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  #1  
Old 02-10-2017, 06:44 PM
Ají de Gallina Ají de Gallina is offline
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Is painful, vaginal birth the default in film/TV?

On a trip I caught a rerun of HIMYM and Lili was giving birth. Of course, it had the classic "I want the drugs!!!!!" and the answer "it's too late". Then, the mother-to-be crushes someone's hand.
It got me thinking that most film/TV births are like that, with a screaming mother pulverising a friend's fingers; when they show the birth.
C-sections are only for live-or-death situations, in fact, they are the whole point of the episode. Nobody wants an epidural.

Also, it's always the semi-seated, in-your-room type and never in an operating room, lying on her back.
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  #2  
Old 02-10-2017, 07:10 PM
Eddie The Horrible Eddie The Horrible is offline
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If this scene from Wondershosen is any indication, it seems to look relatively effortless and painless.
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  #3  
Old 02-10-2017, 07:14 PM
Kimera757 Kimera757 is offline
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Pretty much every birth I've seen on TV is vaginal, but sometimes they're easy, and sometimes not, depending on drama value. Births in hospitals seem pretty rare, unless there's drama, even though the typical birth takes place in a hospital even if it's an easy birth. (If there's any drama in real life, usually it's getting to the hospital.)

Once in a blue moon there will be a Caesarean section, but only for drama reasons. (Supposedly some women are getting C-sections for the sake of convenience, but I understand if there were complications with a birth, it might be a good idea to get a C-section for subsequent births.)
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Old 02-10-2017, 07:17 PM
Biggirl Biggirl is offline
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Originally Posted by Kimera757 View Post
Pretty much every birth I've seen on TV is vaginal, but sometimes they're easy, and sometimes not, depending on drama value. Births in hospitals seem pretty rare, unless there's drama, even though the typical birth takes place in a hospital even if it's an easy birth. (If there's any drama in real life, usually it's getting to the hospital.)

Once in a blue moon there will be a Caesarean section, but only for drama reasons. (Supposedly some women are getting C-sections for the sake of convenience, but I understand if there were complications with a birth, it might be a good idea to get a C-section for subsequent births.)
Serious question: For what other reason would each type of birth be used on TV if not for the dramatic (or comedic) impact?
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  #5  
Old 02-11-2017, 08:24 AM
Miss Mapp Miss Mapp is offline
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There are over 80 births on Call the Midwife, some more difficult and dramatic than others. They range from the sterile with stirrups hospital deliveries that were beginning to become the norm in the 1950s, to ladies either alone or with one of the midwives right on the sitting-room carpet. One was a poor teenaged girl by herself in an empty house. I do recall at least one cesarean, as well as at least two very tricky breeches.
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  #6  
Old 02-11-2017, 05:14 PM
astorian astorian is offline
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Childbirth on TV is usually FAR more comical or FAR more dramatic than in real life.

In a comedy, the baby is far more likely to be born in an elevator than in a hospital.

On a drama, there will be life threatening complications, or else the baby will have to be delivered by an amateur.
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  #7  
Old 02-11-2017, 05:21 PM
Richard Parker Richard Parker is offline
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I wonder how much this varies by region.

In Brazil, 85% of all births in private hospitals are Caesareans.
In the USA, it's closer to 22% nationally, with variance of +/- 10% between states.
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  #8  
Old 02-11-2017, 05:22 PM
raventhief raventhief is online now
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Originally Posted by Ají de Gallina View Post
On a trip I caught a rerun of HIMYM and Lili was giving birth. Of course, it had the classic "I want the drugs!!!!!" and the answer "it's too late". Then, the mother-to-be crushes someone's hand.
It got me thinking that most film/TV births are like that, with a screaming mother pulverising a friend's fingers; when they show the birth.
C-sections are only for live-or-death situations, in fact, they are the whole point of the episode. Nobody wants an epidural.

Also, it's always the semi-seated, in-your-room type and never in an operating room, lying on her back.
For the record, i was in the room when a friend gave birth and that's almost exactly what happened. She never said she didn't want the drugs, but she dialated too quickly. So The nurse came in and said " no drugs yet, you need to be closer" and the next visit was " you are too far along for the epidural now."

And she tried very hard to pulverize my hand.
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  #9  
Old 02-11-2017, 06:07 PM
nearwildheaven nearwildheaven is offline
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When women on TV deliver their babies unattended, they always lie flat on their back with their legs up, and sometimes their feet pressed against something. In real life, if a woman is allowed to assume any position she wants, she will usually squat or crouch on her hands and knees in a frog-like position.
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  #10  
Old 02-11-2017, 06:41 PM
RivkahChaya RivkahChaya is offline
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For the record, i was in the room when a friend gave birth and that's almost exactly what happened. She never said she didn't want the drugs, but she dialated too quickly. So The nurse came in and said " no drugs yet, you need to be closer" and the next visit was " you are too far along for the epidural now."

And she tried very hard to pulverize my hand.
I don't know what that's about. I was allowed to have drugs as soon as the anesthesiologist could get to my room.
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  #11  
Old 02-11-2017, 06:46 PM
raventhief raventhief is online now
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I don't know what that's about. I was allowed to have drugs as soon as the anesthesiologist could get to my room.
Well, it was specifically no epidural until you're further along, if I remember correctly. It was 25 years ago, or thereabouts.
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  #12  
Old 02-11-2017, 06:46 PM
Biggirl Biggirl is offline
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Originally Posted by RivkahChaya View Post
I don't know what that's about. I was allowed to have drugs as soon as the anesthesiologist could get to my room.
Yeah, nah. Got to the hospital at 8 with twins. They were like, sorry-- too late. I can laugh about it. . . now.
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  #13  
Old 02-11-2017, 07:01 PM
Lamia Lamia is offline
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Aren't painful vaginal births the default in real life?
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  #14  
Old 02-11-2017, 07:13 PM
Richard Parker Richard Parker is offline
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Aren't painful vaginal births the default in real life?
Depends on where you live.
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  #15  
Old 02-11-2017, 07:13 PM
Biggirl Biggirl is offline
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Originally Posted by Lamia View Post
Aren't painful vaginal births the default in real life?
Yeah, I'd agree. My experience would fit in nicely with some sort of sitcom hijinx including a bus ride to the hospital, getting out of bed and declaring I was through and going home, and me telling the doctor that I would get off the table and stitch his balls together and tell him to be still when he told me the same during the stitching up of the episiotomy. Right after I told him I feel every little thing going on down there, isn't there some spray or something to deaden it? ETA: I was in Brooklyn at the time.

Last edited by Biggirl; 02-11-2017 at 07:14 PM..
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  #16  
Old 02-11-2017, 07:16 PM
RivkahChaya RivkahChaya is offline
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Originally Posted by Richard Parker View Post
Depends on where you live.
Also, when.
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  #17  
Old 02-11-2017, 07:53 PM
ekedolphin ekedolphin is online now
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On Star Trek: The Next Generation, there were two birth scenes that I remember. Deanna Troi giving birth to her son Ian was virtually painless, but that's because he was an alien presence. Keiko O'Brien giving birth to Molly, on the other hand...

"Push, Keiko. Push! Push! PUSH!"

"I AM PUSHING!"

On Deep Space Nine, Kira Nerys gave birth to the O'Brien's second child, Kirayoshi. Unlike human mothers, Bajoran mothers require as much peace and calm during the birthing process as possible; she has to be totally relaxed.
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  #18  
Old 02-11-2017, 07:53 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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When I was taking my first Lamaze class (1992), we were warned before the video was played: "This was filmed in California, where they're loud. Midwestern women don't scream this much." And she wasn't joking.

How women act in labor is in a great deal dependent on where they are and what they've seen. In many times and places, girls would witness several births before they gave birth themselves, and take their cues from those deliveries. This has led some cultures to be silent, or nearly so, during childbirth, and others to scream all the way.

And I think there's a good argument to be made that women are still doing that, only we don't see many, if any, childbirths in real life before we're in the hotseat. So now we're taking our cues from overly dramatic actors faking it for the camera, often women who have never experienced it themselves.

(See also: porn.)

(See also: chemotherapy, which is often not nearly as awful or dramatic as movies/TV would have you believe. This one is deadly, as people sometimes get an idea in their head about what chemo will be like, and refuse it, based on a fictitious portrayal.)
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  #19  
Old 02-12-2017, 06:02 AM
Ají de Gallina Ají de Gallina is offline
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Originally Posted by Miss Mapp View Post
There are over 80 births on Call the Midwife, some more difficult and dramatic than others. They range from the sterile with stirrups hospital deliveries that were beginning to become the norm in the 1950s, to ladies either alone or with one of the midwives right on the sitting-room carpet. One was a poor teenaged girl by herself in an empty house. I do recall at least one cesarean, as well as at least two very tricky breeches.
Yeah, but Call the Midwife is about poor women giving birth 60 years ago; it's the premise.

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Originally Posted by astorian View Post
Childbirth on TV is usually FAR more comical or FAR more dramatic than in real life.

In a comedy, the baby is far more likely to be born in an elevator than in a hospital.

On a drama, there will be life threatening complications, or else the baby will have to be delivered by an amateur.
Exactly.

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Originally Posted by nearwildheaven View Post
When women on TV deliver their babies unattended, they always lie flat on their back with their legs up, and sometimes their feet pressed against something. In real life, if a woman is allowed to assume any position she wants, she will usually squat or crouch on her hands and knees in a frog-like position.
Most women in Peru deliver flat on their backs when in clinics/hospital. However, the option of "parto vertical" (the Andean tradition of the mother sitting on the edge of a chair of squatting while holding a rope for support) is now obligatory in state hospitals.

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Aren't painful vaginal births the default in real life?
Yeah, but women giving birth in US private hospitals get epidurals. Rachel in "Friends" screams like a woman in "Call the Midwife".
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  #20  
Old 02-12-2017, 11:12 AM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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Originally Posted by Ají de Gallina View Post

Yeah, but women giving birth in US private hospitals get epidurals. Rachel in "Friends" screams like a woman in "Call the Midwife".
Only about 60% of them. And that also varies by age, socioeconomic status, race, and location.



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  #21  
Old 02-12-2017, 11:23 AM
IvoryTowerDenizen IvoryTowerDenizen is offline
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Originally Posted by raventhief View Post
For the record, i was in the room when a friend gave birth and that's almost exactly what happened. She never said she didn't want the drugs, but she dialated too quickly. So The nurse came in and said " no drugs yet, you need to be closer" and the next visit was " you are too far along for the epidural now."

And she tried very hard to pulverize my hand.
My experience exactly, with my husband's hand
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  #22  
Old 02-12-2017, 01:08 PM
Lamia Lamia is offline
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Yeah, but women giving birth in US private hospitals get epidurals. Rachel in "Friends" screams like a woman in "Call the Midwife".
Not every woman in the US gets an epidural when giving birth (I don't remember if Rachel on Friends did or not), and while I've never given birth myself it's my understanding that an epidural doesn't completely eliminate all discomfort.

Last edited by Lamia; 02-12-2017 at 01:09 PM..
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  #23  
Old 02-12-2017, 01:16 PM
IvoryTowerDenizen IvoryTowerDenizen is offline
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Not every woman in the US gets an epidural when giving birth (I don't remember if Rachel on Friends did or not), and while I've never given birth myself it's my understanding that an epidural doesn't completely eliminate all discomfort.
It doesn't. I had one with my first and was incredibly achy and it was a long, exhausting delivery. I didn't with my second (it progressed too fast from it's too early to it's too late) and I was very loud...
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  #24  
Old 02-12-2017, 09:53 PM
nearwildheaven nearwildheaven is offline
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Not every person can have spinal or epidural anesthesia. People who have blood clotting disorders or have had a spinal fusion on the affected vertebrae usually cannot. There may be other contraindications but I can't think of them right now.
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  #25  
Old 02-12-2017, 11:47 PM
Weisshund Weisshund is offline
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Bloody hell, i think painful vaginal birth is the life default too
imagine the tele getting something correct.

FWIW i'd think that most women don't get the epidural
I'd think most people dont fancy the idea of jabbing something in the spine or the risk of leakage
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  #26  
Old 02-12-2017, 11:59 PM
sinjin sinjin is offline
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Originally Posted by Lamia View Post
Aren't painful vaginal births the default in real life?
Um, no. I had two vaginal births with no drugs. No big deal.

On the other hand I need nitrous oxide to get my teeth cleaned. YMMPV.
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  #27  
Old 02-13-2017, 01:25 AM
Biggirl Biggirl is offline
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Um, no. I had two vaginal births with no drugs. No big deal.

On the other hand I need nitrous oxide to get my teeth cleaned. YMMPV.
Lucky you!

I think the part that TV and movies get wrong is that pushing out the baby is the most painful part. While it is pretty exhausting and not that pleasant, all the parts before are much worse, pain-wise. Especially the "transition" phase just before delivery. Actually delivering the baby is a relief.
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  #28  
Old 02-13-2017, 01:45 AM
MrDibble MrDibble is offline
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I remember a c-section on the second V miniseries...
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Old 02-13-2017, 03:48 AM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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Lucky you!

I think the part that TV and movies get wrong is that pushing out the baby is the most painful part. While it is pretty exhausting and not that pleasant, all the parts before are much worse, pain-wise. Especially the "transition" phase just before delivery. Actually delivering the baby is a relief.
Another thing that varies. The worst part for me was mid-delivery. I expected the head coming out to hurt. What I didn't know was that they'd make me stop there, and that the shoulders would be trying to tear me apart from the inside out. That was the most painful part for me, laying there with this baby neck stretching my hooha and the shoulders pressing from the inside while they suctioned his nose and mouth and got the shoulders in the right alignment to finish the delivery.

But spraining my ankle was still more painful.

Last edited by WhyNot; 02-13-2017 at 03:48 AM..
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  #30  
Old 02-13-2017, 05:38 AM
Eliahna Eliahna is offline
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I don't know what that's about. I was allowed to have drugs as soon as the anesthesiologist could get to my room.
Yeah, I wanted a drug free birth but was advised to take pain relief from the start because it would be many, many hours, and they said I'd be exhausted if I didn't. I tried gas, which was horrible. Then they gave me an epidural, which failed so I had no pain relief but it weakened my lower half so I couldn't move around to try to mitigate the pain any more. It was something like four hours later they finally gave me a successful epidural, and I ended up giving birth in an emergency situation with no sensation below the waist whatsoever - pushing with muscles I couldn't feel.

With that in mind I went in the second time determined not to have pain relief, and at one point found myself with a nurse trying to bully me into having gas.

Conversely, my friend went in with the goal of medicated, pain-free births and progressed far too quickly, resulting in two drug-free births to her horror.
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  #31  
Old 02-13-2017, 08:56 AM
Horatio Hellpop Horatio Hellpop is offline
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It is the default, but there have been exceptions. Peg Bundy mentioned being heavily drugged during her two childbirths. There was some legal drama (I want to say LA Law) where a woman who was very likely to miscarry hired a lawyer to prevent the doctor from coercing her into a Caesarian. The doctor rigged up a table where he would show the mom a sonogram of her late-term baby. He surreptitiously gave her an epidural and performed a Caesarian under the table while her eyes were transfixed on the sonogram screen, and he whisked the baby up and put it on the table. The lawyer threatened legal action, but the parents just wanted to go away quietly. I don't think I'm skipping any relevant details, it was pretty moronic.
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  #32  
Old 02-13-2017, 10:33 AM
FairyChatMom FairyChatMom is online now
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I always thought that the attending yelling "Push! Push!" was idiotic. In my experience, I didn't need encouragement - I wanted to push. In fact, my Dr. said "OK, relax" and I said "NO!" Then I pushed my daughter out. My husband said the doc literally had to catch her.

I'll admit my experience may not be typical or even representative, but in spite of our education and birthing classes, I think if we go with our instincts, we know how to give birth. Assuming no complications, obviously.

But what do I know - I'm not a medical professional. Just a mom...
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  #33  
Old 02-13-2017, 10:54 AM
DrCube DrCube is offline
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Not sure if the phase is entirely over, but from about the mid-70s to the late 90s, it seems Lamaze was universal on television and movies. Of course, I've never met a woman in real life who used Lamaze, even those who gave birth during that era. But if you watch TV, it sure seemed like that was the only option.
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  #34  
Old 02-13-2017, 11:09 AM
cher3 cher3 is offline
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Well, it doesn't really matter how painful the delivery is on TV, because labor only lasts about 10 minutes from the time her water breaks dramatically to the time the baby appears.
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  #35  
Old 02-13-2017, 11:54 AM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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I always thought that the attending yelling "Push! Push!" was idiotic. In my experience, I didn't need encouragement - I wanted to push. In fact, my Dr. said "OK, relax" and I said "NO!" Then I pushed my daughter out. My husband said the doc literally had to catch her.

I'll admit my experience may not be typical or even representative, but in spite of our education and birthing classes, I think if we go with our instincts, we know how to give birth. Assuming no complications, obviously.

But what do I know - I'm not a medical professional. Just a mom...
There have been studies that show that "coached" pushing is no more effective than uncoached pushing (that is, letting you push when you feel like it, once you're fully dilated and effaced), and may even prolong delivery by a few minutes, but even my crunchy granola Certified Nurse Midwife friends mostly ignore them. It seems very hard for people to sit there during a birth and not form a cheerleading squad.

(Telling us not to push before we're fully dilated and effaced is done for a reason - push too soon, and it can cause the cervix to become inflamed and get thicker and more closed again. So in an ideal world, they'd coach us when not to push, and then shut up once we're ready to go.)
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Old 02-13-2017, 01:38 PM
garygnu garygnu is offline
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Well, it doesn't really matter how painful the delivery is on TV, because labor only lasts about 10 minutes from the time her water breaks dramatically to the time the baby appears.
Not to mention the baby is already a few months old already.
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Old 02-13-2017, 02:17 PM
nightshadea nightshadea is offline
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actually a very messy and painful c section in the second season is what drew me to ER mom discovered it but I always missed it or had something to do

Well the one time I turned in the c section happened (in fact I was surprised something that graphic was allowed on tv ) and since I was born that way I asked mom if sit was realistic she said yes but it seemed they changed a few things since the 70s ..... she liked the fact that the lady still was sore afterwords ...
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Old 02-14-2017, 01:00 AM
sinjin sinjin is offline
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Not sure if the phase is entirely over, but from about the mid-70s to the late 90s, it seems Lamaze was universal on television and movies. Of course, I've never met a woman in real life who used Lamaze, even those who gave birth during that era. But if you watch TV, it sure seemed like that was the only option.
I did lamaze twice, 1979 and 1981, and a lot of my friends did too.
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Old 02-14-2017, 05:36 AM
Biggirl Biggirl is offline
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Me and my husband went to Lamaze class. The hospital that we had our babies in sent all the future moms to the classes. That was in 1987.
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  #40  
Old 02-14-2017, 07:00 AM
kayaker kayaker is offline
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Aren't painful vaginal births the default in real life?
In 1990 and 93 I was the Lamaze coach for the birth of my two kids. In 94 I was coach for a friend's delivery. Three painful vaginal births.
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  #41  
Old 02-14-2017, 07:12 AM
astorian astorian is offline
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A TV show can't possibly devote more than a few minutes to childbirth, so they have to get maximum drama or maximum laughs from whatever they put on the air.

They can't show you a 6 hour moderately painful delivery, so they give us 5 minutes of shrieking instead.
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Old 02-14-2017, 10:46 AM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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A TV show can't possibly devote more than a few minutes to childbirth, so they have to get maximum drama or maximum laughs from whatever they put on the air.

They can't show you a 6 hour moderately painful delivery, so they give us 5 minutes of shrieking instead.
I don't know that they can't. They manage to show the passage of time for other events pretty well. But I agree that they tend not to.
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  #43  
Old 02-14-2017, 11:13 AM
Yllaria Yllaria is offline
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Not every woman in the US gets an epidural when giving birth (I don't remember if Rachel on Friends did or not), and while I've never given birth myself it's my understanding that an epidural doesn't completely eliminate all discomfort.
If you give it too soon, it can slow the delivery, which is a risk. And afterwards, you're likely to get headaches. I figured that helping the pain in the middle wasn't worth it and opted out.

My daughter-in-law's second epidural had complications. It was weeks before she could sit up or stand without feeling like she was being hit in the head with a hammer. It made nursing complicated.
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Old 02-14-2017, 11:22 AM
cher3 cher3 is offline
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Originally Posted by Yllaria View Post
If you give it too soon, it can slow the delivery, which is a risk. And afterwards, you're likely to get headaches. I figured that helping the pain in the middle wasn't worth it and opted out.

My daughter-in-law's second epidural had complications. It was weeks before she could sit up or stand without feeling like she was being hit in the head with a hammer. It made nursing complicated.
As a counter-anecdote. My labor with my son was stalled and he was starting to get distressed. I was worn out after 12 hours of labor and opted for the epidural. He was born 20 minutes later. The doctor almost didn't make it in time.

There was no headache and minimal recovery time. Much easier than my previous birth without pain relief.

My son's Apgar scores were also at the top of the scale (another argument you often hear against pain relief).

Last edited by cher3; 02-14-2017 at 11:23 AM..
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  #45  
Old 02-14-2017, 11:45 AM
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is offline
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A TV show can't possibly devote more than a few minutes to childbirth, so they have to get maximum drama or maximum laughs from whatever they put on the air.
This. If childbirth is being depicted in a TV show or movie, it's being shown for dramatic (or comedic) effect, and is more likely to incorporate common tropes about childbirth than it is to incorporate factual information. Everyone knows what a TV childbirth scene is like; not everyone knows what an actual childbirth is like. In this sense, it's an awful lot like how TV shows use courtroom scenes.

Epidurals and c-sections and such don't necessarily lend themselves to bite-sized dramatic scenes -- and if a TV show uses things like those, again, it's going to be because those plot points support the particular story that the show is trying to tell.
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  #46  
Old 02-14-2017, 12:16 PM
kayaker kayaker is offline
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My son's Apgar scores were also at the top of the scale (another argument you often hear against pain relief).
My daughter's Apgar Score was a 9 out of 10 (the doctor saw some cyanosis).

I argued with the doctor (a friend of a friend), claiming that she'd never get into a desirable preschool with an Apgar of 9.
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Old 02-15-2017, 02:48 PM
Yllaria Yllaria is offline
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Glad to hear you had a good result, cher. Yeah, the headaches aren't guaranteed and my DIL is the only person I know who had that particular mishap.
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Old 02-16-2017, 08:29 PM
Weisshund Weisshund is offline
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Originally Posted by astorian View Post
A TV show can't possibly devote more than a few minutes to childbirth, so they have to get maximum drama or maximum laughs from whatever they put on the air.

They can't show you a 6 hour moderately painful delivery, so they give us 5 minutes of shrieking instead.
From the few child births i attended, because the loser non existent daddies could't be bothered, it was more like 6 hours of rotating crying sobbing moaning shrieking, followed by a wonderful super shrieking finale.
I'd have loved to attend the lady above, her's sounds peaceful, not like someone being killed.

I'd have loved for the daddies to show up too so i could beat them upside the head.

That and it would have avoided the awkward questions from the hospital staff

Oh are you the husband? NO
the boyfriend? NO
the babies father? NO
her brother? NO
are you gay? NO
I'm just the person dumb enough to offer to bring her here
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  #49  
Old 02-16-2017, 08:51 PM
Chessic Sense Chessic Sense is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2007
On Roseanne, when Jackie was giving birth, she had had an epidural. The gag was when she started stabbing her legs w/ a fork to prove it.
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