Did you know that the concept of gossiping actually originates in medicine?
Giving birth was considered a social event – ladies only, of course. A pregnant woman would invite some of her friends to attend, even a younger daughter if she was deemed “mature” enough. These participants in the labour process were called gossips and their chattering before, during and after the birth later became known as gossiping.
On a more serious note, I think that having a childbirth companion is so important and so often overlooked in public healthcare, especially in South African clinics where “outsiders” are kept outside for safety reasons. It helps to have someone to calm the mother down and rub her back so that health care workers can focus on getting the baby and placenta out in one piece.