Lifetime Announces New Reality Show 'Born In The Wild,' Featuring Women Giving Birth Outdoors
Lifetime picked up a new, controversial reality show called Born in the Wild, which will document women who have decided to give birth naturally and outdoors in lieu of a hospital.
Lifetime Picks Up Born In The Wild
According to a press release, Lifetime, the home of successful reality programs including Dance Moms and True Tori, has ordered eight episodes of the new series, each one hour long.
“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,’” reads the official description.
The premise of the show has raised eyebrows, with many objecting with obvious safety concerns. According to Lifetime senior VP, Eli Lehrer, Lifetime has a series of strict rules to keep health risks to a minimum.
All women participating in the show must have previously given birth and must have undergone a complete physical evaluation and given the go-ahead by a doctor. A “trained emergency professional” will also be on hand at every birth. Furthermore, the expecting couples will have to choose locations to give birth within a certain radius of a hospital to ensure that medical help can be readily offered.
“This isn’t [Discovery Channel’s] Naked and Afraid and we’re dropping people in the woods 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,” Lehrer told EW.
Born In The Wild Raises Safety Concerns
In fact, Lehrer believes safety precautions imposed on the births by the show will actually increase safety.
“Our presence at these births is going to make them far safer than if they were doing it on their own,” Lehrer insisted.
Lehrer revealed that the show was inspired by a YouTube video documenting an outdoor, water birth that went viral – it has over 20 million hits on the site. Lehrer has also personally witnessed benefits of having children outside of the hospital, as his second child was born at home.
Meanwhile, medical experts are unhappy with the show’s glamorization of giving birth without medical attention.
“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,” maternal-fetal medicine specialist for the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Ron Jaekle, told EW.
When asked if he was worried the show might inspire first-time mothers to give birth outdoors without the safety precautions the show provides, or without the knowledge women on featured on the show might possess about childbirth, Lehrer responded that he doubted very much that Born in the Wild would have any effect.
“I’m not worried this is going to spark a trend. I truly don’t think this is something people would enter into lightly. This is a very specific subset of people doing this,” Lehrer assured EW.
Other new reality shows ordered by the network include Kosher Soul, about an African American comedian converting to Judaism to prove himself to his fiancée and her Jewish family, and Threads, a sort of Project Runway for young adults.