There is a growing number of American women who are requesting delivery by elective cesarean section. Is this trend due in part to celebrities such as Victoria Beckham, Britney Spears, Claudia Schiffer and Christina Aguilera?
The media has dubbed the movement ‘too posh to push,’ after Brooklyn, Romeo, Cruz and Harper’s Spice Girl mama Victoria Beckham. The British beauty, like some of the other celebrity moms in question, claimed that her C-sections were under doctors’ orders. But were they simply trying to avoid abdominal stretching? Or the pain of natural childbirth?
Read below to see which celebrities went for a natural childbirth. Who had a C-section?
- Who went for a natural birth?
New parents Beyoncé, 30, and Jay-Z, 42, are “in heaven” with baby Blue! After their daughter arrived on January 7, The superstar couple released a statement, shattering rumors that the little girl was delivered via C-section.
Hello Hello Baby Blue!” they stated. “We are happy to announce the arrival of our beautiful daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, born on Saturday, January 7, 2012. Her birth was emotional and extremely peaceful, we are in heaven. She was delivered naturally at a healthy 7 lbs and it was the best experience of both of our lives. We are thankful to everyone for all your prayers, well wishes, love and support.”
One of the most outspoken celebrity moms on natural birth is supermodel Gisele Bündchen. The Victoria’s Secret model gave birth to her first child Benjamin in December 2009 and has openly spoken about her drug-free and pain-free home water birth.
My delivery was in a bath tub, in water,” Gisele said. “I wanted to have a home birth. I wanted to be very aware and present during the birth… I didn’t want to be drugged up. So I did a lot of preparation, I did yoga and meditation, so I managed to have a very tranquil birth at home. It didn’t hurt in the slightest. The whole time my mind was focused in each contraction on the thought ‘my baby is closer to coming out.’”
A few weeks later the supermodel looked svelte on the cover of Vogue and spoke of her “empowered” birth experience.
I wanted to experience the transformation,” the model mom said. “It was the most amazing experience of my life, feeling him come through my body. And once he was born, I never felt so empowered as looking at him and thinking, Oh, my God, we did it together!”
The Brazilian beauty later wrote on her blog:
I am blessed to have been able to have a home birth surrounded by love, where I was able to feel safe,” she wrote. “It was a powerful experience. I never felt so vulnerable but so strong at the same time. It was amazing to experience my body become free to do what it was made to do by allowing my mind and my body to let go and be free to experience the changes taking place within… I was just there… focusing on my breathing and relaxing the best that I could… so present, to witness the biggest miracle in my life happen before my very own eyes. To give life to another being, what a gift!”
Earlier this month, Gisele added her voice to the Birth Around the World Project to help promote the humanization of birth.
I had the opportunity to experience the natural process of birth and it was one of the most life changing experiences for me and very very special!,” she said. “I believe it’s a woman’s right to make the decision about how she’s going to give birth to her child. And it’s also her right to have access to the information she needs so she can make that decision from a place of awareness, and not a place of fear.”
Lost star Evangeline Lilly welcomed son Kahekili Kali in May 2011 and shared her birth story.
I actually skipped the hospital … We decided to have the baby at home because we wanted it to be a natural birth, and it turns out that it was 30 hours of natural.”
Of that 30 hours, a full 8 were spent pushing!
Eight hours of pushing, that’s the part that men don’t understand.” the Canadian beauty added. “Women go, ‘Oh, dear, oh, dear God, eight hours of pushing?’ And the men are like, ‘Okay, eight hours of pushing. After about five hours of pushing, my midwife and my birthing assistant said, ‘You know, we have a few suggestions,’” she says. “And I was like, ‘Really? After five hours of pushing you have a few suggestions? You couldn’t have told me five minutes in?’”
Taye Diggs gushed about his wife Idina Menzel who opted for a natural labor, boasting that she used “no drugs. She is a warrior.”
I was holding her hands and cheering her on. I said I would look two times. I would look when the baby was crowning, and I wanted to look right when [son] Walker came out. And then when he came out, all of a sudden it was like my inner gangster came out. I was like, ‘Yeah baby, that’s what I’m talkin’ about, that’s my boy!’”
Ricki Lake’s documentary about home birth, The Business of Being Born, empowered women everywhere to have unmedicated births at home. She gave birth to her second son Owen, now 10, at home in a bathtub. She talked about her reasons for making the film.
“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 in this country and perhaps be an advocate for mothers’ rights and better maternity care.”
On the experience of birthing Owen at home, Ricki said:
After the birth of my sons, particularly my home birth with my second son, I thought I wanted to become a midwife. Then I looked at all the years of schooling and training that I would have to do and felt that the time could be better spent doing a documentary on the subject of birth.”
Model Michelle Alves and husband Guy Oseary – who is Madonna’s longtime manager – welcomed their third child on December 29, 2011 and opened up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about the “beautiful” home birth of their son Levi.
The baby’s name is Levi,” Michelle told us. “He was born a little bit over 7 pounds on December 29th. It was a natural birth at home with a midwife, a nurse and a doula. It was such a beautiful experience! My mom, sister and, of course, my husband were also in the room.”
One of our favorite celebrity moms, Jessica Alba, said she didn’t scream at all while she birthed her first daughter Honor without any medical interventions:
I didn’t scream, it was really Zen. It was amazing. The labor was more like meditation. I did yoga breathing. I was focused.”
And her hubby Cash Warren could only marvel at his wife’s quiet strength when she gave birth. “She didn’t make a sound,” he said.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia star Kaitlin Olson and her costar hubby Rob McElenney welcomed their first child, son Axel Lee, in September 2010.
Kaitlin gave birth to their son in the comforts of their home just as her own mother welcomed her. The actress said she is “incredibly grateful to have access to Western medicine” but “[doesn’t] think that childbirth is a medical problem that needs intervention unless there is a complication.”
I decided on a home birth because I believe that as long as a pregnancy is normal and complication-free, your body knows what to do and does not need medical intervention. I think the key to having a baby naturally is being able to completely relax and get out of the way of your body’s ability to get the job done.”
She admitted, however, that her decision to give birth at home came with “a lot of mixed reactions.”
“Most of our friends have been very supportive because they know us well enough to know that we are the kind of people who do our research and make informed decisions,” she explained. “The people who panic and think we are crazy are the ones who haven’t done any research themselves.”
I don’t blame them though,” she added. “We aren’t really taught much about childbirth and labor in America. On TV and in movies, most of what you see on the subject are women screaming in pain and a lot of emergency c-sections. The fact of the matter is that countries whose standard is for women to deliver their babies at home with midwives have the lowest complication, intervention and infant fatality rates.”
Melissa Joan Hart
Melissa Joan Hart underwent “a lot of medical intervention” during the birth of her firstborn son Mason. She wanted a drug-free childbirth when it came time to deliver her second son Braydon in March 2008. The Sabrina star recalled her birth story:
I told my mom and my husband, don’t let me have [the drugs]. I kinda regret that one! But the thing is, the healing was so much faster. I didn’t have to get the drugs out of my system and was moving around a lot more. I labored at home for 9 hours and then went to the hospital for an hour and a half – two pushes and he was out. When you’re feeling all that, you want to get that out as soon as possible, so you really work. You’re like, ‘I’m gonna push really hard but I’m only doing it once.’”
In speaking with Celebrity Baby Scoop, the busy mom-of-two was asked if medical interventions are often overused during births.
I don’t think pregnancy or labor is easy in any capacity. I think it is unfortunate that people are opting to make birth a medical issue instead of a natural process but it is a very private choice and you will never hear me lecture someone on the difference. Now if someone wanted to know the ins and outs of how I did it, I will tell them about every minute and detail.”
Maria Bello said she “can’t imagine giving birth in a sterile environment like a hospital,” and that’s one reason that she labored with son Jackson Blue, now 11, in her bed. The actress shared that during the “22 hours of labor,” she “had a midwife and a thunderstorm with nothing more than an aspirin.” Although there were “times where I wanted to say, ‘Get the ambulance — I’m done,’” Maria told herself she could get through it.
Former Baywatch babe Pamela Anderson gave birth to both of her sons – Brandon and Dylan – at home, with a midwife, without any drugs. The Canadian native talked about her water birth with talk show host Larry King:
I gave birth at home both times–natural–with a midwife, in water…with nothing. Not even Tylenol.”
Thandie Newton’s daughters Ripley and Nico were both born in a birthing pool. The Crash star talked about her medication/intervention-free births.
[It was] very challenging in the best way possible. Every fiber of your being is alive. It’s like you are conducting electricity, literally creating something. I’d like to give birth every year if I could, just for that experience.”
Alyson Hannigan has quickly become one of our favorite celebrity moms since the birth of her first child, Satyana, in March 2009. Celebrity Baby Scoop sat down with the How I Met Your Mother star – who is currently expecting her second child with husband Alexis Denisof – and asked about her drug-free homebirth:
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 need.”
Mayim Bialik has really ‘blossomed’ into an amazing and outspoken mother! An advocate of attachment parenting, Mayim also empowers women to consider medication-free homebirths. The Big Bang Theory star and mother of two talked about her second son’s home birth, while her elder son watched.
Fred, yes, was born at home, and Miles was able to watch the whole thing from his high chair while eating granola. Fortunately it was a very fast labor because I think Miles would’ve been bored if it was longer than the hour and a half it was. He loves it, he still talks about it. It was something we talked about with our pediatrician, and believed very strongly in older siblings being present, and giving the choice. We gave him a choice before, we prepared him with videos about homebirth that our midwife prepared. Even during, I said, “If Miles wants to go the next room he can!” But he said, “No, I fine!” He got freaked out by the blood, but it was still nice.”
Canadian songstress Nellie Furtado is a self-proclaimed “hippie mom” and has opened up about the birth of her daughter Nevis in September 2003. The mom-of-one – who has written/sang hits such as I’m like a Bird and Maneater – proudly said, “I had a home birth with midwives.”
Model mom-of-two Cindy Crawford had both of her children – son Presley, now 12, and daughter Kaia, now 10 – at home with her husband Rande Gerber and three midwives on hand. She spoke of the home birth experience:
I didn’t tell anyone last time because a lot of people are against home birth and tell you horror stories. Even my husband said at first, ‘Why are we doing this?’” But she went on to say her home birth was ‘absolutely surreal.’”
One of the latest celebrities to join in the home birth craze is Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Connelly. The 40-year-old actress and husband, fellow actor Paul Bettany, welcomed daughter Agnes Lark Bettany in their New York City home on May 31, 2011. Baby Agnes was born via planned home water birth in a birthing pool.
Everyone is healthy and doing well,” Jennifer’s rep said. “The family is very excited.”
R&B singer Erykah Badu has given birth to all three of her children – Seven Sirius, now 14, Puma Sabit, now 7, and Mars Merkaba, now 3 – at home. The ‘First Lady of Neo-Soul’ opened up about her home birthing experience:
I had all my children at home, naturally,” Erykah said. “First my son [Seven Sirius] was born at home in 1997, because that’s the natural environment, the old way. There’s not a lot of fuss and moving around. I had a very wise doula and midwives giving me the freedom to continue living my life. I didn’t have to uproot myself… Maybe to some it’s scary, but preparation is the whole key. When a mother has found out she’s going to have a baby, her whole life — her diet, her mood, her energy — should kind of prepare her. After she prepares herself, fear is never a part of it. I expected success and health, so I made sure I surrounded myself with it. By the time I had my third baby, childbirth seemed a very natural part of life to me.”
- Who went for the C-section?
Reality TV star Tori Spelling and her husband Dean McDermott welcomed their third child, daughter Hattie, in October 2011. After three C-sections, the Beverly Hills, 90210 told Celebrity Baby Scoop she’s “sad” she didn’t get to experience a natural birth.
I hate when people say, ‘C-section is so Hollywood.’ If I could’ve, I would’ve chosen a natural birth. That’s what I wanted to do. It does make me sad that I won’t be able to experience it because I’m the type of person that likes to experience everything – bad or good, pain or not, I want to experience it all. And let me just say that a C-section is no walk in the park! Everyone thinks it’s so ‘she-she.’ It’s major surgery and the recovery is much longer and harder and painful. So I definitely wouldn’t have chosen it if I had the opportunity.”
Christina Aguilera gave birth to her first child, son Max, in January 2008. The Beautiful singer talked about her decision to go for an elective C-section.
I didn’t want any surprises. Honestly, I didn’t want any [vaginal] tearing. 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. I wanted to leave it up to fate, but at the same time I was ready to be done early!”
In 2005 prior to the birth of her first son, pop star Britney Spears told Elle magazine that she was spooked to give birth naturally because of her mother’s description of vaginal childbirth as being the most excruciating pain she had ever endured.
I have a feeling I’m going to have an operation. I don’t know why, but I hope so. My mom said giving birth was the most excruciating thing that she’s ever gone through in her life. So if a caesarean doesn’t happen, I’ll be like, ‘Epidural, please!’ Hopefully my athletic abilities will take over.”
Rumor has it she wanted to schedule her second C-section birth to coincide with Sean Preston’s birthday, but her then-husband Kevin Federline persuaded her to move the date forward. Sean’s birthday is September 14, 2005 and Jayden’s birthday is September 12, 2006.
A-lister mama Angelina Jolie had a scheduled C-section with her first biological child, Shiloh, due to her breech presentation. The mother-of-six talked about the “fascinating” experience.
We were in this little hospital in Africa when Shi was born. I don’t think there was anybody else in the hospital. It was just a little cottage, the three of us. It ended up being the greatest thing. We had wonderful doctors and nurses. It was lovely, very personal, all three in this sweet room. We had an American doctor with us, who had met the Namibian doctors, and they worked in tandem because it was a C-section and my first and we didn’t know the country. He spent a few weeks with us. There was only one pediatrician in town, and one anesthesiologist, who had to come in for that — you have to plan it. I had a C-section and I found it 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.”
Angelina’s now 3-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne were also born via C-section.
The very woman who inspired the phrase “too posh to push,” Victoria Beckham, has had four scheduled C-sections. While she has publicly stated that they were medically necessary, others have speculated that Vickie is not only too posh to push, but she wanted to avoid abdominal stretching and the pain of natural childbirth.
While her hunky hubby David Beckham has said they’d love a fifth child, another pregnancy is likely not in the cards for the 37-year-old mother of four as doctors have warned that her body couldn’t handle a fifth C-section.
Former supermodel Claudia Schiffer and husband Matthew Vaughn welcomed their third child, daughter Cosima, in May 2010.
“Mother and child are both doing very well,” Claudia’s spokesperson said, and added that the baby was born via C-section at Portland Hospital in London.
Reportedly, this was the third C-section for the 41-year-old model who is also mom to son Caspar, 9, and daughter Celmentine, 7.
- Who wanted a natural birth, but mother nature had other plans?
Kate Winslet said that when her daughter Mia was delivered via C-section in 2000 she was left feeling “like a complete failure.”
I’ve never talked about this. I’ve actually gone to great pains to cover it up. But Mia was 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. I felt like a complete failure. My whole life, I’d been told I had great childbearing hips. There’s this thing amongst women in the world that if you can handle childbirth, you can handle anything. I had never handled childbirth, and I felt like, in some way that I couldn’t join that ‘powerful women’s club.’”
But the Academy Award-winning actress opted for the VBAC for her second child and had her “triumphant” birth:
So it was an amazing feeling having Joe naturally, vaginally. Fourteen hours with no drugs at all, but then I had to have an epidural because I was so tired. I honestly thought I’d never be able to do it. It was an incredible birth. It laid all the ghosts to rest. It was really triumphant.”
Camila Alves labored at the hospital for 60 hours before her son Levi was finally delivered via C-section. Dad Matthew McConaughey famously recounted the birth story:
Contractions started kicking in. We had a 14-hour session, her and I did. I sat there with her, right between her legs. We got tribal on it, we danced to it! I was DJ-ing this Brazilian music. We were jamming! She was sweating. No painkiller, let’s go. She just clicked into that gear that only a woman has at a time like this. We’d been up for 40-something hours, and we went from dead tired to a really steadfast, ‘Let’s handle this… let’s stay in the rhythm. Don’t let the contraction be more than you.’ The doctor wanted to give her an epidural, and we said, “Give us a few more hours to keep rocking with this.’ I wasn’t speaking for Camila. She had the option of saying, ‘Give me an epidural, right now,’ whenever she wanted. This is where I learned – and no one tells you this – but having a baby is a bloody, pukey, sweaty, primeval thing! And I mean that as a beautiful thing. It is wild. But the vacuum didn’t work, and the doctor said, ‘C-section.’”
Life goes on! Kellie Martin was set on giving birth naturally and was disappointed that she had to be induced when her daughter Maggie didn’t want to come on her own.
I was induced, and I really, really wanted to have her naturally. No drugs, no nothing, because that’s what my mom did with me so I figured — you know — I’m as tough as my mother!
Maggie changed her mind after her water broke, but Kellie’s husband and her nurse helped her get through it.
We got a couple of hours into the real, good contractions and they broke my water… and once that happened, I said ‘Okay, no, no, no,no… can’t do it. Can’t do it! Drugs! Somebody help me…I have to have drugs.’ And my husband knew how important it was to me to have Maggie naturally so he just kept changing the subject, and my nurse kept changing the subject…She’d be like ‘Ooooh, look! It’s so beautiful outside!’ And I was like, ‘Seriously, no one is listening tome.’ And by that point I’d really forgotten that I needed the drugs,and it was time to push.”
Laila Ali had planned on having an unmedicated home birth. The professional boxer ended up in the hospital and required pain relief and medical support during labor.
He is healthy, he is here, and even though everything didn’t go the way I would have liked it to have gone… that’s the way it was supposed to be,” Ali said.
It’s a hot topic for moms-to-be in Hollywood as well…
Actress and musician Marla Sokoloff is set to welcome her first child – a girl – at the end of this month. The mom-to-be talked to Celebrity Baby Scoop about her low-key birth plan and her hopes for a natural delivery.
My birth plan is simply getting her out safely! I’m not one of those pregnant women who have a 40-page birth plan ready to go. One of my best friends had it all planned out then wound up having an emergency C-section, so you really never know. I’m really trying to go with the flow the best I can in every capacity of pregnancy. Not to say I’m being flippant about the process – I’ve definitely thought about it and educated myself on labor and delivery. I trust my doctor 100% so that is also giving me the confidence to take this on without added anxiety.”
The mom-to-be went on about her doubts of a drug-free birth.
I plan on delivering in the hospital and would LOVE to tell you that it will be a drug free experience, but I don’t think that’s in the cards for me.”
What is your birth story? Natural? Planned C-section? Epidural? Home birth?