Lifetime announced development of new unscripted show Born in the Wild on Wednesday, which is all about women who shun hospital or even home births in favor of deliveries in nature. The show was inspired by a viral video shared by a mom who gave birth to her fourth child in nature and called it “the singular most transforming event of my life and my most conscious act as a woman to date.”
From the network…
For expecting mothers and fathers in their third trimester of pregnancy, things couldn’t get much wilder. From the mood swings and false alarms to the crazy food cravings, learning to expect the unexpected becomes a way of life in the final days leading up to birth. But 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? Born in the Wild will document the journeys of young, expectant parents who have chosen to give birth “in the wild.”
Not surprisingly, the series announcement immediately attracted criticism — similar to when a couple talked about their intentions for a dolphin-assisted birth last year and their plans were labeled among the “worst ever.” In the case of Born in the Wild, University of Cincinnati Medical Center obstetrician Dr. Ron Jaekle told Entertainment Weekly natural births are unnecessarily risky for mom and child.
“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 Dr. Jaekle. “They can’t possibly make it safe enough to not [eventually] have a problem that will need a medical intervention to save the day. And then [the producers] won’t interview the docs in the ICU who will say, ‘This would never have happened if she had been in a hospital.'”
Eli Lehrer, Lifetime’s senior VP and head of nonfiction programming, directly countered Dr. Jaekle’s argument by saying they’ve taken every precaution to (nearly) ensure safe deliveries on the program.
“I’m not surprised an OB-GYN would say that,” the Lifetime exec said. “This isn’t [Discovery Channel’s] Naked and Afraid and we’re dropping people in the woods and saying ‘go have the baby.’ These are all people who have already had babies in hospitals who had unsatisfying experiences and who are choosing to have different experiences. This is something people are doing and we set out to document it.”
Lifetime ordered eight hour-long episodes of Born in the Wild. The premiere date hasn’t been announced.