In many works and forms of media, the act of giving birth, be it by humans or animals, is a scene that either takes a few minutes or is skipped over entirely. The baby comes out looking dry and clean and there's little to no aftermath or mess, much less the expulsion of the placenta. The mother might be a bit sweaty, but she's for the most part fine, with her makeup still pretty much intact
Obviously, in real life this isn't really the case. The birthing process is messy and can easily squick
out anyone who isn't prepared for it, what with amniotic fluids, blood, fecal matter, tearing, the placenta, and other bits and fluids
. The mother also has a tendency to end up drenched in sweat and red in the face due to exertion, as well as knocked out or giddy due to pain or pain medicine. On the rare occasion that the placenta IS mentioned in media, it is usually to set up a Death by Childbirth
This trope is often lampshaded
via having characters (usually male) who are witnessing birth for the first time getting squicked
out by the scene.
A variation is when creatures hatch from eggs looking mostly dry and clean. Modern day reptiles and birds hatch very wet and with some egg residue on them.
This is usually necessary or desired for the sake of not grossing out audiences. Another factor is the influence of the Moral Guardians; films with G and PG ratings and TV shows scheduled to air during certain hours aren't supposed to show great quantities of blood. A part of The Hays Code
: "Scenes of actual child birth, in fact or in silhouette, are never to be presented." Sometimes they'll just do a Time Skip
: you'll see the mother pushing and probably screaming and then skip to a few minutes later when the baby's already clean and wrapped up.
Related to Instant Birth, Just Add Water
. When an live baby is shown, it is never an actual newborn, and is often a Three-Month-Old Newborn
, due to legal reasons. Compare Out Giving Birth, Back in Two Minutes
, for births taking place in less time than they should. Compare Nobody Poops
No aversions, please, lest this example list become a list of every character ever born in any medium.
Anime And Manga
- Lampshading in Bitter Virgin: Daisuke's older sister gives birth over the course of several hours, and while they don't show anything, she scolds him for assuming that just getting her to the hospital was enough, forces him to give her a back rub, etc.
- In Barefoot Gen, the birth of Tomoe is a very simple and straightforward thing that six-year-old Gen can help with, and (oddly enough for this film) there's no indication that a mess was ever made. They do rinse off Tomoe in a bucket of water, but she was pretty clean before that.
- Extended Stay plays this straight with the birth of the Warden and the Mistress's twins, which is ironic if you consider the fact that the fanfic is written for one of the goriest adult cartoons to ever be created.
- Played straight in Knocked Up; while it does show a crowning vagina twice, no blood or other liquids or solids are shown.
- Inverted in Prometheus. Not only is Shaw's cesarean section far more gruesome than most real childbirths, but it's not even a human child being birthed in the scene.
- In Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, when Luke and Leia are born, their heads appear slightly moist but are otherwise clean and dry. Might be justified due to advanced medical technology in the Star Wars 'verse.
- Justified in Vorkosigan Saga with the use of the Uterine Replicator, which makes childbirth about as clean and straightforward as it's possible to be, although—as mentioned at one point—it does raise the rather embarrassing danger of a mother being late to her own child's birth.
- Averted in The Red Tent. Blood and fluids are mentioned at most of the birth scenes, and when it's Dinah's turn to give birth to Bar-Shalem/Re-Mose, she is mentioned as vomiting as well.
- Lampshaded in Scrubs here, in which a doctor gives a fairly realistic description of what to expect during a birth.
- Lampshaded in Community S2, E22: Shirely gives birth in the middle of class. While the trope appears to be averted via Britta's vomiting at the sight of the birth, in the end it's played straight as the birth turns out looking clean and tidy.
- An episode of Martin lampshaded this while Leaning on the Fourth Wall. A woman gave birth to what was obviously a baby doll that Martin caught in a catcher's mitt. When Coal asked about the umbilical cord, Martin said "TV babies don't have umbilical cords!".
- The Christmas episode of The Vicar of Dibley is pretty bad for this: Alice gives birth in the manger while playing Mary, and the kid that results comes out sparkling clean and almost a year old. She gets a little sweaty in the process.
- Angel: It was a unique birth, since Darla couldn't give birth naturally and dusted herself, but there's no sign of blood or anything on Connor at all when Angel picks him up. Granted, it was raining, but still...
- Played straight in Glee, where Quinn gets a Screaming Birth scene set to "Bohemian Rhapsody."
- Armywives ends their pilot episode with one of the characters giving birth to twins on top of a pool table in a bar. Lucky for the customers, the only bodily fluids that seemed to get out was a few beads of sweat on her forehead, as even the babies were freshly cleaned.
- Zigzagged in Misfits. When Nathan helps to deliver a baby, everything adheres to this trope...right up until the new mother delivers the afterbirth. Nathan mistakes it for an alien, throws it on the floor, and stomps on it, splattering everyone nearby.
- Played straight in the TV-movie adaptation of The Mists of Avalon, in which we learn that the time between "baby's first cry as it emerges" and "baby clean and pink and swaddled in a blanket, cradled in the arms of smiling fully-dressed mother, ready to receive visitors" is approximately 2.2 seconds. This in the sixth century C.E.
- In Ice Age 3, the baby mammoth Peaches is born, then shown dry and fluffy approximately 5 minutes after birth.
- In Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron we see Esperanza having contractions, followed by baby Spirit coming into view clean and neat.
- The Land Before Time and Disney's Dinosaur both have the baby dinosaurs hatching totally clean. Nobody knows for sure about dinosaurs, but modern reptiles and birds are usually wet and have some residue from being in the egg, until they're able to dry off.