Bachelor alum Krystal Nielson gave birth to her first child, documenting her labor on Instagram with can’t-look-away updates.
In November, Nielson announced that she and boyfriend Miles Bowles were expecting with a nail-biting video shot while awaiting the results of an at-home pregnancy test. “That would be so bananas if I was pregnant,” she said. “If I saw a no, I would feel relieved…and if it’s a yes, I’m going to freak out.” Over subsequent months, the 33-year-old fitness coach shared a sonogram video, maternity photos and details of an umbilical cord cyst that threatened her plans for a vaginal delivery.
When Nielson went into labor, fans took a virtual ride to the hospital via Instagram Stories, where they had front-row tickets to her contractions and the preparation process for induction, before which she utilized a medical “balloon” to soften her cervix. At times when Nielson was having contractions or tired or in pain, her husband would take over, providing play-by-play details in her stead.
After the Wednesday birth, Neilson posted videos of the infant sleeping and breastfeeding and a “body update” of her postpartum figure while recapping her physical health (“barely tore and minimal swelling”) and the delivery (she pushed at every third contraction for one hour). On Friday, while waiting to be discharged from the hospital, Nielson, who manages an Instagram account for her baby with more than 30,000 followers, offered an Instagram Q&A about the birth.
Nielson is not so different from other expecting celebs who recount the lead-up to parenthood. Mandy Moore recently gave a graphic description of her “grueling” and trance-like delivery of her son Gus on the Informed Pregnancy Podcast and Shay Mitchell, Kylie Jenner and Hillary Duff (who welcomed her third child this month) have all shared intimate hospital videos.
“People might be surprised how many non-famous women film or share the birth of their babies,” Jennifer Meyers, a certified nurse-midwife and Mayo Clinic spokesperson, tells Yahoo Life. “Some may do it for attention or likes, others to normalize the birth process or share their joy and excitement with the world.”
Recording a hospital stay could potentially be a violation of HIPPA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), a federal law that protects the privacy of one's health, due to the risk of accidentally exposing other patients or their medical information.
“Whether or not a family is allowed to film the birth of their child depends on the provider and the hospital,” says Meyers. “Some of my patients have used Facebook Live or Skype so family members, such as a deployed husband, could witness births."
However, since footage is potentially a legal liability, some hospitals may not allow cameras inside the delivery or operating rooms. Most providers prefer a heads-up if families want to film, says Meyers, though on occasion, birth partners have snuck footage.
Meyers warns that technical distractions and the dopamine-soaked satisfaction of social media attention could disconnect people from the moment — one time, she intervened when a support partner was so fixated on giving his mother an ideal remote-viewing experience that he stopped paying attention to his laboring girlfriend.
“Witnessing a birth is one of the most profound human experiences, a demonstration of immense strength and vulnerability,” says Meyers. “There’s a risk of losing some of that while behind a camera.”
Nielsen’s fans, however, loved her updates. "I’m stalking your stories all night!!" wrote fitness trainer Anna Victoria under an outtake from Nielson's maternity shoot. Others commented, "Thank you for taking us along this journey" and "I’m so excited and have been literally checking to see if you’ve posted an update!!"
There is still one mystery surrounding the newborn, says Nielson. “We don’t know her name yet."
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