In this blog post we want to have a little look at how premature birth is portrayed on our TV screens. Films, TV and social media are things many of us consume on a daily basis and can have a significant influence on us. If premature birth is being misrepresented then this could form unrealistic expectations for the public and soon to be parents of what premature birth and NICU care look like.
Many years ago in an EastEnders episode from 2017, Abi gives birth to her baby at 28 weeks gestation whilst she is in a coma. In the operating theatre, the infant is handed straight to dad and seems to suddenly be a 6lb newborn baby. I know from my own birth records and experiences that this would not have been safe for the infant, this error has also been commented on by the general public. Furthermore, in a January 2022 episode of EastEnders, we see Chelsea give birth at just 24 weeks. This storyline involved premature rupture of the membranes (PROM) which is a common reason for premature birth and a high-risk neonatal journey. However, there has been much talk on social media and in the papers about how fake the infant used for filming looks. We will all appreciate that a real newborn 24 week infant cannot be used in filming, but it feels that the prop department may not have done their research thoroughly enough. They have now completed multiple premature birth stories and still seem to not be getting it quite right.
Over the years we have seen many complex birth and premature birth story-lines throughout the very popular Call the Midwife series. This show does pay close attention to its props, medical jargon and clever camera angles to create a very immersive hour. However, the stories lines portray the care given to families and infants in the 1950s and 60s, so some views and treatment options are historical rather than modern and therefore can’t give us a clear picture of modern healthcare.
Every premature birth is different, we can definitely be sure of that, but we want to share our journeys to give some real-life examples. Take a look at our About Us page to learn a bit more and get in touch on our Contact Us page to share your story.
Thank you for reading
Juliette APAN Co-founder