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Home birth is on the rise, but moms giving birth without the assistance of midwives are still few and far between. However, a new reality show on Lifetime takes unassisted childbirth a step further, where expectant moms labor and birth in the great outdoors on their new reality TV series, Born in the Wild.
Born in the Wild
Inspired by a viral video of a mom giving birth in a forest near a creek, Born in the Wild will feature moms who want a similar experience — birthing their babies outside with no doctor or midwife present.
On hand, however, will be a TV crew, and there are certain stipulations the mothers have to adhere by. For starters, moms can pick the location, but it has to be within a certain distance of a hospital. The mothers must not be first-time moms, and they must be in good health to participate. And last but certainly not least, a trained medical professional will be on site.
So remind me… this is reality TV, right?
A far cry from reality
I know lots of moms who have had home births, and I even know a mom who has had two unassisted childbirth experiences. Of course, there was no film crew on hand and there was no backup medical professional waiting in the wings — it was just a mother, her husband and her sleeping children present each time as they welcomed home their newest family member.
I'm not going to debate the safety of home birth or unassisted childbirth. I do know that moms who plan births outside of the hospital setting don't take the adventure lightly, and while bad things can happen to moms and babies who have their babies at home, hospital births don't always go as planned either.
However, this "reality" show is nothing more than riding on the coattails of an extreme idea and exploiting it, which I'm sure is the recipe for success for many reality shows. I can admit that I do not often enjoy reality shows because they are often scripted to delight and entertain, and much of the spontaneity and — let's admit it — ennui is often edited out.
Will I be watching?
So while the idea of watching an unassisted birth in the wild is appealing to me, this is just another reality show that isn't all that realistic.
However, I may watch it, if I flip by it. I'm a birth junkie and I find the subject personally fascinating. I did watch the entire video above and had a few qualms about it, namely bugs getting on the newborn baby and the cleanliness of the water she was sitting in when she gave birth (this may have to do with the fact that I tried some mountain stream water in Colorado a couple of years ago and had some, shall we say, tummy troubles as a result). But overall, I do believe that women's bodies are designed to have babies.
On the other hand, some fear that the show will encourage pregnant moms to run into the woods en masse to have their own babies, but honestly I don't see that happening. Having a home birth, as I mentioned above, takes serious planning, and trekking to the outdoors to labor and birth I would think would take even more forethought.
I don't think the show is all that controversial, however. It's just an attempt at a ratings grab, meant to shock the mainstream television consumer and draw in viewers. I don't think it will lead to a rise in unassisted outdoor births, nor do I think that we're on the brink of a public health crisis because of it.