Miranda Kerr Speaks Out Against “Drugged Up” Babies in Childbirth
Model and mom Miranda Kerr had her son Flynn Christopher naturally, because she didn’t like the way babies exposed to epidurals seemed “drugged up.” In the new August issue of Harper’s Bazaar UK, Miranda dished about her drug-free childbirth:
“I had made a decision that I wanted to do it [naturally],” she explained. “I had been watching all these baby bonding videos and [without an epidural], when the baby comes out it goes straight onto the breast.” She says that babies exposed to the epidurals didn’t seem as responsive. “The baby was a little bit drugged up and I was like, ‘Well, I don’t want that,’” she says. “I wanted to give him the best possible start in life I could.”
And thus ignites the debate. Are epidurals bad for babies? According to Americanpregnancy.org, more than 50% of women giving birth at hospitals use epidural anesthesia – but “though research is somewhat ambiguous, most studies suggest that some babies will have trouble ‘latching on’ causing breastfeeding difficulties. Other studies suggest that a baby might experience respiratory depression, fetal malpositioning, and an increase in fetal heart rate variability, thus increasing the need for forceps, vacuum, cesarean deliveries and episiotomies.”
In The Impact of Birthing Practices on Breastfeeding, Linda Smith found that “Injections into the epidural space are quickly detectable in cord blood [evidence of medications in the baby's circulatory system, which means they reach the brain]….Pain relief drugs cross the placenta and reach the fetus/infant very quickly, in a matter of seconds to a few minutes…The drugs tend to sequester in the infant brain tissue and affect central nervous system function. The drugs are designed to numb sensory nerves in the mother; therefore, they also affect sensory and motor nerves in the infant that affect rooting, sucking, and breathing.”
It’s hard to find unbiased Internet research on this topic; most women either argue “We have a right to an epidural!!” or “how dare you do that to your baby?!” Ultimately, research indicates that epidurals can affect breastfeeding – but some mothers who don’t use drugs STILL have trouble breastfeeding, and some mothers who do use drugs have no trouble breastfeeding.
Also, Miranda says, “I’m actually still making milk now, but, you know, he’s got teeth” – and some women have pointed out that it actually IS possible to breastfeed a baby after or during teething.