Movies

Birth In Movies Is Rarely Accurate, But These 10 Scenes Take It To The Next Level

From the ridiculous to the horrifying, it just goes to show you can’t believe everything you see in the movies.

Dear Film Makers: we need to talk. We love escapism as much as anyone. We’re not going to theaters or streaming the latest releases for accuracy. But friends: we can do a little bit better when it comes to depicting birth on the big screen, don’t you think? Maybe it’s because most of you are men and have therefore probably not given birth, but you’re just not doing a very good job depicting an experience all of us will have in some capacity. So let’s talk about the worst movie birth scenes, because moms are tired of screaming at our screens.

There’s no dearth of options to choose from, which frankly feels weird: about 400,000 babies are born every day according to stats from the U.N. So even if every single person giving birth that day had twins, there are still 200,000 folks you could ask to get just a wee bit more accurate in how you’re depicting the miracle of life.

For the purposes of this article, we’re going to be talking about “worst” scenes as those that are either ridiculous in their inaccuracy or just downright hard to watch. (But trust us: there’s a lot of overlap.)

Enjoy the absurdity/awfulness!

Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1

We can’t even begin to talk about everything that’s awful about this birth scene. Obviously it’s not meant to be realistic, but the high drama and grotesquerie stretches the limits of believability even in a world with sparkle vampires.

From the fact that Bella’s two-week-yet-full-term pregnancy (take all the time you need with that one) is literally draining the life out of her to Rosalie (a vampire) going wild at the sight of blood during a high-stakes, at-home, un-medicated c-section delivery; from Bella’s vampire husband Edward completing the incision with his teeth to the blood-drenched, immortal, rapidly aging, CGI baby (again... take your time), we just can’t unsee it... and we really, really wish we could.

Oh. And Bella’s one time love interest falls in love, in literal love, with the newborn. So... you’re welcome for that, too.

Gone With The Wind

Considering Gone with the Wind was made in 1939, an era in which the line “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” was considered scandalous, we don’t expect an accurate depiction of birth. As you might imagine, we don’t even see Scarlet O’Hara give birth to her daughter Bonnie on screen. But what we do see also makes our list of “WTF” birth moments.

Within a week of birth, Scarlet sits in bed, no postpartum tummy in sight, perfectly coiffed, full face of makeup, and a fabulous robe that, I’m sorry, would not survive but two hours of postpartum discharge. Now, is this technically possible? Yes: we all have that on friend who looks picture perfect shortly after birth. And if anyone would be, Scarlet O’Hara is a good candidate, but we’re calling absolute shenanigans.

(Of course, in the long, long list of problems we have with Gone with the Wind, this is surely near the bottom of the list.)

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia are some of cinema’s coolest characters. So it’s hard to imagine how their entry into the galaxy in Revenge of the Sith could be so terrible but... well, honestly the best way to explain it is to share a particular exchange.

“Medically she’s completely healthy,” says a robot doctor. “For reasons we can’t explain, we are losing her.”

“She’s dying?” asks a very handsome and bearded Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi while cartoon Yoda looks on in intuitive concern.

“We don’t know why. She has lost the will to live,” the robot sort-of-but-not-really clarifies. “We need to operate quickly if we are to save the babies.”

And that’s why Luke and Leia’s mom, Padmé Amidala, dies in childbirth.

Because. she. lost. the. will. to. live

Yeah. No. That’s not how it works. You don’t just die in childbirth because you got sad because Darth Vader is your baby daddy.

(Bonus ridiculousness: check out the shot at 1:20 on this video. We are meant to believe that is the silhouette of a woman having full-term twins.)

What To Expect When You’re Expecting

Based on the “pregnancy Bible” of the same name – standard reading for many a pregnant parent – What to Expect When You’re Expecting shows the variety of different ways one might experience pregnancy. So it’s sort of bizarre that none of these are terribly accurate depictions of birth.

From a doctor telling Elizabeth Banks’ character “You’re 10 centimeters but the baby’s not coming; we need to prepare for a c-section.” (Well... of course it’s not: she hasn’t pushed yet? Like could you elaborate a little bit here?) to Brooklyn Decker and her perfect blowout literally sneezing out a twin (we know it’s played for comedy but still) there’s... a lot going on in this clip.

Baby Mama

We’re not going to dock Baby Mama too many points here because Amy Poehler’s character, Angie howling “It feels like I’m sh*tting a knife!” during a contraction is extremely accurate, but the beginning of the scene highlights an inaccurate trope we hate: the breaking of water. For one, this is not how most people begin labor – only about 10% of people will experience that first gush before their first contraction. But about that gush...

It’s not really “land at your feet in a big puddle all at once.” It’s more a series of smaller gushes over time. Think of it more like waves at the ocean rather than a tsunami. Baby Mama is hardly the first or only movie to make this mistake, but it highlights exactly how it usually goes, hence its inclusion on our list.

Nine Months

Look, we love this cast and this movie. Robin Williams as a hapless doctor! The ever-charming Julianne Moore! Hugh Grant’s big American break!

But.

We cannot find a single break in Moore’s contractions from the minute she starts labor. She’s moaning, screaming, and/or howling the entire labor. Thank goodness that’s not how it works – even in the worst parts of labor and delivery you get a minute or two of relief between contractions! Her labor is apparently the contraction that started and didn’t stopped until she gave birth.

Also Nine Months

Nine Months features two pregnancy stories, and when it comes to birth scenes neither are too accurate. Joan Cusack’s classic moment of hurling abuse at her husband while in the throes of labor (as he stands dopily with a hand-held camera) is hilarious but not something we’ve heard of happening all that much. Certainly not as much as we see in movies, which would have us believe this is as crucial to labor as contractions.

As with Baby Mama, we’re using this moment as a stand-in for all the other times this trope is used. (Fortunately, Joan Cusack is perfect and can do no wrong, even in a wildly exaggerated scene.)

The Back Up Plan

People have some ideas about what a home birth is like... especially people with no experience with or inclination toward home birth. In this moment in the movie, Jennifer Lopez’s character attends the home birth of a member of her single mothers group. It is...well let’s just say we’ve never seen a home birth with chanting and drums.

Monty Python’s The Meaning Of Life

We’re not counting this scene as bad because it’s inaccurate though, on paper, it’s extremely inaccurate. No, it’s the worst because the gents of Monty Python have perfectly satirized birth at its absolute worst. Doctors who think more about fancy machines, impressing hospital administrators, and bottom lines than the care and welfare of their patient, whom they talk down to at every turn (“You do nothing dear, you’re not qualified!”). The depersonalization of both mother and baby is pitch perfect, hilarious, but, for lots of people with traumatic births, all too familiar.

Mother

This movie is pure, high-octane nightmare fuel for anyone but especially for pregnant parents. The fact that it’s all allegory and metaphor does not make the visual (or even concept) of clawing and crawling past hoards of your husband’s ravenous fans to deliver your baby any less terrifying.

Also, it’s not even the scariest part of the movie. Just... proceed with caution.