Lifetime Reality Show Stirs Controversy

Jun 5, 2014  •  Post A Comment

A new Lifetime reality show has angered critics and sparked a debate. EW.com's Inside TV reports that the network's new series “Born in the Wild” has drawn attention for showing pregnant women giving birth outdoors and without the help of doctors.

“I understand everybody wants to believe we overmedicalize pregnancy and that it’s a natural process. But it’s a natural process that historically has caused an extraordinary loss of life,” said Ron Jaekle, MD, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. “There is not a single piece of literature that we had to read growing up that didn’t talk about somebody’s mother or wife dying in childbirth; it was part of the national vocabulary.”

He added, “In the 1900s, a woman died for every 1,000 babies born in the United States. Today it’s .1 for every 1,000.”

Lifetime says it’s taking measures to make sure the mothers and babies remain safe. It won’t allow first-time mothers to be part of the show, while all participants need to be healthy and a trained emergency professional will be at the site, the story says.

“I’m not surprised an OB-GYN would say that [but] we’re taking extreme precautions to make sure the mothers and the babies are safe,” Eli Lehrer, Lifetime’s senior VP and head of nonfiction programming, told the publication. “Our presence at these births is going to make them far safer than if they were doing it on their own.”


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