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Why birth is not like what you see on TV!

Updated: May 11, 2021

Links to the best birthing videos online are below this article!

I have collated the links below this article to some of the best birthing videos I have found on online. These videos are all realistic portrayals of just how empowering giving birth to your baby truly is. These videos show the essential and amazing power of:

  • empowered mums trusting their own body and their own intuition

  • fabulous birth partners

  • massage

  • breathwork

  • hypnobirthing

  • relaxation

  • different positions for labour and birth

  • water-birth

  • supportive health care professionals

There can be a big problem during pregnancy, particularly for first-time mums in that the only labours and births that most people have ever seen are in TV shows and films and that is just not helpful for a pregnant mum! Sure, every labour and birth is different but I have never seen a birth depictured on the TV or the big screen that has had much semblance to the reality I experienced in my 22 years as a midwife. The births you see on TV and film invariably start dramatically, quickly and involve screaming, swearing, pain, distress and anything else that the writer/director may consider would pull in the viewers.

This mis-telling of the truth only serves to understandably create fear for pregnant mums. This fear is the “big problem” because when a mum is in a state of fear, this can have a hugely negative effect on the labour – prolonging the labour and making it painful. It is the fear itself that is the main factor in making labour become the long, painful experience the mum was fearful of. And so depicting labour and birth on-screen as a high-drama, frightening and painful event can actually become a self-fulfilling prophecy. And so the fiction can then end up becoming fact because we as humans often experience exactly what we were expecting – BECAUSE we were expecting it.

So, we can change our expectations and in turn our experience by watching positive, real birthing videos that are based on reality and not viewing ratings.

The GOOD NEWS is that the reality of labour and birth is soooooo different to what you see in films or on TV.

The truth is that natural labour and birth would make terrible on-screen dramatic entertainment. There are long periods of resting comfortably and quietly interspersed with regular surges (also known as contractions) lasting for about 1 minute that are breathed through. Then another 2-4 minutes of complete rest. I have found it vanishingly rare that a mum in labour would get angry or start swearing at the birth partner – another myth propagated by on-screen high-drama.

If labour and birth wasn’t so miraculous and beautiful one could even think of it as almost boring as it is invariably a very peaceful (and sometimes longish) affair.

No wonder the TV/drama makers need to change the narrative and spice it up!!

I hope you enjoy these videos and if you have any others you would like to recommend then let me know.

Wishing you peaceful birthing vibes, Alison Fiddler x

Video links:

1. Home birth in France. This is a beautiful birth and demonstrates brilliantly the mum’s natural instinctive movements, positions, using sound and humming bee breath:

2. Gentle caesarean birth:

3. Home waterbirth with hypnobirthing. I love how dad is there for everyone and keeps control of the situation. He even tells the midwife to get out of the way!

4. Nancy’s beautiful home waterbirth with hypnobirthing. Dad does a great job of looking after and supporting mum and the midwives do a great job when baby is a little slow to breathe.

5. Olya’s lovely home/water/hypnobirth. She does not adopt a ‘UFO’ (upwards/forwards/over or open) position for labour or birth. So the message is: There are no rules that are right for everyone. Trust your body to find the position that is right for you.

6. Super chilled out home water birth for Daisy. Great use of the birthing ball and hypnobirthing and massage and the pool. Great job from birth partner!

7. Naoli is a Mexican midwife giving birth to her 3rd baby in the pool surrounded by her loving family. In Spanish: English subtitles available on Youtube.

8. Abby having a lovely hospital waterbirth with gas & air:

9. This is a long video of a lovely home water birth and shows the early stage of labour really well. Active labour starts around 15 minutes into the video and at the end there is some great footage of the placenta and dad cutting the cord.

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