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.
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Image of Jessica Biel courtesy of Joe Seer/Shutterstock.