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Catching a Kardashian: Kourtney's televised birth sparks debate

20 SEPTEMBER 2012

This time it's not Kim but her older sister Kourtney making the news.

As stars of their own, very popular reality show, the famous family has always been open, sharing moments as mundane as dentist appointments to serious issues including infertility and divorce.

But viewers have been left questioning whether they have gone too far this week following the televised birth of 32-year-old Kourtney's second child Penelope.

 

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In the footage, she can be seen taking an active part in the delivery of her daughter by reaching down to guide her out with her hands, a practice known as 'catching'.

Reactions, particularly in the US, have been extreme. Tweeters have branded the birth "shocking" and "gross" while others have praised it as a victory for normal birth in a country where Caesarean sections continue to rise in popularity.

In truth, the practice of catching your own baby is not that uncommon.

Speaking to the Guardian, Sue McDonald of the Royal College of Midwives explains: "It is normal, and receiving your own baby can be wonderful.

"Touch is so fundamental to the mother-baby relationship and helps with bonding and breastfeeding. It is far more shocking when the baby is immediately taken away from the mother."

Women who have water births often catch their own babies, and some parents include their hopes for who will make that first contact in their birth plans.

 

Kourtney Kardashian



For others it's purely reactionary – many women who have caught their baby say it felt like the right thing to do in that moment.

Dads are even getting involved. While the practice of fathers catching their children has been common during home births, it is reportedly also gaining popularity in hospitals – the new equivalent, one doula (birth coach) suggests, of cutting the umbilical cord.

"Many dads and partners really enjoy this special moment," Robin Elise Weiss explains on About.com.

"They talk about being the first one to touch the baby from the outside world and being a true part of the experience. I love to watch dads and others beam from ear to ear when they talk about it."

It's certainly nothing new historically speaking. Throughout the ages, and in all societies, women have birthed their own babies with no help at all.

What do you think about Kourtney's decision to film her birth? Did you catch your own baby? Let us know your thoughts below

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