Hey Beyonce: Next Time, Consider Homebirth

January 9th, 2012 by Dionna | 17 Comments
Posted in natural parenting, Pregnancy and Birth

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Update: Various media sources are reporting that the hospital has denied that it rented out an entire floor to Beyonce and Jay-Z. The hospital asserts that “The family is housed in an executive suite at the hospital and is being billed the standard rate for those accommodations. Our executive suites are available for any patient, including the food service and amenities provided to the Carter family.”1 The hospital also denies that any family has been prevented from reaching patients in the NICU.

The hospital has not specifically denied that doctors and nurses were kept from seeing patients, and I’d be surprised if the employees had made those stories up. I’m also skeptical that the reports of these parents are lies, and I hope that the hospital is doing a better job working with the parents. Regardless, the hospital did not handle this situation as well as it could have.

Via E online) –
Beyonce and Jay-Z have made an official announcement:
Hello hello Baby Blue!
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 lobs 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.
-Beyonce & Jay Z

Photo Credit: mp3waxx.com

If you hadn’t heard, Beyonce and Jay-Z were blessed with a baby girl yesterday. Being the twin peaks of celebrity goodness that they are, this called for drastic measures: the two “rented out the entire fourth floor of Lenox Hill Hospital, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, for the birth.”2

So what does $1.3 million dollars buy you at a hospital these days?

Apparently it buys you the right to prevent parents from visiting their babies in the NICU. Family members have been thwarted by “security measures that delayed or completely prevented them from visiting” their own babies.3 But that didn’t stop the celebrity couple from welcoming their own visitors at will. “Beyonce had a steady stream of visitors yesterday. A makeup artist was spotted going up with several bags in tow, and lunch was special-delivered from a local burger joint and gourmet market.”4 It is unacceptable that the munchies are deemed more important than a parent reaching a sick child.

It also buys you the right to interfere with other patients’ medical care. Security even barred doctors and nurses “from entering the fourth floor, prompting one doc to complain that he had patients to see.”5 How did the hospital not have these kinks worked out in advance?! And yes, I agree – it is the hospital that ultimately holds the responsibility here. The hospital accepted the arrangement, so it had an obligation to provide for the care of all its patients, not only the wealthiest.

Not to mention the fact that it buys you the right to compromise the safety of others. “In an effort to keep images from leaking to the public, hospital workers placed tape over security cameras and are forcing employees to turn in cell phones when they arrive for their shifts.”6 While there are certainly other security measures in place, there is a reason security cameras exist: to help security staff protect the hospital. The fact that Beyonce and Jay-Z had to rent out an entire floor of the hospital is testimony to the fact that there may be fanatic fans who would enter the hospital for less-than-honorable reasons. In order to help safeguard both the celebs and the non-celebs, it would probably be nice to allow the hospital’s security staff to do their jobs.

Did Beyonce and Jay-Z have any other options?

Perhaps. I’m not sure why Beyonce had a “scheduled C-section.”7 If it was truly for medical reasons, then of course she required the services of doctors and a hospital. But if it was an elective cesarean section as some sites are reporting,8 then Beyonce had a few more options at her disposal.

Maybe they could have rented out a different floor, one where they would not be interfering with the comings and goings of employees, other patients, and visitors. And while Beyonce did have a scheduled C-section, I imagine that her surgery and recovery could have easily happened on any floor of the hospital that housed the necessary equipment.

Maybe they could have rented out a birth center. If Beyonce was able to birth vaginally, she could have rented out an entire private birth center. This would have alleviated the problem of preventing parents from seeing their own sick babies or doctors and nurses from treating other patients. I’m sure it would have also been a major boon to the birth center, many of which operate on very limited budgets.

Maybe they could have birthed at home. Something tells me that Beyonce and Jay-Z’s home is awash in luxury. What better way to welcome their new baby to the world than in the comfort of home?! This would have saved them the trouble of shuttling around their entourage, not to mention $1.3 million dollars.

What’s the big deal about an elective c-section, anyway?

“When a cesarean is necessary, it can be a life saving technique for both mother and infant.” It is, however, major abdominal surgery, and thus carries with it significant risks to both mothers and newborns.9 In a review of research studies, Childbirth Connection compared the difference in risks and outcomes between vaginal birth and cesarean section. Of 37 possible outcomes reviewed, the evidence shows that cesarean sections are found to involve more risk in 33 of those areas. Vaginal birth involved more risk in 4 areas: (a) pain in the vaginal area (that’s kind of a given), (b) incontinence (both urinary and bowel), and (c) risk of nerve injury to babies’ shoulder, arm, or hand.

And the remaining 33 areas that involve more risk with a cesarean? I have most of them listed below.10

Risks to Mothers from Cesarean Section

  1. Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for hemorrhage (severe bleeding);
  2. Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for blood clots;
  3. Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for bowel obstruction;
  4. Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for longer-lasting and more severe pain;
  5. Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for infection;
  6. Because of scarring and adhesion tissue, cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for ongoing pelvic pain;
  7. Because of scarring and adhesion tissue, cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for twisted bowel;
  8. Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for a longer hospital stay;
  9. Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for re-hospitalization;
  10. Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for poorer overall mental health;
  11. Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for depression;
  12. Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for psychological trauma;
  13. Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for rating her birth experience poorer than a mother who had a vaginal birth;
  14. Because cesarean sections usually result in a mother having “less early contact with her baby,” she is also “more likely to have initial negative feelings about her baby”;
  15. Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for future ectopic pregnancies;
  16. Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for reduced fertility;
  17. Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for maternal death at birth;
  18. Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for serious problems with the placenta in future pregnancies (placenta previa, placenta accreta, and placental abruption);
  19. Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for an emergency hysterectomy;
  20. Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for stroke;
  21. Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for a ruptured uterus in future pregnancies;
  22. Risks to Newborns from Birth by Cesarean Section

  23. Because cesarean sections pose challenges in forming a breastfeeding relationship, babies born by cesarean section are less likely to breastfeed and to get all of the benefits of breastfeeding;
  24. Babies born by cesarean are more likely to be cut (during surgery);
  25. Babies born by cesarean are more likely to have breathing difficulties at birth;
  26. Babies born by cesarean are more likely to have asthma during childhood;
  27. Babies in future pregnancies are more likely to be born too early;
  28. Babies in future pregnancies are more likely to have low birth weight;
  29. Babies in future pregnancies are more likely to have a physical abnormality or injury to their brain;
  30. Babies in future pregnancies are more likely to have a physical abnormality or injury to their spinal cord;
  31. Babies in future pregnancies are more likely to die shortly after birth.

Are there any advantages to giving birth in a birth center or at home?

Yes! There are many reasons birth in an alternative setting is preferable to a hospital. I’m only going to list my top 10, but there are many more.

  1. Hospitals often restrict your food and drink – both what you can have and when. At home and in most birth centers, you can eat and drink whatever your body tells you it needs to.
  2. Hospitals often restrict your movement – laboring mothers are often required to lie still for fetal monitoring, or they are restricted because they are tethered to an IV. At home and in most birth centers, you can move freely – this allows labor to progress much more quickly and naturally.
  3. You are less likely to have unnecessary medical interventions – like episiotomies, inductions, or c-sections – at home or in a birth center.
  4. Mother and baby are at less risk of infection at home or in a birth center.
  5. Birth center and homebirths are typically much less expensive than hospital births.
  6. Laboring mothers are given more control (in a birth center) or complete control (at home) of who is allowed in the room, what music is playing, how/where they want to labor, etc.
  7. Birth centers generally offer more of the comforts of home than hospitals do; and with homebirth, you are laboring and birthing in the most familiar environment you have!
  8. Bonding and breastfeeding may be more likely to be interrupted in a hospital by staff taking the baby as their schedules allow for newborn testing, etc. Mothers are more likely to have control – and more time to bond with and breastfeed baby – at home and in a birth center.
  9. Mothers generally have a closer, more caring relationship with midwives than they do with hospital care providers.
  10. Birth is more likely to be seen and treated as a normal family event outside of a hospital, making the entire experience more satisfactory and pleasant for the entire family.11; Why Homebirth?

I hope this post is taken in the spirit it was intended – as one sharing information, not as a criticism of the many mamas who have had cesarean sections. Knowledge is power!

  1. See People
  2. Read more at Fox News
  3. Read more at the
  4. Read more at the
  5. Read more at Daily News
  6. Read more at Daily News
  7. Read more at MSNBC.com
  8. See MediaTakeOut.com
  9. This section of today’s post was previously published in Pregnancy & Birth: Interventions (Part 3). The quote in the text above is from “Cesarean Fact Sheet.”
  10. “What Every Pregnant Woman Needs to Know About Cesarean,” http://www.childbirthconnection.org/pdfs/cesareanbooklet.pdf; “Best Evidence: C-Section,” http://www.childbirthconnection.org/article.asp?ck=10166
  11. For more, see Advantages and Disadvantages of Birthing at Home, Birth Center, and Hospital; Birth Centers Fact Sheet; Reasons to Have a Homebirth; Natural homebirth vs. Natural hospital birth; Why homebirth; Apples and Orangutans; Choosing Your Hospital or Birthing Center

17 Responses to:
"Hey Beyonce: Next Time, Consider Homebirth"

  1. Luschka   luschkavo

    I heard that the baby was breech, so you know… must have a caesarean and all… but ANYWAY.. as far as I’m concerned she can birth any which way she likes, but the fall-out to the other parents was unacceptable, and if it was MY baby in the NICU, the hospital would be paying out much of that 1mil in damages to myself and the other parents prevented from being with our SICK babies. Surely, surely, surely they could have used a floor that didn’t cut off the NICU??? And since it was scheduled, it’s not like they didn’t have TIME to PLAN properly!

    • Rebecca

      FYI: a breech baby does NOT require a c-section. MANY babies can be turned/moved and babies CAN be safely born vaginally even when in breech position. Many examples of this are published in “Spiritual Midwifery”. Here’s to healthy, happy births for all woman without fear. We were made to do this!! …just saying :)

      • Notimpressed   none

        I am really tired of people making comments that c-section is not medically necessary or calling most women who opt for them “divas”. I tried everything under the sun (exercises – made me extremely dizzy and nauseated, herbal teas, meditation and prayer). I always thought I would have a natural birth, but my daughter had other plans. Up to the day of c-section, at 39 1/2 weeks, I keep praying that she would turn but it never happened. My baby was 8lbs & 7.3oz which is big for me because I am 4’11″ and weight 94lbs. So, a natural delivery would have been difficult for me even if she wasn’t breeched. I was fortunate that I didn’t have any complications from my c-section. You sit there and preach of how wonderful “natural birth” is and how a woman is missing out if she doesn’t have one. Well, I can tell you its very inconsiderate and selfish of you to not consider how your lofty words makes some women feel inadequate because they had a c-section. You need to remember that most women, give a choice would not chose a c-section because it leaves a physical scar and has a longer healing time. Women opt for c-section because its the best option for the health of their baby and them. Maybe next time, you can be a little more empathetic to women who are not as blessed as you to have the ability to have a natural birth.

      • Dionna   CodeNameMama

        @Notimpressed: I hear that you’re hurting, and I hope that you didn’t read this post thinking that I was criticizing women who have had c-sections. At the end of the post I wrote “I hope this post is taken in the spirit it was intended – as one sharing information, not as a criticism of the many mamas who have had cesarean sections. Knowledge is power!”
        It is never my intent to cause women distress about past choices – but to share information that might help us make more educated choices moving forward. The above info was meant to inform women who were considering *elective* c-sections – that is, surgeries that were not based on any kind of medical necessity.
        As far as women being able to birth breech babies, I don’t think Rebecca’s intent was to say that having a c-section for a breech baby makes anyone a bad person or less able or whatever other words you might have heard. The fact is, our medical establishment largely believes that breech babies require c-sections, and women who are willing to try a vaginal birth will be hard pressed to find a care provider who will assist them.
        Can women have a vaginal breech birth? Yes. Should women feel guilty for having a c-section? No. Can we all be open to learning? I hope so!

  2. Crunchy Con Mommy   crunchyconmom

    I think the worst part of it all was that the NICU was blocked. The hospital should’ve had their act together-I’m sure Beyonce & Jay Z just asked for a whole floor & figured the hospital would make it work. Clearly that didn’t happen. They probably feel bad about it & should put out a statement apologizing!

  3. Jen   diplomom08

    You know the funny thing? I have so completely changed my views on childbirth that if were were to have another child, I would only want a home birth (or birthing center if hb not feasible). My birthing center birth with Nicholas (in Iceland) was so amazing and I wish everyone could experience that unmedicated happy birth.

    I know c-sections cam be necessary, but my gut says this one was not. We probably won’t have another baby naturally, especially now that I’ve done my natural breast reconstruction, but a home birth would be a blessing if it were to happen. We aren’t ruling out a fourth, just thinking adoption might be a safer path for me.

    And don’t get me started on security issues. My husband ran protective details for two former Secretaries of State and they never required that much attention. I wish they would have tried the birthing center route; would have been a boon for the center and natural childbirth in general.

    *sigh*

  4. BeckyJ

    The only problem I have with what happened here is that she inconvenienced and HASSLED and upset people’s families by her utter lack of consideration for others. People say she was treated like royalty. No, she was treated BETTER than royalty. People of royal decent don’t rent out a hospital, they have their own place. Almost like a more medicalized birth center.

  5. Eeks what a mess! I’m sure they feel awful about preventing parents from being with their babies (at least I hope they feel awful about it!). As for the csection…not knowing for sure the reasons surrounding her situation it can be hard to determine whether or not she needed it…however, as a mama who has labored hard and naturally and ended up with a csection anyways with my 2 recent kiddos, I will be the first to admit that csections are no walk in the park. I’d much rather birth vaginally any day than to have my belly cut open! Incidentally, it makes me a bit sad to read posts that lists all the risks because it just reminds me of what happened to me and makes me sad I didn’t have another outcome. Thank you for getting this info out there. I hope info like this post helps other mamas who still have a chance to choose to make an informed decision.

  6. Charise@I Thought I Knew Mama   ithoughtiknewma

    I can’t imagine what I would do if someone kept me from my baby in the NICU!

  7. Holly N.

    Let me say first that I love reading your blog and all the information you share. It has changed how I parent in a good way but I would like to say I am upset about all the risks you posted about having a C-section making it sound like a mom would be crazy to have one. Sometimes there is no getting around having one. I didn’t plan on it at all but when my water broke, my baby never dropped, and I only got to a 1.5 with meds trying to help me along so I didn’t have a choice. Yes I am aware there are risks with surgery but sometimes you just have to do what is best for the mom AND the baby no matter what your initial intentions were. It is scary reading all the risks you posted. Sometimes too much information is just that-too much. Thanks for letting me have my say.

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment Holly – and even moreso for doing it respectfully when this is obviously a tough subject for you. I’m sorry that you did not have the birth you wanted, and I hope you are gentle with yourself!

      I did not share these risks for mamas in a situation like yours, where you did not have a choice. I shared this for mamas who are looking into getting an elective cesarean section – in other words, there is no medical reason to do so. There are mamas who make that choice, and they may not have doctors who takes time to fully inform them of the risks.

      I hope that helps you understand why I listed these risks – perhaps it will help one mama opt out of a medically unnecessary cesarean.

      Thank you for reading!

  8. teresa   momgrooves

    Just the thought of not being able to get to my child makes me physically ill. I would have caused such a scene.
    I blame the hospital totally. WTF!!!!
    Doctors not getting to patients! Unbelievable.
    I find it so upsetting about those parents kept from their children, I can’t see past it.
    awful.
    I can’t imagine not being aware of other people, no matter how rich I was… but clearly, it’s possible.

  9. Jessica   deliciousobsess

    Ugh. Celebrities really annoy me and this is one story that really bugs me. Great post, btw. I agree with you wholeheartedly. Renting out an entire floor that prohibits other parents from seeing their children? SICK! And why did the news report say “delivered naturally” when it was a scheduled C-Section? CS’s are hardly natural.

    Yeah – I can’t imagine they didn’t have room in one of their several million dollar pads (I’m thinking they have more than one “home”) to set up a birthing pool and have family and friends gather where it doesn’t affect other “less fortunate normal people” who are just trying to visit their sick child or congratulate a new mother.

    Sick, sick, sick.

    Sigh.

    Love your blog! Keep up the great work! :)

  10. BeckyJ

    So, this whole Beyonce drama is supposedly a rumor…….

  11. Rachael   RachaelNevins

    As a current client of the only freestanding birthing center in New York City, I must say I’m not a fan of the rent-a-birth-center suggestion. I’d say stay at home. Of course, the birthing center probably wouldn’t be posh enough for Beyoncé anyway. After all, it’s in Sheepshead Bay.

  12. Taryn   tarynpanda

    It sounds a little dramatic. I think it’s highly unlikely a hospital would allow their NICU to be unaccessible. If it is, shame on the hospital.

  13. Gaby @ Tmuffin   tmuffindotcom

    Like Teresa said, the thought that some parents couldn’t visit their babies in the NICU makes me sick. I don’t care who you are. No one should be able to prevent moms from visiting their sick babies. Ugh. This world can be so disgusting sometimes!!

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