women in labor in a car

Lights. Camera. Baby!

What Hollywood tends to get wrong about birth, and what you can actually expect

Picture this: Your water breaks suddenly and you rush to the hospital. Your makeup looks great. Maybe your hair is pulled back in an effortless, chic way. You barely make it to the birthing suite before your doctor tells you it’s time to push. Minutes later, a cooing newborn is placed in your arms.

Does this sound like a scene from a movie? It could very well be. Thanks to the big screen, a lot of people have somewhat of a script memorized when it comes to birth, but these expectations aren’t always what happens in reality. To know what you can anticipate from the real thing, here are some of the major misconceptions about birth commonly shown in movies and TV.


How long it takes

This is a big one. Generally when an actress delivers a line like, “My water broke,” what she really means is, “Get me to the hospital as fast as possible or I might deliver this baby right here!” In real life, labor and delivery takes a while. In fact, many first-time parents are caught off-guard by just how long the process can actually be. On average, a first birth can last anywhere from 12 to 24 hours.


How baby arrives

In movies, babies are typically delivered vaginally and C-sections are left out of the picture. In reality, many moms deliver via C-section, and this method of delivery is just as special as a vaginal birth. At St. Luke’s Birthing Center, this procedure is actually performed less often than the national average and it’s only done when medically necessary, but it does offer a surgical solution to some of the most common labor and delivery complications.


The physical toll on mom

Energetic mothers post-delivery without a bead of sweat on their foreheads? That’s not very realistic. While every woman’s pain tolerance is different, you can expect giving birth to be physically difficult and pretty exhausting. However, don’t let that scare you. St. Luke’s Birthing Center staff will be with you every step of the way doing everything possible to help manage your pain and welcome your little one into the world.  


More after the credits roll

Birth is often shown as the happy ending of a story. Baby is placed in mom’s arms and the scene fades to black. But birth is just the beginning! In the days, weeks and months that follow, St. Luke’s AfterCare Clinic will be standing by to help you with whatever questions you may have about being a new mom. Because, to us, you’re the real star.


If you have any questions about labor and delivery, don’t hesitate to ask your healthcare provider. If you don’t have a healthcare provider yet, get to know our team and choose someone who best suits you.

St. Luke’s Birthing Center is located in Duluth, MN, with St. Luke’s clinics in the surrounding region, including Superior, WI. To schedule a tour of St. Luke’s Birthing Center, call 218.249.5605.


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