Private Chefs and Makeup Artists: How the Superrich Give Birth

Beyoncé and Jay-Z are far from the first wealthy couple to welcome a child in (reportedly) extravagant style

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Timothy A. Clary / AFP / Getty Images

A view of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City on Jan. 10, 2012

Shutting down an entire hospital wing for renovation just for a few nights’ stay may take the average populace by surprise. But for celebrity moms-to-be, having a wing at your disposal is simply part of the baby budget.

Maybe you’ve heard that Beyoncé and Jay-Z welcomed a baby girl, Blue Ivy Carter, at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan last weekend. Reports surfaced that a wing of the hospital was shut down for privately funded renovations prior to the star couple’s arrival and that the security surrounding the event irked some fellow new moms. Because of all the hubbub, many other celebrity moms-to-be instead choose to take their labor to facilities already set up to handle the, well, special circumstances that arise with such public interest.

Ellie Miller, co-founder of Los Angeles–based Ellie & Melissa, The Baby Planners, says it isn’t just celebrities who opt for private treatment. “It has always been the well-to-do that get a private suite,” she says. “The celebrities can go over the top.”

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While a “regular” mom-to-be might bring a photo with her to the hospital, private births often involve complete room redecorations prior to the mom-to-be’s arrival. And expect a team of helpers to attend to the mom once the baby does arrive. Miller has seen the team environment grow in recent years, including the addition of massage therapists, specialized music options, interior decorators, chefs, photographers and especially makeup artists (because where there are photographers, there must be makeup). “There is really no end to the options,” Miller says. “And with a lot of celebrities — but not Beyoncé — having C-sections, they are staying there longer.”

But it doesn’t take months of planning and shutting down hospital wings to make your private suite exactly like you want it. Hospitals from Los Angeles to New York City specialize in star treatment. Possibly the most well-known hospital, Miller says, is Cedars-Sinai in L.A. There, deluxe maternity suites offer three rooms with hardwood floors, a personal aid 24/7 and plenty of other lush, hotel-like amenities, all for less than $3,800 per day. (Since some health-insurance plans cover only basic costs, only a fraction is paid for. Not like Jay-Z would need the coverage, we suppose.)

On Manhattan’s East Side, Mount Sinai Hospital boasts three-room suites with views of Central Park for $4,000 per night, an average price for high-end, private options, Miller says. Expect luxe details and personal attention there too.

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It’s still common for celebrities to hire doctors for home births, in order to stay clear of the public. But Miller says that as celebrities have taken to fancy digs, other well-off folks have opted for the experience too, realizing that they can also have a private experience full of gourmet food and drink and personal choices — as long as they have the cash to back it up.

Because of demand, Mount Sinai and Cedars-Sinai aren’t the only hospitals that cater to those seeking a private experience. Miller says that nearly every Los Angeles hospital (Good Samaritan is famous for delivering Madonna’s daughter Lourdes) is set up to welcome celebrities. Staffs are prepared for the privacy — and security — concerns that go with a well-publicized birth.

From Matilda Hospital in Hong Kong, complete with ocean-view balconies and high-end menus, to Prince of Wales Private Hospital in Sydney, billed as a five-star hotel, and the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London (where private births include a champagne breakfast), moms-to-be with money and or fame will be indulged, right down to their birthing room’s drape color.

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