Media Representations of Breech Birth: A Prospective Analysis of Web-Based News Reports

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Midwifery and Women's Health, 2017, 62 (4), pp. 434 - 441
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
© 2017 by the American College of Nurse-Midwives Introduction: Recent research has demonstrated that the media presentation of childbirth is highly medicalized, often portraying birth as risky and dramatic. Media representation of breech presentation and birth is unexplored in this context. This study aimed to explore the content and tone of news media reports relating to breech presentation and breech birth. Methods: Google alerts were created using the terms breech and breech birth in online English-language news sites over a 3-year period from January 1, 2013, to December 31, 2015. Alerts were received daily and filed for analysis, and data were analyzed to generate themes. Results: A total of 138 web-based news reports were gathered from 9 countries. Five themes that arose from the data included the problem of breech presentation, the high drama of vaginal breech birth, the safe option of cesarean birth versus dangers of vaginal breech birth, the defiant mother versus the saintly mother, and vaginal breech birth and medical misadventure. Discussion: Media reports in this study predominantly demonstrated negative views toward breech presentation and vaginal breech birth. Cesarean birth was portrayed as the safe option for breech birth, while vaginal breech birth was associated with poor outcomes. Media presentations may impact decision making about mode of birth for pregnant women with a breech fetus. Health care providers can play an important role in balancing the media depiction of planned vaginal breech birth by providing nonjudgmental, evidence-based information to such women to facilitate informed decision making for birth.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: