“Even More Scared” The Effect of Childbirth Reality Shows on Young Women’s Perceptions of Birth

During class, we went into discussion, briefly, about childbirth and cesarean

Sections. Our talks leaned on the class’s anxiety towards giving birth in the near future. Giving birth is a serious and stressful matter, however almost a full 100% of the class expressed their pressing fears in delivering a child. Lauren Elizabeth Rink at the University of Michigan went to address this growing anxiety about birth in the United States. Her thesis focused on the effects of the media, particularly television reality shows, on young woman’s perception of childbirth.


In Rink’s thesis she hypothesis that the increasing anxiety experienced by younger woman, about 18-22 years of age, is do in large because of the media representations of childbirth. Rink describes woman who are pregnant and planning of starting a family as “high information seekers”. As so, they turn to media sources such as television, the Internet, video’s, and books to learn about childbirth. It is this imperative, in Rink’s opinion, to study the effects of birth reality show like Lifetime’s One Born Every Minute on undergraduate women’s perception of childbirth. In this study, undergraduate female students (n=78) from the University of Michigan participate in pre and post survey after watching One Born Every Minute. Her finding founding were that after watching One Born Every Minute, student anxiety of having high risks births greatly increased. Through the surveys, Rink also found that the increase in television media seems to created “norms” about childbirth that limits different birthing options available. Such options as midwifery and natural Births are minimized because they are not shown a frequently as medicalization. I found this paper very interesting because it continued from our talk in class.



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