Why natural childbirth advocates think other women’s births are their business: Duchess of Cambridge edition

Duchess princess

Oooh, oooh, oooh, have you heard that the Duchess of Cambridge labored at home for hours? Have you heard that she didn’t have an epidural? Have you heard that she “bonded” with her midwives?

Let’s leave aside for the moment the fact that the famously private Duchess is unlikely to share the intimate details of ANY aspect of her life with the press (a future British queen “bonded” with her midwives? seriously?), and examine who cares about these details and why.

As I’ve written many times, natural childbirth is not about birth and it’s not about babies. It’s an opportunity for some mothers to judge other mothers and thereby feel superior to the crowd. They have such low self-esteem and are so desperate for validation of their own beliefs, they have resorted to pretending that the Duchess mirrored their own birth choices.

For all we know, the Duchess ruptured membranes at home, drove to the hospital for an induction with Pitocin, received an epidural and had her baby in hours.

If so, the birth of the new princess would have been similar to the births of many other women, yet apparently those women don’t feel any need to speculate about the Duchess’ birth. I haven’t seen any women fantasizing that the Duchess had an epidural like they did, or was induced like they were, or gave birth in a hospital like they did. Most women don’t need anyone, not even a Duchess, to validate the choices they made during the births of their own children.

Which makes it even more remarkable that natural childbirth advocates apparently need everyone to do so.

It started as soon as the pregnancy was announced. Twitter was full of homebirth advocates fantasizing the the Duchess would have a homebirth. That was never in the cards. The Duchess, like any mother anxious to get the best possible care for herself and her child, gave birth in a hospital, with obstetricians supervising her care. Midwives may or may not have caught the baby, but it was hardly midwife-led care. That’s because when it’s REALLY important to ensure the survival of mother and baby (because they are part of the royal family), midwife-led care is viewed as unacceptably second rate.

It is unfortunate that non-royals do not have the same easy access to obstetrician led care, the safest form of care. Midwife-led care predominates in the UK National Health Service (NHS) because it is cheaper. As always, you get what you pay for and those who can pay more choose obstetricians.

No doubt the Duchess was attended by nurses, but you don’t see nurses framing that as a validation of nursing. Assuredly her room was cleaned by the hospital cleaning staff, but you don’t notice them framing that as a validation of cleaning.

Yet midwives and their advocates are gleefully proclaiming that midwives delivered the princess, in order to validate midwifery and natural childbirth. This, in spite of the fact that they are usually whining that women deliver their own babies, not attendants. In this case, to validate themselves, they are willing to make an exception.

I have no idea how the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth and it’s none of my business. It’s not the business of natural childbirth advocates, either, but they can’t help speculating on other women’s intimate moments. They need to know because they need to compare themselves.

The truth is that for most women the baby was the most important product of the birth day, not the bragging rights.

So keep in mind that every time you see an article from a natural childbirth advocate praising the Duchess for her presumed choices, you’re viewing her insecurity on display.

  • What is most important in childbirth is the health and safety of the child and the mother. What anyone else thinks or does is really of no concern because the health factors are different for every birth.

  • mabelcruet

    I know this is very late to the discussion, but I wanted to correct a statement in the original piece. Maternity care in the UK is generally midwife-led, that is true, but women can see a consultant and access consultant care without payment, its not necessary to go privately for this. Going privately means that you get to choose your consultant and you see the same consultant each time, but access to NHS consultant services is not blocked.

    In my little corner of the NHS, midwife led clinics are held in the same building as consultant led clinics and there is free flow of traffic between them. At the time of booking, the women are triaged into high risk and low risk based on various parameters and depending on this they start out as midwife led care or consultant led care. There is also shared care, shared between midwife and family doctor, although very few family doctors provide maternity services any more (it is specified in the contracts if they want to do this). We have only one stand alone midwife-led birth centre, and they have a very low threshold for transferring out. Virtually all midwife led units are in the same department as the consultant led service, or in a ‘Home from Home’ unit which is right next door the medical maternity unit.

    Midwives can ask for medical input if necessary, there are protocols in place for the transfer of care (such as if the estimated fetal weight is crossing centiles, or the baby is persistently breech) and for women who have had problems in a previous pregnancy they are initially assessed by a consultant (because they start out as ‘high risk’) and can be transferred to midwife care is all is going well. Even if everything is going well, but the woman is extremely anxious she can ask to be seen by the consultant for reassurance. Perhaps its a little different where I am but no one is denied consultant care if they need it, and there is a very solid, very strong working relationship between the midwives and the obstetricians. We have some brilliant midwives-from my experience (as a paediatric pathologist) they are very much committed to working well as a team. Quite often I get the midwives coming to my talks about autopsies, or coming down to watch one because that way they can help give families the information and support they need if a baby dies.

    There is an awful lot wrong with the NHS, but there are a lot of pockets of excellence as well (its just a matter of getting them all joined up, but after the General election results I don’t think that is going to happen…)

  • Pinky

    ” The Duchess, like any mother anxious to get the best possible care for herself and her child, gave birth in a hospital, with obstetricians supervising her care. Midwives may or may not have caught the baby, but it was hardly midwife-led care. That’s because when it’s REALLY important to ensure the survival of mother and baby (because they are part of the royal family), midwife-led care is viewed as unacceptably second rate.”
    It’s interesting that the queen had all 4 of her children at home.

    • Amazed

      It’s even more interesting that the Queen was born at home via c-section.

      I am always stunned how palaces that can easily accommodate a private OR with all the staff needed for emergency operations are equaled to second floor flats with a midwife whose solution for a PPH is blowing cinnamon in the face or sacred mojo-jojo, still uncertain which, of the bleeding woman.

      • KarenJJ

        And by all accounts, Queen Victoria had zero interest in feeling any pain during childbirth.

        • sdsures

          A stubbornness to be admired, IMO.

    • moto_librarian

      Right. With a complete operating theatre set up in case a c-section was warranted. And with pethidine to relieve the pain of contractions. And all four delivered by an obstetrician.

      • Pinky

        all women can have pethedine to relieve the pain of labour at home or in hospital in the UK, along with TENS and Entonox. And a UK-trained university educated midwife would not blow cinnamon into a bleeding woman’s face. S/he would give syntocinon, either IM or IV & call an ambulance to transfer ( or suture if it were from lacerations.

        • Amazed

          Can she offer a c-section? Looks like Queen Elizabeth didn’t believe she could. I suppose it was the same with the Duke and Duchess of York. I really doubt it was a midwife, even a UK-trained university educated one who did the Duchess home c-section.

          • Mattie

            not sure if you mean the birth of the Duchess of York or the births of her children (Beatrice and Eugenie), if it’s the latter they were both born at the Portland, so no home births for them 🙂

          • Amazed

            No, I mean the Duke of York who later became King George VI.

          • Mattie

            Got it, gets so confusing when they all have the same names haha

          • Amazed

            Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother… that really got me for a while.

          • Mattie

            I used to think it was Queen Elizabeth (The Queen)’s mother…which also makes sense, I dislike that the mad King George was married to Queen Charlotte, and now we have Prince George and Princess Charlotte and that’s just a no

          • Amazed

            Fortunately, we have Big Bad Obstetrics, so I won’t mind so much even if a Leopold appears in her life at some point!

  • FormerPhysicist

    I try to ALWAYS validate and thank the cleaning staff.

  • Amazed

    http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-moms/news/kate-middleton-birth-details-royal-baby-delivered-without-epidural-201545

    You have it, folks. We now have some very informed people thinking that “medically necessary” equals “emergent”. And “natural birth” is best for mother and babies. And of course, the article was not implying that non-epidural births were best!

    Fucking cows who think that everyone fits into their worldview that’s limited to their own easy, cow-like births. In fact, that’s a lie. Cows have the good sense to be terrified of birth, they don’t pretend it’s orgasmic (well, the one I ever heard in labour didn’t, she was sounding a lot like someone in pain) and I’m sure as hell they wouldn’t judge their fellow cows for accepting a pain-relieving option.

    Sorry, cows. I am sorry I used you to signify foolishness.

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    • SporkParade

      This comment section has become very much about cows lately. That’s not a complaint, merely an observation. I guess because gerbils tend to just show up in the middle of the night.

      • Daleth

        Also, the delivery of baby gerbils is only rarely attended by veterinarians.

        • SporkParade

          Sometimes, it is attended by middle school students. ::wince::

          • Mattie

            you got a CPM to attend to your gerbil, excessive 😉

          • sdsures

            Won’t someone THINK OF THE GERBILS?

    • sdsures

      Oh GOD, that blog post is irritating!

  • Lion

    Have I ever been thankful for what I have learned on this blog. I live in a developing country, and for the most part, we do have access to pretty good health care, however, occasionally the system fails us. I had to deliver a slightly early baby born in a shower last week. The mother had received ante natal care but had not been told what to expect for the birth or prepared in any way. She didn’t have a very painful labour and so she didn’t realise she was in labour until the birth was imminent and she was in active labour. I was nearby and ran there when I heard screaming for help. I have done some first aid courses, so I have a kit and gloves with me at all times. I didn’t have to do anything, just had to calm the mother, as thankfully the birth was really straightforward. I kept chanting to myself what I’ve read here so many times – most births go fine (I left out the bit about how some go so horribly wrong and so quickly). I called an ambulance, tied and cut the cord, encouraged mom to push out the placenta, popped it in a medical waste bag to go with to hospital and then tried to warm mom and baby a bit with blankets. We waited about an hour for the ambulance. I mentioned this to a few friends who visited me later in the day, most expressed sympathy for the new mother, who is very young and was in an emotional state being so taken by surprise a month before baby was due. One friend however saw fit to comment how lucky the mother was to have such a beautiful birth. I don’t know. I was there, there was blood everywhere, she cried in terror, she screamed in pain, and we were just lucky that there were no complications and baby appeared healthy and was breathing well. It was terrifying for me, so I can only imagine how the mother felt. Birth is not beautiful.

    • moto_librarian

      I’ll bet that new mom was thankful to have you there, helping to keep her calm. It’s incredibly callous for someone to make such a remark about a preterm, precipitous birth. I doubt the mother felt like it was a “beautiful” birth.

    • RKD314

      This is one of the things I’m most scared about in relation to my impending move. Where I live now is about a 7 min drive from the hospital. With my first baby the whole thing was only 4 hours start to finish and they told me “Next baby, you go to the hospital right away, because it will be even faster!” (They didn’t understand I had done exactly that this time….language barrier.) I’m terrified that when I move I won’t be as close to a hospital, and so I won’t get there fast enough. One hour for an ambulance??? And I’ve heard many people say that they live/work an hour or more from the hospital they’re set to deliver at…very frightening, and I’m glad you were there for this woman.

      • Lion

        A friend of mine who had a precipitous birth with her first baby was induced at 38 weeks with her secnd baby to avoid exactly what you are worried about. Would that perhaps be an option? Could you request a c section?

        • RKD314

          Maybe, I’m certainly not against a c section. Right now I’m not even expecting, but it’s good to hear reports that this is even allowed. I’ve heard lots of stories of women being refused elective c sections or inductions pre 39 weeks.

  • toni

    OT: did anyone read this and what did you make of it? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-rodakis/autism-causes_b_7172616.html have you heard about this ‘vancomycin study’? My friend just sent this to me asking for a sceptic’s opinion. She shared a video from the miracle mineral supplement folks a few weeks ago not really knowing what it was but expressing an interest in the ‘protocol’. I set her straight on what it was they actually encouraged parents to do and now she thinks I’m some kind of quackery detector but I’m really not. I am the only person that will tell her ‘this sounds like bullshit’ when she posts articles claiming to know what causes and ‘cures’ autism though. she’s not cray cray but she is at her wits’ end with her son unfortunately as well as a bit gullible and hoping something will ‘fix’ him. He was diagnosed very late and the local govt people who are supposed to help have been dragging their feet for a year and he has not received any kind of assistance.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      The “journal” that this venture capitalist published his study in has an impact factor of less than 1, which means that it is basically worthless.

      • toni

        Thanks!.. I’d forgotten that was even a thing (impact factor)

        The two studies he cites tested the theory on just 30 and 11 children. I am assuming that is no where near enough to draw a meaningful conclusion

        • Amy M

          Yeah, that’s what I was thinking—he says “the rigorous study” and it can’t be that rigorous with such a low N.

          I get that this dad (and the mom) must feel desperate and only want their son to be ok, but this is grasping at straws.

        • Mac Sherbert

          I read this last week. If you scroll through the comments there is a post from one the people that actually did one of the studies. What I got from her comment was that basically this is just a theory and deserves more research funding. She said it was a “pilot study”.

    • Cobalt

      If they ever find anything that is proven to work to improve the troublesome symptoms of autism, her kid’s doctor will hear about it. Until then it’s all theories, and you don’t want your kid being part of an uncontrolled experiment.

      And I really hope he gets good interventions, and soon. Those are proven to help.

    • Lion

      I get really annoyed with people who constantly post quackery and nonsense, and then after months of gently explaining to them how to spot the give away phrases etc, they just forward everything to me and ask about it. Seriously? I now just have a word document with links to various sceptical sites and urban myth debunking sites and I just copy and paste those to these people. It takes three or four times of doing this and then they just stop posting the stuff or sending it to me. No doubt they still believe it, they just write me off as rude though.

    • Roadstergal

      Title of the article: “An n=1 case report of a child with autism improving on antibiotics and a father’s quest to understand what it may mean.”

      Yeah, not exactly a rigorous investigation.

    • Mariana Baca

      Turns out, when autistic kids get sick, their capacity to deal with the outside world decreases — they can no longer shut off obtrusive sensory information, it is harder to process language, etc. Everything that is already more difficult for those with some ASD is much harder if stressed. If they get better, they act better. That is not a cure, that is just people having more spoons to cope when healthy. Also, many autistic kids learn skills in spurts– can’t do something for a while then can do it later pretty competently all of a sudden. In a sample size of 1, it is not surprising these factors might have coincided.

  • I can only imagine the nightmare that is the British press for this poor woman. When she had issues during her first pregnancy and everyone made a big dumb hullaballoo about it, to the point that a nurse who made a rookie mistake was driven to suicide, I seriously thought that there would be social changes. Poor lamb.

    If William ever pulled a Sean Penn on the paparazzi, it would be moral devastation on one hand, but on the other, pretty sure that they’d have it coming.

    • JC

      I’m pretty sure this “poor woman” had some idea of what she was getting into when she married into the royal family. I am not saying the press has a right to invade people’s privacy, but it is the royal family and not an average family. And the scene outside the hospital was clearly staged by the royal family to show off the baby.

      And I’m pretty sure if William went “Sean Penn” on the paparazzi, it would be considered assault.

      Seriously, all of a sudden we are talking about the paparazzi and violence is okay?

      I tell you who should feel guilty. All the women who buy the tabloid rags that these photos show up in. I haven’t bought a magazine other than National Geographic or Time in 15 years. When the public stops demanding it and buying it, then a single photo will no longer be worth thousands of dollars. Then the paparazzi will stop caring.

      • Mattie

        Actually, since the death of Diana the Press in the UK have been incredibly cordial with TRF, they signed an agreement to leave William and Harry alone while they were at school and now things are largely only reported with the permission of TRF and in formal settings such as official photos, press conferences and photo shoots. Most of the paparazzi photos come from other countries (when Wills and Kate were on holiday, and on the royal tour of Australia).

        The nurse that committed suicide, Jacinda Saldhana I believe her name was, was a tragic case and I as far as I remember everyone in the UK was shocked and revolted at the actions of the Australian radio DJs that did the prank call as well as the press for the reporting of it. But the press had nothing to do with the prank call, and the prank call had nothing to do with the media attention on Kate.

        As JC said, everyone involved with TRF are fully aware of the implications of being in the most famous family in the world, the Royals have press advisors and they work with the press as the press is inevitable, but currently the situation with the Royals and the press is a working relationship, the trust means the press get consistent photos and information, if they break that trust they don’t get anything.

      • Lion

        Well said.

      • Yes, those people should feel guilty as well. It’s an industry which is driven by demand, and I too boycott our culture of celebrity worship escapism.

        And yes, that poor woman. I feel for her, it doesn’t matter who she is.

        As for assaulting paparazzi, no one is all of a sudden talking about it. The Prince clearly won’t be nailing any photographers in the eye or throwing golf clubs at them, as hilarious as that would be.

    • monojo

      The Royal Family has always needed a good relationship with the people in order to function. It has always been the case that the people were interested in the royals, and the royals put on a show for them. Marriage processions were floated down the Thames then paraded through all the major neighborhoods so that as many people as possible could see their new princess. The birth of a prince was a holiday, and was celebrated with jousts and free wine in every square in London.

      In pre-modern times, the royal family had to depend on its relationship with the noble families to in turn keep up its relationship with the people. Now, they have to rely on the press. There is no functional reason for the royal family to exist; the only thing keeping it alive is sentimentality and a sense of tradition. They need the press to project this image. Kate Middleton knows this, and she does her job very well.

      • I 100% agree with that. They’re the morale of millions of people and their dynasty is a deeply fascinating one to study. I’m referring to the nasty press tactics, though, like the infamous topless photos.

        • monojo

          Yes, those pictures were so awful (I mean the fact that they were taken- I didn’t actually see them.) Shame on the paparazzi who took them. I can’t remember exactly, but I’m pretty sure that the British press didn’t buy or publish them. I could be wrong, but I do think that the reputable press know that if they want access, they have to play by the rules. A very odd symbiotic thing they have going on!

          • I believe it was during a French holiday? A foreign paper, all the same. Terrible. I saw it online, but didn’t go looking for it– it was plastered on a site I visit for a sort of reality show fantasy football, I was so disgusted that I gave up my little pretend league then and there. Ugh.

            And yes, it is completely odd.

  • toni

    OT: Can anyone recommend a good double buggy/stroller for a toddler and a baby? All I’m seeing are buggies for twins or normal buggies for one with cradle attachments for a newborn that don’t look like they would work past 3 months or so.

    • Bugsy

      A lot of moms around here seem to have the City Select stroller w/ one seat and the car seat attachment. We’re expecting #2, and really not sure what we’ll do for a double yet. The City Select w/ 2 kids in it looks so big to me.

      • Mattie

        depending how long they are going to be in the pram, carseats are the worst thing for newborns/young babies, they need to be lying flat, car seats should really just be in the car. A pram with one ‘carry cot’ style seat and one regular forward-facing buggy is good, even better if the carry-cot can face backwards, or at least one where the buggy is suitable from newborn (with a fully flat position). The iCandy or Bugaboo tandems are nice…if pricey, but anything along those lines would be good. Using car seats as prams is a total pet peeve lol

        • Somewhereinthemiddle

          All of my kids have hated the bucket style seats anyway and have screamed their heads off when in one. I’m always confused by babies who are happily snoozing away in one of those, lol! I’m a fan of a convertible seat and whatever kind of baby carrier ergo, wrap, mei tai for the first few months until they get too heavy. Our strollers don’t really get much use until the get closer to the 6 month mark because again, none of mine would tolerate them.

          • Mac Sherbert

            lol…My first would sleep in his. In fact, I had to resist the urge to let him sleep in it at night. He loved it. Then I had #2 who hated it (the exact same carseat!) and cried everytime I put her in it. EVERYTIME until I got smart and put her in a convertible rear facing seat.

          • Mattie

            OT but what are your (and anyone else’s) thoughts on rear-facing for longer (up to 4 in some countries, or 23kg)? I just found out about the ‘movement’ and it makes a lot of sense to me, but at least in the UK it’s so hard to even find rear-facing seats for older kids.

          • Mac Sherbert

            My 2.5 year old is still rear facing. I plan to keep her that way until at least three. Anyway, from what I can tell the idea comes from Sweden where kids are rear facing until 5. I believe their car seats are different there than what is a available in the US.

            As I have a little I’ve read up on this some and it seems in the US the car seat manufacturers are starting to make carseats that will accommodate children longer rear facing. To begin with these seats cost a lot more, but cost is coming down as it becomes more popular.

            I do wonder how tested it is in the US though. I know they’ve changed some the latch recommendations for the older kids stil in five point harnesses. Here’s a site I like that has a pretty good explanation f why rear facing is recommended. And some other stuff too. http://csftl.org/why-rear-facing-the-science-junkies-guide/

          • Mattie

            Thank you for the link 🙂 I’m found a good site in the UK that is trying to get things changed to improve safety, I’ll post the link in case you or anyone else wants to read the FAQs http://www.rearfacing.co.uk/faqs.php

          • toni

            I know right! I was there during the winter and went to mothercare for a seat for my (at the time) almost 2 yr old and they looked at me like I was an idiot for wanting a rear facing one. They told me he doesn’t need that past one year old and advised me to purchase one that looked more like a booster seat style thing for a 4 year old (but smaller). I looked it up and I found one not very plausible explanation.. that Brits drive smaller cars so forward facing is safer from 6 months on. Not at all convinced. The car I hired was an ordinary sized sedan, similar to what I drive in the States and I saw lots of other motorists in the same car in GB. I bought a rear facing one supposedly not suitable for toddlers and it fit perfectly. We mostly travelled by rail anyway

          • Mac Sherbert

            That’s interesting. According the link I provided rear-facing has nothing to do with the size of the car!

          • Wren

            I think it’s less about safer to forward face and at least partially about smaller cars (not all, obviously, but many) which cannot actually fit a rear facing seat at the correct angle and still allow for a driver who isn’t terribly short.

            I happen to drive a 5 door Honda Civic and I am 5’4″, giving me enough room, but there are plenty of smaller cars and taller drivers.

            It is possible (and legal) to import Swedish carseats to rear face longer. I opted not to, though I did import a US car seat (a Graco Nautilus) when my barely 2 year old outgrew the harnessed forward facing seats. He was very tall and all body at that point.

            I did turn my youngest at the bare minimum for the UK, but on the advice of our GP. She got car sick every time she was in the car and with the increased recline of a rear facing seat (essential for its safety) had a high risk of aspirating.

            I’m well past the rear-facing stage now for any child. My oldest is long out of a booster seat and my youngest has only a few more centimeters to go until she is out as well.

          • Mattie

            mothercare are iffy, Halfords are a little better and will fit the seat for you 🙂 the argument of driving smaller cars is stupid and sounds made-up, I really hope the law changes to be more in line with Scandinavian countries as their stats for children’s safety in cars are so much better than ours.

          • Mattie

            I mean, I’m a bit of a weirdo in that I’ve had my pram picked out since I was 14 (we had to do a school project on the cost of having a baby and my research led me to my perfect pram lol) but I just dislike the new-fangled low-down, no space buggies that are more stylish than practical…but undoubtedly my future baby will hate my perfect pram haha

      • Dr Kitty

        iCandy Pear, Bugaboo Donkey, Stokke Crusi and Baby Jogger are the ones that most of my friends and patients with twins or Irish twins seem to have gone for.

        The ones where you have a double attachment which can convert to a single buggy are good if you want to use a carrier for the baby while the older child rides, or the age gap is big enough that your older one will be out of the buggy by the time the baby is big enough to sit up.

        If your older child is big enough- the option of a single buggy with a ride on buggy board might be an alternative.

        I’m quite happy that the 6 year age gap means that we can just re-use our old Quinny Buzz when #2 arrives!

        I’m afraid I called time on using the buggy when kiddo turned 3.

        • NoLongerCrunching

          Wow, baby strollers are starting to rival band names for weirdness!

        • Bugsy

          How do you like the Quinny Buzz? We found one for free on curb day a few weeks ago…not sure if I’ll use that or our Maclaren Quest for the baby. They’re completely different types of strollers.

          • Dr Kitty

            It’s a big heavy beast, but I loved ours! Very easy to push and steer.
            The automatic unfold was what I really liked, because my back means that bending over while carrying a baby is a challenge.
            It does tend to want to unfold itself at inopportune times, but a £3 luggage strap from Ikea fixed that problem.

            I also liked the nappy bag that came with it (I never bought another) and I got a couple of hooks that attached to the handle for shopping bags, because the basket underneath isn’t very big.

            The only issue with the Buzz was getting it in and out of my car, but once it is up, it’s great!

            I used it with my MaxiCosi car seat and the carrycot/pram attachment too.

            If you have a free one in reasonably good condition, I’d say you’re very lucky! You can get lots of second hand accessories on EBay if you’re missing any kit.

    • LK

      I have a graco ready 2 grow and I find it works wonderfully for our 4 year old and newborn!!

      • Kelly

        Me too. Cheap and has worked for my three and one year old and soon to be infant. I love how my three year old can get in and out when she wants to see things.

    • Liz Leyden

      The Graco FastAction Fold Duo Click Connect Stroller is a bit heavy, but it accommodates a Graco Click Connect car seat, and apparently fits through standard doors.

    • just me

      We have circa 2013 graco duoglider. You can lay the back seat down for an infant. We’re still using it for a 2 yo & 4 yo. I like that the seats are online and not side by side.

    • Wren

      My kids are 20 months apart and we liked the Phil and Ted line. They aren’t cheap, but push like a dream even over rough pavement. Our pavements (sidewalks to Americans) are not always very wide or smooth, making side by side options difficult.

    • amanda

      My kids are 2 years apart. We loved the Phil and teds. The greatest part about it when the baby was tiny (before 4-5 months old) was that you could set it up so that baby was completely hidden from public view, with the jump seat (for toddler) ABOVE the main seat instead of below, and the baby below on the main seat flattened out. I could see down into the baby’s area, but passersby had no idea there was a baby in there-they just saw the toddler. LOVE LOVE LOVE. and it maneuvered really well, it was narrow, etc. once past that time, it also was great–just put baby in the jumpseat below the main seat. we regularly would push both of them in there until they were about 2 and 4 years old.

  • Bugsy

    “So keep in mind that every time you see an article from a natural childbirth advocate praising the Duchess for her presumed choices, you’re viewing her insecurity on display.”

    Very nice, and applicable across the board with praise for parenting choices.

  • EllenL

    If the Duchess can contribute anything to the issue of birth, it would be a return to the concept of privacy. I’d love to see that catch on.

    • Susan

      You win… Best comment!

  • Guesty

    I’ve had a few people on my feed post this article. I just want to write: “Could we please not speculate on the royal vagina and just congratulate the new parents?”

    • Guesty

      P.S. “Opting to forgo an epidural” does not make a person strong. It makes her a person who opted to forgo an epidural.

      • namaste863

        A flippin masochist is what it makes her.

        • toni

          not necessarily! could have just not been that bad… we know it was quick, at least.

        • Mattie

          Actually, you can’t judge people for not getting an epidural any more than you can judge someone for getting one. For example, I have a genetic condition that means epidurals would likely be ineffective for me, which really sucks tbh as it massively limits the choice I will have when I eventually have babies. But also it’s how you feel about the level of pain, not everyone in labour feels they need an epidural, but everyone should have it as an option.

        • Wren

          Guess I’m a masochist. Who knew?

          Alternatively, I just didn’t feel the need for it. I know I was lucky to have a relatively easy labour, but I never expected it would lead to name calling. I fully support every woman having the option to have an epidural.

        • Amy

          As others have posted, not necessarily. I have a ridiculously high pain tolerance and a huge needle phobia. Coincidentally, I have a few conditions such that the medical staff with both kids thought that an epidural wouldn’t be a good idea for me anyway.

          When I ended up with c-sections, I had spinal anesthesia instead.

        • moto_librarian

          Meh. I would never give birth without an epidural again, but my first labor had been relatively manageable up until it was time to push. That was sheer agony, but it’s different for everyone. As has been said before, true empowerment comes from having choices.

      • Kelly

        Maybe she didn’t have time. Second births go faster. Also, who know what she did in the hospital. I am just excited that she named her daughter the same as one of my daughters.

  • just me

    I wish them well but it kinda sucks that Kate left the hospital a mere 9 hours after giving birth looking fresh and fabulous with full makeup, hair, dress, and heels, raising expectations that it’s just so easy. I’m sure she has a team of nurses wherever she went to monitor her, but still. With my births, 9 hours PP there was a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. I certainly wasn’t in full hair and makeup or even upright for that matter.

    • Cobalt

      Oh, the benefits of a staff!

    • Somewhereinthemiddle

      I just kinda feel sorry for her having to drag her rear out to greet the public so soon after having a baby looking like a million. I mean, she may have felt fantastic and totally up for all that and in that case, more power to her. But holy cow, that just seems so completely unreasonable.

      • toni

        If she felt ill I don’t think they would have expected her to. She was stood there waving for less than 2 minutes, not a major exertion really.

        Funny though how different things are here. My mum had us all in GB and was allowed, expected even, to walk the halls with the baby within hours of giving birth, and walked out of the hospital carrying us the next day. When I had my son in the States they freaked the eff out when (on day 2) I tried to take him for a little stroll down the corridor. They said if I insisted on taking him out of the room he had to be wheeled around in the little bassinet. And if I wanted to hold him on the way out to the car I had to sit in a wheelchair(!)

        • Bugsy

          Lol, I wanted to go to the hospital cafeteria the day after giving birth; policies dictated that I sign myself out of the hospital for the visit. Really? For a 5-minute trip on hospital premises? Well, okay…

          • toni

            ridickerous

        • Somewhereinthemiddle

          Walking? Yes. Looking like you are heading out for church and Sunday brunch? Nope. I have felt pretty good after birth, with the exception of my CS and I was a mess with pain and nausea. After my 2nd vaginal birth, I felt pretty good and was up walking around almost immediately. But I was still bleeding like crazy, hadn’t taken a shower, and wearing pajamas.

          • MLE

            There’s no way I could have done that after the bloodbath of my first kid’s birth, but after this last one I understand how it’s possible. The birth was so damn easy I was giddy, and I got dressed up and groomed to take a picture to send to my coworkers (not letting them see me in jammies). The first birth was very “natural” and the second was….an induction! Dun Dun Duuuuhhhhhn! I’m still bowled over at how lucky I was.

          • nomofear

            Ha! I did the same, all NCB for the first, and all modern medicine for the second, and would have a million kids if they were all as easy as the second. My abs didn’t even hurt the next day, when they were sore for weeks after the first.

        • Azuran

          The popular theory about the whole wheelchair thing is that American people love to sue for anything. So if you walk around in the hospital and drop your baby you could sue them and claim that they are responsible because they let you take the baby.

          • WordSpinner

            I had minor surgery a year ago and they kicked me out of the recover room basically as soon as I was awake (I only was awake because the goddamn automatic blood pressure cuff…), insisted on wheeling me out to the car so my mom could drive me the five minutes to my second-floor apartment in a building without and elevator. I barely made it up–the surgery itself wasn’t bad (though the stitches made it hard to sit upright) but the sedatives from anesthesia hadn’t really worn off all that much.

          • toni

            Can they only be sued if you hurt yourself whilst on hospital premises? No obligation to make sure your home is safe/accessible post-op?

          • Cobalt

            That’s awful!

          • Kazia

            I had pretty major surgery two months ago, and planned to spend one night in the hospital. The next me day, they kept asking me if I was sure I was okay to go home. I was totally fine (until the anti emitics wore off anyway).

        • Mac Sherbert

          Yep. They are not letting you do anything that might result in a fall. (I also think it adds to the whole baby abduction prevention too. Anyone just walking about with newborn would be a red flag). To many lawsuits. I was up and about really soon after my C-section. Anyway, with my mom there and the baby asleep I took a shower. When my doctor came in she was impressed, but said the nurses wouldn’t be happy about it. Oh, well.

      • carr528

        I think that they also realize how disruptive their presence is to the other patients in the hospital, so they spend as little time there as possible.

        Even if Kate had a “home birth”, it wouldn’t be quite like the HB the crunchy crowd thinks it is. She’d be attended by doctors and nurses, and have all of the conveniences of modern medicine, just inside a palace. The Queen was born at home by c-section. Not quite the “getting back to nature” the NCB crowd would advocate. 😉

        • Any “home birth” the royal family might have would be in a fully-equipped delivery suite, complete withe necessary facilities for a C/S, in the palace. Not something the average home birthing couple could afford. Just as the venue for Princess Charlotte’s birth was not your average NHS hospital.

          • Who?

            They used to birth ‘at home’ ahem in the palace, with the Lord Chancellor in attendance to ensure no tricky baby swapping shenanigans happened. I think the current Queen may have put a stop to the latter, but don’t know where Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward wiere born.

          • Mattie

            Charles – Buckingham Palace, Anne – Clarence House, Andrew – Buckingham Palace and Edward – Buckingham Palace. I think William and Harry were the first Royals to be born in a hospital. although both Beatrice and Eugenie were born at the Portland 🙂

        • Mattie

          Not really disruptive at all, I don’t think the lindo wing has other patients while the Royals are there, although I may be wrong, and it’s separate from the rest of the hospital anyway, Also there are no nurses in maternity units, just midwives, not super important although I feel we should make the distinction as the two branches of healthcare involve different education and yeh I dunno, for the most part midwives don’t really like being called nurses lol

        • Elizabeth A

          I’ve seen people crowing about her midwife attended birth, conveniently ignoring the report that a team of surgeons and neonatologists were standing by – in the next room, prepped and ready to go, just in case.

          They say if this was good enough for Kate, it should be good enough for everyone! And indeed, a birth with emergency specialists ready and waiting just steps away in case of need should be good enough for anyone.

      • Mattie

        There is no way in hell she’d have been forced to leave, with George she remained in hospital a lot longer, but you could see just by looking at them that they both felt a lot more confident going home, plus I imagine they wanted to spend time at home with George and their families. I can’t imagine that their experience at home will be a lot like a lot of people’s (nanny, staff etc…) but also if she was healthy and happy to leave then no need to stay really. She will be getting postnatal visits from midwives same as all other women who have their babies in the UK.

        • Somewhereinthemiddle

          I didn’t say anything about her going home the hospital, just having to leave the place looking like she is out for Sunday church and brunch 9 hours after having a baby.

          • Amazed

            It’s only for a few minutes, though. Once in the car, perfect makeup and winning smile like “Ain’t life wonderful” can be tucked away.

          • Mattie

            Ahh ok 🙂 well, having a hairdresser, make up artist and stylist definitely helps, and tbh if that was a service available on the NHS I imagine a few women would go for it lol

        • Elizabeth A

          Here is what I assume about those outside-the-Lindo-Wing appearances:

          I assume Kate has a stylist who comes in and works on her for an hour or so before they hit the doors.
          I assume those high heeled shoes are three sizes up from her usual and padded to hell and gone.
          I assume that she has the option to ride a wheelchair to the door.
          I assume she is the first person into the car.
          I assume that once they get home, she can crawl into her favorite pajamas and people will bring her things.

          I also assume that she is doing those appearances out of some kind of graciousness to a curious public. She could probably arrange to sneak out a back entrance or a loading dock. Instead, she gets dressed and stands at the door. It’s really quite sweet of her.

    • Monkey Professor for a Head

      Given the media circus camped outside the hospital, and that whole episode with the Australian radio hosts that happened with her last pregnancy, I don’t really blame her for wanting to get the hell out of hospital. As for her appearance, I’m sure that if she looked even a little bedraggled, there would be all manner of speculation about why – it was probably worth the effort to look the way she did in order to avoid headlines about (for example) PPD.

      • Who?

        And I think she likes it. The Ring is always on display, she’s always in heels. She’s very polished, with lots of people to help her-that blowdry can’t be a quick job. Or is it a wig (just remember you heard it here first).

        They seem to do the public thing then retreat-the boy has hardly been seen in public in his life-and good on them.

        Was horrified to hear some idiot with a microphone opining that the girl could become a style icon like her mother and grandmother though. We haven’t come all that far, apparently-no one is talking about either child being a pilot like dad.

        • demodocus’ spouse

          Maybe George will be the style icon.

      • Cobalt

        And she has to get from the hospital to home somehow, which means going outside, and she’s just plain not allowed to be less than camera ready in public.

        • Elizabeth A

          That hospital has a loading dock somewhere. The Lindo Wing departure appearance is optional. It’s awfully nice of her to let all of us have a peak at the baby at her expense.

      • namaste863

        Actually I think she looked worlds better this go round. By that, I mean in a better frame of mind. When George was born, in spite of the primping and the makeup and the smile for the cameras, I personally saw utter exhaustion etched in every line of her face. Which was to be expected, of course. This time it looks to me like she actually had some energy and good spirits left. She looked less spent and drained.

    • Sarah1035

      I actually felt better later the day I gave birth than I did the subsequent days after the adrenalin had worn off. She had other people do her hair and makeup, All she had to do was smile and wave for two minutes before getting into a car. It’s not like she gave a speech and did a walk around. Now she gets to relax in privacy with all the doctors coming to her. It was a smart move if you ask me.

      • Mattie

        They’re off to Norfolk soon, probably to get away from the crowds in London, and let the family get to know Charlotte 🙂 I think they have a fairly small staff (Charlotte and George will be sharing a nanny for example) and last time the postnatal care was the standard care given to all women, no special doctors or teams of nurses monitoring. Obviously it’s handy that they live so close to the hospital and can go if there are any problems, that’s vastly different than for a lot of people.

      • Cobalt

        I’ve felt great right after mine. I blame the hormones/endorphins/whatever. I felt ready to climb mountains, because surely I could fly. 12 hours later? I just want to be home, in bed, with the lights out. For a week.

    • MHAM

      We were joking about this on one of my mom forums. Somebody said it must be great having a stylist. And I thought, “A stylist wouldn’t have been able to help me. I would have needed a necromancer.”
      But very happy for them! And I love the name! Charlotte Elizabeth is my mother’s name – she is so excited.

    • monojo

      I don’t completely disagree, but I also think that most people understand that the Duchess of Cambridge has more resources than most. She was also always impeccable throughout her pregnancy, which by some accounts was an unpleasant one. This woman knows her duty.

  • sdsures

    “It is unfortunate that non-royals do not have the same easy access to obstetrician led care, the safest form of care. Midwife-led care predominates in the UK National Health Service (NHS) because it is cheaper.As always, you get what you pay for and those who can pay more choose obstetricians.”

    A slight correction, if I may, Dr Amy, as I’ve lived in three different UK towns and cities (some very large, some so tiny they haven’t got their own hospitals and you have to go to the next town.):

    Patients on the NHS who have more complicated cases will be referred to an OB at the outset.

    The defect in the current NHS model is that only if you can prove at the outset that you definitely need an OB-led care (i.e. in my case: history of cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus and dodgy hips means I will definitely need a CS and never be able to deliver vaginally), are you assured of one, rather than going to the midwife-led care unit.

    But, as you’ve written about before, the RCOM can and do screw up, as they did in the PREVENTABLE death of Joshua Titcombe. The woo is strong with the RCOM. But if someone ever tried to convince me to have a natural birth based on NCB ideology despite my medical history, they’d be laughed out of the room, and hopefully smacked on the nose with a newspaper by the OB department.

  • Amy M

    Ugh, this came up on STFU parents, and someone said something about how NCB is supposed to be empowering. So I said that it doesn’t empower anyone, and that a woman who is experiencing mind-bending pain is basically at the mercy of her caregivers. Two people didn’t understand this and one suggested I was smoking something. So, I tried again: people in such mindblowing pain that they can’t speak have no power. Hopefully, my point will be understood this time.

    • demodocus’ spouse

      Probably not.

    • nomofear

      Dude, in my freestanding birth center birth, it took three hours to push my baby out because I went out of my mind with the pain. Even after experiencing it, I wouldn’t admit to it until years afterward, when I found this site and was disavowed of all of the NCB foolishness. So, no, they probably won’t listen!

    • Liz Leyden

      The empowerment comes from being able to choose a midwife-assisted birth. My parents and grandparents were from the segregated South, where a black woman who couldn’t get into a hospital had a home birth with a midwife, whether she wanted it or not.

      • And the “midwife” was usually a black woman with no credentials beyond a brief course in aseptic procedures. I remember one anecdote about how they were taught to always have a supply of newspaper, to cover tabletops,etc. newsprint, because of the way it’s produced (heat is used to dry the ink rapidly) is actually much cleaner than many dirt-floored cabins were, and the midwife would use it instead of sterile linens for her case and instruments.

        There’s a short film, made in the 1950s, called “All My Children” about these “granny midwives”

      • Amy M

        That’s a good point, but that choice is made before labor starts. So today, (at least in the US), black women (theoretically) have the same power as white women (though we know there is unfortunately still institutionalized racism), in terms of choosing a provider, or choosing to go unmedicated.

        During an unmedicated birth, though, most women (yes, I know not all of them experience terrible pain) aren’t in any shape to tell you what pizza toppings they prefer, let alone make any kind of real decision. And then, there’s all the stories we’ve heard of women asking for painkillers and being denied or stalled, by their partners, nurses or midwives. Those women were disempowered and unable to get what they wanted or be taken seriously.

        • Kelly

          I was talking a mile a minute when I was in pain but I could not spell my child’s name. I was not in control.

    • SporkParade

      Where is the STFU parents group and will they be my friend?

      • Amy M

        Facebook—just type in STFU, I am sure you will find it. 🙂