Fair warning — these videos are extremely realistic
I know this is a lot for a Friday, but if you are so inclined before the weekend begins to see TikTok videos of healthcare professionals showing what childbirth looks like using weirdly life-like dummies, here’s your chance. It’s so realistic, you’ll find yourself doing all the breath-holding, squirming, and twisted facial expressions of your own birthing experience.
There are many videos to choose from, including a vaginal birth, breech vaginal birth, sewing up a woman after she tears during a vaginal birth, and pulling out the placenta. They’ve been viewed millions of times and once you see one, you’ll know why.
Dr. Jennifer Lincoln, a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist in Portland, Oregon, posts lots of videos on TikTok, including how a breech baby is born using a dummy body, which has been viewed 28 million times. “They show something that seems secretive and mysterious—and this is because the vast majority of people are not taught about or have ever seen childbirth,” she told Newsweek. “In the United States especially, abstinence-only sex education reigns supreme. This leaves the majority of young people uninformed about how their bodies work and when it comes to childbirth, completely in the dark.”
Ione Lennox-Hottle, a labor and delivery, postpartum, and nursery nurse in Virginia who also posts a lot of birthing videos, told BuzzFeed, “TikTok is clearly an app aimed at the younger generation, so I think the childbirth doll videos go viral because it’s just something they’ve never really been exposed to or seen before. Childbirth is super interesting and awesome; it’s different for everyone experiencing it, yet so natural and similar at the same time,” she said.
While it is extremely realistic to watch, it’s missing some of the perks of a real delivery, you know, like the blood and screaming (oh, and the real live baby itself). “If people are freaked out by this super clean, smooth delivery with our doll, then they do not want to be in a real delivery room when it’s really going down!” Lennox-Hottle said. Truer words have never been spoken.
While most who are preparing to give birth take a birthing class, these simulated births were definitely not on the agenda in the one I took, which focused mostly on breathing and positioning. While it would have been intense, it would have been nice to see what’s happening down there.