Supermodel Cindy Crawford has opened up about her two homebirths as a show of support for expectant mothers amid the coronavirus crisis.
"This a challenging time for all of us but my heart especially goes out to expecting mothers and their partners," she wrote on Instagram. "As the COVID-19 cases rise and birth policies at hospitals are changing every day, many women are curious about #homebirth."
Crawford, 54, has previously shared limited details of her homebirths with son, Presley Gerber, 20, and daughter, Kaia Gerber, 18.
"I didn't tell anyone last time because a lot of people are against home birth and tell you horror stories," she told Fit Pregnancy and Baby in 2001, ahead of Kaia's birth."Even my husband said at first, 'Why are we doing this?'"
In 2011, Crawford told SheKnows that she first realised there were "other ways to do it" when she began prenatal yoga at around 24 weeks pregnant.
"So many people, when you have your baby, they're like, 'Who delivered your baby?' You're like, 'Oh, Dr. So and So.' But I delivered my baby. It was so empowering for me. I could take that and frame that into being a new mum when you're sort of insecure," she shared, adding, "I felt like I just ran a marathon."
"You choose who to have with you. Within an hour, there was no one in my house. I was there with my baby and my husband."
Crawford will talk to doula and photographer Carson Meyer on Monday at 12pm PST about her experiences. "Questions welcome," she wrote on Instagram, alongside a gorgeous, intimate, photo from one of her home births.
Here in Australia, Amelia Parkinson, who runs Wonderbirthing doula service and childbirth education in Sydney, previously told Essential Baby that she's had lots of women contacting her about homebirths.
"Pregnant women are really stressed about going to the hospital even to have a test or scan and are trying to contact hospitals to get more information out of them but not having much success," she said, adding that women are finding it difficult not being able to have a doula with them.
"They are having to choose between a doula and a birth partner," she said. "This level of anxiety for pregnant women going into and then birthing in environments that feel so overwhelming will impact their birth experience and definitely impact their post-partum."
It comes as experts warns of the rise of "free-birthing" or delivering a baby without the help of doctors, midwives or any medical professional, amid the pandemic.
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) note that hospitals are the safest place for birth in Australia and New Zealand. "However the College recognises that there is a small group of women who are accepting of the associated risks and elect to proceed with a planned homebirth," the note. "The College believes these women should be maximally supported in that choice but in the knowledge that provision of such support cannot ever completely mitigate the associated risks."
For pregnant women diagnosed with COVID-19, RANZCOG offers the following advice:
"The safest place to birth your baby is in a hospital, where you have access to highly trained staff and emergency facilities, if they are required. It is important to emphasise that a woman's experience of labour and vaginal birth, or caesarean section, should not be significantly impacted and women should be encouraged, and supported, to approach this extraordinary time of their lives without fear or apprehension. Medical intervention, other than that specifically related to infection control, should not differ significantly from usual practice."
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