What is a silent birth? It’s probably not what you think…

The idea of a silent birth or having a silent delivery comes from Scientologist founder L Ron Hubbard and recommends that everyone attending a birth should be as silent as possible throughout labour to help the mother and child


The idea of a silent birth probably really came to the fore when actress Katie Holmes, then partner of the world’s most famous Scientologist Tom Cruise, was expecting her daughter Suri.


Media outlets questioned Tom on whether Katie would be having a ‘silent’ birth – strongly associated with Scientology and commonly thought to be a birth where the woman isn’t allowed to make a sound during labour.

What is a silent birth?

In fact, a silent birth refers to the people around the woman in labour being silent, or quiet, and not the mum herself.

When quizzed about it days before Katie was due to give birth, Tom told Diane Sawyer on Primetime:

“It’s basically just respecting the mother, you know, and helping to be quiet – not the mother.

“The mother makes as much noise… you know, she’s going through it.

“But why have other people make noise? You know, you want that area very calm and to make it very special.”

And Tom’s comments back up doctrine from The Church Of Scientology, which states that “everyone attending the birth should refrain from spoken words as much as possible.”

“Chatty doctors and nurses, shouts to ‘PUSH, PUSH’ and loud or laughing remarks to ‘encourage’ are avoided.”

The reasoning behind this, according to Scientology, is that unnecessary noises during childbirth could adversely affect the child by causing trauma later in life.

They also say silence during birth helps the mother to cope with no longer having her baby in utero.

What’s the evidence that a silent birth is better than a non-silent birth?

In a nutshell, there isn’t any. The idea of a silent birth is philosophical/religious rather than medical.

We can only imagine it would be notoriously hard to link a person’s trauma in later life to how much noise people around them were making while they were being born, and we couldn’t find any scientific studies on it.

We’d have to say the same for a silent birth helping a mum to come to terms with the fact her baby’s now separate from her – there’s no medical evidence that it’s true.

Having said that, we can get that when you’re going through labour you might well prefer a quiet environment to do it in – and having people shouting ‘push, push’ might not be exactly helpful ?

On the other hand, you might just be so busy having your baby you don’t really care about the chat going on around you.

What do you think?

Do you think a silent birth’s a good idea? Were people around you quiet when you were in labour? Or do you recall lots of noise and chat? And if so, did it bother you?

Tell us in the comments below or over on Facebook

Image: Getty Images

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