Portray a more balanced view of childbirth through your programming.

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Portray a more balanced view of childbirth through your programming.

This petition had 1,400 supporters
Petition to
Channel 4

Why this petition matters

Started by Alexia Leachman

One of the main forms of childbirth education in the UK is through the media with the result that TV programming is responsible for how women feel about childbirth. Current TV programmes like One Born Every Minute, while providing entertainment are very damaging as they are not representative of the reality of childbirth. Instead they offer a very narrow view that instills an unneccesssary fear around childbirth to women of childbearing age. The tragedy here is that fear has a direct impact on the birth experience and is contributory factor in negative and difficult birth experiences.

When I first found out I was pregnant, I was terrified of giving birth and wanted all the drugs and medical interventions on offer... I thought that childbirth was a scary, painful, dramatic experience.

But it doesn't have to be.

I was lucky. A chance conversation taught me that it doesn't have to be. In fact I learned that it could be pain-free, natural and beautiful. I had no idea! My journey to seek out that experience for myself involved spending a lot of time educating myself and unlearning everything that I had seen on TV. And a lot of that time was spent clearing my fears.

A difficult birth experience for women not only has the potential to be traumatic for the mother for the years that follow, but research tells us it also affects the emotional wellbeing of the baby well into adulthood. We live in a country where more and more women are suffering unneccesarily in childbirth, largely due to poor education. Our TV channels have a responsibility to present a balanced view of something that is so crucial to the wellbeing of society. If more women were able to approach childbirth free of fear, then the resulting positive birth experiences could lower incidences of post natal depression, as well as improve mother baby bonding in the crucial early months.

It's unfortunate that TV is our main source of education on something so important, and yet here we are. And so while we're here, the TV commissioners need to take responsibility for their crucial role in educating the women who will be birthing our future generations. We need the children of tomorrow to be emotionally resilient to deal with the challenges of our times, not traumatised from their experience of arriving into this world.

I'm trying to do my bit to add positive content to the childbirth narrative with my podcast Fear Free Childbirth, but I can't do this on my own. A more concerted effort is required from all media publishers, and free-to-view TV channels need to be part of this.

Please sign this petition to give a clear signal to Channel 4 that future mothers-to-be deserve the opportunity to approach childbirth free of fear and suitably informed about their choices and the reality of such a momentous life event.

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