by Beverly Reed, MD
I have a secret and I guess it’s going to come out eventually…I like to watch “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”. Yes, those sisters get a lot of flack, but I can’t be the only one watching, right? As an OB/GYN, I didn’t ever think I would have much to learn about birth from a Kardashian sister. But, flashback to 2010: I was pregnant and I was a bit terrified about the impending delivery. Could I do it? Was I strong enough? Could I handle the pain? Should I just have a c-section? I will admit that I was a pretty wimpy person overall- I didn’t even like getting my blood drawn! How would I ever be able to give birth?
And then I saw this.
I have since nicknamed it a “Kardashian Birth”: a technique in which the physician or midwife delivers the head and then the mother reaches down to assist with the remainder of the delivery. The mother is able to pull the baby directly to her chest for instant bonding. I was shocked when I saw the video footage. It was beautiful. It was empowering. I knew that if Kourtney Kardashian could do it, I COULD do it. And it was so refreshing to see someone embrace safe vaginal delivery during a time when many other “too posh to push” celebrities were opting for elective c-sections.
Unfortunately, I went into preterm labor with my first child. He was born at 33 weeks. Since he needed to be taken immediately to neonatal ICU, we did not have the option for a “Kardashian Birth”. Three and half years later, I was about to deliver my next child. It was a snowy night and this time my pregnancy made it much further along before I went into labor. My OB/GYN (and good friend) gave me the green light to go for a “Kardashian Birth” this round. When my son’s head delivered, I reached down and helped finish the delivery. I got to be the first person to hold him and dry him off. It was a very special moment that I will never forget. It also really kept my mind off of all the other things going on below (like delivering the placenta and having my laceration sewn up).
So, are you sold yet? Do you want to have a Kardashian Birth? Here is how to make it happen. First, make sure that you understand that this is only a technique that can be used if you and the baby are in good health and there are no other interfering medical issues. Here are just a few examples of situations that may not be a good match for a Kardashian Birth:
- The baby will need immediate medical attention
- Your physician or midwife may need to use special maneuvers for delivery due to the baby’s size
- You are not feeling strong enough to safely hold the baby
Next, you need to communicate to your physician or midwife how you would like to give birth. I’m sure it won’t surprise you to know that most OB/GYNs don’t watch the Kardashians (gasp) and so he or she may have no idea what you are asking for when you ask for a Kardashian Birth. I recommend that you show the youtube video that I have linked above and ask if they would be willing to let you give it a try. At the end of the day, your physician or midwife will be able to give you the best advice on whether this type of birth is safe in your circumstance.
Kourtney Kardashian has since gone on to have 2 more repeat performances of a “Kardashian Birth” with her children Penelope and Reign. If Kourtney can do it, you can do it too! Happy Birthing!
Dr. Beverly Reed is a board certified Ob/Gyn and Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility Fellow. She has a passion for understanding how our environment influences fertility and is actively involved in research investigating BPA. Dr. Reed started her training at Texas A&M and went on to complete an Air Force Residency at the San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium. Her service in the military took her to Langley Air Force Base where she served as Deputy Medical Director of the busiest Labor and Delivery in the Air Force. After serving her country, she moved back to Texas with her husband and two sons. She is currently a Fellow at UT Southwestern Medical Center. In addition to environmental factors, she is also interested in various methodologies for IVF stimulation. Dr. Reed wants all women to be well-educated in women’s health and childbirth.