The Business of At-Home Births

Medical community criticizes Ricki Lake for supporting at-home births.

ByABC News via logo
June 22, 2008, 8:43 AM

June 22, 2008 — -- A television personality's support of home births has ignited a debate with the medical community about the births' safety.

Like a growing number of mothers-to-be, actress and former talk show host Ricki Lake chose to forgo the hospital and give birth at home for her second pregnancy.

With a midwife, but no doctors, Lake gave birth in a bathtub at her home to her second son Owen seven years ago, and she even allowed it to be filmed for the documentary "The Business of Being Born."

"I got the contraction in the bathroom," Lake said. "There's a lot of pain. But when I finally surrendered to the pain ... I was so excited. I was like, 'Mom, mom this is my midwife. She delivered my baby.' And she stopped me and she said, 'No, you delivered your baby, Ricki.'"

After her experience, Lake became a vocal champion of women's rights to choose between a home or hospital birth. But the media attention about her passionate views has made the mainstream medical community nervous.

"I'm very concerned about anyone who may be advocating for home birth," said Dr. Erin Tracy, of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

In a recent resolution drafted by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the organization singled out Lake for "taking on the baby birthing industry."

The statement reiterated the group's position against home childbirths.

While Lake said she expected some backlash, "I didn't expect to be personally targeted."

But Tracy said the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists was "not singling out any individuals in our resolution. But some celebrities have been interviewed about their experiences on home births. But there are dangers, risks. Babies get stuck in the cord, uncontrollable bleeding, et cetera.