'16 & Pregnant' May Start a Positive Pregnancy Trend

Natural, drug-free birth tends to get a bad rap in the media. In movies and on TV, women are shown screaming in pain, sweating and begging for pain meds of any kind. In real life, labor is often very different, but our feelings about giving birth are informed by the books we read, films we watch and images that are projected into our pop culture-filled world.

Tuesday night's double feature premiere of MTV's 16 and Pregnant was more than just a look at the realities of teen pregnancy. It was also a glimpse at the realities of labor and delivery. Katie, the teen mom on the second show, delivered a baby sans drugs of any kind. It was beautiful and one has to applaud MTV for showing it.

Finally, some public awareness about the fact that natural childbirth is not just for hippy freaks. It is totally doable and even, in many cases, better.


Childbirth in the media is always the same kind of story. It is either wildly painful, with the woman writhing and screaming. Or it is scary and dangerous, with emergency C-sections and terrified dads pacing outside an operating room.

Neither scenario is the reality.

Sure, there are scary births and there are medically necessary c-sections and there is back labor and all kinds of different pain tolerances and no two births are the same. But the fact is, on the flip side, there are also easy, manageable births.

I have had two births, both of which started quickly, went fast, and required no drugs of any kind. I was running again within a week of each birth (I had also been running up to a day before each birth). Katie's birth is not outside the realm of possibility.

For many moms, especially young ones, it seems like natural labor and breastfeeding are not even on the table. No, everyone should not have the same birth, but there needs to be more support and more exposure for the more natural option.

As Katie so rightly put it on 16 and Pregnant: "Women have been doing this for years without drugs." Exactly, Katie. And good for you for bringing it out into the open.

An unmedicated vaginal birth is not only possible, it is wonderful if it goes right. My births were transformative, euphoric and easy. It is possible and more shows need to showcase that.

What was your labor like?


Image via MTV

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