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Labor of the Stars: "Silent" Scientology Births


John Travolta and Kelly Preston are counting down to a November 26 due date, and according to the couple, one thing's for sure: Preston will undergo a "silent" Scientology birth—a practice in Scientology which is exactly what it sounds like. That means no music, no talking and no screaming are allowed during labor, and baby Benjamin won't be prodded for medical tests or spoken to for the first week of birth. "You don't want to do anything that will haunt them for the rest of their lives," a family insider explained.

Why is silence necessary? According to Rev. John Carmichael of the Church of Scientology, stressful-sounding noises and comments about how much pain Mom is in enter the baby's mind and can produce bad effects later on. He explained:

"If someone is screaming loudly, "Push! Push!" while the child is being born and is under some pressure and so forth, it may not be obvious right away but maybe years later the child is in a situation and someone is yelling “Push! Push!” about a bicycle, “Push harder on the bicycle!” the kid all of a sudden really doesn’t like the situation--maybe he has a headache and feels tired--the child doesn’t know, and the parent doesn’t know that there’s anything in particular going on except all of a sudden the child feels tired, and what could the problem be."

This isn't Preston's first crack at a silent birth. She told Redbook that she tried a few years ago with daughter Ella Bleu, but after 13 hours of labor she told Travolta, "Throw me in the car. I want an epidural!" Unfortunately for Preston, at that point there was not enough time to get Kelly to the hospital.

While zipping lip during labor seems wacky but harmless, preventing the baby from undergoing medical tests for a week sounds questionable. At 48, Preston is advanced maternal age, which carries an increased risk of birth defects for her baby. Also, there were lots of unanswered questions about the health of Jett, Travolta's oldest son who died semi-mysteriously in '09. Travolta ultimately acknowledged that Jett had a seizure disorder and was autistic, despite his church’s refusal to acknowledge psychiatric conditions.

Could you do a silent birth? Would you refuse medical tests for your newborn if it was against your religion?