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Women get chance to birth ‘in the wild’ on new reality show

A shocking new reality show from Lifetime will showcase women giving birth outdoors "in the wild," without any doctors or midwives to help.
Tracie Knabe Snowder, KSL Modified: June 10, 2014 at 8:05 pm •  Published: June 11, 2014

A shocking new reality show from Lifetime will give women the chance to give birth outdoors without any doctors or midwives to help.

“What happens when the craziest experience of a woman’s life becomes truly wild, and soon-to-be parents decide to take on an unassisted birth in the outdoors?” asks Lifetime's press release, according to Entertainment Weekly, who broke the story. “Born in the Wild will document the journeys of young, expectant parents who have chosen to give birth ‘in the wild.’”

Reality shows highlighting labor and delivery is not a new concept — TLC started it all 15 years ago with “A Baby Story” which showed families preparing for hospital, birth center or home births. But those labors at least had some kind of medical attendant present.

Dr. Cara Heuser, a maternal-fetal medicine physician at Intermountain Medical Center, says the show is a risky move, based on years of research.

“While it's important not to over 'medicalize' birth, it's also important to remember that moms and babies can and do die or become injured during the process,” Heuser told in an email. “There are places where women still give birth 'in the wild', although not by choice, and maternal and neonatal complications are sadly common.”

At the beginning of the 20th century, there were six to nine deaths from pregnancy-related complications for every 1,000 births in the U.S., Heuser said. That number has dramatically decreased by 99 percent thanks in large part to medical advances, she added.

“We all want healthy moms and healthy babies and even in low-risk women, having those babies in the setting proposed by this show is probably not the best way to achieve that goal,” Heuser said.

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