House of Babies
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this series features close-up views of natural childbirth, both in a bed and in the water. Body parts are visible, though not in a sexualized way: Women's genitals are blurred only after they give birth, and viewers can often see their breasts through bras or swimming tops in the birthing tub. Breastfeeding is also shown, though much of the mother's breast is blurred as well. The series' setting in a midwifery center means that the focus is on drug-free childbirth, but the show's information on pregnancy health is applicable to any expectant mother. This is a great choice for introducing tweens to the miracle of birth.
What's the story?
Childbirth reality series HOUSE OF BABIES follows head midwife Shari Daniels of the Miami Maternity Center, as she works with expectant couples to deliver their babies outside of hospitals and without drugs or surgery. Each episode introduces viewers to a couple during their last few weeks of pregnancy, describing the soon-to-be parents, their past childbirth experiences, their reasons for choosing a natural delivery this time, and their hopes for the big event. If pregnancy complications exist, they're explained in detail and, when possible, illustrated with graphics that show the baby's position in the mother's body. When the time comes, the delivery is shown in detail, with cameras zooming in for close ups and even going underwater in the birthing tub to get a close-up view of the baby's entrance into the world. In addition to highlighting the individual births, the series also delivers important health information about pregnancy and childbirth, including diet and sleep guidelines, the benefits of breastfeeding (for both babies and mothers), and heavily debated topics like vaginal births after a Cesarean section.
Is it any good?
As the resident expert, Daniels doles out prescriptive advice -- all of which leans heavily toward the holistic side of health care -- throughout each episode. Although she strongly promotes the idea of natural childbirth, she also acknowledges the need for medical intervention in some deliveries; when a patient's circumstances require a hospital birth, she works alongside the labor staff to ensure that the expectant mother's needs are met.
Though it can feel slightly scattered -- episodes often jump between topics rather abruptly -- House of Babies is full of great information for pregnant moms and emotional scenes of healthy deliveries. If your tweens are ready for a real glimpse at childbirth, this is a good introduction, since close-up shots usually don't involve a great deal of blood and the maternity center's atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the reproduction process. Depending on your kids' existing knowledge, parents may need to either explain or reiterate the basics, and encourage an open discussion about sex and childbirth. Tweens: How do you feel after watching a birth? Do you understand how the process works? How do you think the new parents felt at that moment? Do you want to have kids someday? When do you think the right time for parenthood would be? What's involved in taking care of a newborn? Parents can also share the highlights of their own birth experiences, explaining how they were similar to or different from the ones on the show.