Reel Childbirth: Script Consultants Deliver the Facts

ARE YOU A WRITER, PRODUCER, DIRECTOR, ACTOR?  Are you working on a birth scene?  

BE KIND to the pregnant people in your audience. Portray birth responsibly, authentically, and accurately.  Find alternatives to the same old formulas.

THE PROBLEM:  More pregnant mothers are watching “reality” shows than attending childbirth classes.  They’re absorbing inaccurate messages about danger, speed, and pain from movies and TV.  They’re watching women act passive, silly, and out of control.  This has real-world consequences on many mothers, influencing their medical decision-making and even impacting how their bodies respond to pregnancy, labor, and birth.

THE SOLUTION:  We can make your technical research easy and fun.   REEL CHILDBIRTH offers you these resources:

WORKSHOP in LA AND NYC          
And, most useful of all, the world’s first documentary on the subject:
50 minutes, rent/buy/download for as little as $1.99.
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For better or worse, we’re exporting our culture. It’s astonishing how much American movies and TV shows influence viewers all over the world:

“I often feel like I’m competing with the mass media.  I go to great effort to teach the skills that empower a woman to birth naturally, to trust her instincts and work with her body.  But then it is all undermined by cultural saturation with inaccurate information, and the mistaken belief that TV and movies tell the truth.”  —Vanessa Mullin, midwife, Ferntree Gully, Australia

“Media is the single largest factor influencing how women and men see birth.  We are beginning to question urban India’s birth model, and this film is absolutely relevant and thought provoking.”  —Divya Deswal, CBE, doula, advocate, Delhi, India

“When pregnant couples laugh at the TV births in Laboring Under An Illusion, it’s a very powerful way for them to re-evaluate what they think they know about birth and to question where the information comes from.”  —Sally Baker, Childbirth Educator, Kyalami, South Africa

The U.S. cesarean section rate in 1965 was less than 5%.  Now it’s 32% and climbing, with surgical side effects but no corresponding improvement in outcomes.  There are many reasons for this (economic, medical, legal, sociological) and mass media’s tendency to exaggerate childbearing danger is one of them.  This problem is worldwide, due in part to U.S. media exports.

Statement from Women’s Health Issues 20 (2010) S18–S49 “Cultural Mistrust of Birth and Pervasive Climate of Doubt” (  The current cultural emphasis on the pain, fear, and risks associated with childbirth, coupled with a strong emphasis on medical technology and interventions for childbirth seriously limit awareness of other ways of understanding birth and giving birth. The prevailing culture of maternity care and popular media representations of childbirth make it difficult for women to approach childbirth in a ‘‘climate of confidence.’’ 

Recommendation from Boston Women’s Health Book Collective (2008) “Approaching Birth with Confidence” in Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth:  Partner producers of mass media with advocacy and professional groups to develop and carry out ways to improve the image of childbirth in the media.


  1. Hi, I am a student film maker interested in creating a documentary about natural childbirth for my thesis project. I have had two natural births myself, the first at a birth center, and the second one was at home, and I am very passionate about the subject. I came across your website while doing research. I look forward to renting your film, and remaining in contact with you in the future. Thanks! Andrea

    • vickielson

      Good luck, Andrea! Let me know if you need anything and I’ll try to help.


  1. The medias depiction of childbirth and its effect on women’s expectations « the belfast doula

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