Seven billion stories and counting, but every story begins with a birth. 'One Born Every Minute' tells that story.
23 Dec 2016 - 12:05 PM  UPDATED 18 May 2018 - 11:31 AM

The observational documentary series One Born Every Minute, which focuses on a labour ward in the UK, is essential viewing for anyone who came into this world as a baby. Okay, that might be a little broad, but it’s a show that humbles us by showing the passionate people, mighty mothers and delicate procedures that bring life into the world.

A show 200,000 years in the making

Health education teachers in high school may have undersold the miracle of life with shonky textbook diagrams but we’ve come along way from being in the middle of the food chain and using caves as maternity wards. There are moments of astonishment during One Born Every Minute at how far we’ve come with medical advancements in maternal health, yet human biology remains unchanged over thousands of years. There are complexities to each delivery, which is where the show gets its drama, but it’s fascinating to see how primal instincts pair with modern medicine and the expertise of doctors, nurses and midwives.

Scrub up on who’s who

You get to know the folks working in the ward over the course of the series and how their roles overlap. The politics of the modern medical system dictate there’s a hierarchy to the hospital system with the doctor ordained ‘numero uno’ (rightly so) but there is a remarkable form of collaboration that occurs in a maternity ward. Midwives and nurses guide the process and lessen the strain on doctors being pulled in every direction within the hospital; you get a thrill from being in the company of people who are great at their job.

Laughter is the best medicine

There’s a unique sense of humour running throughout the series that shows how the medical professionals use their wit to diffuse the pressure of the ward. Often, they are working long shifts and dealing with demanding patients (rightly so). It’s wonderful seeing how the medical staff remains level headed and humours the expectant parents during a stressful time.

Maternal feats of strength

With each episode you meet new expectant couples and get insights into their journey to becoming parents. You get to see the calm before the storm but things change when it’s time for baby to arrive. One Born Every Minute doesn’t hide the process and it shows an enormous amount of pride and respect for the women featured, celebrating the pathway to motherhood by pulling back the white curtain.

Expectant dads, pay attention!

One Born Every Minute provides clarity around the role expectant dads can play in a maternity ward. Dads aren’t just there as a hand to squeeze. Sure, there are moments when it’s time to get out of the way but it’s interesting to see the dads trying to figure out what role they can play. Dads can function as a butler, masseuse, messenger and motivational speaker. Guys, the days of sitting around in a waiting room are over.

Bust those birth myths

If a birth results in a caesarian, one of many things mums can’t do in the six weeks after is drive a car. In Australia, the minimum amount of paternity leave the government gives dads is two weeks. So, once dad goes back to work, mum and baby lose their chauffeur. Expecting mum and bub to stay at home for weeks on end is madness but it’s one of several misunderstandings people have about birth and the recovery process. It varies depending on each experience but people still underrate the physical and mental impact it has on mothers. One Born Every Minute aims to rectify that.


One Born Every Minute airs Saturdays at 7:30pm on SBS VICELAND.

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