I never watched it before my BFP either - I have to say I found it really interesting (but only as a pregnant woman, no idea why people tune in if they aren't expecting!).
TBH I found it reassuring - yes of course the births do show you exactly how painful labour can be but to see them with their babies and how happy they were made me realise all that might be worth it!!
I watched it when I was pregnant and cried my eyes out every time, thinking "Oh my god, that's going to be me!". Then, after having my DD by EMCS, I've still cried watching it thinking either "Oh my god, that was me!" or "My birth wasn't like that".
I think it's a good programme because it shows you lots of different outcomes and that not all births are the the puffing-and-panting-and-screaming-and-out-pops-a-baby-then-all-smiles that we all imagine we'll have.
What you have to remember is that they pick the births that are going to be "good television", the more dramatic or comedic the better.
Don't let it scare you
I was terrified before having DS after I watched some birth videos online. I had visions of screaming my head off in agony with blood everywhere while some masked doctor tried to slice my undercarriage open to make room for my baby's gigantic head. It wasn't exactly what was in the videos but it was the general fear I got from watching them. Then we went on our tour of the maternity unit and I was stunned by how quiet the labour ward was. The odd murmer, a couple of groans, but mainly silence and the psst-psst sound the gas/air pipe makes when you breathe on it. It was surprisingly peaceful.
Yes, some people have traumatic births but for every traumatic birth there is one that isn't so traumatic. My own labour was very long, especially the pushing stage, and DS did indeed have a massive head but I was by no means screaming my head off and it certainly wasn't a blood bath.
Things to remember: 1. You're surrounded by professionals with lots of experience 2. Your body really does tell you what to do 3. Drugs. If you want/need them then they have shedloads available, take your pick
I agree with CBear. Like my mum said, it takes a certain type of person to not mind having their birth filmed/shown on tv! plus they obviously pick the most dramatic.
I think it's really good for a bit of insight as long as you remember that it's different for everyone! considering I'm the first of my friends to have a baby and my mums information was from me 20 years ago!
I watched this before I even thought about 'taking the plunge' just because I was fascinated by it! and now I'm pregnant and I feel like I'm going in to it much more 'eyes wide open' It certainly hasn't put me off at all (I watched the whole series) and I feel less scared knowing a) it's a different experience for everyone, b) I WILL probably panic, but I CAN do this without the more extreme pain relief (epidural etc.) c) the pain does go away eventually!!
Admittedly I am now 22wks and caught an episode last night - I seem to cry watching it now, but not through being scared, just hormones kicking in
I love OBEM!! I watched the first series before we were even ttc and it made me cry, then watched the second series in the early weeks of this pregnancy and it made me cry again for different reasons!!! But both times it was mainly at how amazing the whole idea of creating a new life is blah blah blah!!
However the main positive for me is that it has demystified the whole birth process somewhat, and in a way desensitised me to it! So I can honestly say I feel a lot less anxious about giving birth now (currently 25+4).
I watched it throughout my pregnancy to get an idea of the processes, when decisions are made and to find out what women found helpful from their DPs when in labour.
I went into the labour suite with my eyes open and fully prepared to accept pain relief if and when I needed it.
Because I'd seen ladies turned away from the labour suite I adhered to their rule of contractions every 2-3 minutes before going in so wasn't sent home, I stayed as active as possible as I'd seen it help some of the women on OBEM, I tried the various positions I'd seen to find where I was comfortable and when I was offered an epidural at 9cm I declined because I knew it wouldn't be that much longer.
So after waffling on, basically I used the series to research my options and see what others found helpful.
I think I must have a strange morbid fascination with watching birthing programmes I also watch them on home and health! I never watched any before my first though bizarrely but started soon after she was born