Thursday, December 1, 2011

TV Births

One of my current favorite shows recently featured a woman giving birth. It's not surprising but I came away with this question: Why is it that TV is completely incapable of portraying childbirth in an accurate way?

In Up All Night's episode about Reagan giving birth to her third child:

1. They leave for the hospital WAY too early. Reagan hasn't had any contractions that we know of and she is chatting a lot about a headband. She should have stayed at work, kept busy and waited a few hours until contractions were, at the very least, five minutes apart.

2. While at the hospital, they learn that their doctor is delivering tripplets and will not be able to deliver their baby that day. Reagan tries to tell the alternate cute male doctor that he cannot deliver their baby because he is too attractive. Two things are wrong with this scene (besides the fact that when it comes time, Reagan is NOT going to care how cute her doc is):

A. Their female doctor would have had plenty of time to deliver triplets (it most likely would have been a c-section, lasting an hour tops) and get to Reagan 7 hours later.

B. During this entire conversation, she does not have any contractions. Again, she is not far enough along to be at the hospital.

3. At 7pm, you finally see Reagan contracting. She's yelling and obviously in pain. Chris continues to ask if she wants an epidural, but she refuses. By 7:10pm, she is relaxed and happy, insinuating that Reagan did end up with an epidural. Even if she had already been given a bag of fluids and the anesthesiologist was there in the room ready to go, it would have taken longer than 10 minutes to administer the epidural and longer for it to take effect.

4. Immediately following the epidural, Reagan begins pushing. By 11:29pm, the doctor tells her that "pushing isn't working". Most doctors wouldn't allow a woman to push for more than 4 hours in the hospital.

5. The doctor announces that the baby is too big. He recommends a c-section, but when Reagan objects, he says it's an emergency. Baby is born at 12:37am. It just would not have taken the team an hour and 8 minutes to perform a c-section, especially in an emergency situation where the epidural has already been given.

6. The last scene is sweet, but also unrealistic. It seems to be morning. Reagan is still wearing her headband from the birth but is bright eyed and sitting straight up. After major abdominal surgery, she'd be lucky to be in a semi-reclined position but would definitely be drowsy.

There you have it. Do NOT look to tv shows for your childbirth education needs. Maybe someday, someone in the television business will portray birth the way it really is. Until then, read books!! Have any of you seen it done well? I'd love to know about it!


  1. Yeah, definitely not realistic at all...but hilarious. I love that show!

  2. I've never had kids, but even I know that an epidural doesn't take effect in 3 seconds. Ha ha.

  3. I found this episode hilarious! Their portrayal of childbirth may not be accurate, but I found it to be a lot more accurate than shows that have someone pushing for three minutes and all of a sudden there's a in "Glee".

  4. Yes, Glee was probably one of the worst. Oh, and Friends. Up All Night is definitely one of my favorites shows right now, though. Ha-Larious.

  5. Watch the Nativity movie--aside from the babies being born chubby and w/o umbilical cords, it may take the prize for birth scenes in recently produced media!