Baby Reality Shows: Should Pregnant Women Avoid Them?

pregnant couchIt happened to me. There I was, seven months pregnant, caring for my then 3-year-old and starting a few interesting new writing gigs. And then I fell into the grip of an addiction, a jones so pervasive that I had to indulge daily, despite knowing it wasn't good for me. And from talking to friends, it appears that this addiction is the secret shame of pregnant women everywhere.

What had us binging out of control? The baby shows on TLC and Discovery Health. My personal favorite was Bringing Home Baby, which follows a family during those first few days after their new baby comes home. I also liked Birth Day, which followed a family from pretty early in labor to the birth of their child, much like the granddaddy of the genre (and another favorite) A Baby Story.

Last week, a new one premiered, which would have been a huge favorite if I were currently knocked up: NICU.


It's a 10-week series that follows the neonatal intensive care units at three hospitals in Baltimore, Cleveland, and San Diego. Viewers meet the parents, the babies, and the doctors and nurses that care for them.

I so would have watched this when I was pregnant, as much as it would have freaked me out. As a Class-A worrier and sentimental dork, I'm the absolute worst person to watch these shows, since this was my process pretty much every time on every single birth show: Watch the mom go into labor and freak. Freak some more if anything goes even a little wrong. See the baby born. Weep copiously. Watching a family go through the stress and worry of a very sick little baby in the NICU would have absolutely done me in.

I think pregnant women get addicted to these shows as a way of mentally rehearsing what's ahead of us or what might be. Even if you've done this before, it's amazing how quickly you forget what going into labor or those first few days with a new baby are really like. Seeing it on screen can remind you in a way that just trying to think back on it can't do.

Interestingly enough, as much as I watched these shows religiously when I was pregnant, I've watched them maybe once since.

So fess up, expectant moms, are you hooked on these baby shows? Which ones?


Image via mr. toaster/Flickr

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