What Is Silent Birth?

What exactly is a silent birth, and is it really good for the baby?
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Updated March 2, 2017
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If you keep up with reports of celeb births, you’ve probably heard of silent birth. Katie Holmes, wife of Tom Cruise, reportedly aimed for a silent birth when she gave birth to their daughter, Suri. Kelly Preston did one too. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t make any noise. According to the Church of Scientology International, which is a big proponent of silent birth, “The point of silent birth is no words. It does not mean a mother cannot make any sound during childbirth. It is doubtful that any woman could give birth without making any noise at all.”

Scientologists believe that the words a baby hears during his labor and birth may affect him for his entire life, so they aim to eliminate any possible negative effect by eliminating words all together. “My understanding is that when the woman is laboring, the intent is that people who are in her immediate environment are not talking, that the environment is one that is quiet, and there’s no television, no beepers, no phones and no conversation. That the patient is as much at peace as possible,” says Michael P. Nageotte, MD, medical director of the MemorialCare Center for Women at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach.

This is similar to the  Leboyer birth method, which encourages a calm birth environment for baby.

While there’s no scientific evidence to support the idea that silent birth preserves the baby’s psyche, it’s long been known that women labor most effectively in calm, supportive environments. And contrary to popular belief, a silent (or mostly silent) birth is possible (even if you’re not a Scientologist!). “I’ve seen patients who are able to handle their labors very well and have a very peaceful and placid environment throughout their labor and delivery,” Dr. Nageotte says. “I have no knowledge that silent birth has any benefit to the fetus, but I don’t think there’s any harm in it for anyone. I think it’s probably pretty nice.”

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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