Super-Luxe Maternity

Article excerpt

Byline: Rebecca Dana

The rise of birthing suites and newborn couture.

When Jessica Simpson, nine months' pregnant with a 10-pound baby, headed to the hospital to give birth last week, she was not just any mother-to-be, and she didn't just roll into any ordinary birthing room. Simpson delivered her daughter, Maxwell Drew Johnson, in a three-bedroom, two-bathroom deluxe birthing suite at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles, which featured manicures, pedicures, chilled juice, and a gourmet, post-birth dinner for two, all for $3,784 a night.

This was just the latest salvo in a celebrity birthing arms race that has been escalating for years. In January Beyonce gave birth to her daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, in a $3,200-a-night "executive suite" in New York's Lenox Hill Hospital, tricked out with flat-panel televisions, plush couches, and spectacular views. In 2008 Jennifer Lopez reportedly wore a couture hospital gown to deliver her twins.

Celebrity excess inevitably trickles down to the nonfamous, often via the Kardashians, and so it has been with the VIP birthing business. There is now not a single aspect of gestation, delivery, or child rearing that you can't spend thousands of dollars on (or hire someone to do for you).

Women are bringing teams of doulas and coaches into the delivery room with them, to the point where some hospitals have started cracking down, tossing out massage therapists, aromatherapists, and the latest fad, experts in "orgasmic birth," which is pretty much just how it sounds. Pre- and post-partum primping is another indulgence many women are springing for these days, says "maternity concierge" Rosie Pope, star of the Bravo show Pregnant in Heels, whose second season premieres May 15. …