Why don’t celebrities have premature babies?

Celine Dion was admitted to the hospital today “as a caution” to prevent a premature delivery of her twins. There was no mention in any of the reports whether she was having contractions, bleeding, or ruptured membranes. While her due date was not released, on May 30 The Huffington Post quoted Dion saying she was 14 weeks at the time. So, doing some quickie OB math, she is 34ish weeks now (Oct. 19) and due around November 28. As she had a previous c-section, if she doesn’t go into labor she will probably be delivered around 38-39 weeks.

If her pregnancy goes like every other Hollywood Star, even those with multiples, she will probably get pretty darn close to 39 weeks. And good for her. But then I started thinking, how many celebrities actually have premature babies? I had a hard time thinking of one. And of course, it is a question made more difficult by the definition of celebrity.

I know Melissa Gilbert (Little House of the Prairie) delivered at 28 weeks several years ago and Sheri Shepperd’s son was born at 25 weeks in 2005. That’s all I can find for extremely premature. births. Julia Roberts delivered her twins at 36 weeks, so technically premature but I would have given my right arm to get my boys to 36 weeks. Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Lopez had twins, but there was no mention of any premature delivery. Angelina and Jennifer’s (because we are on a strictly first name basis, you know) babies all weighed 5 lbs or more, so it is a pretty safe assumption they were at least 37 weeks.

So, I spent a little time tracking down celebrities or their wives/girlfriends who delivered last year. I excluded reality TV stars and stuck with movies, traditional TV, or modeling. I didn’t include Rock Stars, because I figured the lifestyle probably included some confounders.¬†With a little help from about.com (a little different than my standard searches on PubMed) and some extra digging I found 3o non-rock star celebrity babies from 2009. Charlie Sheen’s twins were born at 33 weeks and ¬†Hank Azaria’s baby, who was “premature,” but is “doing great” now. Can’t figure out how premature, but certainly doesn’t sound less than 32 weeks from what I could track down.

30 pregnancies and 2 premature delivery for a rate of 6.7%. Wow. The national rate is 12.5%.

Why the difference? Why do celebrities have such a low rate of premature delivery? I can think of 3 reasons…

  1. They all get excellent prenatal care. Studies show that access to evidenced-based prenatal care dramatically lowers the rate of premature delivery.
  2. They are all in excellent shape. I looked at pictures of everyone of these ladies. Even in pregnancy they looked svelte. Obesity increases the risk of premature delivery. I can’t comment on their eating habits by their figure, because I know some pretty unhealthy practices can go into maintaining a size 2.
  3. They probably were able to work less and afford help towards the end of their pregnancy. This is the most speculative of my theories.

So, I wish Celine well. If my highly unscientific method, but full of common sense reasoning, is correct she should get at least another couple of weeks. It’s just too bad the rest of the women in the United States don’t have these options. Think of how much money, never mind the lives and the heartache, we could save.

And the picture of Oliver? Well, he’s destined to be a celebrity. “What do you want to be when you grow up I ask?” His answer…”The lead singer in a rock band.” We’ll just have to start working on those confounders…

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2 Responses to Why don’t celebrities have premature babies?

  1. Plus…they have access to mental health care, including medication, and quality care to manage depression and/or anxiety disorders in pregnancy. Bottomline…they haveaccess to care if they have depression or anxiety and THAT lowers rates of preterm labor.

  2. Jennifer Gunter says:

    Absolutely! Depression, stress, and anxiety all have negative effects during pregnancy and not all health plans have mental health parity.


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