Childbirth has come a long way since the days when fathers were banned from the delivery rooms and frantically paced hospital corridors, wondering what the hell was happening behind that closed door. Today, not only are fathers present to cut umbilical cords, they photograph and videotape the entire process. Some new parents even choose to post the material online -- and not just the classic pictures of the exhausted mom and scrunchy-faced newborn snuggling under a fuzzy blanket. Some parents are also publishing graphic shots of the labor itself on the Internet in all its bloody glory, including extreme close-ups of women pushing babies into the world. The women who put these pictures on the Web say they're celebrating the miracle of birth, but the photographs are also a hot item among men who fetishize pregnant women and childbirth.
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Simone Thurber is 43, a therapist, and a mom of four. Oh yeah—and more than 54 million people have watched her give birth in a stream. Let us explain: When Thurber was ready to give birth to her fourth child in , she knew she wanted this birthing experience to be different from the others. Her previous births had been at birthing centers and at home. Her plan for her fourth birth: To give birth in nature, unassisted.
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Video note: Contains medical situations and nudity. Prepare for labor and delivery with our free childbirth class. Narrator: Samiyyah is the owner of a day spa in Philadelphia. She is 38 weeks pregnant with her second child. Samiyyah: With the first pregnancy, I delivered in a hospital, and it was very restricting, you know, being confined to the bed, not being able to, you know, move when I felt my body wanted me to do certain things. Narrator: For her son Safi's birth, she was given pitocin to speed up labor, an epidural for pain management, and an episiotomy a surgical cut to widen the vaginal opening. This time, she's planning a natural delivery -- without pain medication and other medical interventions -- at a birth center. Samiyyah: Yes, I've been told that I am completely crazy for being, you know, for not having the drugs, but I've been there and I didn't like it, so I figured I would try this.
Video note: Contains medical situations and nudity. Prepare for labor and delivery with our free childbirth class. Narrator: We women love our tub time, and Mary is no exception. As a labor and delivery nurse, she's seen the best and worst of birth.