Posts Tagged ‘ Natural Birth ’

Would You Give Birth in the Wild—and on TV?

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

Lifetime has had a full slate of questionable reality shows for a while, including the painful-to-watch therapy session of True Tori and the bitter backstage griping at Dance Moms. But the latest show they’re developing may just go a bit too far—called “Born in the Wild,” the show will chronicle women who decide to take home birth a few million steps further, and take their birth outdoors and into the woods. (Want to see the video that inspired it? Check it here!)

OB/GYNs, as you can imagine, have been extremely critical of the idea of the show, and the potential risks to both mom and baby should something go awry when they’re out in the middle of nowhere. (Heck, even home births have been shown to be more risky than their medically assisted counterparts—and those don’t include giving birth on a grassy knoll in the rain.) But the producers say that they have many safeguards in place, including requiring the birthing place to be a short distance from a hospital, having an EMT on site with the camera crew to intervene if needed, and casting only low-risk moms who already have an uneventful birth or two under their belts.

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No Epidural for Mila Kunis! Her Birth Plan Revealed

Friday, May 9th, 2014

Mila Kunis is taking future mommyhood very seriously. Besides practicing prenatal yoga to make sure she and baby are as healthy as possible, the actress revealed on The Ellen DeGeneres Show that she plans on having a natural birth. “I did this to myself, I might as well do it right,” she said.

That is quite the controversial statement—one that could get many a mama and mama-to-be in an uproar. Obviously, there’s more than one way to give birth, and natural birth isn’t for everyone. But apparently daddy-to-be Ashton—who is learning Russian, Mila’s native language, so they can raise their child to be bilingual—is being super-supportive of the decision, even watching birthing documentaries with her. (Um, can you say best dad-to-be ever?!).

“We looked into the midwife aspect of [birth], spoke to my OB/GYN and realized the hospital I’m going to be laboring in does have a midwife, you know, doula type of thing,” she said. “So I’m gonna do it as all-natural as I possibly can unless there’s an emergency or something [goes] wrong.”

Good for her! But note to Mila: there actually is a difference between a midwife and a doula. Midwives (who can range in credentials from non-accredited to certified midwives and certified nurse-midwives) take the place of an ob-gyn, and they deliver the child.

Labor doulas are more like birth coaches. Unlike nurses or doctors, a doula is in the room at all times during the birth. Her job is to educate the mom about the birth process and help her relax during what can be a stressful time—through using nonmedical techniques to lessen labor pains, like massage, a birthing ball or getting into various positions rather than just being flat on your back. She is also an advocate for the parents when all of this new, crazy information about childbirth is swirling around them, explaining step-by-step what’s going on throughout the birthing process. The biggest difference, though, is that a midwife is there to focus on the baby, and a doula is there to focus on the mom.

Whatever Mila’s final birth plan entails, I hope her labor goes smoothly!  It’s a lot of work, but the end prize—a beautiful baby!—is well worth the effort.

TELL US: Are you planning on hiring a doula?

Image of Mila Kunis courtesy of Featureflash/Shutterstock. 

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Are Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel Trying to Get Pregnant?

Monday, March 10th, 2014

That’s the question on everyone’s lips after Latham Thomas, who runs the pregnancy website Mama Glow, tweeted Thursday, “Highlight of my night – speaking about natural birth, home birth, & doulas with Justin Timberlake @jtimberlake & @jessicabiel.”

While Latham said Jessica is not pregnant—and she sure didn’t look like she had a bun in the oven at the Oscars in her form-fitting Chanel gown and her recent birthday was in a restaurant’s wine cellar in Miami—he said, “She’s a supporter of natural birth, doulas, and midwives. We talked about it for hours.”

I have to say, before my husband and I started talking about having a family, I would have been completely uninterested in all of the above. After deciding we were ready, on the other hand, I couldn’t read enough about my birth options. So there might be something to the rumor that JT and JB are ready to become parents since they are certainly doing their research if they’re talking to a birth expert for hours!

Though natural birth—without pain meds—sounds like a nightmare for a lot of women, those who get an epidural (as the majority giving birth vaginally in the U.S. do) actually have a greater incidence of needing birth interventions, such as vacuum extraction and delivery by forceps, or even a c-section, according to a recent study in National Vital Statistics Reports. An epidural can also mean short-lived but scary side effects for mom, including low blood pressure, headache, and fever. Women who skip the meds instinctively push, rather than exerting when they are told, which mean less pushing and less tearing too, and an overall shorter birth. So if you learn pain-reducing techniques and can handle the pain, in many ways you’re better off without an epidural.

If Jessica has a home birth using a midwife, she’ll certainly be on trend. Home births are at an all-time high. Home births jumped by 29 percent from 2004 to 2009, and now are thought to be at an all time high, though still only about 1 percent of women choose to give birth at home. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, home births are most common among women over the age of 35 who have already had at least one child. The biggest increase was in non-Hispanic white women. About 1 in 90 births in that segment of the population is now a home birth. But before deciding on a home birth, do your research. Recent data, also released by the CDC, found a growing number of infant deaths among babies who are birthed at home.

Using CDC data collected from 14 million infant births and deaths, the research team learned that the rate of newborn deaths was greater for home births delivered by midwives (12.6/10,000 births) compared to births delivered by midwives in a hospital (3.2/10,000 births). The death rates were even greater for first-time mothers having a midwife delivery at home (21.9/10,000 births). Births in a hospital–even if delivered by a midwife, were still safer than home deliveries.

In addition to having a midwife or OB, lots of women are now choosing to also include a doula. Doulas are professionally trained birth coaches, who offer prenatal education and emotional support to the mother, and serve as an advocate for her while in labor. My experience with a doula was amazing, she put me and my husband at ease before and during the birth, and was there to explain things in more detail since the OB and nurses were more often out of the room than in it.  (See which stars have used doulas here).

TELL US: Share your experiences with natural births, home births and doulas with us! If you haven’t had your baby yet, tell us what’s included in your birth plan.

Giving Birth: What To Bring to the Hospital
Giving Birth: What To Bring to the Hospital
Giving Birth: What To Bring to the Hospital

Image of Jessica Biel courtesy of Joe Seer/Shutterstock.

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Kate Middleton’s Birth Confession: Not Loving This

Monday, September 9th, 2013

Kate Middleton Describes Birth of Prince George as "Perfect.:Vanity Fair recently reported that sources close to the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, revealed she told friends that her natural birth was “perfect.” And by “perfect,” she meant she had no complications and she was able to stick to her birth plan. For some reason, though, that description of perfection really stood out to me as odd—on so many levels.

Really, let’s be honest. Yes, the act of having a baby is a miracle. The big picture is a beautiful one; you’re creating life, specifically, you’re creating the person you’ll love the most in the world. But when you look at the small details, even if everything goes off without a hitch, pregnancy isn’t exactly a walk in the park, and childbirth is hard, exhausting work and can be really disgusting (like no one tells you that you can actually poop while pushing during delivery. I didn’t even know that was a possibility until friends who’d gone through it asked me if I had. For the record, as far as I know, I did not!).

Also, what if there are complications and you have to have an emergency c-section (about 30 percent of women have either a planned or emergency c-section)? I’m sure Kate was not trying to make any grand statements about natural childbirth being more perfect than surgically-assisted births, but it could be taken that way, and another Kate—Kate Winslet—did get into hot water for outright suggesting natural childbirth is superior. After having her second child, Kate Winslet, who is now pregnant with her third, revealed in New York’s Gotham magazine that she had lied for years about having her daughter Mia vaginally when she actually had an emergency c-section. “I just said that I had a natural birth because I was so completely traumatized by the fact that I hadn’t given birth,” she told Gotham. “I felt like a complete failure. There’s this thing amongst women that if you can handle childbirth you can handle anything. I had never handled childbirth and I felt like in some way I couldn’t enter the ‘powerful women’s club.’ It was an amazing feeling having Joe naturally. Fourteen hours with no drugs at all, but then I had to have an epidural because I was so tired. It was an incredible birth. It was really triumphant.”

Reading that really upset me, because I don’t think women should be made to feel that the only way or “the right way” to have a baby is if she delivers vaginally. So many women I know who’ve had c-sections already feel a sense of guilt, as if they did something wrong, or they just weren’t woman enough. This insanity should not be perpetuated. Childbirth is not a competition. Whether you choose to have an epidural or not is your business. If a cesarean section is needed in order to have a healthy delivery, do it without second thought! No one has the right to judge you. And remember that the end result is still the same: you’re taking home a beautiful baby, and any way you do it is “perfect” in my book! Don’t let anyone take that amazing feeling away from you.

TELL US: Have you or someone you know had c-section guilt? 

Image of Kate Middleton and Prince William courtesy of the British Monarchy’s Twitter page.

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Woman Plans a Dolphin-Assisted Water Birth (Yes, Really!)

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Dolphin-Assisted Birth PlanYou’ve heard of people going on vacation to Hawaii and swimming with the dolphins, right? Dolphins are cute, smart, graceful—even funny. What’s not to love? But it’s one thing to want to become one with nature for an hour swim. It’s quite another to want dolphins swimming around you, massaging you, during the underwater birth of your child!

You read that right. North Carolina couple Heather Barrington, 27, and her husband Adam, 29, have trekked over 4,500 miles to Pahoa, Hawaii, with the intentions of having an underwater birth. In the middle of the ocean. Surrounded by wild dolphins. Dolphins acting as doulas. What part of this sounds like a good idea?!

Remember: the dolphins you see in YouTube videos doing cute tricks for treats in a tank at Sea World are not the same as the ones out in the wild blue waters. One is tamed and trained to respond to human commands; the other, in the mammal’s natural setting, is known to be malicious. The males gang up on the females and rape them. Both sexes kill small porpoises and baby sharks just for fun. This is not sweet, lovable Flipper we’re talking about!

But Heather and Adam—who got the idea after reading the book The Ancient Secret of the Flower of Life by Drunvalo Melchizedek—are confident they are making the right decision for themselves and their baby. “It’s total relaxation for the mother,” Adam told the Charlotte Observer. “Dolphins are very intelligent and healing, which in turn calms mother and baby for the whole process,” added Heather. They hope the dolphin-assisted birth will bring “peace, comfort and strength” to the whole birth experience.

The couple flew to Hawaii in April for the months-long preparation for Heather’s July due date. The birth plan—in conjunction with The Sirius Institute, which sets up these kinds of births—is to have Heather try to bond with a group of dolphins over the next few months so they will become comfortable enough to massage Heather’s body to help relax her, or “escort the newborn baby to the surface for its first breath” as the Institute claims takes place during a dolphin-assisted birth.

I fully understand not wanting your birth to be a stressful experience for you or your baby. And, yes, the sound of waves is relaxing (that’s why nature-inspired sound machines are so damn popular!). But would you really want a 300-pound wild animal anywhere near your newborn child? And if that alone wasn’t scary enough, what happens if you go through complications during the delivery? What if you start hemorrhaging or suddenly need a C-section? Hello, we’ve all seen Jaws—blood attracts sharks!

I beg you, if you are looking for a peaceful way for your child to enter into this world, do not follow this couple’s lead! Get a doula, have a home birth, recite rhythmic chants—anything but this!

TELL US: Do you think a dolphin-assisted birth sounds like a good idea? Would you do it?

Image of dolphins courtesy of Shutterstock. 

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