When it comes to TV shows about childbirth, there’s not much we haven’t seen. We’ve watched babies being born to 16-year-olds , and seen shows about women who had no clue they were pregnant. Somehow, however, Lifetime has somehow managed to find a totally new concept for a reality show involving childbirth. Yesterday, during a panel at the Television Critics Association press tour, the network announced its new show, Born in the Wild, which will feature women who choose to have natural childbirth…while in nature.
“In this new series, families take one step beyond home birth and make the powerful choice to experience childbirth in the great outdoors,” a press release for the show explained. “No inductions, no epidurals…just expectant mothers facing and giving birth in the arms of Mother Nature. They’ll take on the unique challenges of their natural environment, tackling every obstacle the wilderness can dish out in order to realize their dream of an outdoor birth.”
Naturally (pun intended), critics wanted to know why the hell anyone put risk their health (and the health of their child) in order to be able to give birth in the middle of the woods.
Audrey and Peter Bird, a couple from remote Alaska that is featured show, attended the panel to answer everyone’s questions, starting with—“Why?”
“For us, it wasn’t about going into the middle of nowhere to have our child. We live in the middle of nowhere. This is simply a home birth for us,” said Audrey, who gives birth to her daughter Piper in the great outdoors on the show. “You know, our first child was born in the hospital, and it was an experience that we personally decided we didn’t want to do again. It wasn’t something we enjoyed. So we decided to do something different.”
Aubrey told The Ashley and a room full of other TV journalists that, even though she and her birthing team were out in the “middle of nowhere,” they had a plan in place in case something went wrong with the birth.
“We had contacted medevac personnel,” said Audrey. “We had everything on-site that we would need for most emergencies ‑‑ oxygen, stuff for hemorrhaging, ‑‑ all of those supplies we had. In case there was an emergency, we had medevac on standby.”
Lifetime offered to have an emergency staff on-site during the birth in case something went horribly wrong, but some of the couples featured, like the Bird family, opted not to accept the offer. Yoshi Stone, the show’s executive producer, said that the network did take as many precautions as possible to ensure things went smoothly.
“There was a very thorough vetting process before filming began that involved detailed birth plans and a full workup from a risk assessment company, and once we were actually in the field, again, we always followed their lead,” he said. “Our contingencies were based on their contingencies.”
He added that the couples were not paid much to participate on the show. The network simply covered the couples’ birthing expenses.
“The decision was made very early on that we wouldn’t want to provide any financial incentive to coerce people to participate in something that they wouldn’t have done anyway,” he said.
‘Born in the Wild’ premieres Tuesday, March 3 on Lifetime.
Watch the show’s trailer below!