Mother and Baby

The on-screen labour scenes that are nothing like actually giving birth

Section: Labour & Birth

There's no doubt that on-screen labour scenes may achieve their comical or tear-jerking aims, but between the definitely-not-newborn babies born and the dramatic races to hospital, some of them don't tend to be all that realistic.

And these flaws are all the more obvious to us mums, as once you've been through childbirth, you definitely recognise the on-screen labours that aren't a patch on the real thing…

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1) Knocked Up

To be fair to Katherine Heigl, she does a good job at acting out a woman in labour.
But what’s not believable about this birth scene is Seth Rogan’s friends that sit outside the room throughout her entire labour – and burst in mid-push.
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2) Rachel, Friends

OK, while the lengthy pre-push wait in Rachel’s labour is something a lot of mums can relate to, Ross’ willing peek at the baby’s crowning head is one step further than one most dads we know would take.
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3) Charlotte, SATC

In perfect television timing, Charlotte’s waters break precisely at wrong (or right?) moment when she comes face to face with Carrie’s ex, Big.
But what really gets us is the urgency to get Charlotte to the hospital when she probably has a good 12 hours to go before it’s time to push…
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4) What To Expect When You’re Expecting

For a film all about pregnancy and birth, you would have thought that this film would have made a bit more effort at making it’s multiple birth scenes believable. And while some of them aren’t too unrealistic, one woman literally sneezes out her baby in what seems to be the mellowest birth ever.
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5) Ness. Gavin & Stacey

We understand that scriptwriters need to inject a certain degree of drama into birth scenes like Ness’ in Gavin & Stacey, but the amount of obstacles Smithy has to overcome to get to the hospital in time for his baby’s birth is a little dubious. Breaking into a country is a bit OTT by anyone’s standards.
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6) Phoebe, Friends

An amazing lack of blood, sweat and mess make Phoebe’s birth birth to her brother’s three babies a bit unrealistic. Plus the fact that she’s allowed to deliver the three (normal sized) babies vaginally and with no complications…
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7) The Women

Aside from the fact that Debra Messing’s character is allowed three of her friends in the delivery room with her, her entire labour seems to pass in a few animalistic screams and swear words. If only all labours were that brief, eh?
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8) Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves

While you don’t actually see very much in this film’s birth scene, Morgan Freeman appears to perform an early version of a C-section – with a sword.
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9) Quinn, Glee

After a pregnancy that only seemed to last a few months, Quinn was rushed to hospital the second her waters broke and then promptly delivered her baby in the length of time it took her fellow cast members to belt out a tune.
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10) Nine Months

Hugh Grant’s flappy dad-to-be character gives men worldwide a bad name by fainting at the sight of his wife’s epidural needle – as does the male doctor.
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11) Junior

Arnold Schwarzenegger gets pregnant in this film. Suffice to say, the birth scene isn't all that believable...
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12) Gone With The Wind

With a lack of doctors available, Scarlett delivers Melanie’s baby single-handedly (and having never done it before). Because all you need is some boiled water, didn’t you know?

Images via YouTube

Now read:

21 things no one tells you about labour (but a heads-up would have been nice!)

The three stages of labour and what to expect

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