The new royal family

You certainly do not need Birth Story to fill you in on the birth on Monday of Prince George Alexander Louis, heir to the British throne.

New royal familyThe 8 pound 6 ounce Prince of Cambridge was born on July 22, 2013. For our purposes, it's interesting that his dad was present at the birth. It is not ground-breaking, though, as Prince Charles was the first to break with tradition and attend William's birth in 1982.

Charles' dad, Prince Philip, played squash in another part of Buckingham Palace during Charles' birth, but men did not typically attend their children's birth at the time.

When William married Kate Middleton three years ago, I wrote extensively about past British royal births of the 20th century, which you can see in my archives from late April of 2011.

The births of British royalty have historically twined together with the latest birthing practices, and so, for the purposes of Birth Story, they are important. Let's reconvene here later in the summer and look at begin to look at some of those junctures.

Photo from today.com

Pregnancy book births a movie

The recently released movie What To Expect When You're Expecting has plenty of stars (Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Chace Crawford, Elizabeth Banks) and a storyline chockablock with pregnancy and, eventually, birth.

Critics hated it but viewers gave it a somewhat warmer reception.

What to expect movie 2

Elizabeth Banks and Brooklyn Decker in What To Expect: The Movie

The mere fact a movie called What to Expect...  got made reflects the strength of the brand of the 28-year-old self-help book that inspired it, What to Expect When You're Expecting.

And it is an awesome brand. WTE is in its fourth edition, with more than 15 million books in print.

The author of What to Expect When You're Expecting, Heidi Murkoff, wrote the first edition of the book with her late mother, Arlene Eisenberg, and her sister Sandee Hathaway, who is no longer involved with the series. Sharon Mazel co-authored the fourth edition.

The WTE franchise also includes books on babies and toddlers, plus a baby-sitter's handbook.

The WTE website now has a page about the movie, including the stars' thoughts about the book. It has all come full circle, which gets to be a little dizzying, if you ask me.

Dads enter the American childbirth picture

American fathers began making their way into the childbirth picture in the 1950s, according to Make Room for Daddy: The Journey from Waiting Room to Birthing Room, historian Judith Walzer Leavitt's 2009 book. Birth had migrated from home to hospital by that time.Make Room for Daddy

Two developments helped bring dad into the birth process, Leavitt writes — the growing influence in this country of British obstetrician Grantly Dick-Read's 1933 book Childbirth Without Fear and the "natural birth" movement it helped launch; and the development of regional anesthesia for childbirth.

Dick-Read's book inspired couples to begin exploring ways to experience childbirth together. The introduction of regional anesthesia meant that women were conscious during birth, but often alone for long periods during labor.

Women asked for their husbands to be allowed to attend their births, and doctors and hospital officials eventually realized that the fathers' presence could make birth safer and more satisfying for mothers.

The phenomenon of fathers attending their children's birth was not just new, it was news. For the June 13, 1955 issue of Life magazine, photographer Burton Glinn snapped reporter John Stouffer gaping in amazement at the birth of his son at Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle.

The doctor who delivered President Obama

The family of David A. Sinclair MD, the late Honolulu obstetrician who delivered Barack Obama on August 4, 1961, were surprised and honored to learn of his role when the President recently released his long-form birth certificate.

David Sinclair MD
David Sinclair MD

Dr. Sinclair was a freshly minted young doctor in 1961. Born in Portland, Ore., Dr. Sinclair had moved to Hawaii with his family as a child. He served as a fighter pilot in World War II, settling back down in Hawaii after the war. There, he attended college at the University of Hawaii, where he met his wife, Ivalee.

Dr. Sinclair received his medical training, including his residency in obstetrics and gynecology, at the University of California at San Francisco. He returned to Hawaii in 1960.

He delivered babies all over Hawaii, but his practice was centered at a hospital now known as Kapi'olani Medical Center for Women & Children in Honolulu, where President Obama was born, according to news accounts.

Dr. Sinclair died in 2003 at the age of 81.

"I'm just honored and proud of my father," said Karl Sinclair, one of Dr. Sinclair's six children.

"I think it's great," said Dr. Brian Sinclair, another son. "Hawaii was a very small place back then so I guess I'm not surprised."

Prince William, polishing his media skills

This old video of a photo opportunity featuring the 18-month-old Prince William of Great Britain, who was married today with a reported two billion people watching, gives an idea of what his life has been like from the beginning.