According to scholars, Call the Midwife should come with a health warning since the “line between fact and fiction is blurred.”
Experts from King’s College London and the University of Liverpool believe that television broadcasts depicting ‘inaccurate birthing practises’ should include safety instructions for viewers to avoid misinterpretations.
Researchers examined 87 births shown in 48 episodes of BBC’s Call The Midwife, which premiered in 2012 and stars Helen George as Trixie Franklin and Laura Main as Nurse Shelagh Turner, This Is Going To Hurt, and Channel 4’s cancelled reality series One Born Every Minute.
They compared how these deliveries were shown to contemporary recommendations from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice).
The births were found to compare favourably to contemporary care advice. According to the report, which was published in the journal JRSM Open, one-third of the time images of midwives and doctors clamping the umbilical chord were erroneous or dramatised.
The infant’s umbilical chord will be clamped and severed after birth, separating the newborn from the placenta.
According to the researchers, if there is no safety warning to advise viewers differently, the general public and healthcare professionals may believe the clamping practises they witness are correct.
According to good advice, mothers should not have the umbilical cord clamped before one minute after birth unless there is a worry about cord integrity or the baby’s heartbeat. The delay permits additional blood from the placenta to enter into the foetus.
In 21 cases, clamping seemed to occur either immediately or too early in the TV research.
‘Millions of people watch series like Call The Midwife every week to be delighted, but the boundary between reality and fiction is blurred’, said Susan Bewley, professor emeritus of obstetrics and women’s health at King’s College London.
‘We are impressed that UK television shows have accurately depicted some changes in childbirth over the last century, but on the other hand they have also provided the public with a picture of poor-quality care when it comes to clamping during childbirth.
‘These inaccurate depictions could influence how people see real-world care.’
They continued: ‘We saw too early cord clamping in most televised births but no programme informed viewers about the safety aspects.
‘When showing outdated practices, broadcasters have a public health duty to inform viewers that this immediate medical intervention is no longer recommended. No broadcaster would show the sleeping positions associated with cot-death without comment.’
Andrew Weeks, professor of international maternal health at the University of Liverpool, added: ‘Health professionals know that midwives and doctors should not interrupt the flow of blood to the newborn baby nor separate the mother and baby without a pressing reason, and yet this is what is being shown on popular television programmes as common practice.
‘Incorrect depictions like this, however routine, can lead to misinterpretations of correct practice by the public.
‘This illustrates the need for safety recommendations when TV dramas show birthing practices and procedures that are outdated and inaccurate.’
A spokesperson for Call The Midwife said: ‘Call The Midwife is a drama, not a documentary, and is set half a century ago.
‘It is highly accurate to the period it depicts, and shows how childbirth has changed radically over the years.’
The study, which was released by the charity Lullaby Trust, which increases awareness of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), emphasised the importance of infection prevention in infants.
It said that parents should not allow other people to kiss their infant and should always request that individuals wash their hands before handling a newborn.
‘Even infections that cause mild symptoms such as a common cold in adults and older children can be life-threatening for babies,’ said charity chief executive Jenny Ward.
Call The Midwife is expected to return to BBC later this year.
Source My Celebrity Life.