Thandie Newton: Giving birth at home 3 times 'feels normal'

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By Eun Kyung Kim

Actress and new mom Thandie Newton has never stepped foot in a hospital, so she didn’t want to make her first trip to one to have a baby, she said Thursday, explaining the reason behind her recent home birth.

“He was born on the bathroom floor,” the "Rogue" star told the TODAY anchors.

Newton has delivered all three of her children at home.

“I had just associated hospital with being ill, and I felt beautiful and healthy and wonderful when I was pregnant, and being at home is the place I felt most relaxed and comfortable,” she said.

She used the same midwife to deliver all of her children, including the newest member of her family, 11-week-old Booker.

“So for me, it feels normal, but there was a time when everybody had their babies at home and it wasn’t such a big deal,” she said.

Home births are becoming increasingly popular in the U.S., though they’re still rare. According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, births outside of the hospital rose from 1.26 percent in 2011 to 1.36 percent in 2012. Many women opt to give birth at home to avoid medical interventions as well as avoiding the risk of infection contracted at a hospital.

Home births attended by midwives are more common in the U.K., where Newton lives.

As more and more women choose to give birth outside of hospitals, the U.S. medical community has come to a sort of grudging acceptance. In a 2011 position statement, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said that while it still views the hospital as the safest place to deliver, it “respects the right of a woman to make a medically informed decision about delivery.”

But there are still concerns. Babies born at home are about 10 times as likely to be stillborn compared to babies born in hospitals, according to a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. In a recent paper published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, two researchers said home birth “may be like not putting your child’s car seat belt on.” 

The actress said her two daughters love having a new baby at home, although her son may find all the attention a little confusing.

“I think he thinks he’s got three mummies. He’s got a 13-year-old, a 9-year-old and a (cough cough) 27-year-old,” she said with a laugh.

As a detective and divorced mom in the DirecTV series “Rogue,” Newton said loves playing such a strong character in a show full of female leads.

“We have five protagonists that are women, and for a mainstream show, that’s really unusual,” she said. “I’m very proud of that. And it’s not something that has been forced. I think people love seeing empowered women on screen, and in life.”

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