Women choose to give birth at home for a variety of different reasons.
For some, it's the safety, comfort and privacy that a home environment provides. For others, it's the belief that birth is a natural process, that does not need to take place in a hospital when mother and baby are healthy.
Some women choose homebirth as a way of avoiding hospital altogether, especially if they feel anxious or uneasy in hospitals.
Homebirths are chosen by a minority of people, but their popularity is steadily on the rise. Around one in five women choose to welcome their babies at home in the Netherlands.
However, in the UK, only 2.5% of all births are home births, with 1.5% in the US and less than 1% in Australia.
With all of the benefits associated with giving birth at home, it’s no wonder the number of women opting for home birth is increasing. Celebrity mothers are no exception.
Celebrity Homebirth Mamas
Here are 11 celebrity mothers who gave birth at home:
Celebrity Homebirth Mama #1: Gisele Bundchen
This world famous supermodel is a passionate advocate for home birth, as well as using her fame to promote breastfeeding. Gisele gave birth at home surrounded by her husband, Tom Brady, mother, sisters and her midwife. Gisele welcomed her son, Benjamin, in the bathtub of her home.
She 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. 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!”
Celebrity Homebirth Mama #2: Ricki Lake
If you have seen Ricki’s amazing birth documentary, The Business Of Being Born, it will be of no surprise that Ricki gave birth at home. Former chat show host turned birth activist, Ricki is a woman on a mission.
After giving birth to her first son in hospital, Ricki stumbled into the world of birth activism by chance. She gave birth to her second son at home with the help of a midwife. Ricki then decided to use her fame to raise awareness of birth practices, explore maternity care in the US and become a powerful advocate for pregnant women.
Celebrity Homebirth Mama #3: Alanis Morissette
Super cool singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette welcomed her son into the world on Christmas Day in 2011. Her homebirth was supported by her husband, Mario Treadway, a doula and midwife.
In an interview with Today, she revealed:
“I didn’t really even imagine myself having the birth experience in the hospital… my home is like my little sanctuary.”
So, what did she think of the experience? While admitting that the birth was a painful process requiring deep focus, like most mothers, Alanis admits that she'd do it all over again.
“I think once people know it’s quite possible to have a really amazing home birth — and in my case I have no regrets and would do it again and in the same breath it wasn’t the easiest experience of my life — I think having it be an option is really exciting,”
Celebrity Homebirth Mama #4: Jennifer Connelly
After a previous long and challenging journey to find a baby in the 1980s, Jennifer Connelly (star of Labyrinth) decided to birth her own baby in the safety of her own home in 2011.
Jennifer and husband Paul Bettany welcomed their daughter, Agnes, in a water birth at their home in New York.
Celebrity Homebirth Mama #5: Mayim Bialik
If you know much about this The Big Bang Theory star, you won’t be surprised to hear that she opted for a home birth. A big believer in attachment parenting, breastfeeding and natural parenting, Mayim has used her fame to raise awareness of these important issues. Mayim welcomed her second child into the world at home, under the watchful gaze of her first born.
She wrote about the birth for Jewish parenting site, Kveller, and said: “The decision to have our second son at home, assisted by a licensed nurse midwife, turned into one of the most incredible, moving and profound experiences of my life. Having our almost 3-year-old son witness it from his highchair was equally powerful.” (You can read the rest of her article here).
Celebrity Homebirth Mama #6: Thandi Newton
This award-winning actress gave both to both of her children at home. Ripley (2000) and Nico (2004) were both born into birthing pools at the actress’s home. Thandi spoke publically about her decision to have a home birth shortly after the birth of her first child She told O – The Oprah Magazine:
“It all started with my wanting a home birth. It just seemed obvious: I didn't want the conventional picture of a woman on her back with doctors urging her to push. In fact, I didn't want my experience to be controlled by anyone other than me, unless it had to. I couldn't imagine feeling “loose” in a hospital; it seemed too claustrophobic an environment, unfamiliar and forbidding. Even in the early stages of pregnancy, I knew I needed to be in a place that I identified with trust and safety, and in my home I could be whatever I wanted to be, whenever I wanted. If my pregnancy ran into trouble, I would find a hospital and readily hand the problem over to the experts, but with a healthy pregnancy, I knew who the expert was—me.”
Celebrity Homebirth Mama #7: Pamela Anderson
The former Playboy centrefold gave birth to both of her children at home. With her then-husband Tommy Lee, Pamela Anderson enjoyed a natural water birth at home.
A midwife was with the couple throughout the birth, and Pamela has since proudly admitted she didn’t even take Tylenol for the pain.
Celebrity Homebirth Mama #8: Davina McCall
English TV presenter, Davina McCall is a huge advocator of home births. She gave birth to all three of her children at home, and the births were attended by the same midwife. When she first suggested the idea, her husband wasn’t keen, but once he’d seen the statistics and science behind it all, he was on board.
Davina wrote about her home birth experiences for One World, she said: “I love giving birth. I have been so, so blessed to have my babies at home, because hospitals frighten me. Home to me feels safe. It’s not for everyone; if someone wants a c-section or an epidural, let them have it. But I felt I was in control of the whole experience – and that’s what’s made me so evangelical about it.”
Celebrity Homebirth Mama #9: Meryl Streep
Though she hasn’t shared many of the details with the general public, Meryl Streep is said to have given an Oscar worthy performance at her home birth. Meryl has four children, and it is known that at least one was born at home.
Celebrity Homebirth Mama #10: Alyson Hannigan
Famous for playing Lily in How I Met Your Mother and Willow in Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Alyson Hannigan welcomed both of her daughters at home.
Alyson talked about her decision to have a home birth in an interview with Woman’s Day, she said: “I've never liked hospitals, and when I found out I was pregnant I started considering home birth, and decided I wanted to go that route after watching the Ricki Lake documentary The Business of Being Born. I wanted to be as comfortable as possible when I gave birth, and there's no place I'm more comfortable than my own home. I wanted a comforting and positive environment; in my opinion, hospitals are for sick people.”
Celebrity Homebirth Mama #11: The Queen
Never one to miss out on the trends, Queen Elizabeth II welcomed all four of her children at home. The Royal Midwife, Sister Helen Rowe, attended each birth. If it’s good enough for royalty…
Home births aren’t just for the rich and famous. If you like the idea of giving birth in your own home, don’t forget to check out BellyBelly’s article debunking home birth myths.