Why Kate Middleton has Princess Diana to thank for ‘reclaiming birth for women’ and changing labour for royal mums

Kate Middleton and other mums-to-be have Princess Diana to thank for kick-starting ‘radical changes in hospitals’ in terms of how women give birth, according to a childbirth expert who advised the hospital and the late Princess Diana before she gave birth to Prince William.

Kate Middleton is due to give birth in the next coupe of weeks, and the Duchess is now officially on maternity leave as she prepares to welcome her third baby this month.

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Despite rumours that Kate Middleton might have chosen a home birth and to deliver her third baby in Kensington Palace, that idea has since been ruled out in favour of the Duchess of Cambridge returning to what ‘she knows’. Kate will be giving birth in the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital in London where sources confirmed ‘she feels like she’s in very safe hands.’

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Kate Middleton and Prince William introduce Prince George in 2013, and Princess Charlotte in 2015, to the world outside the Lindo Wing

Kate follows in the footsteps of her late mother-in-law Princess Diana in choosing to give birth in the Lindo Wing, and despite the fact that she was not the very first royal to choose the famous hospital to deliver their first child, the late Princess Diana has been hailed as a revolutionary figure by natural childbirth expert Sheila Kitzinger, when it comes to how women give birth today.

Although Princess Anne was the first royal family member to give at St Mary’s Paddington when she selected the hospital to have her two children, Peter and Zara Phillips, Shelia Kitzinger claimed that it was Diana who was really the first royal to take control of her own birthing plan before William was born in 1982.

Before Princess Anne gave birth, the expectation for women in the royal family was that they would deliver their babies at home, and in the 1980s, women were largely expected to give birth lying down on a bed with the help of drugs.

Princess Diana rejected both of these ideas, choosing instead to opt for what she felt was most natural for her.

‘When she was pregnant with Prince William, I was asked to advise the private Lindo wing of St. Mary’s,’ Sheila Kitzinger revealed in her memoir, adding that she was asked to allocate equipment that would allow Princess Diana to ‘give birth in an upright’ position – as that was what the mum-to-be had requested.

‘I said that Charles looked strong enough to hold her [so she could give birth in an upright position]’ Shelia wrote. ‘And that is what happened.’

Prince Charles and Princess Diana while she was pregnant with Prince William in 1982

When Princess Diana gave birth to Prince William in the Lindo Wing, it was also the first time in history that a future British monarch was born in a hospital – and set a trend for William’s future wife, Kate Middleton, to follow.

‘It was the first active royal birth — a complete contrast to the queen’s’ Shelia explained in her book.

‘Princess Diana may have been criticized by some,’ Shelia added, ‘but her contribution to reclaiming birth for women actually kick-stared radical changes in hospitals.’