A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this series about women who didn't know that they were pregnant until they delivered often features birth reenactments that show things like women screaming in pain, frantic bystanders, and lots of blood. There's also lots of medical information about topics like contraception and prenatal care. Some of the featured mothers are teens; others are young and/or unmarried. Alcohol, drugs, and smoking are occasionally discussed as they relate to the health of the baby. Overall, the show is a little strong for tweens, but mature teens should be able to handle it.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
I DIDN’T KNOW I WAS PREGNANT tells the stories of women who had no idea that they were expecting until they actually delivered their babies. Each episode uses reenactments, recorded 911 calls, and interviews with witnesses and the mothers themselves to explain what happened before and during the blessed -- albeit unexpected -- event. Medical professionals offer a bit of explanation about the possible ways that the women got pregnant and why they showed few (if any) typical pregnancy symptoms. The series also features pregnancy-related quizzes to help viewers understand medical facts associated with contraception, medical testing, pregnancy-related side effects, and childbirth.
Is it any good?
The series is medically informative, but it's also quite sensational. The reenactments are intended to highlight the harrowing moments when each woman realizes that not only is she pregnant, but she's actually in the final stages of delivery. The fact that many of the births take place in public bathrooms and other non-hospital settings adds to the drama.
When it comes down to it, the show is as much about entertaining viewers with unique childbirth stories as it is about educating them about birth control and pregnancy. Medical professionals offer some context and explanation for each of the featured stories; they're quick to point out that every pregnancy is different, and not everyone experiences the typical symptoms associated with having a baby. They also subtly suggest that many of the featured women were uninformed -- and, as a result, didn't recognize the signs that their body was giving them. In the end, despite the sensationalism, the series does help demystify pregnancy.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether reality shows that focus on medical phenomena are intended to educate viewers -- or are they simply trying to create entertainment out of unique medical circumstances?
Also, how has the way that the media portrays pregnancy changed over the years? Did you know that the word "pregnancy" couldn't be uttered on television in the 1950s and early '60s? How (and why) have things changed?
Is there a right age for parents and kids to talk about sex and pregnancy? Where else do kids get ideas about what is and isn't OK when it comes to sex?
For kids who love reality tv
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