Laila Ali: I'm Having a "Natural Birth" With "No Medication"

Laila Ali

The expectant American Gladiator co-host, 30 (and daughter of boxing champ Muhammad Ali), revealed that she is having a boy at Saturday’s Celebrity Family Feud taping in Los Angeles.

“His name is going to be Curtis Jr. and Mohammed is the middle name,” she told Us magazine. (Ali married her husband Curtis Conway in July 2007.)

Although she has “gained 20 pounds so far,” she said she hasn’t had any unusual pregnancy cravings.

“I feel great!” she said.

Due in “three months,” she said she plans on “doing a natural home birth with no medication.” (She’s also using a midwife!)

So the fitness fanatic has had to put down the weights.

“My husband has got on me a couple of times saying, ‘You’re not supposed to be doing that with those weights!'” she said. “I’m like, ‘Oh, OK.'”

(Still, the former DWTS contestant said she manages to do “an hour of cardio on the elliptical or spinning, but not such high impact. Then, I also do some plates and light weight training, but nothing very strenuous.”)

Is her famous boxing father psyched to be a granddad?

“Of course,” she told Us magazine, “but I think he’ll be more excited once the baby is actually here.”



  1. mommaof3 says

    Oh, forgot to add…in contrast with hospital and intervention, home birth has the following advantages:

    baby is very alert without epidural, much more interactive and fun!

    Time spent with mother during first hour without intervention and wisking away of baby to nursery leads to a more peaceful and restful baby, as there is more time for bonding. Remember he is reassured and conforted by the smell of the mother.

    breastfeeding is established sooner since there is no sugar water or formula given to baby as first meal (which is the case sometimes at the hospital) and when placed naked on mothers abdomen or chest, baby will naturally find his way to the breast – incredible!

    We are mammals indeed! I love it ;-D

  2. mommaof3 says

    So the biggest problem is fear of pain. When your body is fearful, you release adrenaline into your system. This makes it practically impossible to give birth. You must control the pain to be able to release yourself to the experience by not fearing it but embracing it as a step closer to meeting your baby. The more you control your body and its reaction to the contractions, the more you understand the whole process of birthing.

    When you feel the excitement of knowing that each contraction brings you closer to the end result, you release oxitocyn and tons of endorphines.These help you cope wth the pain and manage the contractions. It also gives you a rush that surpasses any other feeling known to man. You literally go into trance.

    The epidural will slow the contractions as well as the sensitivity when its time to push. Most women will aditionally need pitosin, to get the contractions going again. When you have pitosin in your system, the contractions are much more intense and they will limit the amount of oxygen the baby receives as well as the pain you experience, thus resulting many times in an emergency procedure since the baby and you are in distress. If you don’t have a C-Section as a result to a baby in distress, you still need an episiotomy because you can’t control the force you apply in pushing during the expulsion stage and because you are ON YOUR BACK, which reduces your pelvic space by almost 2 cm.

    That said, we have the ability to control anything our body is designed to do with our mind and spirit. Its not our body controlling us but the other way around!

    When I read about comments of women giving natural birth to their children, they are feeling this sense of accomplishment at being able to do what their bodies were designed to do while feeling respected at the same time. You can walk, eat, rest, cry, laugh and do whatever you need to do to get through labor without people telling you that you need to lie down or sit or do something that doesn’t come naturally.

    The mayority of the time, this is not a medical emergency, this is birth and we’ve been doing it for mileniums. Doctors are usually looking for pathology and prevention in most cases so there is a fear factor involved too when you are faced with a “professional opinion for the good of the baby”. Ladies, there is no better professional than you and there is no one caring more for the babies but YOU! Trust your insticts and surrender to the experience. Good going Laila!

  3. says

    I’ve trained as a labor doula and had four homebirths myself (including an 11 lb 23″ baby in an hour and with an intact perineum) and frankly can’t imagine doing it another way.

    Does it mean you’re less of a woman if you choose a drugged birth? Of course not, but once you do enough research to really understand the risks involved, you’ll understand that it’s not a decision to take so lightly.

    Sure, it’s intense, but it’s supposed to be. Short of women who have severe structural problems (childhood malnourishment or broken pelvises, for example, there are very few women who can’t manage a normal, healthy, empowering birth experience with a good support system.

    I am eternally grateful for women like Laila Ali, Ricki Lake and others who set positive examples for women in this country instead of signing up for cesarean/tummy tuck births.

  4. DoulaKim says

    When I had my first child I was going unmedicated but circumstances arose and I couldn’t continue so I had an epidural to help with my progression. When I had my second I was so scared things would go the same way as the first I opted for the medication sooner. With my third my epidural failed. I felt everything and I realized after giving birth basically unmedicated I could have done it with my second. But definitely not my first.

    Now I’m a Doula and I support choice. The majority of my clients go in with an open mind and if they do it unmedicated that’s great but if they find they need extra help then thats great too.

    I think we as women need to support each others choice and not condemn those that choose one way or another way. Birth is the last most natural thing we can do and only the birth mother can know what she is capable of.

    I would like to see more women go into birth trying unmedicated and more hospitals supporting unmedicated and see what happens. Too often epis are pushed on women when they are at their most vulnerable instead of being offered alternatives.

    There is more then one way to birth a baby but when it is all said and done, a healthy happy baby and healthy happy mom is the end result we all shoot for.

  5. TiredOfIdiots says

    I had all three of my sons natural and without ever attending a Lamaze class, lol. It all depends on the person’s tolerance for pain. I looked at it from the angle of women have been having babies since time began without medication and I could too! In fact, medication never once crossed my mine as I was too busy squeezing the life out of every hand that made the mistake of being offered…

  6. boo says

    I don’t think any woman should feel like a failure for giving in to have an epidural….EVERY woman who has been through Labour and Delivery knows the pain that is associated with it….and some people have a harder time dealing with that pain then others….Regardless of whether or not a woman gave birth natural, with medication to relieve the pain or a c-section whether it be their choice or their Doctors….They still gave birth, they like every other woman out there welcomed their own child into the world and that should be something that they should be very proud about…. who cares what all the others on their Highhorses say about it, In the end it is all about you and your baby!!!

  7. Jen says

    Amen Zbella! There are hundreds of thousands of babies born everyday with an epidural that are perfectly healthy and then there are some that are born without an epidural that are not- and vice versa. Why go through pain when you don’t have to? I don’t understand this anti-epidural epidemic that is going on on this site.

  8. Zbella says

    Maybe she’ll get a medal and can wear it around her neck. Since I had an epidural with my three births, I didn’t get a medal… but I do have 3 healthy kids.

  9. doula2 says

    Well said doulagrl!

    i am also a doula, and while not anti epidural, I certainly feel it is over used, and there HAS to be a better way to birth than what I am seeing in the hospitals. Why is every single birth such an emergency, and why is every baby in distress….hmm could it be because birth in a hospital is so stressful? There has to be a reason….gee could it be all the intervention?

  10. Doulagrl says

    Jen (#25), I am not being critical of you I just want to point something out.

    You asked why women who have natural births have to tell everyone about it … they do because it happens so infrequently and it dispels the myth that childbirth has to be painful and full of fear. I live in a city with many, many hospitals and some have Epidural rates of 90-95%, that is sadly high.

    I am a birth professional and I have seen 40 births, all have been different and many have chosen the drugs because the system set it up for them to get the Epidural rather than not, and that is a flawed system not flawed women. All of the couples I have supported have been empowered and made choices for them selves, which I honour.

    My question is why women who have chosen Epidurals need to put down women choosing natural births in such a way that they feel silly for even trying. “Why are you doing that? Just get the drugs”, “why hire doula? What’s wrong with your husband?” I have heard it all and it makes me sad that we don’t trust ourselves, your bodies, and babies enough.

    Birth is birth anyway you slice it, we all just have to stop feeling guilty about how we bring our babies into the world and honour women as the bearers of life.

  11. bj's mom says

    i had an epidural with both kids and i could care less what anyone thinks. the first time around i was in labor for so long and the pain was so bad i was throwing up so i told them i wanted an epidural because i couldnt even enjoy any part of what was going on because i was so miserable. if i dont have to be so miserable then why not get the epidural. its like saying i have a pounding headache right now….should i take a tylenol or suffer it out. Tylenol please!!!

  12. Jen says

    #25- you have anger issues. I can’t believe how you took my comment like that. The reason I said that about pushing is because of stupid people like you that think just because a woman gets an epidural, somehow we just lay there and do nothing and the baby just magically comes out. Quit being such an a s s about it ok?? But really what do people like you have to prove by telling everyone “I had a natural childbirth!” Do you want a medal?? (rolls eyes) Also, I never said that my labor was worse than any other womans labor. Can you quote me where I said that? No, you can’t. I just said that I got to a point where I couldn’t take it anymore. And you know what? That doesn’t make me any less of a woman. Get off of your high horse.

  13. melissa says

    Congrats Laila! I wish you the best. I had my first 2 with an epidural and my second was natural. I would NEVER go back to an epidural. My natural water birth was so amazing beyond words. I consider myself to have a VERY low pain tolerence and I did great with the help of my husband and doula! If I can do it anyone can 🙂

  14. 2teens says

    With my first, my labor went so long that the epidural wore off. (23 hours laboring) They wouldn’t start another one, so I had him all natural. My 2nd baby came very quickly, and with the epidural I didn’t feel a thing.
    My vote is for the epidural. Yay epidural!!!!

  15. Liza says

    justventing, aren’t you doing the EXACT same thing that you’re accusing other women of?

    In fact, I find your post a lot more snide and judgemental than most on this thread.

  16. justventing says

    I have 5 children. I’m not really sure why the women who’ve had epidurels have to throw in the snide remarks like #24 “I always wonder what women have to prove by going drug free. “Look how tough I am!” Did anyone say anything like that or were any of the natural birth moms disrespectful to anyone?? I take offense to that insensitive remark. It’s called a choice, get over it.
    And I’m so tired of the epidural advocates acting like their labor was so much worse than every other woman who’s ever given birth…again #24 “I still had very painful pressure and I still had to push.” REALLY?? u still had to push? gee, poor thing. (*eye roll*)
    #8- yeah right…we’re talking about a BOXER..i think she can handle it!! 😀

  17. Jen says

    #15- Just because someone has medication does not exactly make it a walk in the park. I still had very painful pressure and I still had to push. I was tired also. I was almost at an 8 when I finally got the epidural so I did feel pain for a while. I just couldn’t take it anymore. I always wonder what women have to prove by going drug free. “Look how tough I am!” People say how dangerous it is and that complications can arise, but that can happen drug free too. Also, Amanda, so I didn’t fulfill my duty as a mom because I didn’t go through excruciating pain when I didn’t have too? C’mon now! Millions of women get epidurals and are great moms.

  18. Liza says

    I absolutely don’t feel that a woman giving birth without medication is anymore of a woman than anyone else or any stronger. I think women are empowered by having the choice to make the right decision for them and their families. Different decisions are right for different people.

    just me, I do have to say though that I hope you saying that you wouldn’t do it any other way is more words than anything else. One of the most important things in having a homebirth is knowing and accepting when to call it and head to a hospital. A good midwife will work with you and support you, but will also know when the right choice is to head to the hospital.

  19. Could it be says

    I totally agree with #17. I had an all natural birth because women have been birthing babies since the dawn of time and I knew I could do it without the “help” of western medicine. Any medical intervention carries a risk and for me it just wasn’t worth it. (It is proven that women who are given epidurals are more likely to end up with a c-section and that surgery scared me more than the pain of labor.) My husband, who is a physician, totally agreed with this and while it was incredibly difficult going through 12 hours of later, I don’t regret my decision one bit. Nor do I think I’m better than someone who has an epidural. Ultimately, every woman needs to decide what is best for her and I respect that.

  20. myrna says

    Bravo for her, when I had my daughter, I was asking for every pain killer in the entire Hosp. LOL!! but if I had to do it again!! I would!!!

  21. Amber says

    How nice to hear of someone not going the planned c-section route.

    I have had an epidural followed by a beautiful non medicated birth. I hated my epidural birth. It was nice to be numb for a little while but I didn’t like the pushing with the epidural I felt out of control and I felt my recovery was so much faster with my unmedicated birth.

  22. says

    i love to hear people talk about their natural birth like they are doing something so wonderful. I have had two children; the first “natural” and the second with an epidural and i dont know why anyone has a natural birth. i would have 100 more kids with an epidural and none naturally. My births were 4 hours the first time and two the second time. There is no reason to feel the pain and the children dont suffer. It is just rediculous when women feel superior for doing it NATURALLY.

  23. anonymous says

    #14… I am also in medicine. I understand your perspective. With regard to your question about medication… I definitely do not view women who have analgesics as lesser women. Birth is amazing with or without pain relief. There is something special I think about natural labor, though. Our bodies were designed to birth, and are completely capable of doing so naturally. I wish more women felt so empowered, and not paralyzed by fear of pain. I admire those who labor naturally and aspire to that experience, for my health and the health of my unborn child. There is much we do not understand in medicine, and for me it is an issue of health. I want to labor in the purest way possible, without inventions by man, to reduce my chances of a cesarean section as well as to ensure that no drugs (with limited long-term risk profiles) can interfere with my own and my child’s experience of birth and the hours to follow. It’s not a competition, it’s intensely personal, and we should support other women in their birth experiences, not degrade them for their choices. My honest opinion.

  24. Anon says

    # 14
    I gave birth naturally and while I know I should not feel this way, I do think I felt more empowered giving birth unmedicated than I would if I had drugs.

    I hope I don’t get flamed for this, I’m just speaking honestly.

  25. says

    #8 the reason so many women wind up medicated is because society has drilled it into our heads that childbirth is just too painful and we couldn’t possibly do it.

    It’s not fun, that’s why they call it labor. It’s not supposed to be a time to take naps, read magazines, or do your nails.

    I had a doctor laugh at me when I told him I was having my baby without any drugs. I was the one laughing at him when “I got my own way”. Too bad more doctors are more concerned with taking smoke breaks, long lunches or shagging the nurses in the closets than seeing a hands on interactive birth. 🙁

  26. Julie says

    Well, I worked on a labor and delivery unit at a hospital, and I personally wouldn’t feel safe delivering anywhere except a hospital given how many things can go wrong. That’s how I feel for me. On the other hand, I’ve never really heard of a woman who had a natural home birth say it was anything less than amazing. I think birth is a beautiful miracle in any setting, and I’m sure the majority of women who’ve had children would feel that same way. But then we are divided by medicated versus non-medicated. I’d really like honest answers from women on this one question of mine: Do you feel that a woman who has given birth without pain relief is somehow stronger or more of a woman than a woman who gives birth with pain relief? I don’t ask this to antagonize anyone, I’m truly just curious and because this is relatively anonymous, I figured I could get some real, honest answers from women about this topic.

  27. just me says

    Homebirth is wonderful! I had my first baby at home and would never do it any other way. I am delighted to read that Laila is planning got have her baby at home, especially when so many celebs choose to have scheduled c-sections. Way to go Laila!

  28. mya says

    This baby boy is going to be named after his father…. wow of course he black . There are many black celebrity dad out who named his son after him. Will smith eddie denzel george micheal and many more.

  29. Could it be says

    It’s wonderful to hear about a celebrity wanting to do an unmedicated birth! #8 is right that it is impossible to know what to expect with a birth but if she surrounds herself with people who support her and her wishes, I’m confident she’ll be able to go drug-free. I had a very supportive midwife who stood by me at the hospital so that I could birth my 9 lb. daughter without any interventions. It was a beautiful but intense and long experience and I really felt that she honored my wishes and my ability when many other hospital staff thought I had “gone too long.”

  30. Amanda says

    I had both my children without any medication, I wanted to experience every aspect of it. I felt it was my duty as a mom. I wouldnt trade it for anything.

    You don’t hear of celebs doing this a lot and that surprizes me since they have so much technology at thier fingertips.

    I cannot wait to see pictures of the family together. I think the name is perfect.

  31. Jen says

    Does she have any other children? That makes me laugh when women say that they are going to have a child without any medication. We’ll see when she is about 6 cm dilated. 🙂

  32. says

    Yay, good for her. I’ve done unmedicated twice, once at the hospital and once at home and it’s an awesome experience.

    She looks awesome and healthy, so I’m sure she’ll do great! 🙂

  33. says

    Natural birth…I’ve contemplated no drugs when ever that day comes, but considering my low threshold for pain…not sure I would make it. She looks great to be 6 months and has a great motherly glow. I hope things go as planned for her.

  34. Tia :) says

    Aww, come on. Us nurses can’t all be that bad 😉

    To each their own i guess, I wouldnt feel safe unless i was in a hospital.

  35. says

    I wish her all the best, and considering that many celebs choose for an elective c-section, it is nice to hear of other examples. But I hope she won’t be disappointed if things go differently than she thought, sometimes a birth is an unpredictable process.

    And as much as I think it must be nice to have the comfortable atmosphere of a home birth, I would never dare to do this myself. At my sister’s birth, there were some unexpected complications, and had my mom not been in hospital, my sister would probably have died.

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  36. Mayan says

    That is fantastic!! I had a natural Water birth at home with my son. It was such a great experience. i felt free to be myself and i wasn’t interuped every 10 minutes to be checked by nurses. i had a great midwife who let my birth unfold the way birth should be. My 9lbs 14oz son was born calmly into the water caught by his papa. I wish Laila and every woman giving birth the treat in having an experience like i had.

  37. boo says

    That’s definitely something you don’t hear of much in Hollywood, Hopefully all goes well and she has a problem free, Natural Home delivery like she hopes for!
    I to am going the Homebirth route, it will be my first at Home and I can only hope that everything goes smoothly for myself as well!! 🙂

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