23rd March 2018

Childbirth in TV and film: ranked for realism

Caroline Corcoran overcame some fairly recent maternity ward-based memories to rank these TV and film births in order of least to most realistic…

1. Skyler in What To Expect When You’re Expecting

Making Daphne-from-Neighbours’ 50 denier birth (see below) look positively realistic, visceral and gruesome, Brooklyn Decker’s Skyler bounced on her ball a bit then gave birth to her first twin by… sneezing. The second one popped out quickly afterwards but none of that compared to the bit that baffled me the most: how did she get her hair to stay in a perfect curl through childbirth? And in what world can you give birth without that most key accessory – a bobble?

2. Daphne in Neighbours (a prize to the first person to find a YouTube clip of this!)

Special points go to tragic Daphne (her later death being the first experience of grief for most eighties children) who managed to give birth with her tights still on. How did that even work? Did the baby emerge looking like a tiny robber? Is there an ideal denier for… absorption? I’ll leave that there.

3. Phoebe Buffay in Friends

Phoebe is having triplets. Phoebe has not been booked in for a C-section. Phoebe is doing this naturally. Phoebe is not dead. In fact, Phoebe looks to be in about the same amount of pain as I was when I had a splinter in my finger last month. No-one ever loved Friends because of its unshakable commitment to realism but still – come on, now.

4. Rachel Green in Friends

Friends, you have done it again. Being able to make jokes in the later stages of labour? I’m speaking purely personally here but I did not do my best jokes in the later stages of labour. Oh, except for when I had the first gasp of gas and air and then I said this thing about smoking crack which was quite funny*.

*Possibly just to me

5. Bridget in Bridget Jones’s Baby

Ways in which one might get to the hospital when in labour: squirming in the car, screaming in an Uber. Ways one probably won’t get to the hospital when in labour: being carried through the streets by Colin Firth/ Patrick Dempsey after being squeezed in the middle of a pizza delivery van.

6. Quinn in Glee

Plus points for the fact that she does at least look a bit sweaty and is not wearing a cheerleading uniform. Minus points for the fact that there is a musical number going on over the top of the whole thing.

7. Juno in, er, Juno

Like everything else in this film, the birth – thanks to the amazing Ellen Page – is way more realistic than most depictions in Hollywood. Firstly there’s the fact that they acknowledge not every birth has the same outcome since Juno’s giving her baby up for adoption. Then there’s the fact that she says things like: “Ow, ow, f**kity-ow! Bren, when do I get that spinal tap thing?”

8. Alison in Knocked Up

There is crowning and there are close-ups and there is swearing and – argh – it’s too late for the bloody epidural. I had some flashbacks and shuddered slightly while reminding myself of this scene on YouTube and thus, this is the winner.

@cgcorcoran @mushmums

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