What is it about?

Considerable debate surrounds the influence media have on first-time pregnant women. Much of the academic literature discusses the influence of (reality) television, which often portrays birth as risky, dramatic and painful and there is evidence that this has a negative effect on childbirth in society, through the increasing anticipation of negative outcomes. It is suggested that women seek out such programmes to help understand what could happen during the birth because there is a cultural void. However the impact that has on normal birth has not been explored.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

Media appear to influence how women engage with childbirth. The dramatic television portrayal of birth may perpetuate the medicalisation of childbirth, and last, but not least, portrayals of normal birth are often missing in the popular media. Hence midwives need to engage with television producers to improve the representation of midwifery and maternity in the media.


There is debate whether social perceptions and beliefs about childbirth can increase women’s requests for interventions, such as caesarean section, with long-term health implications for mothers and babies.

Professor Edwin R van Teijlingen
Bournemouth University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: “Is it realistic?” the portrayal of pregnancy and childbirth in the media, BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, February 2016, Springer Science + Business Media, DOI: 10.1186/s12884-016-0827-x.
You can read the full text:




The following have contributed to this page