Portrayals of Childbirth: An Examination of Internet Based Media

Title: Portrayals of Childbirth: An Examination of Internet Based Media
Authors: Holdsworth-Taylor, Tiffany L.
Date: 2010-02
Abstract: More pregnant women turn to reality-based television programs and the Internet than to prenatal classes. Scant research examines the portrayal of childbirth in these new media. Although its impact is unknown, we do know that up to 20% of pregnant women fear giving birth; consequences include avoiding pregnancy, termination, depression, and increased maternal morbidity. Overall internet content tended to be contradictory but largely reflected two categories: natural and mainstream, with two different portrayals of childbirth. Natural sources focused on eliminating fear, discrediting hospital births, and promoting ‘alternative’ options such as homebirth and midwifery. Mainstream sources reinforced fears, discredited home births, reported statistics from studies, and employed misinformation. Popular Internet sources tended to have the goal of educating whereas media uncovered in the purposive searches tended towards entertainment goals. Conflicting and misinformation from the Internet may entrench rather than assuage fears. Women may become confused and develop a heavily biased representation of birth. This could strongly impact a woman’s approach to and experience of birth.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/34363
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18192/riss-ijhs.v1i1.1532
CollectionRevue interdisciplinaire des sciences de la santé // Interdisciplinary Journal of Health Sciences
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