I’m a massive fan of TED Talks, so naturally, when I was pregnant and preparing for birth I went straight to my favourite TED Talks for ideas and thoughts.
These are some of the best TED Talks about pregnancy and birth that all expecting parents need to watch. They will help you challenge your thoughts about pregnancy, birth and beyond and help you feel empowered.
Be sure to save this list to come back and watch, or do what I do and feel free to sit and binge watch all at once.
1 – Who Delivered Your Baby? – Ashley Greenwald Tragash
‘Birth is not easy, nor has it ever been, but women were well supported.’ So why is it now that we are fearful of birth and forget that our body already knows exactly what needs to be done? We need to trust in ourselves and our body more. Birth isn’t just a physical process, it’s an emotional one too and empowering women through their birth is key to a wonderful birth experience.
“Childbirth matters – physically and emotionally” – Ashley Greenwald Tragash
2 – Home or Hospital? Holding The Space For Human Birth – Saraswathi Vedam
We are told time and time again that giving birth in a hospital is safer, usually with the follow up of ‘in case something goes wrong’. But what does this ‘risk’ actually look like and how does it apply to you? A beautiful talk about how healthy and supported births don’t always have to happen in a hospital and that perhaps somewhere along the line we may have gotten things a little wrong.
3 – Lies We Tell Pregnant Women – Sofia Jawed-Wessel
Sexual desire, in part, is how women get pregnant in the first place, so why is it that we feel like our sexuality isn’t okay during our pregnancy? An empowering talk that encourages women to look at themselves as individuals, rather than under a blanket statement of being a ‘pregnant woman’.
4 – Why It Matters How We Are Born – Bettina Breunig
A short yet powerful talk about the power of women and their birth experience and helping women find confidence in this. We know that there are times when interventions are necessary but are pregnant women actually given enough information about the choices they have and the full impact of each choice with how their baby is born?
5 – Why Fathers Should Be Present At Birth – Debrah Lewis
Here at The Empowered Mama, we are huge advocates for including Fathers in all aspects of pregnancy and birth and want to help them feel empowered and involved. We acknowledge their fears and hormonal changes too and know that in supporting them, we can help further support the pregnant Mama too. It’s important to understand why Fathers play such an important role, and this TED Talk explains just that.
We both had incredibly supportive husbands through our labours and believe they play a huge role in having an empowered and enjoyable birth experience.
6 – What We Didn’t Expect While Expecting – Mike Baughman
As a NICU Mama my heart feels every single bit of this TED Talk. Sometimes things don’t go to ‘plan’. One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do his hand over my newborn son to a surgeon who was about to literally open him up and I didn’t know if I was going to get him back.
I’m not including this post to try to incite fear, quite the opposite. I knew my son was going to be in the NICU from around the 20th week of my pregnancy. Learning about the NICU, and the incredible stories that come from there, was part of how I dealt with the experience.
Even when things don’t go the way you think they are supposed to, it doesn’t mean you can’t have an amazing and positive experience.
7 – The Alien In My Womb – Oliva Schofield
I love this lighthearted take on all the pressures of how your pregnancy ‘should’ look like. While this talk isn’t entirely about pregnancy and parenting, it’s really nice to know you’re not alone if you feel disconnected from your pregnancy and it’s also really empowering to challenge the ‘shoulds’.
8 – The Not So Happy Pregnancy Diaries – Neema Isa
This one hits home hard for both of us as Caitlin and I both suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum through our pregnancies. Pregnancy isn’t always easy and straightforward, for some of us, the ‘pregnancy glow’ is that sweatiness we get before we throw up. “Pregnancy was the deepest darkest days of my life.” And the worst thing people can say is ‘oh, have some ginger and crackers’.
This talk also highlights the importance of talking about our experiences, even when they aren’t pretty and aren’t the perfect picture.
9 – Pregnancy Taboos: From Fear To Knowledge – Lode Dewulf
Pregnant women still get sick. Do you know what medications you can take during pregnancy? Both Caitlin and I had to be medicated during our pregnancies (see above) and in fact, I took over 1300 doses of medications within my first 18 weeks of pregnancy. A lot of women (and physicians) believe that there are no safe drugs during pregnancy, however, knowledge about treatments both pharmacological and alternatives need to be explored.
10 – A Message For Women: Taking Back Your Pregnancy Rights – Renee Coover
Do you know your rights as a pregnant woman? Most countries have laws in place around discrimination and pregnancy, but do you know where you stand? Interestingly enough, the things women are being discriminated against and the assumptions made about working pregnant women (or women who return to work after pregnancy) are actually not supported by the data and are completely unfounded. Arm yourself with knowledge and back yourself.
11 – Breastfeeding And The Modern Woman – Vilia Tosio
“We treat pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding like an illness and that’s the problem.” I love that this talk encourages us to return to the ‘old’ ways of women supporting each other through breastfeeding, not hiding in the corner (or the toilet cubicle) like it’s something shameful. Celebrating the incredible things our bodies are designed to do and do so well and finding power within that.
13 – Normal Pregnancy Is Not Normal – Lode Dewulf
According to the ‘normal’ definition, I didn’t have normal pregnancies and I’m not in the minority for this. Because ‘normal’ isn’t normal and that’s really good to know. There’s so much pressure and expectation to have a perfect pregnancy but it’s not what most women experience. “Every pregnancy is accepted, informed, and supported.” Love it.
14 – It’s 2am, Do You Know Where Your Midwife Is? – Marla Gross
“Birth is not an illness…” I remember when I was pregnant with my baby girl and deciding where I was going to give birth (hospital vs. home) Caitlin told me ‘women birth best where they are comfortable’.
This means something different for all women, and as a private Midwife, I know Caitlin dedicates so much of herself to helping women feel comfortable and confident. Midwives are incredible and make the most amazing support during your pregnancy and labour. Trust your body and trust birth.
15 – Reducing Fear of Birth in U.S Culture: Ina May Gaskin
Fear is a common emotion during pregnancy and labour – especially for first time Mama’s who may not know what to expect. “We don’t talk enough about the emotional state of the mother” and this mother is responsible for producing the hormones that initiate, help and progress labour. “We are the only species of mammal that can doubt its capacity to give birth.”
This isn’t just a talk about the role of fear in modern birth but also, how we can reduce that fear to have a more calm and empowered birth.
16 – What Your Momma Never Told You About Childbirth – Marianne Ryan
We see way too many images of women on social media who have ‘bounced back’ after having a baby, but we don’t see all the aspects of recovery that are relevant after having a baby. Your body has gone through this incredible feat that was 10 months in the making, and we feel that by six weeks post birth we should be back to the way things were before? It’s crazy when we think of it like that.
Do you know what is ‘normal’ after birth? Pain and other ongoing issues related to your childbirth experience aren’t just things you have to live with after pregnancy. Take time to heal, take time to get support and answers for any issues and be kind to yourself.
17 – Breastfeeding Is Everyone’s Business – Jenn Anderson
In order to have a happy and successful breastfeeding relationship with your baby, it’s so important to have breastfeeding support right from the start. The data shows that it isn’t an inconvenience to support women in breastfeeding, in fact, it’s good for business and good for work. But even more important, it’s good for our community.
I can say that from my first experience with breastfeeding 5 years ago, to the experience I have now, there has been a more positive shift and I encounter more Mama’s who are feeling more empowered to stand up for their breastfeeding rights.
18 – Love, Breathe, Just Doula – Ginny Phang
Having support during birth is so important, and it’s the role of a Doula to help with this. We believe that childbirth is painful and an awful experience, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
I love how she talks about empowering women by eliminating fear and ‘getting the skeletons out of the closet’. Actually acknowledging your fear before labour and working through those fears as well as finding coping strategies and ways to work through the birth you want to have.
19 – Conception To Birth Visualised – Alexander Tsiaras
Conception, pregnancy and birth are incredible processes. This TED Talk shows us a unique look at how a baby grows, including a detailed look at how a heart changes rapidly within the first few weeks of pregnancy. So amazing.
These are some seriously incredible TED Talks about pregnancy and birth. If you didn’t get a chance to watch them all in one go that’s absolutely fine. Bookmark this page, pin it for later or save it to your homescreen on your phone so you can come back and watch them whenever you want.