I just found this article, in the British newspaper The Independent, that their “Maternity Csar” is placing the blame for Britain’s increasing cesarean section rate on television coverage of birth.
The IoS reported last week that Caesarean sections had risen from 9 per cent of all deliveries in 1980, to nearly 23 per cent by 2004/05, well above the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation of 15 per cent. Ms Lewis’s comments come in the wake of several shows depicting Caesarean sections, including ER and Emmerdale. She said: “I blame TV programmes. Every time, you see a pregnancy on television it seems to go wrong and ends up with a Caesarean section. You never see a woman having a normal delivery.
This is a claim that I have been making for awhile now, and although I cannot really comment on British television, I think this is exceedingly true for US TV, particularly in the wake of the Psuedo-documentary Reality TV boom. There are a number of these medical documentary series, particularly on stations like The Discovery Channel and TLC.
Check out one particularly frightening example:
No wonder women are afraid to give birth. And one last thing, our c-section rate is even worse than the UK, at almost 30%. Thank you reality TV.
Egad, just watching that clip made my bp skyrocket! I believe that it’s a true claim… normal and natural doesn’t sell ad time. On Birth Day today, there was a lovely home birth… and needless to say, the baby’s shoulders got stuck! To their credit, the show did portray the midwife as having the appropriate skills to cope with this common occurence.
Good golly god, and I LIKE Discovery Health. But I’ve never seen that show. I usually watch “Birth Stories” and they often have midwives on the show who are portrayed as totally competent. They all have done their work in hospitals on the shows I’ve seen, but then I think the show is based on hospitals.