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Kelly Preston is the latest celebrity mama to announce she had a "silent birth." The first time most of us heard about this idea -- a Scientology practice -- was back in 2006, when Katie Holmes said she had one. We all wondered whether that meant the birthing mom had to keep her mouth shut during all the contractions and the pushing. It turns out that, no, she doesn't.
"It's basically just respecting the mother, you know, and helping to be quiet -- not the mother. The mother makes as much noise ... you know, she's going through it," Tom Cruise told Diane Sawyer on ABC’s Primetime back in April 2006. "But why have other people make noise? You know, you want that area very calm and to make it very special.”
Okay, so Mom doesn't have to be quiet, but the other people around her should be. Now that doesn’t sound too crazy, right? I remember being sensitive to all the chatter around me during my son’s birth. This got me wondering if other moms -- who aren't celebrities or Scientologists -- should start requesting "silent births," too. "It [wouldn't be] a bad way to go,” says certified nurse-midwife M. Christina Johnson, director of professional practice and health policy at the American College of Nurse-Midwives. “Sometimes silence helps a woman have mental space. [Her partner] can encourage her by looking into her eyes and holding her hand.”
“I’ve been at births where the moms said they wanted the same thing as Kelly, and [the births] were very beautiful,” Johnson says. “Kelly had a C-section, and it can be very obnoxious when people are joking and talking in the operating room.”
The important thing, says Johnson, is for mom to be comfortable -- and that means having a good rapport with your doctor or midwife and letting them know what you want to have happen during the birth. So think about it in advance. Hey, maybe you want the birth room to be bustling and noisy, or you want your guy to yell out encouraging thoughts -- and that should be honored, too.
Now, you may not know whether you'll feel like getting loud until you're in labor -- but either way, feel free to make all the noise you want. Whether it’s Bradley or Lamaze, many birth methods include humming or loud breathing. But screaming? Johnson says that’s probably not a good idea.
“If you scream, you'll be working against your body’s ability to get the baby out,” she says. “But I have had women singing, doing Gregorian chant, playing their music -- one even had Metallica. What we do wrong as a society is judge someone for what they want in labor. If something is going to soothe them, then [it should be respected].”
What's better -- a noisy or a quiet delivery room? Chime in below!