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Saturday, June 13, 1998 Published at 15:42 GMT 16:42 UK

World: Americas

Birth - a web experience

Elizabeth's children will watch the birth - with the world

The world's first Internet birth is to be broadcast live on the web on Tuesday.

Cable channel America Health Network (AHN) is to film the delivery as an "educational event".

The mother, a 40-year-old from Florida who is known only by her Christian name Elizabeth, was considered an ideal volunteer by AHN because her three previous labours were quick and problem-free.

[ image: Elizabeth prepares for a TV appearence]
Elizabeth prepares for a TV appearence
The webcast will begin when she is admitted to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Woman and Children, Florida, at 6am local time (1100 GMT) on Tuesday.

The birth, which will be induced, is scheduled to begin about an hour later and will be shown from "discreet angles," said AHN spokeswoman Ginger Adams.

Her doctors say that filming will only be cut short if the lives of mother and child, a boy who will be named Sean, are at risk during the birth.

Elizabeth will be accompanied into the delivery room by her husband Gilbert, their three children, a cameraman, producer and narrator - and a worldwide audience.

Dr Walt Latimore, host of AHN's Ask the Family Doctor programme, said: "We want this to be an educational event.

"There are a lot of misconceptions about childbirth. We want to show that it's not so scary and how much control the mother actually has."

"It's neat"

Elizabeth was approached by her doctors because she had already decided to induce the birth of her fourth child and because of her history of problem-free labour.

She said: "I remember with my first child I was so overwhelmed, and it wasn't at all what I expected.

"It's neat that anybody can watch it and not be afraid."

She added: "At first they wanted us to use aliases. But I said how in the world am I going to remember to call my husband `John' in the middle of labour?"

AHN has advised anyone planning to view the birth to visit the site early to get instructions for downloading the necessary software.

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