Birth styles of the rich & famous

11:36AM, Jun 1, 2011

We take a look inside the birthing suites of the mega celebs to see how their labours played out

We follow so many famous baby bumps, but what happens to them in the labour ward? Who goes drug-free, who opts for an epidural, and who’s too posh to push? Find out …

Who had a Caesarean?
A Caesarean, or C-section, is an operation involving an incision through your abdominal wall and uterus to deliver your baby. You can plan to have an elective Caesarean, but you’ll only require an emergency one if bub needs to be delivered urgently for medical reasons.
This was the case for Dannii Minogue when she gave birth to her son Ethan on July 5, 2010. “Typically for me, nothing about the birth went according to plan,” she says. “We discovered he wasn’t in the correct position for a smooth delivery, so after 20 hours of excruciating labour, my plans for a homebirth went out the window and I ended up having Ethan in hospital. When I held Ethan for the first time, the pain and worry melted away.”
Aussie newsreader and author Jacinta Tynan went into labour with her son Jasper while she was reading the news on Sky News. “I had a 48-hour labour and then an emergency Caesar,” she says. “I was actually fine about it. I’d done a Calmbirth course so I was meditating and practising my breathing and I was able to cope with all the changes.”

The “too posh to push” label originated with former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham, after her sons Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz were all born by elective Caesarean. So who else declined the big push? Mother of six Angelina Jolie described the birth of her daughter Shiloh via elective Caesarean as fascinating. “I didn’t find it a sacrifice and I didn’t find it a painful experience. I found it a fascinating miracle of what a body can do,” she recalled.

Sultry songstress Christina Aguilera said of her Caesarean birth with son Max, “I didn’t want any surprises … I had heard horror stories of women going in and having to have an emergency C-section [anyway]. The hardest part was deciding on his birthday!”
In the past, if you’d had a Caesarean for your first birth, all subsequent children would have to be delivered by Caesarean. But today, a vaginal birth after Caesarean (VBAC) is often possible and can be very empowering. Actress Kate Winslet had an emergency Caesarean for her daughter Mia, then went on to have a vaginal birth with her son Joe. “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.”

Who had a homebirth?
A homebirth is an opportunity to deliver your baby in the comfort of your own home, rather than a hospital, if you’re healthy and it’s deemed safe by your medical practitioner. A midwife will attend you during the labour and stay until you’re confidently breastfeeding.

Actress Maria Bello said she “can’t imagine giving birth in a sterile environment like a hospital”. She laboured for 22 hours at home with nothing more than an aspirin and gave birth to her son Jackson in her own bed.

Alyson Hannigan, from popular TV series How I Met Your Mother, had a drug-free homebirth with her first child Satyana in March, 2009. “Yes. I did use a midwife and a doula. We had the option of having a doctor there, but even he said you’ll only need me if you need to be transferred to the hospital, which thankfully, I did not.”

TV presenter Ricki Lake loved her home water birth so much she decided to make a documentary about homebirths called The Business of Being Born. “I wanted to make this movie after my two very different birth experiences with my children. I felt like I had an opportunity to explore and question birthing practices .and perhaps be an advocate for mothers’ rights and better maternity care,” she explained

Who had an epidural?
Epidural pain relief involves a local anaesthetic being injected into the epidural space in your lower back (the outer part of the spinal canal). This numbs sensation in the uterus and birth canal, pelvic muscles and legs. It can provide rest from a long labour or prepare you for emergency obstetrics or a Caesarean.

Former Home and Away actress Bec Hewitt had an epidural with her first. “It was a relief. I couldn’t really feel anything, so the family came in to chat before Mia was born.”

Rachel Griffiths arrived at the hospital too advanced in her labour to get an epidural with her second child, Adelaide Rose. “I thought I could get to the hospital in a leisurely time,” she later bemoaned.

Read more on celeb birthing experiences in the Winter 2011 issue of Cosmopolitan Pregnancy, on sale now.


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