16 and Pregnant; Who is the Biggest Idiot?

by Birth Without Fear on December 8, 2010

16 and Pregnant, MTV, birthI’m going to answer that for you. We don’t usually watch a lot of T.V., but the other night I decided to veg out. I was flipping channels and came across the MTV show, 16 and Pregnant. Now, I personally have no issue with the show or teenage girls and their journeys. I will tell you what I do have a problem with. Their births, or at least this one! I was very quickly reminded why I do not watch any reality birth shows.

Here is what went through my mind (and sometimes popped out of my mouth in not so nice ways) as I sat on the couch watching in horror. Mr. BWF had to calm me down.

This teenage mama and her boyfriend were going for her last prenatal visit (I tuned in at just the right time, eh?). She was 3 days from her Estimated Due Date and the Dr. told her she would be having her baby…you guessed it…in 3 days!

“Um, what the heck? How does the doctor know her baby will decide to come on her due date? Oh wait, that’s right, because he will force the baby out by using unnecessary interventions and induce. Duh, I forgot, Dr.’s know better than God and babies.”

Next we see mom and dad at his house (his parents house rather) packing for the birth. Dad has lost his keys and everyone is worried that they are going to miss their appointment and miss the birth of the baby.

“Since when are babies born by appointment?! Not to mention, how in the world can a mother miss her own birth?! Good grief, I need to change the channel. This is ridiculous. Why is she inducing? There is absolutely no medical reason to be doing so. Mom and baby are healthy. Ugh!”

So now, the teen mother is at the hospital and hooked up to the monitors and I.V. She receives pitocin and before she knows it is in a lot of pain. She gets an epidural.

“Of course she is in pain! Not like anyone ever took the time to educate her on coping through labor. Unreal. I’d want the epidural too if I was strapped down, having artificial hormones pumped into my body and was lying on my back! I can totally see where this is going.”

Now mom is fully dilated and ‘ready to push’. Of course she has to be told this, because she can not feel anything herself. She is already exhausted from the pitocin induced labor. There are nurses holding up her legs, paper draped over her and they start coaching her to push. “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 come on keep pushing 8, 9, 10″. The Dr. is standing just staring at her vagina.

“You have got to be kidding me. This poor mama can not feel a thing and is pushing so hard when she is told. The Dr. is just staring at her vagina. How can mom relax and really feel comfortable birthing like this? I won’t be surprised if she ends up with a c-section. This is why women think birth is painful and are scared. I would be too if I believed this is how birth really is. I want to scream!”

Mom has now been pushing for an hour and is beyond exhausted. She can’t feel anything, but is trying her hardest. The Dr. says to her, “Well, baby is just not coming down enough. If the baby doesn’t come out this way, we have another way to get it out. Don’t worry, it’s not like it’s failing.” Mama starts to cry and says, ‘I don’t want a c-section.” She is determined to push this baby out vaginally.

“What a f-ing a-hole! How dare he induce her (she trusts him and doesn’t know any better), stack the cards up against her, then stand there staring at her vagina and telling her that baby can just be cut out of her. He has no regard to what she wants and what is best for her and her baby. Of course she is upset. Who in the hell wants to be cut open? To have layers of skin, tissue and muscle sliced through? It is major abdominal surgery! I hate this doctor.”

Mama pushes with all her might. She is not going to give in. She pushes her baby out vaginally and escapes the c-section!

“Wow. Go mama! How amazing is she? She showed him! I wonder now though how she will always view birth and can’t imagine how many other women and babies this Dr. does this to. This Doctor is the biggest idiot on this show!”

People wonder why I stay away from OB’s and hospitals. This is why. This is not birth. It is torture. It is traumatizing for baby and mom (and dad). This is a fearful, intervention, managed way to birth. This is what society and media show birth to be. This is why women see birth as painful and something to be afraid of. This is what doctors are taught birth is (most have never even seen a natural or empowering birth). This is why I spend so much time and energy writing and supporting women.

When birth is trusted and respected, when we let go of our fears and replace them with making educated choices, we can have faith and birth becomes a beautiful and empowering journey. I think every woman deserves to experience that, teen or all grown up.

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{ 106 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenn December 8, 2010 at 1:17 am

I had to stop watching the show. :( It amazes me how these poor girls can be in a room FULL of people and yet be utterly and completely alone.

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Petra December 8, 2010 at 10:24 am

That is just it isnt it… a room full of people yet so alone… :(
On the other hand I was at home, just with my Partner and MW watching from a distance and I never felt so supported :)

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Sara December 8, 2010 at 1:21 am

Yes, I refuse to watch shows and movies with even pregnant women in them now, much less those that show labor and birth! I am constantly shocked by what real-life doctors say, it’s one of the very few things in the world that really get my blood pumping. I just want to jump into the TV and hold those poor girls and tell them they can do it, they can make their own decisions, they have everything they need to birth their baby, they do NOT have to do everything “their” DR (I use “their” loosely, considering most of the time they’ve never met them before) tells them to do.

Of course every woman needs support during labor, but the girls on those shows often need it more than anyone else, and yet they rarely have even a fraction of it.

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sarah slette December 8, 2010 at 1:39 am

I love your blog and I didn’t stop reading! I totally agree.

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Ashley December 8, 2010 at 2:11 am

She did end up with a section. I was crying my eyes out and yelling at the tv. My two year old comforted me. ;-)

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Emily December 8, 2010 at 2:22 am

This really hit home for me. I was 18 when my eldest child was born. I was naive, ignorant, and worst of all, terribly insecure. I agreed to an iduction at 1 week overdue which led to all sorts of interventions–cervadil to “ripen” my cervix, pitocin to start contractions, epidural to help me cope with the pitocin and being restricted to my bed, articificial rupture of membranes to “speed things” up, episiotomy because I wasn’t stretching enough to prevent tearing, etc. In the end, I tore anyway….all the way through…..which required stitches in the double digits and an ice pack in my underwear for the first days of my recovery. I had severe bleeding in the first several hours following birth which led to me being seperated from my baby for too long. Then because I was so weak and tired due to blood loss, they gave my baby glucose water in a bottle to “hold him over” instead of bringing him to me to breastfeed. My treatment by the lactation consultant was the worst part of it all. I was treated as if I was completely inept (due to my age) and made to feel as if I was clearly doing something wrong and my baby was hungry because of my inability to feed him properly. After 3 days, I experienced the total breakdown of breastfeeding (baby was screaming, I was crying….) and I just didn’t have the support and knowledge to keep trying.

Sorry, this has turned into a novel. :) As Jenn said above, these girls are often all alone–they have little support and what they do have is often very superficial. For me, it took moving to another country with much different ideas about pregnancy, labor, and birth to completely heal from previous birth experiences in the US. I also took full advantage of all the wonderful resources out there in order to educate myself.

I now have total faith in my body and the way it was designed to beautifully birth (and nourish!) babies…..if only I had had that same faith 10 years ago!

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moni December 8, 2010 at 4:00 am

Its sad that these girls don’t know that there is another option! Eight years ago today, when I was 16 my cousin gave birth to her first baby @ home and I got to be there to experience it. I am so thankful to her, she showed me the light, lol and 9 wks ago I had my first baby @ home too!
Anyways, most teenagers would still choose the birth with all the interventions due to immaturity and selfishness at that age :(

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Becca December 8, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Or not even immaturity and selfishness, but because we think Dr’s know everything. I did, with my first 2, whatever Dr said…because he knows best right? It wasn’t until I was older and went out of my way to learn more that i learned that there was a better way. Its an education issue. There’s a girl in my class who is getting married this month and i brought up home birth casually and she decided on the spot, after i spoke about it, to not only deliver her children at home, but to pursue becoming a midwife. We have to talk, talk, talk.

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Jillia December 8, 2010 at 5:34 am

I watched this same episode and was thinking the same thing the whole way through. It is so sad to see Doctors use this type of power against birthing women and their desires.

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Brooke December 8, 2010 at 6:13 am

If you and I watched the show together, my husband would have to leave the house. I scream the entire time!

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Jespren December 8, 2010 at 7:22 am

My cousin gave birth right out of high school (I think she was 18 but unmarried) and I could hardly believe her birth. She shows up at the hospital in early labor, gets an epidural at 3cm, goes to sleep, and is awoken by the staff when it’s time to push (which means they gave her ‘checks’ while she was asleep). That side of the family all discribed it as an ‘easy birth’ “oh it was wonderful, she just slept through the whole thing and woke up to push!” My mother and I were horrified.
I watched part of one episode of that show once, had to turn it off or risk permanent brain damage just from watching the overwelming stupidity of most involved (and I’m not refering to the girls)

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Emma December 8, 2010 at 2:37 pm

What is wrong with that? Maybe she wanted/needed the epidural to be comfortable. That may have been right for her, so why judge?

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Mrs. BWF December 8, 2010 at 2:42 pm

You know. I agree with you in theory. If a mama makes and educated decision that an epidural is right for her, then more power to her. That is not how this (or most births like it) went down. I know you weren’t talking to me, but just sayin’. Like I said in the blog post and on FB my beef is with the Dr. and the lack of support and educating/teaching his patients. Doctor literally means ‘teacher’.

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Becca December 8, 2010 at 7:42 am

I watched this one and have watched others in this show. It is horrifying how little education on birth and breastfeeding these girls get. I’m disgusted by the way they are forced into so many interventions “for the good of the baby” This is something that happens everywhere to teen moms. Both my sisters had their first child at 19 and where bullied into many interventions that where unnecessary. I offer my Doula services for very little to no cost for pregnant teens in the hopes that I can help them have a better birth experience. Just because your young does not mean you don’t deserve the same birth experience as an older woman!

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stephanie December 8, 2010 at 8:30 am

she does actually have a c-section. :-(

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Katrina December 8, 2010 at 8:35 am

She actually did end up with a csection, I turned the channel because it was so emotionally painful to watch because my second birth ended similarly. (I labored amazingly at home, but did choose an epidural…but the doctor was horrid and was just like that doctor and said “Okay time for a csection” and it was just an overall traumatic birth)
I only know she ended up with a csection because I heard her mention healing from surgery. I felt so so bad for that girl.

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Mrs. BWF December 8, 2010 at 8:46 am

Thank you for all the great feedback!!! I swear the one I watched she had a vaginal birth, but I also used the wrong picture. The one I watched, he was African American and she was Caucasian. Maybe I changed it too early. I’ll have to ask Mr. BWF, but I”m pretty sure the one I watched she didn’t have a c-section, b/c I was surprised she didn’t. Either way, I feel the same! ;)

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Crystal December 8, 2010 at 8:49 am

I watched this one and another one where the baby daddy is sitting in a chair fidgeting and texting and asking his girlfriend “why you crying?” She’s going through contractions without any support. No one touches her, no one rubs her back, lets her lean on them or move around. Everyone just acts like “stay in bed, stay lying down, oh, yeah, it’s gonna hurt, too bad so sad” So annoying. These girls have truly traumatic births, almost every one. Not a wonder that everyone turns to the epi, even when they talked about trying it natural.

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Christy December 8, 2010 at 8:54 am

I love your post! I haven’t seen the show, and never watch hospital births, only homebirths. Even though I have read lots about hospital births, and had heard lots of horror stories, it greatly disturbed me to watch everything they did to my friend during her induced labor and birth, and that was despite my efforts to protect her from the constant interventions.

I don’t hate hospitals. If I were in a major car accident, I would want to have access to a hospital. I am very thankful for hospitals when needed, and fully realize that they are sometimes needed for birth emergencies.

However, I am disgusted by the way hospitals and staff trample upon birth and do everything upside down. Women need to be left alone to labor as needed. They do NOT need their labors induced except in rare cases. Inducing everyone for convenience using drugs and machines turns birth, a sacred, intimate, powerful family event, into a circus freak show. The poor, desperate, miserable woman is on display in the midst of strangers. Our mixed up society has been taught that women are incapable of birth without all this “assistance.”

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Mandi December 8, 2010 at 9:08 am

You’re both right – there were two very similar births on the show… one ended with a VERY determined last chance vaginal birth, and the other ended with a very broken, beaten down, defeated little girl consenting to a C-Section because the baby wouldn’t descend. Heartbreaking both times.

I was lucky I was watching it at work (home health nurse, I work nights) cause otherwise I would have been yelling at the TV the whole time. I was so upset – and I had the SAME reaction when I heard her say “the Dr said she should be here in 3 days!” (insert jaw drop here). Yup, I could have written this blog post.

And Emily – my first birth was just like yours. Cervidil to “ripen” (and oh of course that didn’t happen in their time frame so…) Pitocin to “speed things up”. Epidural for the pain. Fast forward 26 hours (of being on my back in bed) and my son’s heart rate kept dipping, I had a fever, they needed to get him out “now”, they had the OR prepped and ready for me, and the Dr (my midwife couldn’t even do the delivery anymore, they had to bring the Dr in) came in with the vacuum telling me that this was the last chance to get him out and if it didn’t work, they were taking me in for a C/S. 3rd degree episiotomy later… my son was finally born (and with a slight fever, shocker). My recovery (physically) took MONTHS. Ice packs in the underwear for at least a month, not able to sit normally for months, taking pain killers to the point of needing that refill (with my 2nd son, I didn’t even accept the pain killers, that’s how much better it went). Emotionally, I still deal with his birth, and the guilt over it.

Watching this show has given me a passion that I didn’t know I had about educating teen moms about labor and delivery. As a doula, I think I’ve found a new area that I’d love to get into. Teen moms. <3 They need us more than anything.

Thanks for this post, you took the words right outta my mouth ;)

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TheFeministBreeder December 8, 2010 at 10:30 am

There is only one girl featured in each episode – the girl in this episode did have a cesarean.

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Mrs. BWF December 8, 2010 at 10:38 am

I used the wrong pic. Like another mama said, there were 2 births/stories that were really similar. I changed the pic to stop the confusion! lol

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Sarah December 8, 2010 at 9:17 am

I agree BWF. Nicely put Jenn.

After having my DD at 18, I would watch TLC’s A birth story. I was horrified by what they repeatedly showed as a “normal” birth. I especially remember one episode where the girl was young…maybe 15/16 and the mother was going to teach her a lesson and not let her have any meds (YAY…for the wrong reason). Instead of educating her daughter, she let her go through her birth scared and in pain because of the Fear, Tension, Pain syndrome. I do believe they used a vacuum on her as well…/sigh.

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Lori December 8, 2010 at 9:21 am

I could’t agree with you more.! My first birth 15 years ago was an induced nightmare that left me completely traumatized. I had the typical scary cascade of interventions. I was also young and didnt have a clue or any support. I have since then went on to have a normal natural home waterbirth this past summer. :-) I only wish I too had known back then what I know now.

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Debbie Smith-Bevan December 8, 2010 at 9:22 am

I watched the entire episode and she DOES have a C-Section. This made me all fired up and I cried. I posted my comment on your FB page. My husband had to calm me down b/c I was yelling at the T.V. I want to write the producers of this show and tell them there such things as “NATURAL” “UNMEDICATED” BIRTHS. WHY DON’T YOU DO THE RESEARCH and film and air those kind of births, be it home or FSBC w/Midwives. I was a young teen mom once, in 76. Thought we would have come farther than this by now. Looks like things are getting worse. What happened to all the “HIPPIES” of the 70′s that did births the “NATURAL” way. Bring them BACK!!! and the doctors that supported a womans empowerment and let her birth her way?

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Stephanie Cawthron December 8, 2010 at 9:26 am

WOW. I’m with you! Amen and preach it sister, so glad you do what you do MrsBWF!!!!! Thanks again x a million!

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Ruth Chichester December 8, 2010 at 9:29 am

Being a birth “addict”, I used to watch everything I could find which showed birth. But I get so disgusted with all the usual birth shows and their medicalized birth depiction. I want to start a campaign to write and petition Discovery Health and TLC to bring us more natural examples of birth, rather than the sensational hype we see. Shows like “Deliver Me” just make me so mad!

My other issue is the general population of birthing women who blindly allow themselves to be led, like lambs to slaughter, to the medical arena to be delivered of their babies! Even if a well-meaning friend or relative attempts to educate them, they still seem convinced that their doctor knows “best” and that they cannot question this “authority”. I am working now, as a parent, to teach my pre-teen daughters the truth! We need to stop this for our future generations! Maybe if all of us write to the producers of this program that they, as potential educators, need to bring healthier examples for their young viewers!

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Theresa Sirles December 8, 2010 at 9:33 am

This is the daily reality not just for teen mothers, but for mothers of any age particularly that are poor or low income. What frustrates me is the birth community professes support for women, but what about those who cannot afford to pay for it? We have a volunteer doula program (Virginia Community-Based Doula Initiative) where we provide free childbirth education workshops and pair economically disadvantaged mothers with volunteer doulas. I can tell you that it is no easy task finding enough volunteers to fill the need. What message are we then sending? Are middle and upper class women the only ones who deserve a positive birth experience and support? I agree with the points in your article and hope more women will reach out to those in their own communities who could use some help with support, advocacy and education as they prepare to welcome a new life into the world.

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Mrs. BWF December 8, 2010 at 9:37 am

You bring up a really good point Theresa. I’m going to ponder this. Maybe I can volunteer to help low income or teen mamas in a doula/education way. :)

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Petra December 8, 2010 at 10:31 am

we have a volunteer doula service here too which i want to apply for once can leave DS for longer periods of time or sooner if they allow me to wear him and bring him along.
I too am passionate about natural birth and feel like i want to shout it out to everyone just how wonderful birth can be! being a doula i would be able to do this! :)

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Ruth Chichester December 8, 2010 at 9:45 pm

Theresa:
I fully agree with your comment! This was my experience: seven children total, four different dads and all treated with medicaid insurance. You are very right about the complete lack of support for women in that situation. I have thought for years about attempting to convince state medicaid programs and social services to initiate a doula program for medicaid recipients. Staff the program with women who have been there and are currently on state support, train them and pay for their services through medicaid or state funds. Saving the tax payers lots of potential costs in medical interventions and also welfare payments! And giving all the services and support both need to succeed!
Meanwhile, I currently work in home health care for a pittance and work to support my four kids on my own. I live in N VA. I really want doula training and certification, but can’t afford the cost, as my salary barely covers household expenses. I would be very interested to learn how to help in your endeavors, as my passion is for helping women who were like myself through the journey to birth and parenting. I want to become a midwife eventually.
Can you message me at : r_golden700@hotmail.com or look me up on FB about how I might get involved with what you’re doing? Thanks!

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Cherylyn December 8, 2010 at 9:49 am

This sounds so much like my first birth. That experience propelled me forward to find a better way to birth, and I’m so glad it did.

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Lynn Reed December 8, 2010 at 10:26 am

me too Cherylyn…but I so applaud this teen mom as she is sadly the exception to the reality today.

I want to talk about how society has a problem with “TEENAGERS” having babies!!! I mean that is when they get fertile so why do we get so bent out of shape when they get PG?

Our society says “you need to stay in school” but that is not what nature says! I think the whole thing is upside down..imho & as usual my thinking is against societal norms, but the whole thing seems to be counterproductive. We say wait till you have 2 degrees and then you need fertility clinics!! LOL

Not to mention the “embarrassment” that you are a TEEN and pregnant! The stigma seems man made and I am sad when I hear a friend say her teen is PG and feels less than happy about it.

I think we need to rethink the whole thing!!!

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Bea December 8, 2010 at 11:05 am

I agree, we should not be acting like (not just teens) anyone who becomes a mom before she is 30 is crazy, incapable and too young! I am 21 and pregnant with my first, and so very happy about it! I also think that as far as teen pregnancy goes, you should not just go off and get pregnant just because your body is able. I am a firm believer that regardless of moral beliefs, you should at least try to wait till you are in a committed relationship. Most of teen pregnancies do result in girls dropping out of school and struggling for the rest of there lives trying to provide a life for there little family. And those who don’t drop out tend to have a VERY hard time finishing up, I do agree that those who find themselves pregnant, need and deserve a better support system. No one deserves the “you made your bed now lie in it” yes , they have new responsibilities but that doesn’t mean you drop them on there butt! I wasn’t sure if you were encouraging teen pregnancies or saying we shouldn’t be so shocked and unsupportive… i would deffinately NOT encourage my teenager to get pregnant or think lightly of pregnancy in her high school years, however once she is an adult (18), that is another story!

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Lynn Reed December 8, 2010 at 10:17 am

YESSSSSSSSSSS
“A new consciousness is surfacing. Women are choosing to give birth actively, with dignity and joy. They are assuming responsibility for their bodies and their births; selecting attendants and places that meet their needs; recognizing birth as a spiritual process that has long lasting effects; demanding that their children be treated with humanity & respect from the moment of birth. When we know better,we do better.”

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TheFeministBreeder December 8, 2010 at 10:27 am

No, she totally got the Cesarean. I was twittering about it the entire time. She had said the whole show that she didn’t want a cesarean, and she sure as hell had one. Her doctor said “It’s not like failing, there’s no way of knowing what’s going to happen until we get here”, and I was screaming in my head “YOU INDUCED HER – YOU ABSOLUTELY KNEW THAT COULD HAPPEN!!!”

Yeah. My blood was boiling, and that poor girl had to recover from surgery.

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Mrs. BWF December 8, 2010 at 1:33 pm

Was the mama a blonde?

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Katrina December 8, 2010 at 9:27 pm

I don’t remember the mother, but the doctor was Asian, that’s what I remember. And her boyfriend did lose his keys prior to going, he was looking for them and they were going to the hospital all nonchalant for the induction (as they seem to in every damn episode.)

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TheFeministBreeder December 10, 2010 at 1:41 am

No, the mom was African American. The episode you’re describing is Christinna (http://www.hollywoodlife.com/2010/12/01/16-and-pregnant-2×16-christina-isiah/). She’s the one whose baby daddy lost the keys, and they acted like she was going to be late for her (right-before-christmas) induction. Her induction took place on December 22nd.

The blonde from last week actually went into spontaneous labor at 35 weeks and had a quick vaginal delivery.

I know ENTIRELY too much about this show. It’s a sickness.

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Mrs. BWF December 10, 2010 at 10:11 am

Yes! That one! How ironic that I chose the pic of a mom who had a super similar story/birth. Go figure.

That mom that went into labor early was freakin’ lucky from what I am hearing about this damn show. Stay away! ;)

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Elizabeth Worley December 8, 2010 at 10:56 am

It makes me feel very sad that women are being treated like this at such a vulnerable & special time in their lives. I personally feel it is a form of abuse. Technologies and interventions are used without necessarily being needed, this is causing a dependance with unaware women & MW & OBs, which is damaging to all of us. Mothers are the most influential people on the planet! We are birthing the future, we should do this in the best & most supportive environment. This is not promoted by the media, the media is responsible for keeping the majority unaware. There is profit involved with induction, interventions etc. Generally MW/OBs want us to need them. Good MW/OBs would make themselves dispensable not indispensable. Money plus inability to empathise equals an unhealthy population. ANGRY!

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Bea December 8, 2010 at 10:57 am

I am so glad you wrote about this! Not only does that show always show birthing that way (not all end in c-section…but almost are are filled with unnecessary interventions), but if you ever watch A Baby Story on TLC…. My husband banned me from watching lol, I get so upset whatching these shows that women come to for encouragement and support, and leave feeling like the only way to do it is at least with an epidural… UGH! I find my self yelling at the tv also saying things like ” OBVIOUSLY her labor isn’t progressing because you wont let her move around” ” OBVIOUSLY she is exhausted and having difficulty pushing you wont let her eat anything AND you gave her an epi which she HAD to have because you told her without pit, she would be in labor to long and jeapordize the baby!” …. anyway, i could soap box about this for hours! I want to see a show that empowers women…not one that fills them with fear and untruths.

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Mr. BWF December 8, 2010 at 10:58 am

I’m sorry I can’t help. I was bored and left the room so I didn’t see the conclusion.

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Emma December 8, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Usually I’m all for natural birth and for what the mother wants, but it is ignorant for you to say that a mother who chooses a different way, including a hospital stay and epidural, is naive and selfish. What is “normal” for you may not be for someone else!

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Mrs. BWF December 8, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Are you talking to me? I never said that she was naive and selfish…at all. If a mama makes an educated decision that the hospital and even an epidural is best for her, I support her choices. If you read my blog or follow my Facebook page at all, you would know that.

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Emma December 8, 2010 at 1:48 pm

No, I am not talking to you. See above comments.

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Emma December 8, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Example from above:
“Anyways, most teenagers would still choose the birth with all the interventions due to immaturity and selfishness at that age “

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Jodi December 13, 2010 at 7:18 pm

I don’t believe the commenter was referring to the actual choice as being immature and selfish; most of us are quite aware here that there are a lot of women more comfortable in a hospital setting with all the shiny trimmings, hence ‘choice’. I believe the point was in actual fact the reasoning beind such choices being made, I’ve heard too many young women, not just teenagers, making the decisions to have a caesarian ‘so my vagina doesn’t stretch’, formula feeding ‘so I can go out’, pain relief ‘because I’ve been told it’s really painful and I don’t want to feel it’, and not doing their own research and finding out what is better for themselves and the baby in the long run. Please note before you attack here that I said ‘better for themselves’, not insinuating in any way, shape or form that hospital births are bad for every woman. I’ve seen some of your posts here and darling, you do like to grasp at semantics don’t you?

Kelli December 8, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Amen, sister! It breaks my heart to watch that show. I have watched it a few times, once a marathon of it. Not only do I find it exploitative of these young women, but also very disturbing. It is like they are put through an express line. No one gives them any help in preparation for birth – only pressure. How will they ever feel as if they can stack up? You still have to finish school. You know it’s going to be the worst pain of your life. Do you think your boyfriend will stick around? I mean, he’s not the one pregnant. Here you are just hoping that someone would offer encrouagement, advice that is usable, and all they can do is tell you what you will experience or what they feel you “have” to do. It’s depressing. I want to jump into the TV and help these young women have births that will change their lives, give them confidence, prepare them for the difficult and rewarding task of mothering. I want to hold their hand, help them realize options in all areas. My sister was a teen mother. She gave birth naturally at 15 years old. She breastfed her daughter. It was in a huge part because she had the support of her mother and father who were both there to support her in labor. Ever since then, she’s been my hero. She is now married with 3 children and a nurse. She graduated college twice, and finished high school on time. Not because she was pressured to do so, but was supported in being a mother.

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Jenn December 8, 2010 at 2:13 pm

Women have made great strides in the past century. It’s getting harder and harder to hold women down as we continue to strive for equality and respect. One place where women are still able to be oppressed is in the birthing room. The way we handle maternity care today is absolutely abuse.

As for pregnant teens – there is ZERO respect for them out there. Society sees them as ignorant and stupid little sluts who are just going to pawn off their kids and soak up the government benefits. They think these young women are incapable of rational thought and of educating themselves. Their heads are held under water and they are forced to do as their told in order to avoid judgment. They aren’t seen as women creating and bringing forth new life. They are viewed as parasites and as idiots who don’t deserve the proper support and respect just because they may have made a “mistake” by getting pregnant. I believe teenage mothers are among the most abused in the birthing room. They are seen as a problem and not as people. It’s so freaking sad.

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Free December 8, 2010 at 4:55 pm

I agree, pure torture.
I will never birth in a hospital again if I can avoid it. And I didn’t even have the worst of it. “If a woman doesn’t look like a Goddess in labour, someone isn’t treating her right.” Ina May Gaskin

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shauna December 8, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Poor girls :(

I had my first baby at 18, in 1996. I was induced TWO WEEKS before my due date because “baby is ready.” My Dr was a very busy, popular OB in an upscale part of town. When I asked why and said I didn’t want to be induced she told me the placenta could start to deteriorate. Makes me livid now. Utter bullshit. :( I hated the hospital and it wasn’t even all that bad for me… still it was very dehumanizing. And I wasn’t helped to breastfeed at all. I failed, the hospital failed, the OB failed. (But all that matters is the baby comes out alive right? Sigh.)

Anyway, I have now gone on to have had 5 peaceful natural unassisted births. Caught all the babies myself, on my terms… they were wonderful. Too many women have no idea what they are capable of.

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Allison December 8, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Sing it, sister. I’m backin’ you up all the way.

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Krista December 8, 2010 at 6:07 pm

You know, I worked at the hospital and I was still incredibly uneducated about birth with my first. I guess that’s understandable considering my education sources. I consider my experience there incredibly valuable. But I look back now and see how blind I was to situations like this. You put so much trust in the doctors that they are doing the right thing, but when you are on the inside you can see how busy these doctors are making themselves be. I used to always have the thought “how does Dr. so and so helping that many mom’s birth their babies?” But that’s just that. He wasn’t helping women, he was helping himself. If someone was really helping women birth their babies, there is NO way they could take that many patients. Teen parents are used to being told what to do by their parents and teachers that a doctor is just another person who they need to respect and listen to. Which makes them much easier to manipulate. We ALL know that the only reason he would say that is because he was sick of being there waiting for her to push her baby out. He wanted to take control so he could move on with his day. Some how we need to just get the point across to women everywhere that if they pick doctors with busy practices they better birth fast or they’ll be punished!!!

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Charlotte December 8, 2010 at 11:37 pm

We all need to start our own show ‘Educated and Pregnant’ and show these Mamas just what their birth can be like if they educate themselves and choose it :)

I believe it’s every Mama’s right to choose how they birth, but they should be fully educated before doing it.

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Jodi December 13, 2010 at 7:33 pm

Where’s the ‘like’ button on this thing…? I’m in!!

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Elizabeth January 24, 2011 at 1:57 pm

I’m in too! Why don’t people stand up and show people what birth can really be like.

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Sylvia December 9, 2010 at 10:36 pm

I accidentally tuned in to the same part of this episode last week, and will avoid this show in the future. I totally agree with you. OB’s should be better educated and experienced in what women were designed to do, i.e., giving birth naturally. Medical interventions should be left for real medical emergencies, not natural bodily processes.

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evelyn December 11, 2010 at 4:42 pm

I really appreciated your insight. I am not pregnant, and i have never been pregnant, but i hope to one day eventually be a mom. I must confess that I am terrified of the whole birthing process. Very terrified! My only reference is “births” on TV and movies…(i know scary). I cannot tell you how thankful i am that i have come across your website!!!

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Rebeckah December 12, 2010 at 9:56 am

I couldn’t agree more!! I watched the shows and it was torture. It horrified me how these young, naive, uninformed girls were treated so badly and taken advantage of. My heart wept for them the whole show because they didn’t know any better, neither did their boyfriends nor they parents. I think one of the problems with society and birth is that girls are not educated or seeing birth in the right way anymore. Before the “Almighty” doctors came around it was the community of women and their daughters that supported and witnessed new life coming into being. So girls were well experienced with birth and how it actually is to birth their own without fear or dis-empowerment. I hope that more women will speak up and take back birth, so that it can be an empowering moment for every mother.

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Brandi December 21, 2010 at 2:15 am

Sometimes I think we’re loosing ground in the ring of progress! For centuries we’ve known as women how to have babies. The knowledge was passed down from mothers, sisters, aunts and trusted midwives. My great-great grandma had 13 children (all at home and her first at 16) and was a midwife in her small community. No one looked down on my great-great grandma for being a teen mom. Also, my good friend who pointed me to this blog told me how in our church being a midwife was a calling and the women turned to prayer and God to support birthing women. In some ways I wish we hadn’t “progressed”.

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Amy December 26, 2010 at 2:05 am

My favorite t-shirt says “Birth is not an illness.” It is the only political statement that I make, but I make it loud and I make it often. I hate watching these shows because each of these girls needs a doula and a good midwife to hold their hands and guide them through this process so they know they are capable of birthing without being sliced open/doped/ignored.

One of my best doula births was for a 16 yr old. She made me earn my pay but this 5′ 2″ tiny girl had a natural labor and delivered an almost 9 lb baby girl without a single tear or skidmark because she had a doctor that listened to her and respected her and allowed her body to do what it needed to. She also had a magnificent, experienced nurse who respected her, even though she was only 16. I would have fought tooth and nail for her in order to have a better birth, but I didn’t have to.

As a footnote, this same girl had another baby 2 years later. Baby was born in a birth center in the tub and again was almost 9 lbs. No drugs/epidural/interventions. Amazing!

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Kerrie January 12, 2011 at 10:59 am

I had that happened to me with my 2nd daughter. Went natural with my last one.

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Angela WIlson February 11, 2011 at 9:34 am

I had a client at the Pregnancy Center the other day, 19 years old, who told me her doctor was so kind as to do a c-section for her because she was about to lose her insurance the next day. They did an emergency c-section so she could have the baby on the day before she lost her insurance! I was crying when I heard this!

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holli February 11, 2011 at 10:28 am

I was induced with my son, but there were medical reasons. His amnotic fluid was disappearing & his liver wasn’t working correctly. I had a MW but had to talk with a doc after my ultrasound. He told me my son was in danger but he refused to get me induced & he stripped my membranes but didtnt tell me what he was doing. He just did it. 3 days later I saw my midwife & she got a second OBs opinion about inducing me – & talked with me about all my options & what could potentially happen. They decided to induce me, if they had not he would have died inside me.
I had it in my birth plan that no matter what I was NOT to be given an epositomy & unless his life was in danger & they could prove it to me I was in no way, shape, or form to be cut open. My mom & best friend were with me & knew exactly what I wanted & were willing to step up if push came to shove. But I was lucky, 7 1/2 hours after being induced I held my healthy son in my arms. =) his only current problems are his extreamly sensitive stomch. And his small size. I had to switch to a midwife after 3 idiotic OBs & hospitals. It’s important to find a doc/midwife AND hospital that ur comfortable with. I will never birth with an Ob because of my experience.

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Carmen February 11, 2011 at 8:04 pm

this made me very sad to read :(
I am currently 4 days over (or 12 off original date) and still waiting with baby number 3. How glad I am that I can do research and speak for myself. I wont be told how to have my babies (last baby was 19 days ‘Overdue’). I think everyone has the right to proper information, that doctor ought to be sacked.

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Angela Brugh April 2, 2011 at 8:09 pm

While I agree with you that this doctor obviously had his own ideas of how she should birth at some point you have to also put blame on the mother and father. They chose to not educate themselves for their children. We live in a society that trust and believes doctors instead of asking for second opinions, instead of reading and learning what is going to happen to our bodies and babies. That mother had no idea what it meant to be induced. Did she question her doctor as to why he was going to induce? Probably not. Some blame must be put on her. I truely believe this is why most girls on the show do not breastfeed. They simple do not educate themselves on the benefits of breastfeed. Educating one self on what your body is designed to do is your job. These girls are not doing their job and their children suffer. 16 And Pregnant and Teen Mom hurt my heart.

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Tristen April 21, 2011 at 1:46 pm

I cant even begin to watch these shows, I agree these labors are alot more like torture than anything else. It hurts me to think that so many women , young and otherwise are not told they have choices. I love reading your blog btw, it opens my eyes to more and I am sure that for many women it has at least hinted that there can be other options.

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Antonella April 21, 2011 at 1:47 pm

You know, I never saw that show, but I can relate…..although, my OB is actually an angel…it was the nurses who were the ones pushing me to get an epidural. With my first baby I really thought that I was prepared, then I got to the hospital and as soon as my OB left the room the nurses started asking me when I was getting an epidural, that I would be begging them for it in a few minutes. Then they told me I HAD to lay down on my back! I was nervous, in labor with my first, and I listened!I got HORRIBLE back labor and asked for the epi. Even my OB was like, you look so uncomfortable, why don’t you change positions??
Anyway, I think the whole thing really sucks. All that’s portrayed on tv about labor, then most OBs turn every pregnancy, even the uncomplicated ones into medical emergencies. My friend is only 32wks and they’re already saying how big her baby is and preparing her for CS! I’m so happy she came to me for advice and I just hope that she can get through it, because with all these medical professionals telling you what to do, it’s hard to not listen to them.

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Jessica April 21, 2011 at 1:58 pm

I feel for these girls because most of them are set up for failure from the beginning. They don’t get the proper support, education, doctors, etc., etc. This being said, they don’t bother pursuing any further education because “the doctor knows best, not you because you are a stupid teenager who got pregnant at and this is your first child.” They simply do as they are told, despite what their gut is telling them.

I honestly can’t watch it anymore. I cry every show because my heart ACHES for these couples. I got pregnant at 17 and my only support during most of my pregnancy was my husband. The difference between me and them is that I got educated. I knew what I wanted. I did not want an epidural, cervical block, or spinal. I would not have a c-section unless we were dying (my husband and I repeatedly asked ‘why’ to every question that suggested I did something), I would have a midwife attend my birth, I would breastfeed, etc. I made sure I was educated on my birth, in fact I was rather OCD about it.

Either way, these girls are set up to make pregnancy, labor, birth, and PP to be DRAMATIC instead of beautiful and natural and wonderful.

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pam April 21, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Guess you haven’t seen One Born Every Minute… It is the epitome of what is wrong with obstetrics in the US. I have a hard time watching.

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