A Silent Scientologist Birth for TomKitten?

ByABC News via logo
October 13, 2005, 7:40 AM

Oct. 13, 2005 — -- When Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes announced they were expecting a child, speculation about the birth started immediately.

The couple practices Scientology, where mothers are encouraged to perform silent birth. That means no yelling or talking during the delivery and doctors are asked to remain quiet as well. It is believed the quiet birth reduces trauma during delivery and therefore prevents irrational fears later in life.

Actress Kelly Preston, wife of John Travolta, delivered her daughter in a silent birth without painkillers and admitted to Redbook magazine that it wasn't easy.

"It got hardcore at the end because she was so big," Preston said. "I changed my mind and said, 'Throw me in the car! I want an epidural!"

Preston was too far along and had to give birth at home. The church doesn't exclusively ban painkillers, but many mothers refrain from using them.

Fellow Scientologist Brittany Wadhams refused painkillers and tried her best to stay quiet.

"About a half hour before pushing, that's when it got more difficult, and that was when I would have a contraction and then I would start screaming," Wadhams said.

A doctor who has attended silent births says medically there's nothing wrong with the practice, but adhering to it might be impossible.

"For many women, I think that it would be difficult to maintain complete silence during delivery," Dr. Thomas Murphy Goodwin told "Good Morning America." "It can be extremely uncomfortable physically and there can be an emotional component that it would make it hard to be totally silent."

Officials at the Church of Scientology say silent birth is practiced at the discretion of the parents and their doctor.

Former Scientologist Lawrence Woodcraft said he felt awkward asking doctors to go along with a silent birth when his daughter was born using the method.

"To me it was very strange and embarrassing, particularly asking the medical staff and doctors to be quiet," Woodcraft said. "They're like, 'Well, we have to do our job.' So that was stressful and difficult."