Ready for a live home birth streaming straight to your laptop? Is it an idea that's time has come or a case of TMI gone too far?
Dr. Nancy Salgueiro, a 32-year-old mom of two in Canada, who is expecting her third child any day now, plans to broadcast her natural birth over the Internet as part of a quest to help "women to see what normal, natural birth is like," she says in a YouTube video inviting viewers to sign up for the free feed that will go live when the big day arrives.
About 800 people have already signed up to watch, according to a CBC news report. Plans include Salgueiro giving birth at home in an inflatable birthing tub—her 2-year-old son will cut the umbilical cord.
Is this just an attempt to become some kind of natural birth reality star? Not all, says Salgueiro. The motivation, says the home birth advocate and practicing chiropractor, comes from the fact that "women and young girls used to be exposed to birth throughout their lives." This changed, she says, "when we took birth out of homes and moved it into the hospital we took away the generations of information handed down from one woman to the next."
Salgueiro hopes that by showing labor and delivery, from the first pangs of labor to the first few moments of bonding with her newborn, that she will help remove some of the mystery from childbirth—and correct misperceptions about birth as it is commonly portrayed on TV shows and in movies.
"The reason why I'm doing this is because in our culture we've created ... this visual image of what birth is," Salgueiro says, "and we don't know what to expect when we're going to give birth ... I feel it's really important for people to see the difference because birth is not what you see on TV. It can be, but it doesn't have to be like that."
Although she's made and distributed videotapes of her previous births, CBC reports, and there a wide variety of YouTube videos already dedicated to natural births, Salgueiro says that being able to check in on the entire process, not just the point where the baby enters the world, is what makes her live video stream so unique.
Feedback has been divided. Negative comments on her YouTube invitation and Facebook page accuse the mom of everything from exhibitionism to removing the last private arena from the world to being "gross" and downright irresponsible. Some of the comments? "What happens if something goes wrong during the birth?" "Is she looking for sponsors?"
But at least one mom who plans to watch took time to write a note of appreciation: "I am 2 1/2 months pregnant with my first, and planning a home birth with this baby. I think this is wonderful and empowering, and you are very brave."