Ricki Lake is firing back at a physician’s group that singled her out for bringing attention to at-home baby births.
The 39-year-old former talk-show host is named in a recent statement by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that says the home is not the safest setting for giving birth.
In her film “The Business of Being Born,” a documentary about the maternity care system that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, Lake is shown giving birth in the bathtub of her Manhattan apartment to her second son Owen, who turns seven on Wednesday.
The college’s statement, supported in a resolution Tuesday by the American Medical Association, said, “There has been much attention in the media by celebrities having home deliveries,” citing a “Today Show” headline that read “Ricki Lake takes on the baby birthing industry: Actress and former talk show host shares her at-home delivery in her new film.”
“It’s scary that both (the ACOG and the AMA) have sort of targeted me,” Lake told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “And, you know, I’m all about choice. This is not unlike the abortion issue. I am pro-choice when it comes to childbirth and choices in birth. Home birth was around long before hospitals were taking over – and I just think women need to know (the information) so that they can make the best choice for them.”
The AMA resolves in the statement to support state legislation “that helps ensure safe deliveries and healthy babies by acknowledging that the safest setting” is a hospital, connected birthing centre or other approved facility.
“There’s a lot of provocative things that are said in the film,” she said, “but I think it’s very clear that we need doctors, we need the care and the technology that we have. But we also need to value the process of giving birth normally.”
Lake said she had no problems delivering her oldest son Milo, 11, at the hospital, but “looking back on it, I felt that I did not necessarily need the intervention. I didn’t need the (drug Pitocin, which induces labour). I just should have laboured on my own.”
The second time around, as long as her pregnancy continued to be low-risk, she decided to give birth at home.
“I was empowered, I was transformed and I would love for women to have had that opportunity – to be an active participant in their own birth choices and birth experience,” she said.