“ Broadcaster: Channel 4 / Genre: Reality Show / Series documents events unfolding on a day-to-day basis in a maternity ward „
One Born Every Minute
Since getting pregnant with my daughter I noticed this programme on channel 4 however it was my first baby and I was petrified to watch it. So I turned it over any night I seen that it was on.
Now my daughter is 9 months old and as I have went through the experience myself I thought I would watch this program as I had heard so many people talking about it.
It follows a few people in an episode and they are in labour and you actually see them give birth. It shows you what people are like in real labour (not the soap's version where you hear lots of screaming, puffing and panting!) Instead you see normal everyday people going through labour from the start until they have their tiny little bundle of joy in their arms.
I have to say since I have had my daughter and it all was a big blur (as I am sure most people would agree). You don't really notice what is going on around you and I had an epidural so I wasn't doped out of it on medication like can happen often. So I became curious to watch it as I could relate to these woman having their babies.
Each week you see the woman when they first go into labour and you see that it's not as frightening as everyone makes it out to be. In fact the first stages of labour many of the woman are very calm, cool and collected. With every woman that I have seen on the show it has been their first baby and it just shows you how different people react differently in situations.
It shows you how everyone is different some woman deliver their baby with very little noise and others are screaming the house down. I am not saying what's best as to be honest when you are in that situation anything goes!
What I like about this programme is that people can see the different ways you can deliver your baby and the options you can hopefully have like a water birth (providing you have no complications). I had complications during my pregnancy and labour so I didn't get to see these other options however it's good to see first hand someone else's experience of a water birth for example.
It's lovely to see the journey someone has from the moment they go into labour until they are holding their baby in their hands. I think that this show is informative and lets people know its not as scary as they may think.
A lot of people may be put off by this show as it can be quite graphic however it is never in a distasteful way. I have never seen nudity or anything I would feel was inappropriate however I do not feel that children should be watching this show.
The mothers also are answering questions about their baby and the whole experience. I feel that this is important as you hear their hopes and aspirations before and what they think after in what I assume is a couple of months down the line.
I feel that this programme shows people from all walks of life and in different situations which I feel is fantastic as it's more realistic and everyone then can identify with the people they are watching.
The programme shows just how vulnerable woman are when they are in labour or even pregnant for that matter. You get to see their cute baby at the end which is just fantastic there is something magical about seeing a newborn baby.
You hear the people talking and debating on what form of pain relief they can use and the things that they are advised to do during labour. The midwife's often explain in an interview what some of the technical things mean and what different situations mean to the mother to be that is in labour.
The hospital looks very clean and the whole atmosphere in the rooms where the woman give birth in seem cool and calm. Quite often the men are pacing up and down not knowing what to say or do. To be honest most of the time they are annoying their partners but I think in this situation there isn't anything they can do apart from support.
I noticed in the programme that other family members where allowed in the labour ward when I gave birth this wasn't allowed only the two people I had specified could enter the room I was in labour in and they were very strict on this. Sometimes they have three or four people in with them I was shocked at this.
Its nice to see the men's point of view on the whole experience and everyone else who is going to meet the baby too. Plus it's interesting to see what the midwives think of their job. In this hopsital the midwives seem very dedicated, patience and understanding. You can see just how stressful their job is to do.
I think that this is a educational programme that is useful to woman to watch and also I have to admit I find it quite addictive to watch now I have started watching it. I think its because I kind of can relate and re-live the day I met my daughter in some ways.
One Born Every Minute - Is a fantastic programme on Channel 4. It documents the journey of a newborn baby, from a mothers point of view. Every week we see two different stories, whether it be a young couple that weren't expecting to become pregnant, a same sex couple, a couple who have become pregnant though IVF, even single parents. It shows you different way mothers can give birth such as, water births, natural births, caesarean section etc.
I think the programme is fantastic to show those that aren't yet parents, what to expect in a real life labour. The programme shows you the working life of a maternity nurse/ midwife, how they have to be on the ball all the time to ensure the mother of the baby doesn't feel uncomfortable and most importantly the baby is kept in the safest environment possible.
On born every minute is an ongoing series that shows once a year, last year it showed the life of a mother expecting a baby born with its bowel on the outisde of its body instead of the inside, I think this is great and shows all mothers that not all births are perfect and the mother was unsure of what to expect, but it showed a mother can bond with her baby even through a baby with imperfections.
This programme is a must watch for absolutely everyone, even tose that have had babies! Its so emotional, I dnt think i've managed to get through an episode yet where i've not been balling my eyes out!!
As an expectant mother I am increasingly horrified at this programme which shows only teenagers and immature parents, financially and emotionally, bringing life into the world.
It is not just love you need, a home, independance and security is what most people now strive to put in place before becomming pregnant and entering the journey of raising another generation.
I do'nt see this aspiration manifest anywhere in this programme.
The whole programme is cold, stark, bare and as lifeless as the bleakness of the hospital environment.
I do not find any situation represented that I can relate to or find any inspiration in these lacklustre people.
The best nursing and maternity staff seem to be the older women and I can only conclude the same is true of the mothers too.
I can only presume that the real families would not let the glare of television cameras in on this most personal and private of moments.
One Born every minute is a series that was on Channel 4 on a Tuesday evening which was based on a labour ward in Southampton. They installed cameras on reception, in labour rooms and in the staff room. The program was designed to show the reality of labour. The series of eight episodes has now finished but is been repeated on More 4.
Each program tended to follow the labour of two couples and while it was designed to show the realities of normal labour the people chosen were unique in some ways whether it was because they were young mom's , induced or a Couple who had undergone fertility treatment.
You do see the dedication of the staff but the one member of staff who was memorable for me was the receptionist who was extremely Witty. One Comment that stood out for me was while on the phone she said "I have to go there is an ambulance here "and then replied "no not a real ambulance it wouldn't fit up the corridor"
One of the most interesting for me was a lady who gave birth to her son who had has bowel outside his body and how she struggled with knowing she had a baby who was going to need medical intervention and the complications of bonding with a child who looked so different.
This shows not only the Emotions of the mom but also the partners. In the first episode a woman who was in labour had her teenage son present who looked uncomfortable and the most annoying husband I have ever met. While his wife was having a contraction he was tickling her with a blown up rubber glove. This actually caused a great deal of Face book discussions on what the women would have done in response to his behaviour but she seemed slightly amused so it is obviously the kind of relationship they have.
One episode focused on the Neo natal unit and looking after premature babies and babies born with health problems. This showed how vulnerable these little ones were and how emotional it is for the parents. I found this fascinating. I was lucky with my son that I only had to take him up after his birth for a blood test so it was something I knew very little about.
There are a couple of times I sobbed when I was convinced the babies weren't going to make it but happily all babies born in this program were all delivered safe and Well.
I actually enjoyed the water birth and watched with a pang of jealousy as this was the birth that I wanted but as I was induced had to be monitored throughout so it wasn't an option.
What I did love about this Program was how it did manage to capture the emotion of the labour ward. It is a very emotional place with women who are in a lot of pain, often there were times of concern for the babies and obviously plenty of joy when the babies finally arrive. This was very real and took away any glamour of birth but did capture the amazing experience it is.
I found that I did not watch a single episode without crying at some point. I am not the kind of person who generally cries at TV and can't help but look shocked at friends who cry when they cry at Soaps as I can't get emotional about a Soap character dying. There are a couple of times I sobbed when I was convinced the babies weren't going to make it but happily all babies born in this program were all delivered safe and Well
When I was pregnant I watched a lot of Birth programs but these were based in the USA and didn't represent the realities of giving birth in a hospital. In the USA all Mom's give birth with their legs up in stirrups and doctor always delivers the baby where in this country I don't know anyone who has ever had stirrups and doctors only intervene when necessary.
This for me brought back memories of my son's own birth and as I am one of the few people who actually enjoyed labour this was really positive. I do think it is useful and informative but also gripping viewing.
I cannot recommend this program highly enough so if you missed it when it was first on check out 4OD or More 4.
Every minute of every day, a baby is born in Britain - so we are told every week by a fascinating 'fly-on-the-wall' Channel Four TV series. 'One Born Every Minute' is an eight part series following the day to day events of a maternity hospital in Southampton and is currently showing on Channel Four on Tuesday evenings at 9pm, with the last in the series due to air on 30th March.
Each episode tends to focus on the labour (and subsequent births) of two women which is interspersed with interviews with the midwives involved who offer some insight into their role and their experiences. Given that I am already a mother to two young children and am currently expecting my third (and final) child, I have a particular personal interest in this topic but I would still be totally absorbed in this series even if I wasn't pregnant.
The beauty of the series is that it shows just how different and unpredictable each labour can be, which is far removed from the impression of childbirth shown on your average soap opera, for instance. (Where the woman's waters break and baby pops out in some totally inappropriate place within minutes!) Some of the labours filmed seem to drag on endlessly until the happy outcome. Others end quite dramatically if, for instance, an emergency Cesarean section is deemed necessary to safeguard the welfare of the child or mother. It can be really gripping viewing.
I find watching the series an exhausting emotional and physical experience as I can totally empathise with the individual women as they are going through their labours. At the end of each episode I am completely drained, as though I have given birth as well. I get so tense and am willing the mums to push with all my might that I'm almost pushing with them. I can particularly empathise with the mothers towards the end of a long, slow labour when they are just totally physically (and mentally) exhausted and they are being cajoled (if not bullied) by the midwives to carry on pushing.
I find the series to be an incredibly accurate portrayal of the realities of childbirth and the hospital experience but one which has reinforced my generally positive impression of the midwifery profession, in general. The midwives featured reveal their own feelings and personalities as well as demonstrating the day to day realities of the job, including such unpleasant tasks as attempting to break a woman's waters or even sniffing her pants! All of the midwives just seem to exude that sense of efficacy and confidence, which is exactly what you hope for when you are at your most vulnerable and in a hell of a lot of pain.
For my husband and I, this series has given us a real opportunity to talk about our own experiences and preferences when it comes to labour. I certainly appreciate his role as 'birth partner' much more since watching this series, particularly as most of the fathers featured have been pretty inept. At best, the fathers appear to be pretty useless and, at worst, downright insensitive and a right hindrance. After seeing this series, I'm not surprised that some medical professionals are of the opinion that fathers should not necessarily be present at the births of their babies. As for the father in one of the early episodes who thought it was funny to tickle his labouring wife with a blown up glove and then try and lock her in the toilet - he certainly wouldn't go on to father any more children if he was married to me!
The series, as well as being entertaining and compelling viewing, also has a genuine educative value. There are many aspects of labour and birth filmed and discussed that are not always common knowledge and this helps to raise awareness and understanding of some of the possible issues and potential difficulties during labour. I think this is invaluable viewing for all mums-to-be as well as (if not especially) their partners. I've certainly learnt a lot about childbirth just from watching this series, although it is perhaps a little too late for me to be saying that I never want to go through all that again at this moment in time! (Maybe this series could work as a contraceptive device too?) The series also touches on some of the rarer experiences by following a baby born with some of their internal organs outside of the body and filming within the neo-natal ward to follow some babies born prematurely. Everything is filmed with complete sensitivity and without any sense of exploitation of the families and individuals involved.
I really do feel for the brave couples for allowing cameras (and God knows how many millions of viewers) to share in such an intimate moment of their lives, not to mention having people passing judgement on the state of their relationship. As well as following the birth experience, the series also shows snippets of interviews with the couples filmed before and after the birth which shows just how different their expectations turn out to be from reality. Having watched this series, perhaps people might have slightly more realistic expectations about the birthing experience or, at least, have greater insight into the complexities of what is still believed to be a 'natural' experience.
I would recommend anybody who hasn't already been following this series avidly to view some of the episodes online, as it is a series that should not be missed. All episodes can be viewed via the Channel Four website: http://lifebegins.channel4.com/the-tv-series/
One Born Every Minute is a fly on the wall documentary about birth.
Cameras have been fitted into a hospital in Southampton so that the births can be filmed without the intrusion or a film crew.
Each week the programme focuses on 2 women and their partner/birth supporter and on their midwives.
The programme has no commentary which I think is great, birth is such a powerful thing and I really do not think commentary is needed!
As well as filming in the delivery rooms, you also get to see in the staff room where the midwives chat among themselves about their family/personal life and of course as they discuss patients prgression.
Each womans labour is different and this programme reflects that brilliantly because they show footage from througout the labour rather than just the end stages where the baby is delivered.
So far there have been waterbirth planned c-section, emergency c-section mother stays awake and partner goes in for the birth), crash c-section (mother is given general anethetic and partner does not go into theatre ), very quick birth, very long birth, induction, vbac.
The couples are often filmed before they give birth and clips are shown throughout the programme so youu really fele you know them a little bit and you care about them.
There are also clips of midwives being interviewed who talk about what it is like to be a midwife, or about birth in general and the proceedures they may perform.
I do shout at the tv sometimes whilst watching this, for example there was one husband who kept playing silly jokes like locking the toilet door whilst the labouring mother was in there, ans another father who basically told the labouring women who was having a vbac ( vaginal birth after c-section ) that it was her own fault that she was in pain and she should have just said she wanted another c-section - not what she needs to be hearing!
I work in maternity care so this type of programme really interests me, I think pregnant women will also enjoy it and maybe even some dads to be.
My critisism of this programme would be that it is all hospital birth, it would have been lovely to see some births at home or in a birthing centre. It can also be very dramatic, many of the births have some sort of problem or loads of screaming.
Yes childbirth can be very painful but I know for a fact that there are actually many women who have calm births and I think it would be lovely to see some like that - I guess what I am saying is that the programme does not represent all sides of birth.
I watch this alone because everyone else in the house is not keen to see it - I think they find it a bit embarrasing, also I tend to sit and cry when the babies are bor so maybe it is a good thing that it is just me watching on my own!
One Born Every Minute is on channel 4 at 9pm each Tuesday. Missed episodes can also be seen on 4od.
I love documentaries like this and look forward to 9pm on Tuesdays, the tele is mine for that hour whether my partner likes it or not. For that hour i am totally broody, in floods of tears or fantasising about being a midwife.
This is based in a maternity ward following expectant mothers and partners as their 9 months are up and they are in labour. The cameras film from the reception, staff room, labour ward, birthing pool and the operating theatre so you can see all that happens and how the midwifes are secretly reacting away from their patients. (very professional though i will add). This programme gives full credit to midwifes and shows what a great job they do and as a mother myself shows others exactly what we have to go through ;-)
This programme is a hit or miss with most people. It will either be your cup of tea or not! You have to give it a chance though, watching a life being born is just amazing. Theres only 2 episodes left which i am very sad about so roll on the next series.
As soon as I saw the Channel 4 trailor for this fly on the wall documentary, I knew I would be absolutely hooked. I am currently 7 months pregnant with my third bubba but this show would have been a must have watch for me from the moment I was expecting my first little bundle.
Before I had my first baby the whole birth thing was a complete mystery to me, other than a dodgey 70's birthing film I saw during my antenatal classes I had no idea what to expect. This unique series demystifies the terror of the unknown and instead brilliantly represents how remarkable and unique the whole experience can be. Every birth is different and this documentary shows this.
This 8 part series focus on the day-to-day events that unfold in a bustling maternity ward. Each hour long show focuses on 2 births and you get see the nitty gritty without any excessive commentary. You get a real feel and understanding of the parents to be, other family members, and the fantastic midwives that help them get through this remarkable and life changing experience.
As I said, each of the births are incredibly different, so far we have seen quick births, water births, arduous long labours, failed inductions and emergency c-sections. I have been in tears during pretty much every single episode and there is nothing quite so moving as seeing the expression on a mother's face when she first gets to hold her precious bundle.
I really hope that this series helps give midwives the recognition they deserve, in both my labours I was lucky enough to be guided through by amazing fantastic midwives who brought my gorgeous girls safely into the world and for that I will be eternally grateful.
I do think this may be more if a female watch though. My husband flatly refuses to even watch one scene and I actually choose to watch it when he is not around. He say's he can cope with the real thing when it is our baby but he can't watch unknowns going through the same experience.
This show has become a complete talking point between me and all my mummy friends. We've all become completely hooked and I can say that it is the television highlight of the week for me. While it is proabably not for everyone, as it can be very graphic and some of the women are in a lot of distress, I would actually recommend it to first time expectant mums as I really believe that knowledge is power when it comes to giving birth.
This show has made me feel quite positive about my impending labour and birth. Having seen such gorgeous babies being born it has help remind me what an amazing experience giving birth is and has helped me focus on the positives and not the negatives.
I really hope we get a second series. One Born Every Minute is show on channel 4 at 9pm on Tuesday evening.
I have to say I completely take my hat off to the very brave and honest women who allowed themselves to be filmed for this series
Fly on the wall documentaries always seem to be a popular choice with television viewers. Lately there have been so many of this type of programme, some have appeared very `staged` but others have given us fascinating insights into the day to day lives of others.
There is an old saying that says `Nosiness is nothing if not carried out well` and as soon as the series of documentaries called `One Born every Minute` was broadcast on Channel Four I knew that I would be glued to it every week.
The series of fly on the wall documentaries comes from a maternity ward in a Southampton hospital
. Most of the episodes seem to have charted the progress of two women and their approach to childbirth.
Some of the women have implemented birth plans and others are quite prepared to take it as it comes. Each birth is so very different and the birth plans often go awry as the labour pains intensify and the pain becomes too much to bear.
I have to say that I think that the receptionist on the labour ward is hilarious ! In the background you have the hustle and the bustle, the grunts and the groans that you would expect to hear in any labour ward and there she is answering the telephone with one hand and holding a biscuit in the other. I only wished that I could recall her name but her cheerful and relaxed outlook on life must be the secret weapon that gets her through the day.
There are quite a team of midwives and it is clear that they are all devoted to their job. There is one midwife who stands out in my mind and I am sure that she is in charge of the team, she is mature and so calm and serene., her approach is efficient, professional , yet warm and friendly.
As we watch the Mums in labour it becomes very clear that the midwife's work under enormous pressure, ultimately they are responsible for bringing new life into the world and when things don't go according to plan then it is up to them to decide how to deal with the problem.
The first thing that strikes you is the whole aura of cleanliness. But that sterile atmosphere remains as relaxed as it possibly can.
There are no large white beds with leg straps and ultra strict ward sisters as there were years ago, these have long been replaced by comfortable looking rooms that can accommodate partners and family members who want to be there for the birth.
Some Mums use a birthing pool while others sweat it out over the edge of the bed and the emphasis is placed on `do whatever is the most comfortable for you`.
If it were me I would prefer to give birth in privacy ( with the exception of my partner of course ) but there seem to be a growing trend for other family members, friends and even older children to watch the birth.
It surprised me to see that one Mum who had decided to expand her family after a long break had not only her husband but her teenage son in on the act but he was a rock.
Every labour is different and the programme highlights that fact. As the labour pains intensify they often have to work out the best way of relieving the pain, some Mums opt for an epidural and others choose gas and air. It was interesting to see the staff perform and epidural, until then I had no idea of how it was done.
For me the chair gripping and stomach churning begins if the labour starts to run into difficulties. If the midwife says that the baby's heartbeat is decelerating then those words can strike real fear into you. But the highly trained staff know exactly what to do, if there is any doubt about the well being of the baby ( or the mother ) then there may be a need for a Caesarian section.
If the staff decide that is the right route to take then the whole thing moves at such a pace and before you know it the baby has been delivered.
Many of the husbands and partners are great and the love and support that they offer is admirable , most of the first time fathers have little idea of what to expect and they often look stunned and bewildered as their wife screams and struggles through the labour process. As the new baby makes its way into the world you can visibly see the emotions changing to joy, pride and elation.
Yes, there are times during an episode that you see the pain and the screaming and wonder if you should go and find something else to do but when you see the newly born child in Mums arms then it has all been worthwhile.
When `One born every minute` comes on The Other Half trots off to find something else to do, he finds it difficult to watch damsels in distress.
But we are both agreed on one thing, anyone who is involved in delivering babies deserves a medal !
The crew have filmed it well and they have been able to capture the moment perfectly, if you have missed the programme or would like a `taster` then go to Channel Four on demand and watch it there.
One born every minute is a reality series that has documented the day to day happenings in a Southampton marternity ward.
Every week the various cameras tell the story of two women giving birth. The editing is very good as you get to experience every emotion from screaming agony to joyful tears. This makes the audience feel a real part the whole process as you begin to sympathise, laugh along with and feel a real sense of relief when the babies are born and everything is okay.
Every week a different memeber of the team is focused upon from the matron to home maternity nurses to third year university students. They are interviewed and each talk about their experiences during their times as midwifes, the ups and the downs.
At the end of the programme you are always shown the families in their homes and hear a little bit about how they are getting on.
This is a fun programme that can sometimes be very squeemish but on the whole is great to watch. It is shown every Tuesday at 9pm on Channel 4.
Also the babys are very cute!
One Born Every Minute is a fly-on-the-wall documentary following a Southampton maternity unit - the delivery ward. It's on Tuesdays at 9pm on Channel 4 and we are a few episodes in. The show tends to look at one or two labours and births per episode, shows what the staff are doing and features interviews with staff and patients.
I have worked in the NHS for a few years now and at a previous Trust, spent quite a bit of time in maternity units, so when I saw this advertised, I knew I would be watching it. Maternity units get a lot of flack (some deserved, some not) so it's nice to see something positive.
Obviously, they will have filmed hundreds of births and only most dramatic get featured, so worth remembering if you are pregnant - sections don't happen quite so often in real life!
I have really been enjoying the programme, it's had me in tears a few times and it is very moving. It has also had me shouting at the TV - sorry guys - but most of the men featured are complete idiots. During one labour, as his partner was doubled up in pain, a man occupied himself by blowing up rubber gloves. He is lucky I am not married to him, or he would be dead. In another, a man moaned at his wife as it was 2am (yes, it's hard work sitting and reading a book) and told her she should have had a c-section! Thankfully, the latest episode showed a nice young lad, who didn't annoy me, so faith has been restored a little.
This is possibly not one to watch if you are close to giving birth, or if you are squeamish, but for those of us who are curious or who have been there ourselves, then it's a really moving programme. I have really looked forwrd to seeing each episode.
If you are pregnant and have a partner - make them watch it so they learn how NOT to behave.
Each week One Born Each Minute follows two women on a Southampton maternity ward through the trails and tribulations of labour.
Apparently one child is born in Britain every minute - thus the name of this programme!
Over recent week I've developed something of a fascination with this show. Personally I've never given birth, but one day in the future I'd love a baby and I think that the whole birth process looks so very painful - yet magical at the same time.
This programme follows labour in a way other programmes don't. It's a very intimate portrayal - there isn't an anonymous voiceover linking the scenes together - it just follows two women going through the process of labour.
This programme shows that each labour is different. It seems that anything can happen - but the midwives have been there millions of times before and they are always on hand to advise the women. They are also firm when they need to be - making sure that the babies are delivered safely. I must admit though, even watching the show, I hold my breath after a baby has been born until I hear it scream - I can't imagine what it's like it real life!
The midwifes also comment throughout the show on what they have to do in particular situations and you see them in the office recording events as they happen on a white board.
The pregnant woman and their family are obviously briefly interviewed before the labour, so that the documentary makers have background information, because snippets of these interviews are shown throughout the programme.
It is lovely watching the women with their birthing partners and seeing the relationships these women have with their partners, mothers and siblings - one woman even had her teenage son in the delivery room (it seemed like a slightly odd choice to me - but hey - what to I know?).
Some birthing partners are really supportive, others like to play jokes during the pain (there was a man a few weeks ago that seemed to think his wife's fourth - and by the looks of it very painful labour - was hilarious) and other men have a go at their wives for not doing things a certain way... I suppose that labour affects everybody differently!
I think this is a great documentary because it seems real, genuine and truthful. I like the way it is pulled together without a voiceover and I really enjoy watching the show.
One Born Each Minute is shown on a Tuesday night at 9pm on Channel 4. If you miss it you can catch it an hour later on Channel 4 +1, or catch up on 4OD.
I thought i would review this as i have been forced to watch it for a number of weeks now by my partner. To be quite honest i do enjoy it. It brings back memories of when my son was born just over 6 months ago now.
Its shown on a Tuesday night at 9pm on Channel 4. If missed you can catch it an hour later on Channel 4 +1 at 10pm.
It sthe day to day runing of a maternity ward in Southampton. It a great way to get a insight in to how much work the midwives really put in and the care the babies recieve. It was intresting to see that the midwives had a whiteboard in the staffroom where they write down everything tht is happening to the women. This is something we didnt have a clue that happened. I am always a little concerened the way they pull them out by there heads.
My partner wanted another baby but after seeing this programme for the last few weeks it has put her off for a little while im very happy about. So its great for that.
One born every minute is a fly on the wall documentary/reality show that actually does feature real life shown on Channel four Tuesdays 9pm. It follows the maternity ward at the Southampton Hospital. The producers have fitted 40 cameras all over the ward in each ceiling corner and shelf so as to not get in anyone's way and to almost help them forget that they are actually being filmed. We follow them from when they enter the ward right through each painful contraction to the actual screaming monstrosities at their partners as they go through giving birth!
We get snippets from the midwives as they tell us some stories or talk about why they love the job, or how some people treat them and we get an insight into their busy hectic working lives.
Each episode normally shows us two families and also concentrates on two midwives. Although we have seen one couple who have been induced a few times with nothing happening and we see her getting more and more frustrated especially with her poor pacing husband! They had gone through IVF at a late stage in life and after patiently waiting for the baby to arrive she then had to have a caesarean but the joy on their faces after holding their baby for the first time was all worth it and its things like that that we have a sneak into.
On the first show we saw a lady who came in with her husband and 18 year old son. I thought this was unbelievable. I would never ever have my elder son see me go through labour. But saying that it could put him off for life. The husband on the other hand was more concerned about making practical jokes than supporting his wife in excruciating pain. He was doing things like trying to lock her in the bathroom or making jokes and generally not being helpful at all. Obviously she is used to this behaviour or maybe it was his way of coping, who knows?
Another younger girl could not cope with any type of pain and was screaming from the word go even though she was only at the first early stages of labour (about 2cms to the ones that know what I mean) Her young partner seemed at a loss as to what to do and petrified and her mother was there to help too thankfully. The midwives were getting annoyed with her after a while as she was really not trying to calm down and causing herself more stress. Her mum was telling her to try and deal with it as this is the easier stage but the girl was having none of it and was screaming as loud as she could. Eventually they gave her more pain relief!
On watching this programme, sometimes behind my hands and squinting eyes, I sit there thinking how on earth did I go through that? And thank goodness I am not going to ever do it again! It is a great personal insight into something that is such a precious time for a family but it is also VERY real and we do see these women suffering in pain and screaming and shouting. One woman sounded like a war siren going off! It does also have some heart stopping moments when a baby is born and doesn't cry straight away, one baby was born in shock and had to be massaged and given oxygen. It was a very tense few minutes and you almost feel like you are in the room with them.
I am amazed at what the midwives have to put up with from some patients and they do have to be very strong willed at times and sometimes quite adamant about their orders to the stubborn mother-to-be. People will do anything to get out of this awful pain they are going through and will take it out on the nearest person with no thought or reason. The saying is true though that you do forget the pain, well I have as I have done it three times and love watching this program knowing I have done my bit for the population. The pain is forgotten as soon as you see that gorgeous bundle in your arms. I do get all sentimental when I see a newborn baby but I will just have to wait until I am a nanna (many many MANY years from now!)
Overall this is a great realistic insight into a very moving and personal part of a family's life and how the unit is run and how they all come together in an emergency. We see how they deal with each mum-to-be differently as well as their partners and how they assess the situation depending on personalities, some they can chat and joke with to get through the dredging hours.
Obviously this is not for everyone, seeing screaming and frustrated women week after week but it's not just about that, they are also following a young couple with a newborn who has an external bowel. We see how she is dealing with not being able to hold her baby and having to watch the nurses feed him. It is a very touching insight into her personal feelings at this delicate time.
'One Born Every Minute' is a programme that started last month on Channel 4. It follows the day to day workings of a busy maternity unit in Southampton, and cameras rigged up throughout the ward provide us with a real insight into some of the most important moments in people's lives as they go through labour and give birth.
Each 50 minute episode follows the stories of a couple of women and the different experiences they have given birth. And it's surprising just how different they all are. From 1st babies to 5th babies, single mums to married couples who've been having IVF for years, Caesareans and super fast births, expect something completely new each episode.
The programme also provides us with an insight into the midwives' lives, again usually focussing on one or two midwives each episode. We see them helping women through labour, chatting in the staff room, running for help in an emergency or reassuring a nervous partner. I love the way these professionals manage to stay so calm in the actual birthing room, even in an emergency, but you'll often see them venting their frustrations to their colleagues after dealing with a particularly stubborn patient. One thing that surprised me was how normal and relaxed they keep the atmosphere in the birthing room, chatting away and cracking jokes to keep things natural while the woman's in labour. But when the chips are down, they can get tough if they need to, ordering women to give that extra push where it's needed in no uncertain terms!
Each episode is interspersed with interviews with the expectant mums and their partners in their homes, and occasionally after their baby has been born. This gives us background on their situations, how they're feeling about having the baby etc, which is then juxtaposed with the footage of the actual birth experience. Getting to know the women like this makes you really root for them as they go into labour, and you find yourself willing them on.
All the women featured have their own unique story, and there have been some very moving ones featured in the series so far. There was Lisa, a young woman in her early 20s who was very apprehensive about becoming a mum for the first time. When she was told she'd have to have a Caesarean immediately, she was absolutely terrified, not only of the procedure itself, but also of the thought that she'd have a baby in the next hour. It was really inspiring to see how she put a brave face on things, particularly as the baby was born with his bowel outside his body and had to be whisked off straight away. We saw Lisa trying to come to terms with being a mum, while her baby was sealed away in an incubator for months, and she couldn't even hold it. Seeing the real-life footage of Lisa's struggles made it hit home much harder, and you realised how hard it must be for her and her boyfriend.
My absolute favourite story so far has to be that of Joy. She and her husband had decided to try for a baby relatively late in life, only to find that it wasn't happening for them. They went through many cycles of IVF and eventually, Joy fell pregnant at the age of 40. But even then, things didn't run smoothly for her. Well past her due date, she was stuck in hospital for days with occasional contractions, just waiting for something to happen and becoming increasingly frustrated, I loved watching her and her husband talking in the room- Joy was so down to earth and kept having digs at her husband, who was obviously at a bit of a loss as to what to do being stuck in hospital for so long with his heavily pregnant (and increasingly irritable) wife. The bickering between them was quite comical, and something that everyone could relate to! I really felt for Joy- after all that waiting, she eventually had to have a Caesarean instead of the natural birth she'd hoped for. But when the baby was born after all that waiting, seeing the pure delight on the couple's faces was wonderful, and you realised that all that pain and hassle had been worth it.
Another interesting aspect of the series is that you see how the partners react to the birth too. Some of the younger dads look absolutely terrified and helpless, looking on as their partners go through intense pain. One woman brought her teenage son along with her, as well as her husband, and the two guys kept mucking around and collapsing into fits of laughter as the poor woman groaned her way through each contraction. One particularly young girl, who couldn't seem to handle the pain at all and screamed and yelled her way through the early stages of labour (much to the frustration of the midwives), had to be given a stern talking to by her mum, who'd fortunately accompanied her.
Not having had children of my own yet, I'm not sure whether this series would put me off or not! Some of the scenes of labour are a bit traumatic, particularly seeing these strong women screaming their heads off in pain- it makes me wonder what I'd be like in that situation! But generally, the series normalises an experience which most people will go through at some point, but which too often is a bit of a mystery. Seeing all these women going through so much pain, then being overwhelmed with joy a second later makes you realise that it is worth it, and that you will come out the other side, one way or the other! Moving, funny and fascinating, this is a real life programme which isn't short on drama, and will have you laughing and crying, and always on the edge of your seat.
Broadcast: 9pm on Tuesday, Channel 4. You can catch up with the series on 4oD.