Are you a fan of One Born Every Minute? Or is it a programme you tend to avoid on the basis that you'd rather not think too much about giving birth until, you know, you actually have to do it?
Whatever your view, it might surprise you to learn that one mum is calling for the show to be banned.
The Daily Mail reports:
"My listeners curse that show and they often tell me that it's what made them scared of giving birth in the first place. To be fair, for TV companies, their agenda is entertainment, not education and entertainment shows need a big dose of drama and action. It's a sorry state of affairs that we aren't educated adequately about childbirth - it means that shows like One Born Every Minute become our main source of education. But they need to wake up to the role they're playing in childbirth education and need to take a more responsible approach."
She's not leaving it there, either. Alexia Leachman has started a petition urging Channel 4 to portray childbirth in a more balanced way. She argues that the births portrayed on the programme are not representative of actual childbirth, and writes:
"As a form of childbirth education it sucks! Why? because of this one simple thing: it’s creating fear among women when it comes to childbirth. My problem with fear, is that it’s directly responsible for crappy childbirth experiences that are bad for mum and bad for baby. And if something is bad for mum AND baby during birth, then it’s bad for society… the impact of difficult and traumatic birth experiences include a higher likelihood of the occurrence of post natal depression in women as well as an increased likelihood of mental and emotional health challenges in the children. This is something that we could really do much less of in the world right now."
Now I've got to say that watching One Born Every Minute helped allay my fears about childbirth - it certainly didn't stoke them. I felt more informed, less afraid, and generally better equipped for the prospect of birth and labour after watching this ground-breaking show, and I won't be signing this petition.
That said, I agree with Leachman that fear is the enemy of the birthing mother. I've had three natural deliveries, two without pain relief and one with a few hurried whiffs of Entonox whilst trying to get my hynobirthing game on during the thirty minutes that elapsed between my arrival at the hospital and my baby's subsequent arrival in my arms, so I feel I'm as 'qualified' as Leachman to comment on the subject.
Of course it's important that women don't feel afraid about giving birth, and it stands to reason that going into the delivery suite (or the home-birthing room, of course...) without anxiety is going to positively influence your experience of giving birth. But fear isn't the only reason why birth can be frightening, and deliveries can go 'wrong' or turn into emergencies regardless of whether the birthing mum is out of her wits with fear or as cool as a cucumber.
I'm all for better and more balanced representation of real childbirth experiences on TV but I think One Born Every Minute has done an incredible job of making childbirth less taboo, and I think it's unfair to single the show out for criticism.
You can check out the petition here.
What's your view? Are you a fan of One Born Every Minute, or do you agree that it paints an unbalanced picture of childbirth? We'd love to hear your thoughts over on our Facebook page.