You could say celebrity mums Kim Ji Sun and Kim Se-a are symbols of fertility in Korea.
The former, a 43-year-old comedian, gave birth to four children while in her 30s. The latter, a 40-year-old actress, had the process of her two home births televised on screen.
Both were in town on Saturday to promote the launch of baby product brand Todbi, which Ji Sun founded.
The hot mamas weigh in on the home versus hospital birth debate:
YES TO HOME BIRTHS
Se-a gave birth to her daughter and son at home, and would do it again in a heartbeat.
She laboured for 11 and 10 hours to deliver her first and second child respectively.
The svelte, 1.7m-tall actress gave birth to her daughter four years ago, when she was 37.
She had her son a year later.
Without an epidural, the pain was intense, but deep and rhythmic breathing helped her cope, she said.
As a result, she hardly made a sound during childbirth, shocking viewers who watched her give birth on TV.
The former gymnast and star of Korean dramas Love And Obsession (2009) and Their Perfect Day (2013) told The New Paper:
"My mother told me to go to the hospital to give birth, but my husband (Korean cellist Kim Kyu Sik) and I were set on the idea of a home birth.
"So when I went into labour, I didn't tell my mum, who lives three storeys above me in the same building.
"After I delivered my daughter, I told her and she cried."
Se-a added: "A lot of people are frightened of home births, but I love it because it's so natural and I get to do it in a familiar environment at my own convenience."
The best way to lose the baby weight? Breastfeeding, she said.
"Once the baby latches on and if you continue to breastfeed, your tummy will become flat naturally," she said.
NO TO HOME BIRTHS
Ji Sun's four children, aged five to 10, were delivered in the hospital. Looking back, she would not have it any other way.
One advantage of doing it the popular way is saving time: She gave birth to her youngest son within 35 minutes of going into labour.
She encourages women intending to have children to discuss child-rearing issues with their husbands before getting pregnant. She made a pact with her husband not to subscribe to gender stereotypes by labelling childcare a woman's job.
She said: "That's why I have time to work and really enjoy it.
Kim also made headlines two years ago when she revealed sexy six-pack abs after having given birth to four children.
Pictures of her concave tummy were circulated online and she became the inspiration for many Korean mothers to get back in shape.
Her three-month regimen consisted of waking up at 5am daily and exercising for two hours with a personal trainer.
She also stayed away from fried foods and carbohydrates to achieve her enviable body.
Said Kim: "It was a lot of hard work, but I wanted to prove that older women can do it all and also have amazing bodies."
This article was first published on Nov 17, 2014.
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