Many find their pets comforting. For first-time parents, their pet was their first child! Its normal and usually acceptable for pets to be present through your labor and delivery. However, pets in labor isn't always ideal.
Here are some things to consider.
Labor changes how you feel.
The cat that loves to rub against your leg may make you incredibly angry or uncomfortable as the feeling of their fur touches you. You will be moving in labor, changing positions often and the dog may want to be there for it all, having no care of what personal space means to you.
How does your pet do around new people/situations?
If you're in pain and your doula/midwife approaches you don't want an animal becoming protective. Your pet may be senstive or nervous, is that going to distract you?
Have a space prepared in case they don't react well.
If you decide to labor with your pet at home it will be wise to have a plan in place in case they start acting out of character or they become a bother to your birth space. If it's a warm day, an outdoor space. Or have a room they can be put into. It may be beneficial to practice keeping them in a kennel or separate room prior to going into labor so your pet doesn't become stressed.
Arrange to have a pet-sitter on standby.
Having someone on standby who can remove the pets and care for the animals is a great idea during labor. And even for a few days postpartum. This allows you to fully focus on bonding and recovery while your pets are well taken care of by someone else. They'll be excited to return home and meet their newest human sibling! To aid in the transition, send a blanket or article of clothing with the babies scent.
If you're having a hospital birth, your length of stay will be at least 24 hours so having a caretaker for your pets is a must. Because it's recommended you labor at home for as long as possible, you may want someone to take your pet before you head to the hospital. This way you can keep your atmosphere peaceful and allow all those hormones to flow to promote good, strong contractuons.