A new Lifetime reality show is raising eyebrows, especially in the medical community: Born in the Wild will feature women giving birth outdoors with no medical assistance. The network says it is taking "extreme precautions" to ensure safety, including having an emergency professional on standby and a hospital within range. First-time mothers won't be allowed to take part, but obstetricians say it still is just too risky. "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," a maternal-fetal medicine specialist tells Entertainment Weekly.
A Lifetime exec says the network has set out to document something people are already doing. It's not as if "we're dropping people in the woods and saying 'go have the baby,'" he says. "These are all people who have already had babies in hospitals who had unsatisfying experiences and who are choosing to have different experiences." At Salon, Mary Elizabeth Williams isn't impressed by the "completely insane" concept or by Lifetime's press release describing childbirth as the "craziest experience" of a woman's life. "I'm not going to get whipped up over whether a woman wants to give birth in a hospital or a swimming pool or on a pile of leaves, but I do find the premise of having an entire film crew around to document and televise the experience does somewhat undercut the whole 'in the wild' thing a bit," she writes. "And I definitely find Lifetime’s branding of childbirth as an insistently 'crazy' event spectacularly offensive."