Life & Culture

Rikki Lake: 'Birth is the most amazing thing'


Most women would describe giving birth as one of the most painful things they could do. But American actress and chatshow host Ricki Lake says her home birth was the most “miraculous, amazing time” of her life.

She even showed footage of her water birth during her documentary film The Business of Being Born.

“It should be celebrated,” said the natural birth advocate of labour while in London to speak at the Doula of the Year Awards. “I couldn’t wait until my waters broke. You release natural endorphins like oxytocin. You become a superwoman.”

The actress and talkshow host, 41, who has also written a book called My Best Birth, believes that women are being made to fear natural childbirth which is why many opt to have elective c-sections, inductions and epidurals. But she argues that the infant mortality rate in the US – where medical intervention in birth is the norm - is higher than in Cuba and one of the worst in the developed world. She also points out that among low risk pregnancies, giving birth at home versus in hospital has been proved just as safe.

Ms Lake, who is divorced and has two sons of three and 12, was at the event celebrating the women who support mothers through pregnancy and birth, before going to a natural birth conference in Dublin.

“What I’m really promoting is choice in childbirth,” she says. “I want women to have the right information. They system makes them feel like they will not be able to give birth naturally. There is a fear surrounding birth. But major abdominal surgery is much harder to recover from than a vaginal birth.

“Natural birth helps with bonding, with breast feeding. It feels like a real accomplishment. But the power is being taken away from the woman.”

Ms Lake who is Jewish by birth but says she was not brought up a practising Jew by her parents, praised Israel for its embracing of the natural birth movement.

“Israel has a lot of doulas who have got in contact. There’s a big, big birthing community there.”

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive