Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Midwife slams maternity ward show

The TV show One Born Every Minute has been accused of deliberately frightening viewers

A midwife has criticised hit TV show One Born Every Minute, claiming that the documentary series portrays her profession as lazy and deliberately frightens viewers.

The Channel 4 fly-on-the-wall series, which has been an international success, follows staff and patients on a busy maternity ward.

London midwife Kerry Mahoney told the Radio Times: "I don't watch One Born Every Minute because I don't think it's very well done and it works by scaring people.

"People watch it and think all midwives do is sit around and drink tea and eat cake and leave women in labour on their own. That really isn't the case."

She said that she was a fan of BBC1 drama series Call The Midwife because it "captures the essence of being a midwife", adding: "We really strive to be with a woman when she needs us, and support her."

Meanwhile, midwife and lecturer Terri Coates, the adviser to East End drama series Call The Midwife, welcomed the presence of fathers in the hospital delivery room but said that she was unsure about the new trend for several "birth partners".

She said: "Men used to be left at the door, but now women come with Uncle Tom Cobley and all. The most I've had was 15 extended family members! Sometimes the mother can feel she has to play to an audience, which is sad. Now so few women give birth at home, there is no knowledge that this was once normal."

Ms Coates, whose article complaining that midwives were not represented in literature inspired Jennifer Worth to pen her memoirs, added: "A lot of young women in the 1950s didn't even know where babies came from. They were happy to have someone lead them and were more deferential.

"Now women are far more savvy, have apps on their phones, mum-and-baby books, better education. They know what they want and how to get it."

She said: "Managing their expectations is like walking a tightrope. They expect the perfect birth, the kind they see in magazine pictures. Some feel that if they have anything but a drug-free birth, they've failed. But if they end up with a healthy baby, they've done extremely well."

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