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Screaming Birth
Miles discovers that his services as breathing coach may not be as in demand as he thought.

New Age Midwife: Oh, I want Daphne to be awake and connected to the moment. A natural childbirth needn't be painful.
Roz: It needn't be, but it be.
Frasier

When a character is pregnant in a series, especially a sitcom, there will be the inevitable Screaming Birth.

Commonly, TV birth happens mere minutes after the water breaks, precipitating a mad rush (in a taxi) to the hospital, frantic calls to the doctor, and apoplexy (or better yet, a nice dramatic swoon) by the father-to-be. And for some reason, nobody ever decides to take an epidural.

The rest of the episode is spent with the pregnant character lying flat on her back (the hardest conventional position in which to give birth, but the easiest for doctors and cameras), in pain, sweating, crying, cursing out her husband/boyfriend/babydaddy ("You did this to me!"), or screaming his name if he's not there, and eventually pushing a kid out of her crotch with all attendant drama. This ends with a damp but otherwise perfectly clean (three-month old) baby being held by an exhausted but beatifically smiling mother and an ecstatic father or father-figure. Just don't expect to see the delivery of the afterbirth, or the stitching-up of any perineal tears, either of which would no doubt spoil the mood. You will occasionally see the cutting of the umbilical cord by the nervous father, always obscured from direct sight and often Played for Laughs.

The chances are good that the mother will be unable to make it to the hospital and will deliver anywhere she might find herself (note: Never take the elevator if you will be riding with a pregnant woman or are near-term yourself). Can be combined with Locked in a Freezer, where the pregnant woman is the "danger" and the other characters have to help her give birth.

Since the 1970s this is usually preceded by a Lamaze Class earlier in the season.

In Real Life, Screaming Births do happen, especially when there are complications, but it's often a self-fulfilling prophecy if a woman tenses up in anticipation. In any event, it generally isn't the birth, which is almost always the shortest part of the process, that is painful, and is done without medication at any rate. The painful part is the labor that precedes it, which can last anywhere from two hours to three days.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Vandread The Second Stage uses this, coupled with a trapped in an elevator moment, right when the enemy attacks Nirvana and the systems are crippled with a virus. Hibiki must assist Ezra in delivering, the girls must manage without any Van Dread backup, and Ezra could only get (remote) assistance from Duelo who's a doctor, but inexperienced with female physiology, and Magno's experience.
    • In the long run, both Hibiki and Duelo lose it during the birth, but Dita and Magno manage to keep it together and deliver the baby.
  • Tony's birth in Toward the Terra. With the added bonus of telepathy meaning that it was not only the mother who was in screaming pain, but everyone else in the area as well.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, when Ed and Al have to witness a woman giving birth, they do what most teenage boys would do in that situation... PANIC!!! Except for Winry, who, despite being a mechanical genius, knows what to do from her parents' books and coaches everyone into doing what needs to be done. And it gets done to the degree that the doctor who comes in later compliments her on a job well done.
  • This happens in Naruto when a flashback is shown of Kushina giving birth to Naruto. Her exact words are "OH GOD, IT HUUUURRRRRTS!" Justified in that said baby had a gestation period of 10 months instead of the usual 9, plus there was the whole Kyuubi thing which would offer complications.
  • A very justified example in Gosick, where the mother was chained to a freezing-cold altar, flat on her back, with no visible assistance whilst a bunch of amateur mystics (including the rapist who'd given her the child in the first place) were performing a sinister ceremony on and around her. Frankly, it's a miracle that she and the child survived, and it's one of the most disturbing scenes in the show. Not to mention that the mother who gave birth has quite petite body, so, yeah, it's quite obstetrician's nightmare.
  • Played for drama in Berserk when Casca goes into labor in front of Guts and undergoes a miscarriage. Though the baby is underdeveloped and mutated, thus it SURVIVES, she's still going through all the bouts of labor pain and "silently" screams when the fetus comes out. All other examples within Berserk are horrifically justified, as many pregnant women are impregnated with demon spawn and aren't as lucky as Casca to have a somewhat safe vaginal birth...

    Comic Books 
  • The author of the series ElfQuest, Wendy Pini, made a very deliberate aversion to the screaming birth scenario at the end of the first major arc. True, it happens during a moment of great significance, but the mother is sitting up halfway, supported by her husband, and their two little children (roughly 3 and 5) stand by watching. It's a joyous event, and there is sweat and strain but no screaming or negative emotions. The midwife takes the little baby, cord still attached, and lays him on the mother's stomach, and the whole family cuddles up together.
    • Not quite as joyous, but much later when Kahvi gives birth, she's squatting over an animal skin, holding onto bars, sweating and straining, while a tribesmate plays a flute. Again, no screaming or negative emotions. This is the general case with every shown birth to date. Also quite a breath of fresh air, to treat it as a joyous and natural occasion with the mother-to-be as agent instead of patient.
    • Anyway, the fact that elves have a two year gestation period means they have plenty of time to prepare...
    • One of the later storylines showed Skywise's mother resisting the process of labor, as she's been captured by humans and fears they'd kill or abandon her baby if she gives birth. Suppressing her contractions is apparently far more painful than yielding to them in the end.
  • Partially subverted in the comic Gold Digger where weres like the main character Brittany Diggers suffer no labor pains whatsoever due to the lycanthropic enchantment. Then played straight when it turned out Brittany's enchantments weren't entirely intact, causing her labor to be much much worse than a normal human's... until the werewolf midwife Jetta came up with the impromptu solution of biting the expectant mother, sharing Jetta's own enchantments and causing things to go back to the wereperson norm of no pains whatsoever.
  • Fully invoked in The Pulse. Jessica Jones screams so loud that the reporters gathered outside Dr. Strange's house can hear her.
  • Fully justified times six in Fables when Snow White is in labor with her and Bigby's kids.
    Snow White: Oh God! Oh God! Oh God! Put a gun to my head and shoot me now! I'll die this time, I promise....Please, please, please just make them stop coming out of me! I'll do anything! I'll give you the key to any one of Bluebeard's treasure rooms! Your choice!

    Fan Works 
  • A Crowning Moment of Funny on JLA Watchtower/DC Nation universe: Ralph Dibny is busy battling Sonar, leaving Flash and Hal Jordan to take Sue (who is in labor) up to the Watchtower. Mid-Nite is in surgery, and can't be paged, leaving the Dibnys' kid to be delivered by Flash, Hal, Martian Manhunter, and ''Eel O'Brien!''. For extra fun, get a Yiddish dictionary, since Nationverse-Sue is very fluent in Yiddish swearing.
    Sue: "Can you schmendricks get me to a god DAMNED doctor?!"
    Plastic Man:"Whoaaa, Sue Dibs, baby, this is NOT how I ever wanted to peek up your skirt!"
    Sue: "KISS MY ASS, EEL! AND GET ME SOME FUCKING PAINKILLERS!!!!"
    Martian Manhunter: "Hal. Your ring. It can give you medical information and instructions, correct?"
    Plastic Man: "Sorry, but your ass is in the general vicinity of some major ju-ju that I REALLY don't want to get close to right now! Ask me again later!"
    Hal "Yes, but I...Damn. Damn. Just... damn. Ring, please bring up information on human reproduction... err... the delivery of human children. And begin providing pain-relief to Sue immediately.
    Flash "Should I be boiling water? You're supposed to boil water - or is that for the flu? Uh... do we have paper towels?"
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic Windfall revolves around the Elements of Harmony reuniting for the birth of Fluttershy and Big Macintosh's first foal. After several hours in labor, the normally quiet and demure Fluttershy is heard screaming her head off at Big Macintosh and trying to strangle him. Granny Smith nods sagely and remarks that Macintosh is getting off easy compared to her husband at the birth of her first child.
  • Child Of The Storm mentions that Lily Potter had one of these, with the full battery of screaming and violent threats to her husband of the exact details of what would happen if he ever touched her again.
  • Jenna has one of these combined with Instant Birth, Just Add Water in My Inner Life, panting and screaming the second her water breaks, squeezing Link's hand, and shouting "You did this to me! Damn you, Link!" Of course she instantly calms down midway through the birth (during some faux-drama) and after the baby comes out.
  • Pops up as a quick gag during Families. According to Pinkie, Mrs. Cake was like this when birthing the twins. Aside from screaming "these funny words to Mr. Cake that [Pinkie's] not allowed to repeat", she also apparently grabbed a scalpel and used it on Mr. Cake and Nurse Redheart.
  • In the Pony POV Series, Discord's mother Entropy does not have a pleasant time birthing her children (due to being the opposite of life and thus the act of creating is even more painful for her), to the point the universe quakes from it. Afterwards, she erases her mate Havoc from existence (he wills himself back into it seconds later) for saying they might have to try again.
  • The Mistress actually goes through this in Chapter 13 of the Superjail! fanfic Extended Stay while delivering mixed-gender twins.
  • Somewhat subverted and portrayed more seriously than most examples in Chapter 20 of Lucky Star After Story. Despite being in labor, Konata manages to stay calm throughout most of the ordeal, even if she did end up crying at one point. Also, she did occasionally scream from the pain.
  • In the Soul Eater / Naruto crossover He'll Never Be My Son, it's implied that Medusa had one of these with Crona. The actual birth isn't shown (it skips from her telling Orochimaru, the father, that she's pregnant to twenty minutes after the birth), but it's mentioned that she smacked Kabuto in the face with a heavy book and gripped Orochimaru's hands so hard it left large bruises.
  • Frollo has one in Delivered From Frollo. It's so bad, he's almost breaking the chains holding him in place.
  • Zelda undergoes one in chapter 40 of Blood and Spirit. She even reflects in the narration that getting mortally slashed across the chest by a Majora-possessed Link was nothing compared to the pain of childbirth.

    Film 
  • In Men In Black, an alien woman gives birth in the back of a taxi, and Will Smith's character is instructed to "Just catch." As the infant is born, huge tentacles emerge from the window of the vehicle and hoist him into the air.
  • The comedy movie Knocked Up uses this trope after the woman has been given medicine to speed labor — probably Pitocin, which makes the whole process more painful. She was opposed to being given this medicine and it was implied the labor may be in trouble, so she has reason to scream.
  • Parodied in The Movie of Coneheads, where the alien Connie's birth is accompanied by oceans of fluid, truly epic mugging from her mother Prymaat, glass-shattering howls, and literally crushing her husband's hand as she shouts "I hate you, Beldar! I hate yoooou!" And then Beldar, when asked by the obstetrician if he would like to cut the umbilical cord (and being offered a pair of scissors to do so), leans in and bites clean through it. Cue the obstetrician's humourous fainting.
  • The Lifetime Movie of the Week Fifteen and Pregnant employs this, sans the girl screaming at the baby's father (her own father chases the guy and his new girlfriend away).
  • Played straight to horrible squick-inducing levels in the 90's version of Frankenstein. Victor's mother dies after a horribly bloody birth and Victor COLLECTS AMNIOTIC FLUID (ewwwwwww!) from a woman who, despite the fact that her water is just breaking, screams like the baby is coming out sideways.
  • Used at the start of the 2009 Star Trek movie. Granted, the woman is allowed to sit up somewhat while she gives birth, and as the birth is taking place in the middle of an attack and evacuation (with her husband still on-board the ship), she has several perfectly good reasons to scream. The novelization also establishes that Kirk was not born that way in the original timeline, that the altered timeline with the stress brought on by Nero's attack and George Kirk's Heroic Sacrifice forced Winona into premature labor.
  • In the film of Vilhelm Moberg's The Emigrants tetralogy, Kristina's sixth childbirth is shown on-screen, and it's a screaming one.
  • Completely averted in the Sex and the City movie. The pregnant character in question goes into labor under relatively normal circumstances, is promptly taken to the hospital in a readily available car, and then the movie timeskips to a post-birth recap from her husband.
  • In the movie, Precious, the title character uses this when she goes into labor at school. The scene cuts to her being on a stretcher and she is screaming in pain. Lenny Kravitz, who is a nurse, comes to Precious' stretcher and tells her to stop screaming. She does for two seconds and then goes right back to screaming.
  • In Jersey Girl, Jennifer Lopez's character screams her head off during labor, and then immediately passes out and dies from some sort of brain trauma. J.Lo's terrible acting makes it pretty narmy, to be honest.
  • In his concert film, Himself, Bill Cosby described the birth of his first child:
    "At the next contraction, my wife told everyone in the delivery room that my parents were never married!"
  • Averted in Addams Family Values, when Morticia gives birth to Pubert, she does nothing worse than barely audible grunting. Then again, considering that she's Too Kinky to Torture, this is probably child's play for her. (Indeed, when asked if she is in excruciating pain, she just coyly answers 'oui'.
    (completely blasé) ''Marvelous news. I'm going to have a baby. (Beat) Right now.
    [cut to her being rushed through the hospital]
  • The mother in The Road is screaming her lungs out.
  • There's a very intense birth giving scene at the end of Altman's 3 Women. It turns out to be a stillbirth.
  • In Away We Go, a friend of Burt and Veronica's mentions that when she gave birth to one of her kids, there was screaming. Because she "...had the biggest orgasm in my my life".
  • Shoot 'em Up. Justified when you've got a shootout taking place all around you, including hot cartridge cases dropping onto your belly. It doesn't help when the man helping with the delivery elects to cut the umbilical cord with a point-blank gunshot.
  • The beginning of Taxi 2 has Daniel drive a pregnant woman and her husband to a hospital. He doesn't arrive in time, so the birth has to take place in his taxi — just when his girlfriend Lilly calls him on the cellphone. Lilly mistakes the moaning and screaming woman in Daniel's presence for an entirely different situation, what the woman says does anything but convince her otherwise, and even the husband's words when Daniel hands him the phone suggest that Daniel is having a ménage à trois.

    Literature 
  • In Clan Of The Cave Bear, Ayla's long, screaming, bloody delivery of Durc frightened the rest of the Clan, and left her weak and near death for days afterward. More justified than many examples in that she's eleven years old and a Cro-Magnon giving birth to a Neanderthal father's child, a situation which usually results in Death by Childbirth for the mother, and no other character in the series has this.
  • A particularly ludicrous example comes from Stephen Baxter's Evolution, where a woman goes through a Screaming Birth... and then is able to calmly discuss what her newborn's actions mean in terms of evolutionary heritage a moment later. Then again, the book was written by a man.
  • In Lindsey Davis' Time to Depart, Helena Justina screams, cries, insults her husband, threatens divorce, and then breaks his hand. To be fair, this was in the Roman empire, with the lack of sophisticated midwifery that implies, and he was dousing her with olive oil at the time. (And most of the dramatic details are drawn from Falco's subsequent snarky letter to his best friend, so he may have exaggerated.)
  • Averted in Stephen King's The Breathing Method, in which the mother practices the titular breathing method, which is designed to let the woman "use her breath for something more useful than screaming". Unfortunately, this is a contributing factor in her death; the taxi driver taking her to hospital is creeped out when she's breathing heavily but not screaming, turns to check if she's okay, skids on a patch of ice, and crashes the cab, killing her, though she doesn't let a little thing like decapitation interfere with the delivery of her child. The narrator mentions that this was very common in the '30s, since women heard from everywhere that giving birth is very painful - so it turned out to be painful.
  • In Homeland, the first of the books in The Legend of Drizzt series, Drizzt Do'Urden is born during the middle of House Do'Urden's attack on House De Vir. Not only is Matron Malice Do'Urden in pain, but she and the house wizards manage to channel her intense pain into a spell that kills the Matron Mother and clerics of the house they're attacking.
  • Subverted in A Swiftly Tilting Planet. A Magical Native American is depicted as giving birth in complete silence, but the white townspeople expect women to scream during labor. Said townspeople happen to be Puritans at the height of the American witchcraft scare, so it's treated by the townspeople as a sign of devilry.
  • Twilight takes this one further as Bella's delivery of Renesmee is not just a screaming birth, but a spine-snapping, blood-vomiting nearly lethal birth. Granted Nessie WAS half-vampire and Bella was not...
  • Melanie Wilkes in Gone with the Wind gives birth like this, but it's because her body shape is unfit for it. Scarlett gives birth easily, with almost no pain.
  • In the historical novel Red Plenty by Francis Spufford, a pregnant woman in the Soviet Union circa 1960 is shocked to hear the sound of screaming from another ward, and is relieved to find she isn't taken there...at first. She even reprimands another woman for using foul language during her contractions — and ends up swearing like a sailor herself. Hospitals use psychoprophylaxis (a Soviet-invented predecessor of Lamaze) but the inept Soviet system ensures that women and nurses are not properly instructed in the method; the woman ends up threatening the nurse with her influential husband to get hold of drugs to kill the pain (which is regarded as a capitalist delusion).
  • Apparently these were common in novels from the twenties, soon after it became possible to talk about childbirth at all; Flora in Cold Comfort Farm is surprised when someone gives birth easily, and reflects that it is not at all like the books she has read. (Inexact quote: "These days, she skimmed through new novels, and if her eye lighted on words like "screaming" or "sweat-dewed brow" or "clutching the bedpost", she put the book firmly back on the shelf".)
  • In Warrior Cats, while there isn't actually any screaming involved, the she-cats will be given a stick to bite down on when the pain comes. Said stick usually snaps at the end.
  • 15 year old Diana Ladris has one in FEAR. In a pitch-black, scorching hot mine with two pyshcopaths who torture her relentlessly, no less. Played for drama.
  • In The Red Tent, this happens to Rachel as she gives birth to Joseph. Her screams actually scare away Jacob, who was pacing around outside the birthing tent. Justified Trope, as it was a difficult birth that almost killed her.
  • In The Kingdom of Little Wounds, Isabel screams to pretend she is in labor after she has already given birth. Further played with in that she didn't scream when she was in labor.

    Live Action TV 
  • Lucy of I Love Lucy had one of these. The birth was tasteful in the extreme; in fact, the show never used the word "pregnant" (this was back in the 1950s, when it was considered taboo to say it on TV), relying on the euphemisms "encinta" (which sent viewers to their Spanish-English dictionaries) and "expecting" (which sounds funny in a Cuban accent).
  • The very first TV birth was Mary Kay and Johnny was, the episode airing in 1948. It was also the first TV sitcom, and the first to have a husband and wife share a bed. Unfortunately, all footage of the TV show was lost. Not even kinescopes survive.
  • Friends
    • Carol & Ross: Ben
    • Phoebe's triplets, which is parodied in the same episode, where Joey goes through the same experience by passing a kidney stone.
    • Rachel & Ross when they had Emma, since Rachel spent over 40 hours waiting for the baby after her water broke. Then again, according to dates given in the series, she was pregnant for about thirteen months... There was also a woman next to her, who gave birth almost instantly, annoying Rachel.
    • Chandler & Monica subvert this with the baby they've arranged to adopt. The birth mother doesn't even realize she's in labor for a while, thinking she's just having stomach cramps. And, after everyone realizes the baby's coming, it's Monica who starts panicking and the birth mother who, in mid-contraction, has to calm her down.
  • Frasier
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation
    • Deanna Troi (subversion; she's breathing a little heavy, but when asked if she wants something for the pain, she says "I have felt no pain.")
    • The birth of Miles and Keiko O'Brien's first child was combined with Locked in a Freezer, and had Lieutenant Worf as the Delivery Guy.
      • This received a hilarious Call Back on Deep Space Nine, when Keiko announced her second pregnancy. Chief O'Brien used the exact words, "having a baby", prompting a 'visibly alarmed Worf to exclaim, "Now?!" Upon finding out that the baby was due in seven months and Bashir jokingly suggesting Worf could assist with the delivery Worf came out with this choice line.
        Worf: "Unfortunately, I will be away from the station at that time. Far away. Visiting my parents. On Earth. Excuse me."
  • Averted in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, where Kira, the birthing woman was of an alien species whose births are generally quiet, serene, and painless. Although she was giving birth to a human child, hers was no exception. Ironically, she was acting as a surrogate for Keiko O'Brien, (who had an accident during her second pregnancy resulting in the baby being transferred to Kira via Applied Phlebotinum) whose first pregnancy was mentioned above.
  • Star Trek: Voyager. Justified when Ensign Wildman is giving birth to a Half-Human Hybrid with forehead spikes; the Doctor has to resort to teleporting the baby out of the womb when it gets stuck.
  • Dharma and Greg
  • LOST has shown many births on screen, often ending badly for the mother. The second one was somewhat of an aversion - although the woman was lying on her back (in a forest, assisted only by her husband), when they showed the newborn, he was actually not only newborn-sized but covered in blood and other fluids.
    • The births in question are Aaron (on the island), Ben (whose mother subsequently dies), Ji Yeon (born in the future after Sun leaves the island), Locke (who is born premature and whose mother gives him up for adoption), Ethan (who is delivered by a time traveling Juliet), and Jacob and the Man in Black (whose mother is subsequently murdered by the mysterious woman who delivered them).
    • Don't forget Desmond and Penelope's son, Charlie, born on a boat in the Philippines.
  • JAG:
    • Harmon Rabb delivers a baby in "Code Blue" in a DC hospital taken over by Hamas terrorists. During the woman's labor, he is instructed over a cell phone to check her dilation, but is reluctant to look under her dress, having never met her before. Panting, she tells him she doesn't have anything he hasn't seen before, so he bends down to look—then informs her with wide eyes that, in fact, he has never seen that before.
    • AJ Chegwidden delivers two babies in his office: Bud and Harriet's son in "Yeah, Baby", and another baby in "All ye Faithful".
  • Aunt Viv in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air when in labor with Nicky. Complete with serial hand crushing and ripping part of the banister off the stairs. There's a stuck in an elevator scene, but it's Will and Uncle Phil that are stuck, trying to get to the hospital.
  • Parodied in an episode of the UK sitcom Absolutely Fabulous, where there are separate "flashbacks" depicting the births of the two protagonists. Edwina's mother gives birth in a relentlessly "1950's" hospital setting, perfectly made-up and almost completely engulfed in white bedding; the only noise she makes is an almost subliminal "ooh!". Patsy's mother has her on a couch in a silk-strewn artist's garret, running through a loud and pretentious self-narration the entire time. How much of all this "actually happened" is open to debate.
  • Blossom (this one occurred in a car on a congested expressway)
  • Family Ties - The mother character goes into labor right when she is singing on a song on TV and the sudden pain makes her hit the high note with an unexpected level of volume and pitch.
    • Somewhat subverted in that after the sudden shock of it she assures everyone it doesn't hurt too much, just a twinge every now and then. Probably because she already had three other kids prior she's used to it.
  • Murphy Brown Alongside Murphy's birth of Avery, one of her may secretaries also recalled her birth while Murphy was still pregnant.
    Jane: I was in labor for thirty-seven hours. Over a day and a half of the most horrible, unbelievable pain I've ever felt in my life. And I was pinned under a bus once, so I know pain. They had to tie me down to the table after I kicked my obstetrician in the windpipe. My husband took a video, it's just hour after hour of me begging to be killed.
  • Newhart parodied this as Yuppie Stephanie managed to give birth with only a few yips, more concerned about the camera crew her TV Producer husband brought in to film the birth than about any pain she experienced.
  • Mad About You (where Jamie's mother, played by Carol Burnett, reacts to Jamie's decision to have a "natural" childbirth, with no epidural, with a hilarious "Are you out of your mind?!?" A great commentary on changing ideas on "modern" childbirth.)
    • This was most likely a Shout-Out to one of Burnett's famous quotes, where she attempted to describe the pain of childbirth to men: "Take your bottom lip and pull it over your head."
  • The Practice (where the floor of a courtroom is used as a Locked in a Freezer)
  • Dark Angel
  • Saved by the Bell (combined with a variation of Locked in a Freezer involving an earthquake, an elevator, Zack Morris, and Mr. Belding's wife)
  • Doogie Howser, M.D. (Vinnie, not the titular Doctor, trapped in an elevator with a teacher. Fortunately, he and Doogie had spoken often on the subject of childbirth, this being a natural side-effect of their frequent discussions of sex.)
  • Night Court (About a dozen pregnant women trapped in the courthouse due to a blizzard. Years later, this occasioned a Continuity Nod when the only doctor available for another delivery was not an obstetrician: he sarcastically asked how many people who were not obstetricians had delivered babies, and everyone raised their hands.)
    Doctor: What are you people? Some sort of cult?
    • Don't forget when Quon Lee gave birth. And ripped the sleeves off Roz's uniform.
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show: Laura goes into labor with Richie in an elevator stuck between floors. Naturally, Rob panics. Laura, for once, does not.
  • On All in the Family, Gloria begins labor, and steps into a phone booth to let her parents know, then gets stuck. Funny, because of Sally Struthers' deft handling of the physical comedy. She makes it out of the booth in plenty of time, incidentally, as this birth is preceded by a realistically long labor. It was also the first birth scene on American television, and quite realistic— lots of panting, grunting and sweating, but no screaming, and a very, very boring wait in the white-walled labor room which had a bed, a chair, and one table. Hospitals didn't put TVs in them, and TVs only got a few channels anyway, and went off the air at midnight. It's also the first time a TV father (in the US) was in the delivery room, reflecting the fact that US hospitals were just beginning to allow this.
    • This is one of the earlier uses of "will they get there in time," and employs something mundane, a phone booth, as opposed to an elevator or a cab heading into traffic, which you know will be a problem as soon as the actress steps into it. Stepping into a phone booth seems totally innocuous. Struther makes the call to her parents, turns around, and discovers that door is stuck. ( It's important to note that nothing over the top silly, like Struthers being stuck because the booth is too small for a woman who is nine months pregnant; she fits fine. She is stuck in the booth because the door won't open.)
    • If a show tried to use this schtick today, it might not play as well, because the "will they get to the hospital?" is pretty old; it wasn't so cliche back then. And Struthers handles it beautifully. She isn't generally thought of as a physical comic, but she was up for anything the writers of All in theFamily threw at her, including this.
  • Played to comedic effect in the episode of My Family where Janey has a baby. As Susan and Ben drive to the hospital, there are flashbacks to the birth of their first child, with much drama and over-the-top screaming. When they arrive, the baby has been born with no trouble at all, and Janey is sitting up painting her nails.
  • In the UK comedy series Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, Janet goes into labour in her own house. While her husband Jonny proves utterly useless in getting her to the hospital (she eventually gets there by the end of the episode), she spends much time screaming and wailing, describing the sensation as "like someone's opening an umbrella in (her) ass" and screaming "the baby's trying to kill me!".
  • Aeryn's labor in the Farscape mini series. Which she has whilst under siege. Half-standing up. Having fought up to the moment she decided she wanted the baby out of her. Even without the pun this may count for...y'know.
    • "Shooting makes me feel better!"
  • Scrubs played with this Trope, during one of JD's dream sequences, when he ponders that most women assume childbirth will be this wonderful, magical thing. It then switches to a black-and-white fifties-era instructional video, where JD spells it out:
    JD: (to the viewer) You'll fart, pee, puke, and poo in front of ten strangers who will be staring intently at your vagina—which, by the way, has an 80% chance of tearing! (Gives thumbs up)
    (pause)
    Woman: (turns to her husband) You do it!
    • Justified when Kim was giving birth to JD's son. At the moment she was under some emotional turmoil and stress like the fact JD doesn't trust her ( she lied about having a miscarriage), he's only with her for the child, all of JD's friends treat her badly and she's worried about raising the child alone. The straw that breaks the camel's back is while she's (painfully) pushing the baby out, she asks if JD will ever forgive her. He says "No." and... well you can guess what happens next.
  • Psych averts this rather well in "Shawn vs. the Red Phantom," when Chief Vick goes into labor. It takes the entire episode (at least a day) for Vick to have the baby, and while she sweats and groans a lot, there's no screaming and she does so while on a tilted table. Lassiter comically DOES faint, although he claims he was just resting his eyes and fell over slightly.
  • Coupling devotes an entire episode to Steve's horror at Susan planning to give birth without an epidural. Being practical, she's already realised that she's probably going to change her mind when it actually happens, and says it's Steve's job to decide if she really wants the drugs or not. In the event, he decides she does.
    • (after Susan has told Steve to ask her three times if she wants an epidural)
    • (cut to: Steve flying out the maternity ward doors backwards and ramming into the corridor wall)
    Midwife: She said, "You can't."
    Steve: Yeah, trust me, the word wasn't "can't."
  • Happened in Smallville. The Baby wasn't so much "born" as it was "completely evaporated the mother and the car she was in".
  • Subverted in the end of Threads, with Jane giving birth (with the expected screaming), but then no crying from the baby, for it seems to be stillborn (we never really see). Jane's reaction of screaming when she sees the baby suggests that it has some deformity, no doubt caused by all the radiation going around as a result of World War III.
  • The Steven Spielberg mini-series Into The West has Jacob Wheeler's Sioux wife giving birth to their youngest child while they're briefly living with his parents; one of Jacob's cousins is surprised by her stoicism, saying that "She didn't cry out. Not once!", which leads to a rather racist comment by another cousin who believes that the Indians "don't feel pain. At least not like we do." Ironically, this cousin is later kidnapped by and married off to an Indian; when she eventually goes native and willingly becomes his wife, the birth of their child is shown immediately after it happened, with the implication that she didn't scream either.
  • Roseanne averted this almost entirely. Jackie's labor was long enough for them to drive home from the diner, sit around for a while, go to the hospital and sit around for a while, and then she even took an epidural.
  • Firefly has an example in Heart of Gold when a pregnant prostitute gives birth. There is much screaming, due to a) giving birth, b) the child's father turning up to kidnap him, and c) the ongoing gun fight between the father's posse and the whorehouse's residents backed up by Serenity's crew.
  • Giving birth turned up every so often in ER, but one notable example had the panting mother wheeling through the building with her husband and Doctor Kovacs.
    Kovacs: Do you want an epidural?
    Husband: No, we want a natural birth, don't we, honey?
    Wife: [bats husband aside, grabs Kovacs' shirt] Give me drugs!
  • The Steve Harvey Show employs this trope when Regina's sorority sister Tiffany gives birth during a visit to Chicago. A huge snowstorm hits the city trapping Tiffany, her husband, Regina, and Cedric (posing as Steve who was posing as Regina's husband AND posing as an OB-GYN)in Regina's apartment. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Hilarity Ensues on Mama's Family when Naomi has one of these. It results in a Panicky Expectant Father.
  • On Drive, Wendy Patrakas was introduced in the middle of one.
  • The Office: Pam, when she gives birth in the season six episode, The Delivery.
  • Partially averted in The Secret Life of the American Teenager - while Amy does a lot of screaming for the two previous episodes, the actual birth is skipped.
  • Happens in the season 1 finale of Glee when Quinn gives birth, while their rivals, Vocal Adrenaline, perform "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen. It's a very intense scene, though it does make you wonder about the timeframe, since she goes from her water breaking to giving birth within the span of five minutes. Seven if we count the commercial break.
  • This happens in the Christmas Episode of Misfits, where Marnie's waters break, and she is forced to give birth in the community centre - with much screaming and swearing - as the paramedics don't arrive on time (although it is mentioned that they've called the ambulance numerous times, so exactly how long they'd been waiting there is unclear). Afterwards, calm resumes, and the gang even sing a Christmas carol to the suspiciously large newborn baby. The pleasant mood is then completely shattered by the emergence of the afterbirth, which Nathan mistakes for an evil alien baby that needs to die. He starts screaming (even more than Marnie did while she was giving birth) and frantically stamping on it, splattering the horrified gathered company in copious amounts of blood.
  • Fringe does this in Season one. Justified in that she wasn't even pregnant half an hour before giving birth and it actually ended up snapping her spine Nessie style. Averted with Fauxlivia.
  • In the Millennium episode "In Arcadia Ego".
  • Happened with Scully on The X-Files, though she's less screaming from pain and more screaming at the uninvited Super Soldiers not to take her baby.
  • In Up All Night, Reagen is adamant about following a birth plan, and after trying to push unsuccessfully for a while, she tries to intimidate the doctor after he wants to do a C-section
  • Although we haven't actually gotten to it yet, a brief Flash Forward reveals that the birth of Marshall and Lily's baby on How I Met Your Mother will be one of these, probably partly due to the fact that Eriksen babies are notoriously huge, while Lily is...well, played by Alyson Hannigan. Comes complete with Lily's eccentric foreign Doctor screaming abuse at her to make her keep pushing and a sweat-drenched Lily roaring "WHERE THE HELL IS MARSHALL??!!"
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit takes a more realistic approach with Cathy Stabler. She moans while contracting and strains to push the baby out but never screams.
  • Lindsay on CSI: NY
  • Teyla holds it together pretty well (largely because she has to coach Rodney through it) but there's a fair bit of screaming.
  • Angel. In a Crowning Moment of Funny Wesley tries to show pregnant vampire Darla the Lamaze method of breathing, only for Darla to shriek, "I...DON'T...BREATHE!" and knock the entire Fang Gang flying.
    Cordy: Well you know what they say — birth, painful.
    Wes: Yes, but generally for the mother, not the bystanders.
  • Happens when Janet gives birth to Ollie in My Hero:
    Janet: AAAAHHH! What have you done to me, you stupid git?!
    George: Janet, we're in a church!
    Janet: I don't care if we're in the sodding Sistine Chapel! AAAAHHH!!
  • In The Golden Girls, Blanche's daughter Rebecca has a natural childbirth, which makes it understandably more painful (Blanche comments, "Honey, I know I told you where babies come from, did I ever mention where they come out?"). However, then they go and visit a birthing center as a possibility, one happens offscreen.
  • Happens all the time in Call the Midwife, of course. We are dealing with the era before painkillers and anaesthetics became common in obstetric practice; the first arrival of nitrous oxide as a pain reliever comes in Series 2 (1958) and is heralded as a great advance, and there isn't enough of the stuff to go 'round. Thus the rare occasion when it is averted (without the nitrous) all the more profound.
  • Mostly averted on Only Fools and Horses. Despite having a detailed birth episode for the arrival of Damien, the portrayal is pretty realistic- Raquel yells a few times but doesn't scream, and it's made very clear that they're in the birth suite for several hours before he arrives. Joan's birth, more than ten years later, is off camera and by caesarean.

    Theater 
  • In Street Scene, Mrs. Buchanan is never seen, but her blood-curdling screams can be heard as she gives birth at home.

    Video Games 

    Webcomics 
  • The Law of Purple: Gypsy gives birth off-screen, so it's unknown whether she has a genuine Screaming Birth, but when her contractions start she immediately announces this fact to her husband (and the three other men in the room with him) by bursting in and screaming "I'M GOING INTO LABOR!!".
  • Neatly subverted with Harley's sister in Boy Meets Boy.
  • The Boss's delivery of her baby in The Last Days Of FOXHOUND was difficult, yet she not only managed to keep fairly quiet and calm but... well, go read it yourself. Of course, The Boss was exceptionally Bad Ass even by the standards of the comic.
  • The sidestory "Spiderborn" in Drowtales features Mel'arnach going into labor and giving at least one very loud scream that can be heard outside the room (likely at the crowning stage), but the rest of the delivery apparently went over smoothly, though she was severely weakened afterward. Justified in that she was scared out of her wits, had never given birth before, and knew the child was likely to either not be normal or be taken away from her soon after, and in the case of the first situation both of them would probably be killed. Drow in general have an easy time giving birth, and as a result often have dozens of children.
    • In the main story Shinae is first reintroduced after the timeskip undergoing one of these, which turns out to be entirely justified since the baby was somehow corrupted by her taint in the womb and born horribly mutated, including being covered in spikes. Ow.
  • Sabrina Online: In late 1999, Sabrina's friend Amy went through one of these, bringing a new character to the strip: http://sabrina-online.com/1999-04.html
  • Sarine's Catapult Nightmare in Errant Story is both one non-stop birth scream, and a flashback to something that actually happened to her 2000 years earlier.

    Western Animation 
  • Pictured above: In the Hey Arnold! episode "The Journal," Arnold's mother Stella is forced to have her son in an abandoned San Lorenzo temple while lava from a nearby erupting volcano flows past. Taking all this into account - not to mention the pain she must be enduring having natural childbirth to someone with Arnold's unusually shaped head - she has no problem showing her displeasure at her situation when her husband Miles tries to help her with her Lamaze breathing:
    Miles: Remember, breathe, breathe - just like in class - whoo, whoo-
    Stella: (lunging at Miles) Shut up! Shut Up! SHUT UP!!!
  • Averted similarly to how it was in Elfquest in Avatar: The Last Airbender. The timing is inconvenient, and Sokka still plays the part of panicked guy that passes out, but the mother is shown laying down at a 45-degree angle, with her family holding her hands, and goes for heavy panting rather than screaming. It's seen as so beautiful that it gets the hero out of a Heroic BSOD he was going through for the majority of the episode.
  • In the first Rugrats movie Didi screams just before giving birth to Dil.
  • In King of the Hill Luann screams all the way to the hospital before her husband's sister insisted that she give birth in a medical center with everyone watching, the Hills had to sneak her out.
    • Also happened to Didi just before giving birth to Good Hank combined with Hank and Peggy's skydiving moment.
  • In Home Movies, Brendan's step-mother is giving birth and screaming and insulting at everyone in vicinity, including him. The hilarious part is that he takes the screaming at face value and yells and insults back at her.
  • Lois's sister Carol on Family Guy, minus the "YOU DID THIS TO ME!" and with a series of guttaral moans rather than screams. Ironically, the doctor passes out during the delivery, but only because he stuck his hand repeatedly into a bin of used needles while looking for gloves.
  • Hilariously/nightmarishly implied on The Simpsons in an episode that reenacts various Tall Tales (American folklore). In the vignette with Homer as Paul Bunyan, Abe (normal-sized) goes back in the cabin after the birth of his son, who takes up the entire living room. He runs into the bedroom and asks his (also normal-sized) wife how the birth went. She's pretty much in shock and weakly mutters "Whiskey... please..."
  • Happens to Pebbles in The Flintstones (don't worry, she's grown up) in Hollyrock-a-Bye Baby as she's giving birth to her twins.
  • Happens to a Giant Spider named Barb on Adventure Time.

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