexist anyway

    • Richard V.

      Lmao really. Women's lib is calling answer them will ya.

    • Amanda N.

      I don't scream like I'm in labour when I have sex...what a weird thing to say.

  • Bargainmoose

    The question in our article,'Should dads be allowed to stay overnight on a labour wards in Canada' was asked because unfortunately it can still sometimes be a real thing in Canada where dad isn't allowed to stay overnight, either due to enforced hospital specific policies, or sometimes, because of a mom and baby being places in a non-private room. In the latter case, space may be an issue too, with having that many moms and babies in a small space. Hospital caretakers also need to be able to come and go freely to the patient, that can play another role with how hospitals choose to manage dads staying overnight, or perhaps there are even safety and fire regulations in play. Of course, there is the privacy issue too, for the patients within those non-private rooms. The vast majority of our readers feel dad should stay with mom and the baby, and we agree! Thankfully those hospitals in Canada that don't allow dad to stay overnight are few and far in between! Not sure what a solution could be though, when hospitals don't allow a dad to stay overnight, or, how best to make those new moms who don't want an additional guest in the non-private room, feel comfortable. It may be something that would need to be addressed on a case by case basis for the person who isn't very comfortable with it.

    • Michele K.

      I agree with what you wrote.. there are some hospitals that are creating wards that have all private rooms, this way dad's can stay and mom's have that privacy... Maybe there should be special places built for labour and ward only. Like their own office building.. regardless it would be nice for dad's to stay so they can bond with baby too.. but since we have mom's who would feel uncomfortable and like their privacy we need to find something else to help out...

    • Geneviève M.

      When I had my son, my boyfriend wasn't allowed to stay overnight because we had a shared bedroom. Him and the other woman's boyfriend were so pissed, that the nurses brought two camping beds in and they stayed! There was no way that the father of my child wasn't spending the night with me and our newborn son!!!

    • Christine H.

      with my first the nurse brought in a mattress and my husband slept on the floor with us. I think it's really important for the husbands to be there. They need to bond too. Plus as new parents you both need to learn to work together.

  • Richard V.

    Dads can be just as important as moms and should be able to stay! Why is this even an issue?

  • Shelley R.

    Im all for it :hugging::hugging::hugging:

  • Rebecca D.

    Really? We stayed for like 5 days. My husband had his own bed. I wasn't even aware there were backward hospitals in Canada that don't allow father's to stay.

  • Stacey W.

    Why is this even a question? Where else should they be?

  • Tracy D.

    What a stupid flipping question

  • Jill H.


  • Wendy R.

    If u are in a private room sure. If not, tough. I was in a double room TWICE where the room mates husband snored like a freight train, ran into my bed when ever he got up to "help" his wife or go to the bathroom. Don't really like it when a nurse or Dr. comes to "look me up" and the curtains don't close worth shit . Not easy to sleep with a strange man 2 feet away from you. Room mates also tend to talk more (at 3 am ) at their day time volume when hubby stays.......... you are only there for a night or 2. You are an adult. There are staff. Having someone stay with u is selfish unless you are dying!

  • Robyn F.

    Yay. With both of my children in Calgary I had to have c-sections. I get very ill with anesthesia. Also had preeclampsia with second. I also had a semi private the first time and a private the next time. As that is a hit and miss with hospitals. My husband wasn't allowed to stay. I was so ill and nurses were only around every 3-4 hours. It was a horrible experience. I think husband should be able to stay. It wouldn't bother me in the least if someone's husband was there or not. For the health of everyone. He needs to be there to help.

    • Melissa D.

      I am so sorry you had that experience. :(

    • Tanya U.

      That's horrible. I had an emerg c-sec and was very sick and in terrible pain after. My hubby and mom switched nights staying with me. I could not imagine not having them there, I NEEDED them.

    • Robyn F.

      I still had the compression stockings on and my daughter started gaging on mucus. (I guess common for c-sec babies.) I kept buzzing with no answer so had to rip tubes out to get to her to sit her up and scoop out her mouth. A nurse eventually showed up and wasn't distressed about the incident. Raised one end of her bassinet and suctioned her throat. I just held her in one arm for the rest of the night as I threw up on the opposite side.

  • Stephanie E.

    in my city we have private birthing rooms and dads are welcome to stay. My hubby stayed all 3 days with me.

  • Karen S.


  • Randy C.

    I wasn't allowed to stay over night with my first child and I really felt like I was missing out. This was just because of the hospitals rules for non private rooms, with my second and third children I was able to stay over, we were in a better hospital, and they had a special chair that pulled out into a bed. The chair wrecked my back but I was still happy to be there to help anyway I could

  • Amanda B.

    No!! I had to share a room, being a single mom. And the ones on the other half, her husband snored soooo freaking loud I couldn't sleep and it kept waking my baby up too. And when I complained to a nurse she pretty much shrugged it off.

  • Gail G.

    My hubby was able to stay with me when I had our daughter. 11yrs ago

  • Tricia G.

    What???Is this even a question?

  • Sabine P.

    I think for me personally I just wanted to sleep and rest after giving birth. I had three children. I enjoyed visitors but only to immediate family and friends. Being on a ward would be horrible to have the disruption of all the dad's there too. If it's a private room then fine. Whatever you please. But after difficult births and constant examinations thereafter. I preferred at least the quiet of the night before going home to take care of things there. But I under that others may feel differently.

  • Michelle W.

    Is this an actual issue? In ontario its not a big deal, the dads are in the OR during Csections, they're in the rooms during delivery and they stay overnight, usually in cots or big lazy boy type chairs.

    • Amanda K.

      Only in a private room at our hospital in Ontario

  • Patricia M.

    I vote yay. The IWK is the best.

  • Laura D.

    Is this actually a thing? My friend had a baby almost 20 years ago and her husband was in the room with her for 3 days straight.

  • Laura M.

    When I had our first child. I was put in a shared room for the first night and he wasn't allowed to stay. Just no room. I was sad about it and I think my huvby was also. We had just had our first baby and he was told to go home. It was his baby too. 11.5 years ago. Our second baby they kept us in a side room on the delivery room and he was allowed to stay (amazing nurse hid us and they waited until a private room came about on the maternity ward). He was still asked to leave the second night but after the nurse change on that ward the new nurse said she would turn a blind eye and he was able to stay that night. I was in there for 5 nights... Third child. He was a preemie and I was hospitalized and needed my hubby and again he was asked to leave. Such bullshit.

  • Suzanne W.

    If there's room and it's a private room why not? Unless hubby has to go home and take care of other children.

  • Amanda N.

    Yes of course!!!! I didn't even know it was an issue...

  • Amber C.

    My husband wasn't allowed to stay with me as I was in a semi private room ... My baby was born October 2015...

  • bookwormcook

    My husband stayed with me overnight with our firstborn. We were lucky enough to have a private room but the pullout chair he slept in wasn't very comfortable. I figured with our next baby that he would be much more helpful to me the next day if he was able to go home and get some proper rest in a real bed. Also, someone needed to stay with our older child. So I had planned to stay in the hospital alone, but that plan went out the window when I gave birth at home unexpectedly! It all worked out better than we could have planned. lol

  • Krystal D.


  • Ginette F.

    For sure

  • Cheryl P.


  • Carrie L.

    My husband was sent home about an hour after our first was born late at night. I stayed alone after a rough delivery with instructions not to lift the baby. I wouldn't mind other dads in my ward room if it meant those new moms didn't have to be alone like I was.

  • lennypuz

    They had a chair and side bed in my room, so my mom stated overnight with me. I would be raising hell if they would have refused.

  • Christine W.

    My spouse was with me for a couple days in the hospital. He had a pullout bed and was with me through it all. I wouldn't want it any other way. He has every right to be there and should be included.

  • Farrell C.

    I think they should be able to, but it's a decision each family should get to make. I have four kids, and my husband has never stayed overnight. It never ever occurred to me that he would - being tired and hormonal and emotional after giving birth, it was crucial to me that he was sane and well-rested. It would have been a disaster for both of us to be exhausted and short-tempered at the same time. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

  • Joyce S.

    Dads should be with Moms and kids.

  • Vicky G.

    Why should this even be a question???

  • Stacey S.

    I remember having to be alone as well because my hospital didn't allow anyone to stay overnight with me. When I asked to at least have my mom stay because I felt alone and wanted company and help, the nurses asked me if I needed to speak to a social worker! I was so young and didn't fight for what I wanted...but thankfully my mom DID! She ended up spending the 2nd night albeit in a chair...but we got our way!

  • Dawna C.

    Why wouldn't we start things out right with both parents bonding with baby and each other.

  • Lizann S.

    Yes!!!!! How is this even a question???? If my hubby couldn't have stayed I'd have lost my marbles.

  • Rita S.

    Wow, my three sons bonded fine with their father when I came home. The hospital was a busy place. Nurses were coming and going. With my first I was learning how to do stuff, and getting used my little fella. Having some strange guy there in the evening would've given me more stress on top of what I had. Cuddles and loving at home , time together. They bonded just fine. Who comes up with this stuff????

  • Brenda T.

    Why is anyone asking this ridiculous question? Are we going backwards in time?

  • Jessica S.

    My husband stayed with me overnight for both our children. I don't see the problem?

  • Peg L.


  • Lisa R.

    Um, I live in Canada, and I had a private room with both babies and someone stay the night on a pull out chair. Mind you it was a female friend each time but I dont see the issue. If you chose to live in a large city you arent likely to get a private room. One of the advantages of living in small town Ontario I guess.

  • Heather H.

    I think they should be allowed to stay over night. The nurses are run off their feet and extra help would be appreciated by many. This way the father can help with the little things like diaper changes and feeding etc... And leaves the nurses to do other things.

  • MonicaMom

    I gave birth to both children (2001 and 2005) in Ontario, Canada. I did not have a private room, I shared the room with up to 3 other new mothers and babies. That in itself was horrible enough; I was there for a few days and barely slept even after almost 48 hours of labour each time; I could hardly function at all with my babies (both horrible sleepers!) waking up and crying every hour or so. I remember buzzing the nurse once because my son was crying and crying, and I could not sit up to pick him up because I had had a cesarean. She sounded very impatient and was rude and asked me when my baby was born -- I told her, just two hours ago!!

    The lack of support and nurses was horrible. Nurses allowed babies to sleep with mothers in their hospital beds, even if the mothers were on heavy duty pain medication. One woman across from me kept asking for more morphine. She was drugged up and had her newborn baby in her bed with her, and DROPPED the baby out of the high hospital bed onto the hard linoleum floor!

    Although the nurses were hardley ever there, especially at night, no one was allowed to stay with the mothers for support.

  • wallandtileseo
    • NIce one information..
  • triciachin

    I didn't even realize that this was in question.  My kids are 10 and 12 and my husband was with me from the time I waddled into the hospital to the time I shuffled out.  In fact, the nurses brought in a cot for him.  Mind you, it was not the greatest cot ever created but he slept very well on it and we appreciated it immensely.  In both cases, I gave birth in the same private room that I was fortunate to have due to our combined benefits from work. Our nurses at Scarborough Grace were THE BEST; supportive, knowledgeable; kind.  Honestly, I rate them higher than the doctors.  Yes, I could have done it without my husband being there the whole time but I'm glad he was.  I had the privilege of carrying them but I wanted him to the first of us to hold our babies and the first fuzzy face that they saw.  

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