First off, let me just say I loved the film. It gave me goosebumps and warm fuzzy feelings and the soundtrack is amazing. I’m one of the original Bridget Jones, when it first came out in 2001 I had just qualified as a nurse and my parents expected me to be getting married within a year and start procreating. I was keen too but I was choosing inappropriate men, being clumsy (OK I’m still clumsy and socially awkward but I managed to choose the right man in the end). When I saw the opening credits of Bridget drinking on the sofa kicking the air whilst singing along to Celine Dion I thought, ‘This is me.’ I was thrilled when this film was announced and of course being a midwife, anything involving pregnancy and childbirth I’m all over it. There are no spoilers regarding the main plot line, but I will talk about some details in the film, so don’t read on if you don’t want to know any fine details.
I just wanted to clear up a few things about the birth part of the film in case you’re pregnant with your first baby and were panicked by the childbirth scenes. As with any film or soap, childbirth is portrayed for dramatic effect, I know that and reality is either too boring or time consuming to show it how it actually is, but still. I’d love for things to be shown a little more realistically, it would save us midwives a lot of explaining. So here are my issues with the film’s portrayal of the birth:
- Emma Thompson played a lovely Doctor but in the UK she would have had most of her care by a midwife, especially during the birth. Why couldn’t she have been a midwife? Also the scans would have been done by a Sonographer, not the Doctor.
- We don’t call them geriatric mothers anymore, this is outdated, we call them ‘advanced maternal age,’ and it now refers to women over 40 having their first baby.
- When she’s about to have the amniocentesis, she should have been prepared and counselled about it prior to the needle appearing.
- Your waters often don’t break at the start of labour, in fact most break during advanced labour or during birth.
- If your waters break you often don’t get contractions for a while, and some women need to be induced after 24-48 hours as labour hasn’t started.
- It’s rarely that dramatic, especially when it’s your first. It’s more of a slow build up of cramps, backache, ‘Is this it?’ moments and lots of irregular contractions before established labour kicks in. It can happen quickly, everyone’s different, so always ask if you’re not sure, but on the whole it’s a while before you need to worry about flagging down a pizza delivery moped – have they not heard of calling an ambulance? (dramatic effect, dramatic effect, I know).
- When she got to the hospital her jeans were perfectly dry when Mark says his trousers were wet back in the flat, yet she had no time to change.
- Where was her hospital bag and notes?
- When Bridget is told she’s 8cm dilated that it’s too late for an epidural – absolutely not, plus she should have been offered Entonox (gas and air) if she wanted it. An epidural isn’t without it’s risks but it’s still an option, even at fully dilated, although it won’t work as well then.
- There was no midwife present, no support. Even the Dads got seemingly kicked out to the waiting room. Women aren’t expected to go it alone.
- She was on the lying on the bed, not the best way to give birth, she should have been able to move around.
- A DNA test wouldn’t be offered by the hospital, it’s something that would have to be arranged privately at your own cost after the birth.
- I would have liked to see her breastfeed or attempt it!
OK, I think I’ve got that off my chest. The only midwifery related drama I can cope with is Call the Midwife, on BBC1, because it’s very accurate, plus it’s historical and nostalgic, although I do still get a bit annoyed that they’re so dedicated and never moan about the job!