Baby boom hits Hollywood

By Jocelyn Noveck The Associated Press

NEW YORK – Like any expectant mother, Kai Walter, six months pregnant, has lots to get done before the big day. One of her most important errands: an upcoming trip to the West Coast, where she has an appointment to take off her clothes and be photographed.

Not for some magazine cover, but for her own personal collection of pregnancy memories. The idea is to artistically capture her blossoming belly in all its glory, something more women are doing these days. Or they might be making a plaster “belly cast” of their changing form. Or even consulting a “pregnancy stylist” to map out a cool, midriff-baring maternity wardrobe.

Pregnancy, in short, has become hipper, more glamorous – sexy even. It sure feels odd to think that way about something as basic as, well, the propagation of the human race. And yet, fueled by an ever-spiraling interest in the lives of our celebrities (one word: Brangelina) and a consumer culture always coming up with new luxuries, the very act of reproduction appears to have reinvented itself.

“It’s hip now to be pregnant,” says Jill Siefert, a fashion stylist in San Francisco who added pregnancy styling to her business. “Everybody’s doing it.”

Of course, everybody’s always done it. It’s just that we’re hearing about it more now – especially RIGHT now. Take the latest cover of People (perhaps they should rename it Parents). Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, new parents of Suri, are flanked by Gwyneth Paltrow and newborn Moses, and Donald and Melania Trump with newborn Barron. Inside, Liv Tyler and Jon Stewart cavort with their respective offspring, Brooke Shields talks about hers.

And this is only April. The coming months promise the birth of the Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie baby, still in utero but already presumed gorgeous. “Not since Jesus has a baby been so eagerly anticipated,” New York magazine wrote.