Media Representation Of Pregnancy- Is It Realistic?

How many times have you come across the ‘good news’ in films, television shows, magazines etc? It’s probably way out of your count! Ever since our first encounter with the media, pregnancy has been a topic of great interest and there’s no denying it.

In today’s world, we are surrounded by all types of media, consisting of magazines, books, newspapers, movies, television shows, the internet and advertisements. The media has had an increasing influence on women’s knowledge, beliefs and expectations about pregnancy and birth over the years. These influences can be both guiding and misguiding.It was found that the media can alter viewers’ perception and behavior. Thus, when the media can promote misconceptions about pregnancy and the birth, this becomes a problem. The media plays an important role in shaping both the biological and cultural expectations of pregnancy, birth and motherhood.

Source: Shutterstock

Obsession With Celebrities’ Pregnancy

Khloe Kardashian and Alia Bhatt, what do they have in common? Apart from being strong, independent and empowered women, they both are expecting a baby! This piece of information is put on any and every news portal, has been reflected on our Google search trends and is widely read across.There are multiple media outlets just about celebrities pregnancies. These outlets focus on the celebrity’s baby bump and allow for readers to scrutinize their appearances.

Celebrity pregnancy generates a lot of interest in the public because it shows the physical appearance and lifestyle changes of the celebrity when becoming a parent. These outlets focus on the celebrity’s baby bump and allow for readers to scrutinize their appearances, especially the size of a woman’s stomach and thighs.

Source: Freepik

Comparisons And Setting Unrealistic Expectations.

 Magazines, movies, television shows, websites and social media can all affect the way pregnant women view their own bodies.The portrayal of pregnant celebrities and their post-baby bodies are often unrealistic and unattainable for average people. Everybody’s body is different and every woman has a different experience with pregnancy and childbirth. Weight gain during a pregnancy is normal, but many media articles focusing on the weight and post-baby bodies of celebrities can become damaging to other women’s self esteem. This is concerning as articles suggest weight gain in something negative and getting their bodies back after childbirth is celebrated.Women tend to compare their bodies to those in the media and aspire to look like them. 

A study has found that half of the women they had interviewed felt  worse about themselves during their pregnancy because of the media. It was found that the media puts a large emphasis on both the pregnant and postpartum bodies. Most entertainment news outlets show the ideal pregnancy body in bikinis while childbirth in movies shows an unrealistic scenario where the celebrities return to their pre-baby weight after birth. This leaves women to feel depressed and unhappy with their own body. It was found that women with body concerns during their pregnancy reported to have more symptoms of depression, increased likeliness of dieting and smoking which all suggest a risk towards their physical and mental health during their pregnancy. They become more likely to experience postpartum depression. Many different media outlets often show how celebrities look, several days after their childbirth. Some are praised for their fast weight loss while the small portion of celebrities who doesnt,  are shamed for pictures that show they still have protruding stomachs. What isn’t discussed in the media is how celebrities lose weight so fast. Expecting women who are following the life of a pregnant celebrity through the media are found to have an increased worry of weight gain. Popular media outlets that talk about celebrity pregnancy often post misinformation about pregnancies which is a huge problem as these articles are taken in by the public and inspire unhealthy, untrue or unachievable expectations to mothers.

Source: Dreamstime

Media’s Effect On Birth

It has become very common for people, especially women, to learn about pregnancy and birth through the media. Studies have shown that the media tends to portray childbirth as risky. As movies and television shows often tend to dramatize the birth and over represent complications that occur during the birth process. This creates a fear of birth for many women; as reported in a study that one-third of women who are pregnant for the very first time report that they feel more scared about giving birth after watching a television show about pregnancy and birth.

Women can be influenced and get ideas on what they should and should not do during childbirth through media, especially reality television. Using what they see on TV or in the media as a guide to their own birth is not the best or healthiest way to proceed. The media has a large influence on how women engage with childbirth in today’s society. Many times, what is shown is misleading. This jeopardizes the whole pregnancy experience for the individuals involved in it.


Regardless of whichever generation we come from, we all have received our fair share of pregnancy related information via different forms of media especially movies, TV shows and magazines. As Indians and global citizens, we do have interest in the whole idea of pregnancy and the media rightfully caters to it. All of us, on our individual levels, are obsessed with celebrity lifestyles including their pregnancy. In some way or the other, unrealistic standards have been set. There’s no one individual or one organization to blame, it is the whole society which is to be blamed. Media doesn’t just air it for one, we all have to be blamed, we consume and enjoy it. There is nothing wrong in it, it’s just that it sets these unrealistic expectations which are unhealthy. These are majorly unattainable and add so much pressure on the individual who’s conceiving, who are in absolutely no need to go through this. We need to understand the difference between entertainment and real life. One needs to draw certain boundaries for the same. For a healthy, positive lifestyle one needs this. Pregnancies in general  bring a lot of joy and happiness to our lives. We need to start living in reality and let the pregnancy take its own course. There is absolutely no need for us to compare ourselves to anyone, let alone celebrities. We all have different bodies and so does our pregnancy. We need to enjoy the process and let things happen for the best.

Cover Illustration: Istock pictures


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