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The Friday Rant Club – why can’t the media portray pregnancy and birth as normal?

Yes yes yes I understand that there needs to be drama and all that but seriously does every portrayal of pregnancy and birth need to be so dramatic.


Even when the pregnancy is not pivotal to the story there has to be a twist or trouble that means you never end up with a character just glowing or saying ‘I’m a bit tired and felt a touch queasy in the morning but the only issue has been that my boobs have got enormous’.


In the same way birth is never calm or unrushed – there’s blood, screaming, panic and inevitably the mother lying on a hospital bed.  No birth pools, no active birth, no quiet.


Are we in danger of educating coming generations that pregnancy and birth are more scary and dangerous than they actually are?  Are we in danger of removing choices from labouring women because they have only seen that you can give birth in pain and panic lying on your back?


Yes I know that there are some pregnancies that don’t go according to plan.  Of course I know that, I had one of them.  Yet the fact remains that the majority of pregnancies are unexciting and problem free.


I also know that there are some births that very much need medical help and lifesaving interventions but there are an awful lot that don’t.  The majority don’t.  Yes normal labour involves pain and groaning but that’s very different from the way most TV dramas would have you believe it unfolds.


Could we not just please have a touch more reality and little less drama?



The Friday Rant Club is a chance to get those niggles, those irritants, those things that make you want to throw a toddler-stylee tantrum off your chest before the weekend.

Go on, let it all out and if you feel like it there’s a rather nice little button over there on the right to show you that you like a bit of a rant

I’m looking for some guest ranters – if you’d like to get something off your chest send me an email or mention it to me on Twitter. Any subject, just has to be something that has really got your goat.

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6 comments to The Friday Rant Club – why can’t the media portray pregnancy and birth as normal?

  • Mind you childbirth, until quite recently was the biggest killer of young women and birth is a very stressful time for the baby. But with the advent of modern medicine it is a far safer experience. The media always sensationalise everything, and you have to remember that A it sells papers, increases viewers, and B lots of the control as to what is published is by men, who are on the whole quite terrified of childbirth. I guess its is down to the less mainstream media, ie Blogs to redress the balance and give a more realistic view of childbirth.

  • It’s funny you write this because I often get frustrated with birth on TV for the opposite reason. They look too easy. The woman’s waters break (usually when out shopping), then she’s rushed straight to hospital where after a short time of screaming and pushing a baby arrives. In my experience it’s not like that either. They never show anyone on the phone to the midwife having a conversation about whether they should come in yet. They never show anyone sent home from the hospital because they’re not dialating even though they’re still screaming because the contractions hurt so much. They never show them taking four days just to have one tiny baby. They never show anyone have a baby by ventouse or forceps. And they never show complete the exhaustion. In soaps for example the mother is usually in the pub the next day!
    But to be fair it’s not real. It’s television and nice normal situations don’t make for particularly interesting viewing.

  • Lorraine berry

    As a midwife and mum of three, I totally agree with this rant!! I spend most of my professional life trying to calm and reassure parents whose perspective of birth has been skewed into believing it to be an incredibly risky event , fraught with danger for mum and baby. The reality is that the vast majority are uneventful, safe, normal events, that take place much more easily and are more straightforward if we don’t interfere with nature and allow it to progress in it’s own way – if it ain’t broke – don’t try to fix it!!
    However, when nature isn’t quite taking the course we would like, medical intervention is fabulous. However, even when the path of labour isn’t running smoothly – there is rarely the all out panic, adrenaline fuelled nightmare scenarios portrayed in the media. We are calm, trained professional, skilled at our jobs – and when difficulties are occurring we have normally detected that there is a possibility of trouble ahead and have already begun to make plans / actions to avoid and treat when necessary.
    I have recently given up on watching Doctors, bbc1 because of the farcical way they are screening midwives and pregnancy (antenatal classes at 6 weeks?! GP taking over from an experienced sonographer to locate the baby?! Give me strength!!) because frankly my blood pressure can’t take the frustration and the tv is likely to end up with various things thrown through it!
    Can we please stop scaring parents to be, have some realism and appropriate perspective on the subject, use some realistic and believable characters – after all, pregnancy and birth are quite simply, incredible, amazing, and emotional events as they are, without the unnecessary addition of “artistic” licence and dramatisation. Xx

  • Sarah

    Oh I so agree with this rant, in fact I think I am about to have another one…

    After my 1st (horrible) birth experience, I was determined my 2nd birth would be better and I picked up a copy of ´Childbirth Without Fear´ by Grantly Dick-Read.

    Admittedly its not the lightest of reads, but for me it re-enforced the niggling idea I had that ´giving birth was a natural act, so it shouldn’t be so bloody awful, should it?’.

    In the book the author refers to a consultation he had with a young girl, (I can’t remember exactly but…) basically when asked if she is worried/scared she replies “No why? What do I need to be scared for?”

    Dick-Read highlights the fact that this innocent young girl, about to give birth, has not been bludgeoned with the horrific tails of torturous childbirth, which are passed from woman to woman and through the media, which affect our mindset towards birth.

    She just got on with it…

    I know some women have bad birth experiences (I had one too), but I am convinced it is our pre-conceived perception of birth that affects us the most.

    Also, in Ina May Gaskin´s ‘Guide to Childbirth’ book she documents the natural childbirth rates at her midwifery centre, the statistics are amazing and inspiring.

    For my second birth I went in the hospital thinking, “This is going to be wonderful, I can do this, I was made to do this!” And it was and I was!

    Whenever I speak to pregnant women, I always rant on about how fantastic my 2nd birth experience was, and what changed my thoughts on birth.

    I feel it’s my duty to be positive, there are enough horror stories out there!

  • Sange

    Late to this party, and I’m not giving birth to my first for approximately three weeks , but one experience has told me all I need to know about labour and expectations. At our ante natal classes, yes, the women were apprehensive about giving birth. The only woman who was actually properly frightened of doing so was the lady who watched all of the programmes like one born every minute. ‘ nuff said!!

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