Tommy’s baby charity has openly criticised the BBC for broadcasting ‘inaccurate’ information about pregnancy in their show In The Club.
Tommy’s charity co-signed the letter with the Royal College of Midwives and has the support of NHS England, after the BBC programme told mothers that babies not moving in the third trimester is normal because they ‘run out of space’.
The letter says; ‘We are extremely concerned about some of the content in recent episodes of the BBC One drama In the Club, in which characters in roles as midwives have indicated that a reduction in a baby’s movements is normal in the later stages of pregnancy and that it is not something for pregnant mothers to be concerned about.’
Tommy’s continued; ‘Broadcasting this inaccuracy may be falsely reassuring mothers that their reduction in babies movements is normal and lead them not to seek help from their maternity units.’
In The Club, which was first shown on BBC One in 2014, is a drama that follows a group of expectant parents who bond at pre-natal classes leading up to the births.
Tommy’s said; ‘NHS England, health professionals, and charities all over the country are working tirelessly to correct this myth. The UK has one of the worst stillbirth rates in the developed world.’
The BBC have responded to the claims saying; ‘In the Club is a fictional drama series, the fictional midwife offers comforting words to the distressed mother, while being mindful of using the word ‘sometimes’ and also refers the patient to seek the advice of the consultant whom she sees immediately. All the scripts are read by a senior midwife to ensure storylines are portrayed responsibly.’
The BBC told Tommy’s;’I understand that you felt our Midwife character Vicky, made irresponsible comments regarding reduced fetal activity. I asked the programme makers to address your feedback and they explained they worked closely with a number of midwife consultants throughout the production process of the series.’
‘They not only advised on the script, but were also on set for the filming of the medical scenes. What Vicky said was informed by real life working midwives and it reflected the reassuring statements they would have given the expectant mother in the knowledge she was about to be seen by a consultant and receive medical attention.’
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Despite the BBC claiming that real midwives advised on the script, Tommy’s are still demanding for apologies to be made and want all future episodes to begin with an advisory message; ‘Babies movements should not slow down at the end of pregnancy. It is NHS advice that if you notice any change in your baby’s regular pattern of movement, contact your maternity unit straight away. Do not wait until the next day.’