It’s a boy for Cruz, Bardem

The Spanish movie star couple Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem reportedly welcomed a baby boy, their first child, on Jan. 22 at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles.

Bardem was nominated for an Academy Award on Tuesday for best actor for his role in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's new film, Biutiful.

He won a best supporting actor Oscar in 2007 for his role as a psychopath in No Country for Old Men. Cruz won a best supporting actress Oscar in 2008 for Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

Cruz, 36, and Bardem, 41, were married in July in the Bahamas. The couple, who met nearly 20 years ago on the set of Jamon Jamon, Cruz's first movie, reunited while making Vicky Cristina Barcelona for Woody Allen in 2007.

Leapfrog: Early elective births are common

The Leapfrog Group, a 10-year-old hospital monitoring group, has found that doctors and hospitals are commonly scheduling women for elective deliveries before 39 weeks of gestation, even though studies have established a bright arrow that shows that babies are at risk of death or serious health problems if they are born before then.

A survey of 773 hospitals released this week shows that these institutions performed more than 57,000 inductions and Cesarean sections before 39 weeks just in the last year. The hospitals displayed a wide range of rates for early elective deliveries, from less than 5% to more than 40%.

"Leapfrog’s release of 2010 data is the first real evidence that the practice of scheduling newborn deliveries before 39 weeks without a medical reason is common and varied among hospitals even in the same state or community," the report stated.

The brain and lungs aren't fully developed until the very last weeks of pregnancy, said Alan R. Fleischman MD, senior vice president and medical director of the March of Dimes, a group that works to prevent birth defects, and is working with Leapfrog to cut the numbers of early births.

“Women need to protect themselves by refusing to schedule their deliveries before 39 weeks without a sound medical reason, and by knowing the facts about the hospitals they plan to deliver in,” said Leapfrog CEO Leah Binder.

Some hospitals, notably Hospital Corporation of America, have programs in place to encourage doctors to refrain from scheduling Cesarean sections and elective inductions for nonmedical reason, Leapfrog officials said.

ACOG: Still down on home births

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists came out once again this week cautioning against home births.

Hospitals and birthing centers are the safest place for labor and delivery, the speciality organization of obstetricians stated in a committee opinion on Thursday.

A prior Cesarean delivery "is an absolute contraindication to planning a home birth due to the risks, including uterine rupture," the statement said. Twins, breech babies and pregnancies that have gone beond 42 weeks are not good candidates either — too risky for the babies, ACOG said.

"Home births don't always go well, and the risk is higher if they are attended by inadequately trained attendants or in poorly selected patients with serious high-risk medical conditions such as hypertension, breech presentation, or prior Cesarean deliveries," said Richard N. Waldman MD, ACOG's president.

This is the latest in a long line of statements the group has made cautioning against the less than 1 percent of  American births that take place at home.

Even so, ACOG does want women to know that if they decide to deliver their babies at home, they should get the "standard components of prenatal care, including Group B strep screening and treatment, genetic screening, and HIV screening."

And, they should work with a birth attendant who is part of "an integrated and regulated health system, have ready access to consultation, and have a plan for safe and quick transportation to a nearby hospital in the event of an emergency," the statement said.

Kelly Preston talks about her “silent birth”

Actress Kelly Preston, wife of actor John Travolta, talked with Natalie Morales on the Today show on Wednesday morning about the "silent birth" of her son Benjamin at a hospital in Ocala, Fla., on Nov. 23.

Benjamin weighed eight pounds three ounces. Both Preston, 48, and Travolta, 56, are Scientologists. Their religion espouses a birth free of conversation, as supposedly "any words spoken ...can have an aberrative effect on the mother and the child."

Preston and Travolta have a daughter, Ella Bleu. Their son Jett died in 2009 at the age of 16.

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The Danish royal twins go home

Frederik, the crown prince of Denmark, and his wife, Crown Princess Mary, brought their newborn twins home from Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen today.

Danish royal twins
Mary, Frederik and the twins

 

The boy and girl were born on Jan. 8. In the custom of Danish royalty, the babies will receive their names at their christening, which could be as long as three months from now.

“I’ve just been told that they were born on Elvis’s (Presley) birthday,” the prince said at a press conference just after the birth. “Then we’ll call one of them Elvis.”

The birth started spontaneously and lasted about five hours, said Princess Mary’s obstetrician, Dr. Morten Hedegaard. The birth team also included midwife Birgitte Hillerup, who said the princess, 38, had an epidural for pain. Frederik attended the birth.

The twins, along with older siblings Christian, 5, and Isabella, 3, are expected to visit their mother’s native Australia this year, perhaps for Christmas. The prince met the princess, nee Mary Donaldson, the Tasmanian-born daughter of a math professor, at a Sydney pub during the 2000 summer Olympics.

Chris Jackson/Getty Images