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The Birth of Kourtney Kardashian's Fourth Child: A Wry Look at Modern Childbirth and Media Influence


Kourtney Kardashian, the queen of reality TV, recently gave birth to her fourth child, a healthy baby boy. Her journey to this joyous occasion was far from a walk in the park. After struggling with conception and enduring numerous attempts at IVF, Kourtney faced a pregnancy complicated by an emergency fetal surgery due to an unspecified placental condition. Despite the bumps along the way, she was surrounded by an entourage of medical professionals, her husband Travis Barker, and her mother, Kris Jenner. Naturally, this significant life event was captured for the world to see on "The Kardashians."


**The Journey to Birth**


Kourtney's path to motherhood was marked by resilience and tenacity. IVF treatments are no small feat, involving a cocktail of hormone injections, countless medical visits, and the constant emotional rollercoaster of hope and despair. Her pregnancy was further complicated by a placental issue that necessitated emergency surgery to ensure the well-being of both mother and baby. Although the specifics of this surgery remain private, the presence of a large medical team underscores the gravity of the situation.


**Perceptions of Childbirth in Modern Culture**


Kourtney’s birth story, shared so publicly, provides a fascinating glimpse into our modern perceptions of childbirth. In today’s culture, childbirth is often seen through a medicalised lens, far removed from its physiological roots. The ubiquitous use of interventions like continuous fetal monitoring (CTG) and epidurals is a testament to this shift. While these interventions can be beneficial, they often disrupt the natural process of childbirth.



**CTG Monitoring and Birth Interventions**


Continuous fetal monitoring (CTG) has become a staple in many hospital births, but its efficacy is questionable. Originally designed for high-risk pregnancies, CTG is now widely used, often leading to misinterpretations of fetal heart rate patterns. Research shows that CTG monitoring offers little insight into the fetus's health during labour and can lead to unnecessary interventions such as instrumental births and emergency caesarean sections. A study published in The Lancet found that continuous CTG monitoring does not improve perinatal outcomes but does increase the rate of caesarean sections and instrumental deliveries .


**The Role of Epidurals**


Epidurals are another common intervention, with around 30% of women in the UK opting for one during labour . While epidurals provide significant pain relief, they can also slow down labour and increase the likelihood of further interventions. Despite this, the choice to use an epidural is entirely personal, and for many women, it offers much-needed relief during an intense experience. However, the sensations experienced during the second stage (pushing phase) of labour with an epidural can be quite different. Often, the mother may not feel the full strength of her contractions or the urge to push, which can make this stage longer and more challenging.



**The Birthing Position and Its Implications**


Footage of Kourtney birthing on her back in a semi-recumbent position, with legs in stirrups, and sometimes held in a lithotomy position by an obstetric nurse, painted a picture of modern, medicalised childbirth. These positions are not only uncomfortable for the mother but also for the obstetric staff supporting her legs. The lithotomy position, while convenient for medical staff, is actually contrary to what we know about physiological birth. It narrows the pelvic outlet, makes pushing more difficult, and increases the likelihood of perineal trauma. Research has shown that giving birth in these positions is associated with a higher risk of severe perineal tears .


**The Cultural Reference of Birth**


Sadly, the image of a woman giving birth on her back with legs in stirrups is ingrained in our cultural psyche. This position is often depicted in films, TV shows, and, as seen, reality TV. However, this is not the ideal way to give birth. We should be seeing more images of women upright, forward, and mobile during labour. Movement is a crucial part of labour, helping to progress contractions and allowing the baby to navigate through the birth canal more easily. Upright positions like squatting, standing, and being on all fours are associated with shorter labours and fewer interventions .


** Quick Labour and Its Nuances **


When Kourtney returned to the hospital in labour the second time, the footage made it appear that her birth progressed very quickly. This can happen, particularly for women having subsequent babies. However, while we might imagine that labour gets shorter with each birth, this isn’t always the case. A pregnancy with a new partner, involving different genetics, can bring about unique changes. It’s important to remember that what we see is a heavily edited version of her labour and birth, which glamorises the medicalised approach. More often than not, births managed this way lead to more interventions and complications, making us feel “saved” by our care providers, when in reality, this is far from the truth.


**Privacy and the Media Spotlight**


One of the most striking aspects of Kourtney’s birth was the glaring lack of privacy. The presence of a camera crew, while a Kardashian trademark, likely impacted her labour experience. Birth is an intimate and vulnerable time, and having cameras rolling can inhibit the production of oxytocin, the hormone essential for labour progression and bonding with the baby. The added stress of being filmed, combined with the physical demands of labour, creates a challenging environment for any mother.



**The Latent Phase and Hospital Environment**


In the early stages of labour, known as the latent phase, Kourtney appeared calm and relaxed, laughing whilst rocking on her birthing ball. This phase is typically characterized by mild contractions and can last several hours to days. However, upon arriving at the hospital, the dynamic shifted. The hospital environment, while equipped with medical resources, often lacks the comfort and familiarity of home, which can disrupt labour progression. Kourtney's struggle to reestablish labour in the hospital setting, under the scrutiny of the camera, underscores the impact of environmental and psychological factors on childbirth.


**Returning in Early Labour**


A few days later, Kourtney returned to the hospital in early labour. This time, the progression led to the successful birth of her son. The presence of her husband Travis and mother Kris provided emotional support, essential for navigating the complexities of labour. Despite the challenges, Kourtney's resilience shone through, culminating in the birth of a healthy baby boy.


**Conclusion**


Kourtney Kardashian’s recent birth, broadcast on "The Kardashians," reflects the intersection of modern medical practices and media influence on childbirth. While technological advancements and medical interventions can be crucial, they also distance us from the natural processes of childbirth. The lack of privacy and the stress of being filmed can impact labour progression and the overall birth experience. Kourtney’s journey, marked by resilience and the support of her loved ones, highlights the importance of emotional and psychological well-being during childbirth. As we navigate the complexities of modern maternity care, her story serves as a reminder of the delicate balance between medical intervention and the natural physiology of birth.


If Kourtney Kardashian’s birth story has sparked your curiosity about childbirth options, it’s time to take charge of your own birth journey! Exploring your birth options is crucial for an empowered and positive birth experience. Whether you're considering a home birth, hospital birth, or birthing centre, understanding your choices can make all the difference. If you’re seeking support and education, get in touch to learn about our tailored antenatal classes and comprehensive Hypnobirthing program. Our sessions cover everything discussed in this article and much more, equipping you with the knowledge and techniques for a calm, confident, and empowered birth. Contact us today to start your journey towards the birth experience you deserve.


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**References:**


1. "Continuous cardiotocography (CTG) as a form of electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) for fetal assessment during labour" (The Lancet).

2. "Intrapartum cardiotocography and its impact on neonatal outcomes" (The BMJ).

3. "NHS Maternity Statistics, England 2021-22" (NHS Digital).

4. "Perineal trauma and its association with the birthing position" (BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology).

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