Hey Beyonce: Next Time, Consider Homebirth
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
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
- Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for hemorrhage (severe bleeding);
- Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for blood clots;
- Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for bowel obstruction;
- Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for longer-lasting and more severe pain;
- Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for infection;
- Because of scarring and adhesion tissue, cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for ongoing pelvic pain;
- Because of scarring and adhesion tissue, cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for twisted bowel;
- Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for a longer hospital stay;
- Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for re-hospitalization;
- Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for poorer overall mental health;
- Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for depression;
- Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for psychological trauma;
- Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for rating her birth experience poorer than a mother who had a vaginal birth;
- 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”;
- Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for future ectopic pregnancies;
- Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for reduced fertility;
- Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for maternal death at birth;
- Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for serious problems with the placenta in future pregnancies (placenta previa, placenta accreta, and placental abruption);
- Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for an emergency hysterectomy;
- Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for stroke;
- Cesarean sections increase the mother’s risk for a ruptured uterus in future pregnancies;
- 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;
- Babies born by cesarean are more likely to be cut (during surgery);
- Babies born by cesarean are more likely to have breathing difficulties at birth;
- Babies born by cesarean are more likely to have asthma during childhood;
- Babies in future pregnancies are more likely to be born too early;
- Babies in future pregnancies are more likely to have low birth weight;
- Babies in future pregnancies are more likely to have a physical abnormality or injury to their brain;
- Babies in future pregnancies are more likely to have a physical abnormality or injury to their spinal cord;
- Babies in future pregnancies are more likely to die shortly after birth.
Risks to Newborns from Birth by Cesarean Section
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- You are less likely to have unnecessary medical interventions – like episiotomies, inductions, or c-sections – at home or in a birth center.
- Mother and baby are at less risk of infection at home or in a birth center.
- Birth center and homebirths are typically much less expensive than hospital births.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- Mothers generally have a closer, more caring relationship with midwives than they do with hospital care providers.
- 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!
- See People ↩
- Read more at Fox News ↩
- Read more at the ↩
- Read more at the ↩
- Read more at Daily News ↩
- Read more at Daily News ↩
- Read more at MSNBC.com ↩
- See MediaTakeOut.com ↩
- 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.” ↩
- “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 ↩
- 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 ↩
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"Hey Beyonce: Next Time, Consider Homebirth"
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