Celebrities are often game to experiment. However, when it comes to giving birth these moms-to-be often want their experience to be as natural and harmonious as possible — sometimes to the point of seeming unnatural. But besides learning to breathe right and anguishing over whether to go the epidural-or-no-epidural route, they also have to plot how to avoid the almighty intrusive paparazzi lens. Here are just a few memorable — and sometimes controversial — birth moments of celebrity moms.
Beyoncé’s Maternal Security
Protecting one’s cub is a natural instinct, so how far did Beyoncé and Jay-Z go to keep prying eyes away? A few expectant moms and new dads who visited the pediatric ward at Lenox Hill Hospital in NYC, where Blue Ivy was born Jan. 5, complained that security pressured them to vacate the premises. The hospital denied allegations, saying legitimate visitors were given access, and other witnesses say that the tough treatment only came when people tried to sneak a peek. Even one mother-to-be who fussed also admitted that she had tried to get a look-see of the celebrity firstborn. “I just caught a glimpse,” she said “She’s beautiful.”
The Silent Treatment of Katie Holmes and Kelly Preston
Silent birth is a concept practiced by Scientologists such as Kelly Preston and John Travolta. Preston told Hello! magazine that it’s just what it sounds like — no spoken words, no shouting to push, no laughing, although crying out from sheer agony is fine. “It’s just bringing them in, in as peaceful and gentle a way as possible.” Rumors swirled that Katie Holmes would have to deliver her baby using the silent treatment as well, but Tom Cruise explained to ABC that the mother “makes as much noise” as she wants and gets whatever epidural she needs; it’s just that everyone else has to hush. In hindsight, Holmes may have taken tips from that experience in her.
Gisele in a Bathtub
A Boston penthouse seems a cushy yet awkward place for a birth — but apparently not when you’ve got those jets going. Supermodel Gisele Bundchen joined the water movement for her firstborn. “I gave birth in the bathtub,” Mrs. Tom Brady told Brazilian show “Fantastico” in 2010. The procedure has been done in the U.S. and around the world, but not without controversy. Regardless, studies show beneficial affects. Apparently the delivery pool is similar to the amniotic fluid in the womb, and helps loosen the mother’s muscles. Too bad Gisele didn’t hear about the dolphin-assisted method.
Mariah Carey’s Personal Soundtrack
A birthing playlist sounds like a good idea, but does it reveal a level of genius or self-absorption that new mom Mariah Carey chose her own music to welcome her twin babies into the world? Husband Nick Cannon explained to Gayle King, “My wife wanted to make sure that when the babies [Moroccan and Monroe] came out, that they came out not only to a Mariah Carey song, but a live performance from Mariah Carey — her Madison Square Garden performance of ‘Fantasy’ — so they came out to a round of applause.”
Kourtney Kardashian’s Hands-on Deliveries
Comedians Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz didn’t know what they started when they made the birth of their son Desi Jr. a big TV event in 1953. (At the time, networks refused to let them use the word “pregnant,” but settled for “expecting.”) What a difference 56 years makes! In both 2009 and 20012, the world got to watch Kourtney Kardashian give birth on her family’s E! reality show, “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.” During both deliveries, she literally guided her son Mason (now 3) and daughter Penelope (11 months old) out of the womb. “Kourtney just loves to pull out her own children,” cracked sister Khloe, who was among the many Kardashian witnesses to the self-assisted labors.
January Jones Eats Placenta
Before you judge, know that placentophagy is natural. Critters including goats, dogs, and beavers (both male and female) have been known to eat the afterbirth, and one theory suggests they’re trying to hide their tracks from predators. (Some eagles have been observed dining on discarded calf placentas.) Medicinally speaking, British hospitals shipped about 360 tons of placenta for 17 years to French pharmaceutical companies (to extract nutrients for various medicines), until the practice was banned over HIV infection fears. While there’s dispute over how many cultures really engage in this ritual, some Western women, including “Mad Men” actress January Jones, have taken it up — although she didn’t have hers fresh. “Your placenta gets dehydrated and made into vitamins. It’s something I was very hesitant about, but we’re the only mammals who don’t ingest our own placentas,” she told People in 2012. “It’s not witch-crafty or anything! I suggest it to all moms!” Her only regret? Talking about it.
Snooki Labor: 27 Hours Later
You’d think modern medicine would’ve helped ease this whole labor movement. Instead, the average mom these days takes 6.5 hours to push her bundle out, vs. Grandma’s quickie 4-hour delivery. For first-time moms, the Mayo Clinic says labor can “confided to Jay Leno on “The Tonight Show,” “I didn’t feel anything because I got the epidural.”
Megan Fox’s Debt to Tennessee
Megan Fox isn’t exactly a low-profile figure, but managed to deliver her son, Noah, in secret, thanks to Reese Witherspoon, who gave birth to her baby, Tennessee, earlier on Sept. 27, 2012, thereby distracting the paparazzi. “We were lucky enough to go in at like 2:30 in the morning to the hospital and nobody knew,” Fox’s husband Brian Austin Green told Ryan Seacrest in November. The new parents leisurely released the announcement a few weeks later on Fox’s Facebook page. Fox described to “Access Hollywood” how painful her delivery was, although she laughed about still having enough stamina to blow dry her hair: “I didn;t want to go to the hospital with wet hair.” Her blow-drying instinct would be approved by Chinese traditionalists for avoiding too much yin.
Kate Middleton’s HypnoBirth?
Royal rumors have been running rampant, and among them is how the Duchess of Cambridge eased her morning sickness with hypnosis. That, reportedly, is leading Kate Middleton to consider HypnoBirthing, founded in 1989 by a New Hampshire hypnotherapist. “It’s about making birth easier, more comfortable, and sometimes pain-free,” its creator Marie Mongan told Yahoo! Shine, but cautions that’s not always the case. One Yahoo! contributor knows about that firsthand: “Instantly, the pain went from being manageable to feeling like I was being torn in two,” writes Sophie Childs, a wife of a hypnotherapist. Turns out she had pelvis issues that had to be fixed by cranial osteopathy. “I would still recommend hypnobirthing because it did help with my younger children, just be aware that it cannot guarantee anything.”
Angelia Jolie’s Jet-Setting Deliveries
The best way to avoid paparazzi hysteria? Get out of town — and go to another continent. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt headed to the Welwitschia Clinic in Walvis Bay, Namibia, for the birth of their first natural child, Shiloh Nouvel. The African republic is also where Jolie took custody of Cambodian-born Maddox, 11, who incidentally makes a cameo in his dad’s “World War Z” movie. To deliver Knox Léon and Vivienne Marcheline, turning 5 on July 12, the parents took a shorter trip to a French Riviera hospital. There, the picture windows are “specially treated to deflect the prying lenses of paparazzi.” The twins’ photos, of course, fetched a record $14 million, which was given to the Jolie-Pitt Foundation. The nonprofit has made donations to refugee programs, natural disaster rebuilding efforts (in Joplin, Missouri and Haiti), and the Naankuse Lodge and Wildlife Sanctuary in Namibia.