iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Giving birth is the most primal act in a woman’s life. And yet, modern medicine has turned birthing into a sterile, medical procedure, often performed in a hospital operating room.
But more and more women are rejecting the traditional hospital approach to delivery in favor of a more “personalized” birthing experience, with some literally going back to their primal roots by trekking into the wilderness to give birth.
Born in the Wild is a new reality TV show, which debuts on Lifetime on Tuesday at 10 p.m. It features expectant mothers who chose to give birth outside in the woods. Peter and Audrey Bird, who live in Alaska and have three children, are featured on the show. They said they had a negative experience in the hospital with the birth of their 6-year-old son.
"My labor was full of fear," Audrey, 25, says on the show. "That's not something that I ever wanted to do again.”
So to welcome their daughter Piper, they decided to go into the great outdoors to give birth in a makeshift tent, with no medical professionals.
"I’m excited to have my baby outside in Alaska," Audrey said. "We’re surrounded by the lake, the trees, and the clouds, and the mountains. It’s absolutely breathtaking. We are about a hundred miles from the nearest road. No power lines run to the property, no phone lines, we don't have a sewer system. On this side of the lake, it’s just us. There’s no neighbors. There’s no other families nearby. So we are very isolated."
Practicing OBGYN and ABC News contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton said, while extreme, more women are taking control of their labor and delivery.
"I think there's no question we're certainly hearing a lot more about alternative births," Ashton said. "I think in large measure that comes because women are growing more and more dissatisfied with what’s being offered by their doctor, by their board certified OB or even in some cases by a certified nurse midwife, and it’s pushing them to seek out these more extreme birthing experiences."
In suburban New Jersey, Cheryl and Terrance Suydam decided to have all three of their children born at home.
With their third child, Cheryl planned to give birth in a tub set up in the family's living room, with two midwives and her husband on hand. In the final stages of labor, she decided instead to move to the family sofa, which had been covered in plastic. After 21 hours of labor, Cheryl delivered a healthy baby girl.
Throughout Suydam's delivery, the couple's two other kids, Livvy and Alex, who were ages 3 and 6 at the time, and even the family dog, freely walked in and out of the birthing room.
Out-of-hospital births are far from the norm. Only around 1 percent of births in the United States are done outside of a hospital, according to the most recent statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"The fact of the matter remains, that in obstetrics, there can be life and death, last minute emergencies that are unexpected, unanticipated, and if they occur outside of a safe hospital or birthing center setting can be disastrous for the mother or the baby," Ashton said.
But more U.S. hospitals are seeing the trend of mothers wanting options and now offer a variety of birthing experiences, including Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.
Jennifer Horn had her son Seth at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and although it was her third time giving birth, it was the first time she was able to watch her baby being born.
Horn had previously given birth to two children via C-section, but for her third child, she decided to try Vanderbilt’s “family-friendly” C-section option.
With a traditional C-section, the surgical drape stays up for the entire surgery and the mother is cut off from the birthing process. Afterwards, the baby is usually whisked away to be cleaned up. But with the "family-friendly" option at Vanderbilt, the baby is given to the mother immediately after birth, so she can cradle her newborn, skin-to-skin.
"Studies have shown that babies who have that contact with mom, that skin-to-skin in the first hour, have higher rates of breastfeeding, longitudinally, over time when you look at that three months, six months," said anesthesiologist Dr. Sarah Starr, who helped develop the policy at Vanderbilt.
With this option, the surgical drape still goes up on the mother's midsection during the surgery, but when it's time for the baby to come out, the doctor opens a window in the drape so that the mother can have the same view of her baby being born as a mom giving birth vaginally would.
"It's just like vaginal birth. You don't see anything down there, but you get to see the baby come out," Horn said.
In the same hospital, another mom-to-be named Glenna Kramer opted for a completely different type of delivery for her first child. She wanted to have natural childbirth, without an epidural or an obstetrician present. Instead she had a midwife and a nurse help her through the delivery.
To ease the pain, Glenna used a tub of hot water, an option not available to women attached to IVs, and she had nitrous oxide, more commonly known as "laughing gas," to help take the edge off.
" more or less served the purpose of calming me down and helping me relax and helping me cope with the pain rather than taking the pain away," she said.
In the end, Glenna was snuggling happy, healthy baby boy she had brought into the world by doing it her way.
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
ABC/Lou Rocco(BOSTON) -- There is a growing body of evidence that gender identity is hard wired into the brain and not simply a matter of psychology, according to a new Boston University School of Medicine study.
Writing in the journal Endocrine Practice, the researchers said that as many as one in 100 people could be living with some form of gender identity disorder -- meaning they may identify their gender differently than the one they were born with.
For example, actress Laverne Cox was born a man but identifies as a woman.
This makes the case for doctors to use surgery and hormone treatment rather than psychotherapy alone to help their patients come to terms with their gender identity, Dr. Joshua Safer, the lead researcher and a professor at BUSM, said.
“The paper was a comprehensive review of the scientific evidence that gender identity is a biological phenomenon," Safer explained. "As such it provides one of the most convincing arguments to date for all medical providers to gain the transgender medicine skills necessary to provide good care for these individuals," he added.
Nearly 40 percent of medical students they surveyed said they were uncomfortable caring for transgendered patients, and 5 percent of medical students said that the treatment was not part of conventional medicine. After teaching a course that raised the medical students' awareness about transgender medical need, the students' discomfort dropped by 67 percent.
Safer and the other authors of the study said they hope to change the perception of transgendered people within the healthcare system so that they get better treatment. But because the study was small, it does have limitations, the researchers said, and there should be additional investigation to focus on the specific biologic mechanisms for gender identity.
The ABC News National health team would also like to raise awareness about gender identity and what it means to be transgendered. We’re holding a tweet chat on the topic Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET. Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News chief health and medical correspondent, will moderate. We’ll be joined by experts, patients and loved ones to talk about the challenges of being transgendered and what that means for overall health and wellbeing.
Joining the chat is easy. Click here to learn more.
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
RCA RecordsKelly Clarkson's new album Piece by Piece arrives today, and fans will be happy to hear that she'll be following that up with a world tour. Her eight-month-old daughter River is coming along with her, of course -- in a custom-designed, kid-friendly tour bus.
Speaking to Billboard, Kelly says, "I already designed my bus -- my bus is already ready, and we have a whole crib on there, a whole kids section for our other two kids. So we're ready for the tour, which is starting this summer, and then we go to the rest of the world after America." Kelly's "other two kids" are a boy and a girl from her husband Brandon Blackstock's first marriage.
She adds, "I don't think being a mom needs to slow you down. If anything, it just makes you more productive."
Kelly does reveal, though, that she has the help of an "amazing" nanny named Allie, who, she says, "makes it possible for me to be a working mom that gets to stay involved in my child's life."
Kelly appears on ABC's Good Morning America on Tuesday.
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Trae Patton/NBCThe blind auditions continued on NBC's The Voice Tuesday night. Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and Pharrell Williams once again sat in their rotating chairs as they listened to more singers and continued to build their teams.
Tuesday’s show included the competition’s oldest contestant so far this season, a 56-year-old former executive chef at the famed Improv comedy club in Los Angeles.
At the conclusion of Tuesday's blind auditions, Blake added three more artists to his team, for a total of seven. Pharrell added three more, bringing his total to eight. Christina tacked on two more artists, bringing the total number of members on her team to seven. Adam picked up five more artists, for a total of eight.
In a lighthearted moment, Adam pretended to deliver a blind audition by singing Elton John's "Tiny Dancer." He got all three coaches to turn their chairs around. He selected Christina. Blake joked that the only reason he turned his chair around was because he "wanted to see what the freak looked like."
Here are the highlights of Tuesday's blind auditions:
Kentucky native, Kelsie May, a 15-year-old with a throwback sound, noted that she lost one of her friends to cancer. She credits watching his brave battle as her inspiration to pursue her dream of being a country singer. She got Blake, Pharrell and Christina to turn their chairs with her version of Loretta Lynn’s “You’re Lookin’ at Country.” Christina had started singing at the age of seven and she used that experience to try and get the young singer. Pharrell called Kelsie special because she was already so clear on what direction she wanted to take with her music. Blake, predictably, dropped names of The Voice winners he’s coached to victory, including last year’s champ, Craig Wayne Boyd. Kelsie made the obvious choice and went with Blake.
Kimberly Nichole earned the nickname “The Rock Ballerina" for her custom-made tutus. After putting her singing career on the back burner to pursue a career in the fashion industry, she returned to music, landing a hosting gig at a trendy New York City club. She belted out Ike and Tina Turner’s “Nutbush City Limits" and convinced Blake and Pharrell to push their buttons. Pharrell said he felt her soul when she sang, adding her voice was “amazing.” Blake, at a loss for a strong pitch to counter Pharrell’s, noted he’s “not a soul singer,” but “has a soul,” and that he loved her. It wasn’t enough, as Pharrell nabbed Kimberly for his team.
Next up, was Fargo, North Dakota, native, Michael Leier, singing Pearl Jam’s version of the J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers’ classic, “Last Kiss.” Blake and Adam turned their chairs, leading to a “charm fest” starting with Adam, who noted that even though Leier was influenced by Pearl Jam’s lead singer Eddie Vedder, he added his own touch to the song. Blake answered by saying Levine’s pitch seemed to be more about Vedder than Michael. It was futile, as Michael picked Adam. Michael admitted later that before the audition, he was hoping to land on Adam’s team.
Travis Ewing is a professional one-man band from Lafayette, Louisiana. His love of music started in the seventh grade when a teacher helped him overcome his shyness and encouraged him to sing. The teacher then surprised Travis with a taped message to cheer him on. Travis sang Destiny Child’s “Say My Name” and immediately got Christina to turn her chair around. Blake and Pharrell eventually followed suit. Aguilera loved the “silkiness” and “texture” of Ewing’s voice, as well as his arrangement of the song, noting it was “outside the box.” Shelton fired back that he had a good track record coaching non-country artists. Pharrell told Travis that he would be a fan, as well as a mentor and would love a shot at “mixing it up.” Ewing chose Team Pharrell.
Sonic, 23, got a record deal when she was 14 years old, but it never panned out for the San Francisco native. She also revealed that she’s deaf in one ear, but refused to let that become a disability. Her version of Sam Smith’s “Money on My Mind” convinced Aguilera and Levine to push their buttons, even though both acknowledged that the performance “fell apart” somewhere in the middle. However, Adam noted that Sonic recovered quickly and hit some difficult notes. Christina applauded Sonic for taking on a “huge challenge” with the song. Sonic elected to join Christina’s team.
Taking the stage next was 18-year-old Jacob Rummell, who’s been singing his entire life. He’d love to pursue it as a career, but admits he “doesn’t know what doing.” Learning from a coach, he adds, would be “an amazing opportunity.” Rummell tackled Bruno Mars’ “Count on Me” and got Levine and Shelton to turn their chairs around. Blake confessed he thought Jacob was a girl before he turned his chair, and added that that's what he likes about the show the most. Adam argued that he had more in common musically with Jacob and compared him to a young Michael Jackson. Rummell surprised all the judges by choosing Shelton.
Barry Minniefield, 52, was an executive chef at the Improv comedy club in Los Angeles who eventually opened up his own catering company called No Laughing Matter. Barry said he became chummy with some of the comedians at the club, and counts Jay Leno among his famous friends. Leno even sent Barry a taped message to wish him good luck. Barry eventually retired from cooking to pursue music. His version of Billy Paul’s “Me and Mrs. Jones” got Adam to turn his chair around at the last second. He joins Team Adam.
The final act of the night was Brooklyn, New York, native and current UCLA music student India Carney, who took on Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind.” She got all four coaches to turn their chairs around and received a standing ovation from all of them. An intense battle between the coaches began with Christina noting she needed to have the singer on her team because Carney is a “vocal beast.” Shelton said he fell in love with India’s voice and was a fan, as well as a potential coach. Pharrell begged Carney to join his team, and vowed to try and steal her away from whoever did wind up with her. Adam, noting that even though his team was nearly full, he had to push his button for her Carney, adding, she was “going to the end of this thing and I want to be on that train." India picked Christina.
The blind auditions on The Voice will continue Tuesday night at 8 p.m. Eastern time on NBC.
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