'One Born Every Minute' Shows The Real, Raw Birth Stories We Don't Get To See In Most Films
There are a few stereotypical ways that birth is depicted in films and on TV shows, whether it's a comedy, a drama or something in between.
The pregnant woman on screen's water inevitably breaks during a crucial moment in the script (during a court case, in the middle of her baby shower) and is followed by blood-curdling screams and a general sense of panic, or a convenient flash forward to the baby's arrival at home.
"TV has a lot to answer for," midwife Emma Aboagye told 10 daily with a chuckle, having seen her fair share of births in the last six years on the job.
"I think the movies and TV kind of set people up for the, 'Oh my gosh, the water breaks, the baby's out, cool beans!'" she laughed.
The work of Emma and her colleagues at the birth unit at Westmead Hospital in Sydney is featured on 'One Born Every Minute Australia', a documentary series filmed over eight weeks with 64 unobtrusive cameras that captured the childbirth journey of women of different ages, backgrounds and experiences.
Emma explained to 10 daily that being able to follow along with the families who arrive at the hospital gives viewers who might not have given birth themselves or been present during labour, a more well-rounded understanding of the process.
"I think when you're able to see a woman in that moment, as she's labouring, going from that earlier stage into that active stage, transitioning into being fully dilated -- being able to see that progression might be interesting to watch," she said.
"Every birth that you see for the first time, it's just a very special and magical process," Emma added.
For Emma's colleague Natascha Dastur, the effect of watching fictional childbirths on TV often means that some women's expectations have already been lowered before they chat to their midwife.
"There's a lot of talk around how negative the process is rather than, that it's really just a process that actually changes your life as a woman. It changes your body, it changes your mindset, it changes your idea of love -- everything.
"And people don't talk about that much," Natascha told 10 daily.
She added that depictions of women in labour on TV "come to be a problem when it's made to sound like she's about to kill someone or she's dying."
"That's what I have a problem with and that creates that negative connotation around birth and the whole energy is just disabled in that room," she said.
That's not to say that there aren't medical complications surrounding births, and it's an issue that's not shied away from on 'One Born Every Minute'.
In Australia, the rate of stillborn babies is 7.4 per 1000 births, about six babies per day.
"It's the worst feeling because you really want to give this mum the best experience of her life and this is really not a memory that she will cherish," said Natascha.
"But she could cherish it if we let her hold her stillborn baby and bond with it and still share the love, or have some time with her husband, and give her what she needs."