Brooke Burke on her births and having the experience you want

01/17/2008 at 04:53 PM ET

Brookeburke188847_cbbActress Brooke Burke, 36, has been blogging throughout her fourth pregnancy (baby’s due on March 15th) on her Baboosh Baby site. In her latest entry, she discusses her birth experiences with her daughters, and how to prepare for the experience you want with your own births.

Hi, it’s 4:00 am. I’ve been up with Sierra all night who is sick now too.  It seems to be passing through my family one by one.  I can’t sleep so I thought I’d write.  I am also going through that stage of tossing and turning, switching from side to side, and dreaming of labor! I cannot wait to meet my baby.

I went to an amazing premiere a few nights ago called "The Business Of Being Born."  It’s a documentary by Ricki Lake about the birthing process and the many choices we have.  It was very emotional, informative and shocking in many ways.  The information it provided for expectant mothers was eye opening and a bit disturbing. 

It was pro home birth.  I used to think I wanted to experience that, but I was quickly talked out of it by my ex [Garth Fisher] who is a doctor, and very conservative.  It turns out that I delivered Neriah 5 weeks premature, and it would have been a very dangerous situation.  I went into labor with Sierra 3 weeks early, and I was induced with Rain for several reasons 2 weeks early. 

As much as the thought of a candle-lit, warm bath delivery at home sounds kind of cool; I think I feel safer in the hospital.  I have to admit though, after watching the film I really hope that all things happen naturally in my body and I can deliver without being induced. 

I think it is so important to have a birthing plan and go over it with your doctor. I know many women who have had a traumatic experience because of a lack of information, intimacy, and fear. 

Try to be as informed as possible before you get close to your due date about the process, get all your questions answered.  If a natural delivery is important to you, find out what your Dr.’s percentage of c-sections is, and how often he induces and why.  You can also have a doula present at your birth, in or out of the hospital. 

Sometimes what we imagine and wish for is out of our control because of unexpected circumstances or complications.  I don’t want to scare anyone, because labor is scary enough, but get informed, so you can have a beautiful experience.

Love, Brooke


Picture_1Baboosh Baby, Brooke Burke’s new line of post-partum belly wraps, stretch-mark oils, organic t-shirts and recycled diaper bags, is named after the French term of endearment and is also Rain’s nickname. For more info, check out BabooshBaby.com.

When it was time for you to deliver, did you feel as informed as you could given your circumstances?

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tink1217 on

Brooke is amazing. I have to say I admire her so much. And as far as birth goes…anything can happen. Yes, our bodies were meant to give birth. I wish mine had cooperated. With my first child I went into labor a few days before I was due. My water broke almost immediately but contractions weren’t doing much so they gave me Pitocin. It helped, but only got me to 5cm. My daughter’s head was crooked and she was sunny side up which caused terrible back labor. It was tremendous pain. Almost unbearable. After 3 hours stuck at 5cm I developed a fever. After another hour or two of monitoring and fetal heartbeats going down a few times the doctor decided a csection was best. By that time I just wanted it to be over with. I wanted my baby to be safe and sound and the pain to be gone. It had been 24 hours since my water had broken. So, I had already had an epidural and they just dosed it again and took me to surgery. I was awake, my husband beside me and my beautiful baby girl was born. When my doctor began closing me back up my epidural had started to wear off and I started actually feeling pain. So, very quickly they knocked me out completely and I woke up in the recovery room with my husband sleeping next to me. My daughter had to be taken to the NICU because of my fever during delivery. She was given IV antibiotics to ward off any infections and I didn’t get to see her for almost 24 hrs. Just the picture the nurses brought me. I have to say that was the toughest part. With my son, who I got pregnant with 9 months later, I had an elective c section. We knew he was going to be a big baby and my daughter being 8lbs 5oz ..well, my doctor said it was probably safer to to another csection. I whole heartedly agreed. It was much different. There was no long labor, no fever, no worries. He went straight to the newborn nursery, I got to hold him right away. Completely different. I recovered quicker too. And the doc had estimated him at 9 pounds…he was 10 pounds 2 ounces and 21 and a half inches long!!!! I am so very glad I decided to have a csection.

So, I am all for natural births, home births, water births. I wish I could have experienced it that way. But, I am so very glad I was in a hospital and close to medical care JUST IN CASE. I indeed had a problem and it was managed and my kids were healthy and happy, which is all that matters in the long run.

rhian on

I love Brooke! and she is so right i went through my birthing plan about 10 times! i was all ‘i don’t want an epidural’ but i was induced and i had a reaction and my contractions were coming so fast but i wasn’t dilating enough and i had to have an epidural because my little fella was coming out back to back and i didn’t get the birth i hoped for but thankfully my little boy came out healthy 7lb 2oz and thats all that matters:-)

Yolanda on

Birth is like marathon. You have to train for it mentally and physically. Some things are instinctual, but because birth is approached as a fearful and dangerous event in this country, it takes a lot of unlearning to trust your body and approach your birth unmedicated.

I had an unmedicated, natural birth in a hospital in July of last year. I am not super woman or an athlete. Merely an overweight, average American woman who felt that all of the births I’d seen on television seemed mechanized and wrong.

If you are considering a natural birth, I highly recommend that you seek out training, as I did, by using The Bradley Method. A hospital tour or a 2-week long Lamaze class will not prepare you for a natural birth. Anything can happen when you get into the delivery room, but there is no better new mother confidence builder than crossing that finish line knowing your body did exactly what it needed to do to bring your child into this world.

Kait on

She is one of the few celebrities to come out and say “Yeah, a fully natural home birth sounds great but sometimes the situations are out of your control and it’s not your fault!”
I have so much respect for her for saying that! It seems like more and more judgement is being passed on women for the way they birth their babies. It’s sad when a mother has to feel bad about herself because she couldn’t have the perfect natural birthing experience.
Like Brooke said, the important thing is to be informed and understand what you want and what the risks are.

Catherine on

I think Brooke is great and I like her approach that every woman has to choose whatever type of birth will make her the most comfortable. My husband and I went to childbirth classes, spoke to other parents;, went on the hospital tour, and read a lot, although I didn’t write out a birth plan. I went into labor three weeks early but the idea that a successful labor is one in which both mommy and baby come through healthy. But my daughter’s lungs were still a little immature so she had to stay in the NICU for a week which I had not prepared for and I was devastated but now she is home! Yay! And yay to all mommies!

Alexandra on

When I had my daughter 21 months ago, I felt very informed. I read, read, and read some more. I asked questions of my OB/GYN before transferring to a natural birthing center. But even after my transfer, I asked questions of my midwife. I’m definitely one of those Type A personalities so I was not afraid to confront both my OB/GYN and my midwife about issues that concerned me. I also lived in an area where there were so many available resources (San Francisco Bay Area). I had no trouble finding any and every book both at the local library and the university libraries.

I saw “The Business of Being Born” last week and I can honestly say that not one piece of information surprised me. Please don’t get me wrong–I’m not saying that to boast but just to explain how impulsively and vigorously I researched this topic. I was a maniac! But it turned out to be well worth it for me because I really wanted the most natural birth possible. This had nothing to do with bragging rights or even a desire to relish the experience of unmedicated labor. Based on my own research, I firmly believed that it was the best thing for my baby. That was my own personal choice and not one that I feel should be made by anyone else.

When I read these message boards, I feel even more confident about my decision because if I had delivered with my OB/GYN, I am certain that I would have been one of those women who was told she had to have a c-section. tink1217’s post above sounds very similar to mine. I had a very long labor (37 hours), dilated slowly (only 4cm after 20 hours), experienced EXCRUCIATING back labor, and had a mild fever by the time I hit transition. But I was never told I needed to be induced or that a c-section for my 7 lb. 11 oz. baby would be best. The thing is that unless the baby is in fetal distress (and slight dips in heart rate during contractions is not fetal distress), these are all normal occurrences. Labor is a long and slow process, especially when it’s natural (there are exceptions, of course). Unfortunately, I don’t believe that even the most-intelligent, best-educated, and well-meaning doctors can recognize when a truly natural labor is progressing, well, naturally. Very few doctors have seen a fully natural labor from start to finish. It’s not their fault. That’s just the nature of modern birth. But that means that they often recommend things that they genuinely believe to be necessary but that might not actually be necessary at all. I wrote “might” because I don’t know everyone’s individual circumstance. But I will say that in the last 21 months, I have met about a dozen women whose labors progressed just like mine but who ultimately ended up having c-sections. Was I just lucky? I would never rule out that possibility. But based on my research and the skill and knowledge of my midwife, I have trouble believing that.

I agree with Brooke that women need to get educated about this. Their husbands/partners do, too! If you do not want a natural labor, that’s totally fine. But if you do, I recommend finding out if your OB/GYN has ever actually attended a fully natural labor (meaning one that was not induced, not just one that didn’t involve an epidural). Because if he/she hasn’t ever seen one, there is a very good chance that you will end up with a series of interventions that might actually have been unnecessary.

Best of luck to you all!

Mama Llama on

I’m still hoping they will share what they did with the placenta from her last pregnancy (there was a photo of them leaving the hospital, and her husband was carrying a box marked “placenta”).

BetsyC on

I agree with Brooke that you need to develop a birth plan and educate yourself about the process of labor and childbirth. However, I think it is a bit naive to believe that you have any control over how your labor starts, proceeds and how you will birth your baby.

I think the best thing that you can do is educate yourself and have a good birth attendant (be it a midwife or OB) so that you can make the best informed decision in conjunction with your healthcare team as things develop.

Believe me, I had a midwife, doula, supportive husband, great labor and delivery nurses and was physically and mentally prepared for labor and childbirth. My water broke 3 weeks before my due date and when labor did not start on its own I needed to be induced. I was in labor for 48 hours without pain medication and even labored in the birthing tub but never achieved 10cm dilation and the pushing stage. I ended up having a c section and believe me that was not in my birth plan!

I think the idea of a home birth sounds great in theory – however i do not believe it is always the safest option (it would not have been for me) and therefore I think women should remain open minded about childbirth because anything can happen. When you have your heart set on a certain scenario it is extremely difficult when things go differently.

Heather on

I love Brooks’ blog. I’m not pregnant but I feel like I can relate to her a lot anyway. She’s so down to earth. And her advice is very noteworthy.

amelita on

Well said, Brooke!!

adriana on

I really like brooke, one of my favorite blogs to read. She seems so down to earth and nice, and most of all honest. I had heard before that her 2 oldest daughter were born early, she was on bed rest with neriah for awhile and still had her 5 weeks early and she weighed 4lbs 12oz, and than sierra was early too and weighed 5lbs 2oz.

I agree with brooke home births are nice, but I personally feel safer in a hospital because you just never know what can go wrong, you may want a natural birth but end up needing a c-section, and the hospital for me feels the most safe for me and my child. Considering all 3 of her children were born early, I’m think this baby might be born in Feb. I can’t wait to see if it’s a boy or girl this time.

Lisa on

Give me a hospital full of doctors and modern technology anyday. I’m a “what if” type person, and I want to be surrounded by anything that will help my baby and myself just in case something happened. I had a single birth,medicated with epidural and I delivered twins with no pain medication(not my choice but they came very fast, total l&d was under 2 hrs.). But that is/was my choice and I fully applaud anyone who chooses something different, because that is what is right for them and their experience. To me the best result is a happy & healthy mom/baby, no matter what route they took.

Laura on

I don’t have time to post my whole traumatic first birth experience with my son.. but I will say that you SHOULD demand to have your wishes heard and met. In a country like Holland where I live now, it’s all gungho about home births, natural as possible etc. I HAD to go to hospital as my son was 14 days overdue and not allowed to be born at home. Once you enter the hospital you basically write your body away to other people and have to hope for the best. Nothing went as I wanted, which yeah, I know that is how life is sometimes, but looking back there were things they could have done to make the experience better for our family.

I def want to see this movie!

Kari on

I had to chime in on the natural birth topic. I’ve had two of them, both in hospital. The first was a fight – I had the point-by-point birth plan (which basically sent the message that I didn’t trust my doctor or the hospital) and went to a hospital with zero experience or respect for a drug-free delivery. I actually had a crowd watching me deliver, because they’d never seen one before and were curious! The second time, my wonderful new doctor read the same point-by-point birth plan and advised me to put it away, and write a new one to the effect of “I want a natural delivery. Please do everything you can to make that possible.” The hospital I switched to knew what that meant – and did.

The experiences were so different, and the key was that, the second time, I knew to seek a medical team that I trusted. If my second doctor told me I needed a c-section, or to be induced (I actually went into labor the night before my scheduled induction, a week late) I was ready to trust her fully. She was also a key ally in helping to remind the nurses that we were doing this differently (there was a shift change, and the new nurse started yelling, “1, 2, 3 . . .” during a contraction – my doctor just looked at her and said quietly, “We’re not counting”). I think trust is the most important thing of all.

I highly recommend “Birthing from Within” for anyone thinking of a natural birth, particularly if you’ve had a different or bad experience before.

Annie on

I appreciate Brooke’s perspective. Childbirth is natural, but so is women dying during childbirth. For ages women (and babies)have died during childbirth. Modern medicine helps to prevent this natural occurrence. For this reason, I think it is important to be flexible with your birth plans and be aware that things might not go as planned. Natural birth may sound wonderful, but at the end of the day, the focus should be on keeping mommy and baby alive and healthy.

Lauren on

I totally agree with Brooke and appreciate her honesty regarding her feelings about home/natural/water births. They do sound ideal and excellent in theory, and God bless anyone that can do it. Childbirth is a natural human experience; unfortunately, as Annie said, so is dying during childbirth. Let’s face it, if childbirth were all natural, there would be no need for hospital intervention in the first place. What if the mother begins experiencing rapid blood loss? What if the baby isn’t breathing and needs to be hooked up to oxygen? What if serious complications come about and an emergency c-section is necessary? Emergencies pop up during labor and birth all the time, and by the time necessary medical intervention comes, it may be too late. What people do is their own choice, but in my opinion, there are far too many “what if?” scenarios for me to even consider not giving birth in a place where I would feel most comfortable. For me, that place is a hospital where I could be assured that if anything went wrong with myself or my child, help would be a step away.

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