The Business of Being Born

 
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Product Description

Studio: New Line Home Video Release Date: 05/06/2008 Rating: Nr

Is it conceivable that in the United States, profit is increasingly driving the business of birthing--sometimes at the expense of the best possible outcome for mothers and babies? Should birth be viewed and treated as a natural process or a potential medical emergency? This documentary, produced by Ricki Lake and directed by Abby Epstein, opines that money and fear are changing the way Americans give birth, and not necessarily for the better. Beginning with shocking statistics that the United States has the second-worst newborn death rate in the developed world and one of the highest maternal mortality rates in industrialized countries, the film presents interviews with medical professionals including Dr. Jacques Moritz, OB/GYN from St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital; Dr. Michel Odent, OB/GYN researcher; and Masden Wagner, MD, former Director for Women's and Children's Health at the World Health Organization. Each expert paints a dismal picture of American birthing and emphasizes the frequent overuse of medical procedures in what are otherwise potentially normal deliveries. Stressing the prevalent use of midwives in birthing in other developed nations (70% of births are attended by midwives in Europe and Japan, versus 8% in the U.S.), the documentary then follows Cara Muhlhahn, a certified nurse midwife in New York City, as she attends a variety of home births. The footage is candid and sometimes very graphic, showing various home-delivery methods, including water birth. Interviews with Cara and her clients emphasize their shared philosophy on birthing as a normal life process that, when attended by a caring and well-trained midwife, can be both empowering and exhilarating. Though a midwife is often characterized as a supportive, but medically untrained birth attendee, the film dispels that stereotype, stressing a good midwife's solid training and knowledge of when it's appropriate to seek outside medical intervention. Key in every birth is a commitment to doing what's best for mother and baby, regardless of pre-planned agendas. The filmmaker's lament is that hospitals and doctors often too quickly advocate medical intervention in the interest of saving time and avoiding potential litigation. While unquestionably advocating midwifery over hospital birthing, this documentary presents solid expert opinions, concrete facts and statistics, and anecdotal experiences of both mothers and midwives that are crucial in making an informed decision about the use of midwifery in birthing as well as enlightening as to the current state of birthing in the United States. --Tami Horiuchi

Customer Reviews:

  • Watch before giving birth!
    "The Business of Being Born" is a fascinating and eye-opening documentary about the current state of our maternity health system and the alternative of home births.

    Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein produced a compelling movie, that helps educate women on their options. It explains, why a lot of times giving birth in a hospital, with all its routine interventions, is "over-kill". The movie reminded us that giving birth is something that women know how to do intuitively. But somehow the medical community took over and now views pregnancy as if it were a disease that needs to be treated.

    Yet, the statistics show that way of thinking isn't necessarily safer. The United States, with its high rates of scheduled C-sections and hospital births, also have very high numbers of infant deaths compared to countries with higher rates of natural births.

    The bottom line is, if you are having an uncomplicated pregnancy, then giving birth at home with a trained professional (aka midwife) might be a very rewarding experience for you and your baby. Definitely something you should look into....more info
  • Disturbing, shocking . . . TRUE!
    I'm still wiping the tears from my eyes as a type this . . . . I'm elated, enraged, encouraged and most importantly, I feel empowered!

    I just watched "The Business of Being Born" (I signed up for Netflix just to see this film, lol)

    This film was disturbingly accurate, and even though I've yet to give birth, I was moved to tears: the births shown (including Ricki's) were absolutly what birth can and should be. For those naysayers that think this is just "proppaganda": well there were many experts on boths sides of the fence in this film. Maturnity care in this country is broken and this film exposes this truth without demonizing Dr's. It was refreshing to see the dr's in this film talk openly about the current state of hospital policy, interventions, etc. I don't think TBOBB was trying to endorse home-birth per se, I think the gist was to bring the facts out in the open and show women that they do have a choice. NEVER in the film did anyone say "home or hospital is the BEST for everyone" No one said intervention is bad, everyone acknowledged that things can happen. This film should be required for every medical student.

    I wonder why ACOG and the AMA took such offense at this film? Why because it was true? . . . .or because it may help women realize that they do have other options? I think it is both.

    My favorite part of the film was when one of the experts said: "IF you want to humanize birth, get the hell out of the hosiptal." Priceless!

    I think this was flawless and beautifuly put together. Thank you Ricki . . . thank you for encouraging women to empower themselves!

    ...more info
  • good to watch before or while pregnant
    My husband and I watched this movie the other night. It is long. It is good at stressing how screwed up maternity care is in the U.S. I think it is a little too political. ...more info
  • What an eye opener! Great Film!!!!!!!
    This is a wonderful film and a must watch for all pregnant women. Watching this made me realize that I do not want a hospital birth at all! I have since changed my care over to a midwife and will be delivering at a birthing center! I could not be more happier! Great film and I can't wait for their book to come out in May!!!!!...more info
  • Obscene Lanuage; Overkill on Completely Naked Women Delivering Babies; Too Long and Drawn Out.
    There was great potential for this to have been a classic educational movie. Instead of classy, it ended up as crass. Most parents will probably be frustrated over the foul language used, to include the "F-WORD". It was not some minor interjection made by some on looking bystander. It was Ricki Lake's choice word to describe the emotion of her labor experience. It was also Abby Epstein's, the movie's director, choice word in the heat of her labor. It could have easily been edited out. If you're religious in any way, you will also probably be annoyed by the repeated use of "oh my god" throughout the documentary. Lengthy clips of completely naked women delivering their children at home started to be a bit over kill. The movie was 85 minutes, but it could have easily been condensed to about 25 minutes.

    I'm a strong advocate of home delivery and the use of midwives, but I can not recommend this movie due to its unnecessary profanity and unnecessary "lengthiness". Trust me, if you're really interested in watching this movie; just see the 3 minute trailer. It will give all the information you need without the added garbage featured in the movie.
    ...more info
  • Something every parent or parent-to-be should see
    I LOVED this video! It is so important for every mother to see. It's so good!...more info
  • A Must see for Expectant Moms or if you are Thinking about Getting Pregnant!
    Well Done Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein. It is great to see you giving the women the power to make educated and informed choices. I like the fact that it DOES show both sides of the story (interviews with both people for and against home births). It also shows that midwives arent reckless hippies who will bar you from entering a hospital as the director herself found out when she was rushed to hospital on the advice of her midwife. It shows that yes birthing should be as natural as the mother chooses but if needed those highly skilled OB's come in and help (as it happens in other countries).
    I am an immigrant from one of those countries that has mainly midwife care, there is a huge difference in birth outcomes and more positive experiences from the gals I have spoken to. Giving birth seems less natural and more medical when done under the supervision of an OB hooked up to IV's and monitors which make it impossible to move around and be in more natural birthing posistions! Speaking of OB's I cant tell you how lost I was when I found out I was pregnant and the OB didnt want to see me until I was 10 WEEKS, I was horrified - especially since you can do alot of daamge to a fetus in 10 weeks!!!!!!! Midwives are fantastic and since they are geared up for natural births and not so much surgery they should be ideally used more often for low risk mothers and this doco shows these professionals in a good light (Finally).
    So for my next little one I will certainly look into my options thanks to this film as I wasnt even aware I had such options!...more info
  • Parents to be - this is our wake up call!
    The film intends to bring some transparency to state of birthing in the US. It doesn't conclude with "doctors and hospitals are evil" yet it also shows that homebirth is not just for hippies living in barns!

    The film prompts its viewers to ask tough questions:

    Why does the United States have the highest rate of maternal and neonatal deaths surrounding labor and delivery among all domesticated countries? With advances in medical techology and knowledge, why hasn't this mortality rate decreased in over 20 years?

    What are other countries doing differently that is producing less injury and fewer losses of life?

    Why do people spend more time researching what type of digital camera to purchase than they do researching the safest way to deliver their child?

    Why has birth become such an event that women often anticipate with so much dread, instead of a natural part of life?

    Why do intelligent, educated women spend 9 months of their pregnancy avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and even tylenol; but the moment labor approaches, they beg for maximum pain relief and expect this has NO effect on their baby?

    Why is the cesarean rate increasing so quickly in our country, and should we be concerned about that?

    Why are the majority of baby's birth certificates showing deliveries on weekdays during regular business hours?

    What does an ideal birth look like? A "healthy" baby and a "healthy" mom? Or is there more?

    As a culture, are we moving toward better birthing or away from it?

    The film is an introduction to many aspects of the home birth and hospital birth discussion, and does a good job of keeping things balanced. I've talked to moms and dads, midwives, and OBs who have seen it, and overall it is a thought-provoking result.

    For me, I'm a planner/researcher personality, so this film would not be enough to convince me either to have or not have a home birth. I've read at least 15 books on the subject now, and that is what has convinced me. However, my husband will never read those books, so this film was a good way to get him involved in the dicussion and decisions that we will make for our future children.

    My top booklist if you're thinking about home birth: "Pushed" Jennifer Block 2007, and "Born in the USA" Dr. Marsden Wagner 2006, for current intellectual research and statistics involving birth. "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth" Ina May Gaskin 2003 and "Birthing from Within" Pam England 1998, for emotionally encouraging stories and feel-good about anticipating your birth type of ideas.

    Hopefully, this film will be to birthing what Supersize Me was to fast food. Yes, we still have McDonalds around, and plenty of people eat there. But maybe more people will eat at home, or make more healthy choices. And McDonalds and other chains are removing transfats and selling salads. Generally speaking, the US population is a bit more aware of the dangers of overindulging in fast food, including the loss of life from obesity and obesity-related diseases.

    This film would hopefully have a similar result: Yes, we still have doctors and hospitals around, and plenty of women are delivering in them every day. But a greater percentage of births would happen at home with licensed professionals. Hospitals would stop giving pitocin, epidurals, and other interventions to practically every woman in labor, and they would work to decrease their cesarean rates. Generally speaking, the US population would be more aware of options for birth, and would investigate the subject more before blithely succombing to a birth experience that is resulting in loss of life and permanent damage to women and babies across our country. I'm sorry, did I get on my soapbox just now?

    Enjoy the film, and make the best decision you can as parents, for the sake of your unborn children. ...more info
  • Finally a voice for people like me...
    I was so happy to finally see a documentary come out in support of homebirth and midwifery. I reject the complaint that the movie is one-sided as a reason to discredit it... the ACOG and AMA statements against homebirth are also one-sided, yet are taken very seriously by many. I am a veterinarian, and understand very well the medical implications of using and not using certain interventions. I do not thing that OB's are intentionally judgemental, it is what they have been taught in their medical training. Until true natural childbirth is taught to OB's, they can never understand what women like me want, or how to give it. I resent that they are trying to take away my right to birth my babies the way nature intended. I would never tell another woman that she could NOT go to the hospital if that was what made her most comfortable. For my first deilvery, we went to the hospital with a doula and a birth plan that had been discussed in prior appointments. Nothing that was discussed was allowed to happen. I was not allowed to get out of bed to urinate once I was past 9 centimeters for fear the baby would "fall out", he was taken from me immediately and placed in a warmer, pitocin was continuosly pushed on me even though neither I nor the baby were in distress, and I was made to push lying flat on my back even though he was stuck and needed to turn.

    I am grateful for this movie, because it can open the eyes of many women and reassure them that they ARE able to birth their babies, and that a trained midwife is able to safeguard mother and baby at home, transferring to a hospital if medical assistance is needed. This is the European model, and it works well there. Our nation is near the bottom in perinatal statistics, surely we can all agree that the current system is not working. Thank you to Ricki Lake for opening a dialogue, and shame on AGOG and AMA for being threatened by nature and immediately shutting down any dialogue with threats of legislation.

    A MUST SEE movie for all mothers, simply so that you may get "the other side" and truly decide what birth model is best for you and your family....more info
  • EVERY WOMAN NEEDS TO SEE THIS
    I've been present at four hospital births and the experience left me convinced to have a home birth for myself and child. This doc presents World Health Org. wisdom and in-the-trenches experience. Watch it with your heart and mind wide open and you can't help see that North America is on its way to a crisis in terms of our relationship to the most natural experience in the world.

    Way to go Ricki and Abby. Noble work. Essential work. Life-enriching work.
    ...more info
  • Birth Will Change You
    This is a letter I wrote my friend who missed the movie:

    The documentary successfully conveys the theme, "You're going to be transformed by your birth like it or not; it might as well change you for the good."

    I didn't count, but I guess about 30 or more women and two men came to the viewing on Sunday. About 2/3's I knew. The documentary showed excellent coverage of a few natural births purposely filmed for this project including Ricki Lake's birth, a midwife's reflection on her own birth, and others. These births with low profile midwives in attendance really emphasized the ecstasy and joy a mother feels after an unmedicated birth and connecting with the new baby. And it showed previously recorded segments of clips of Marsden Wagner, Ina May, Michael Odent, Robbie Davis-Floyd, and more all speaking on the problems with birth in American hospitals. It showed clippings and photos of the history of hospital birth: stirrups, scopolamine affect, tying women down to keep them in control. Showed segments of residents on rounds (which could have been in any hospital I've been in residency) totally clueless how to meet the needs of their laboring women. It was quick and fast moving, emotional and funny.

    The Filmer, Abby Epstein, was pregnant during the making of this documentary. She was under an OB's care, until the 35 week check-up when she told him she was going with the homebirth midwife. On this day it shows Ricki Lake commenting on her small gravid abdomen. The very next day she went in to labor with a breech. The midwife transferred to the hospital and her OB did a C. The audience seem to conclude that sometimes "you need a hospital." Abby herself said, something like everything was wrong, preterm labor, breech, cord around the neck, IUGR-- the typical things a women says after a C. One of the reasons I took advantage of the second showing is that I wanted to follow the dialogue of her pregnancy better. It was apparent to me after a second viewing that chronic maternal malnourishment was the problem(not a last minute freak accident) and it was passed onto the baby and the birth outcome. Necessarily and sadly it showed the disruption in bonding and breastfeeding of this birth. I also saw a different attitude with Abby at the beginning than the other women, "this movie one of Ricki's crazy ideas." I don't think at first she fully appreciated what "Birth" means. I think she does now, but I don't think she did when she was pregnant. Not unlike most American women. Kudos to her for being brave to show all this in her movie.

    I don't know if everyone noticed, but I noticed that the starring midwife did not wear gloves at the births (some water, some squatting). I am not sure what most Americans would think viewing this or would they even observe this detail. Other midwifes wore gloves, though. An out-of-town midwife at the second showing I went to, pointed out that this would probably be something the midwife and couple would have to discuss before hand.

    Two women in the movie were squatting/standing when they delivered their baby. It reminded me of you standing/breastfeeding and holding your newborn. Definitely not what you see everyday. Two women, one in water and one of these women squatting were so internally focused (and not screaming) when the midwife asked the moms to reach down for their baby and pull him to their chest, I don't think the women even realized the baby came out. Beautiful births! All these ecstatic outcomes brought me back to my emotions with Scott and David being brought to my chest.

    A tissue box was passed around the room. It was nice to be in a group with so many pregnant wanting this info and babies being held in slings and laps and not in containers. The out-of-town midwife had a lot of insight to my probing.

    I almost feel envious of the women who are pregnant who will have such a wonderful experience in the near future.

    ...more info
  • much needed movie!
    5 stars for being a timely piece: women NEED to learn the truths about childbirth and put it in context with the rest of the world and hundreds of years of history. It was disturbing in some of the movie's early interviews that women said they wouldn't even consider using a midwife. We are trained to expect birth to be traumatic and medicalized.

    The only cons in this movie are more artistically centered and definitely LESS important than the need to see a movie like this in the first place. E.g., the ending was anti-climatic with the director of the movie resorting to a hospital birth because the baby was breech.

    I also agree with the reviewer who said more discusssion needed to happen about options when baby is in the less than ideal position... breech CAN be dealt w/ at home, for example.

    I do NOT agree with the person who quoted the newspaper about the "Michael Moore" style editing. How insulting! This movie SHOWS doctors who fully admit their limitations and expectations. What's more, they show doctors of the opposite persuasion who question if home birth is safe since they don't do fetal monitoring etc.

    I've had 3 hospital births and will never do it again. The first 2 were with a midwife and it was fine... she was great w/ me. But I still had to deal with hospital policies with the baby taken away for testing and having to get woken up in the middle of the night to be given painkillers. I didn't know better. I, like too many women, figured that delivering a baby was something that just happened to you in a hospital like getting your tonsils taken out or something.

    My third child was born with a traditional doctor in a hospital and it was a horrible experience. They ignored my wishes, they insisted on a hep-lock, they refused to take my pitocin IV out after the birth and whenever I asked for it out, the nurse would "go to check" with the head nurse and never come back. Or they'd soothe me "sure, right after this bag." I had nurses who pretty much just strapped me to the monitoring and ignored me until I started moaning badly and then it was time to push. I felt violated and without dignity the whole time.

    It pains me that women expect this. I have many friends who've birthed at home and it was the best experience in the world for them. This movie needs to get in the hands of all expectant mothers just for the simple fact that they should CONSIDER other options and perhaps clear up their misconceptions about midwives being little more than some hippy babushka who comes in with herbs and potions. Kudos to Ricki Lake for stepping us in the right direction....more info
  • if you are expecting a must see DVD
    I was told about this DVD from my Lamaze class. so i decided to get it. it was an excellent buy. it will open your eyes to the meaning of normal birth. the video is very informative about the different types of births. if you are expecting you should definitly purchase this video. it is informative which gives women confidence in giving birth....more info
  • wonderful and inspiring
    I watched this movie and LOVED it. I think it is a wonderful way of introducing the idea of midwifery, the crisis in current delivery practices, and how wonderful a natural childbirth can be.

    I had both of my children in New York hospitals. I was never pressured to have an epidural or pitocin, although pitocin was mentioned when I got to the hospital with no labor going, 14 hours after my water had broken. I felt generally respected in my wishes. That said, I had my 2nd baby flat on my back and found the experience of pushing to be excruciatingly painful, largely due to my body position and due to the OB rushing my birth by trying to push back the lip of my cervix that last centimeter or so. He was rushing me because he wanted my baby born on his shift, which was about to end. While I can understand that, he compromised my comfort and birth experience for his own ends.

    Generally, I think it is pretty crazy that women are being delivered by men who can't possibly have any idea of what the birth experience is like. That description in the film of approaching a wall higher than any you have ever seen in your life and then somehow scaling it seemed to ring true to me. No man could possibly understand how that feels.

    Birth is a very empowering experience, and it is also a great teacher for your first year with a new baby. Labor teaches you to be in the moment, cope with each contraction, one at a time. Many times when my daughter was a baby I felt this lesson to ring true. Rather than think too hard about the big picture I just focused on getting through the hour of crying, the next feeding, etc.

    I applaud Ricki Lake for taking this on. For showing us some absolutely beautiful birth scenes and for going after the current thinking head on. Someone had to do it. Our birth practices are truly in crisis. When it comes to birth, I agree, less is more. I wish I had had the courage to do a home birth with a midwife. I wonder how much more positive and affirming my birth experiences might have been.

    ...more info
  • Having a baby? See this!
    As a childbirth educator for more than 35 years, I've seen many transformations in"attitude towards birth" . I was fortunate enough to begin my career literally at the beginning of "baby classes". My early students were grateful and excited to have access to instruction in a how a birth could be achieved without the drugs they had come to hate, and which they were told would keep them from feeling anything. More than one woman described herself as feeling like a piece of meat. Well, that changed in my day, at least for a few years. Women experienced the euphoria of what we seem to almost universally describe as "empowerment". The "I can do anything if I can birth my own baby" feeling. Now we seem to have devolved into an age when women don't want any responsibility in their birth, don't want to feel anything, don't want to put as much time into preparation for birth as they might put into preparation for the purchase of a hair drier! And maybe, saddest of all, doctors live in such fear and/or desire to control the situation, that women , who are already highly susceptible to suggestion, go along with almost every order unquestioningly. Anyway, that said, I loved this dvd. It is so important and so well done. It gives what is so often missing in childbirth productions; a balanced view. It is very fair. I loved it. Thank you, Ricki!!...more info
  • A must watch!
    This is a great documentary with a lot of good, hard facts about midwives and natural child birth. Our country (US) is going in a very bad direction with how we treat women and labor and delivery. It is unique to our country and the results are not what they should be. The maternal and infant death rate in our country is high and the c-section rate is beyond high. This movie should be seen by any one thinking about getting pregnant or is pregnant. It is not anti-doctor or hospital, as seen towards the end of the movie, but it is very pro-midwife for the majority of the women in our country who are not high risk. ...more info
  • MUST SEE MOVIE!!
    After watching this movie I can't imagine any women not wanting to at LEAST check out home birthing options. The statistics for mother and baby are quite frightening for any one in the US that is planning on delivering in a hospital setting.

    After watching this film I am definitely going for a home birth!


    Watch this movie and pass it one to every woman you know!!

    ...more info
  • Seriously, a Must-See for all!
    Whether you are a woman only thinking about having kids or a mother who is having another, if you are not aware what is happening in the world of birth, this movie will open your eyes to it all!

    Wonderful interviews with some of the well known people in the birth world, like Ina May Gaskin and Michael Odent. Although it is one-sided (pro-natural/homebirth), they do not lie about the horrible mistreatment of women in the hospital. The movie also goes through a brief history of birth in America and how the midwife was almost wiped from existence in America.

    "It's your birth...Know your options."
    -BirthNetwork National...more info
  • Every woman should see this
    I would like to believe that if every pregnant woman and her partner saw this video, they would give homebirth/waterbirth a try. Even if that is not the end decision, it's an empowering and real look at birth horror in american hospitals.

    Also, my home-waterbirth midwife, Cara Muhlhahn, is the star of the show :)...more info
  • Absolutely beautiful.
    Whilst I was aware of many of the issues, I was still moved to tears by certain scenes. Superb!...more info
  • amazing
    from a mother's point of view... simply amazing. loved the interview with ina may... and all the mama's stories!!! must see for all mamas!!!...more info
  • Worth watching, but one-sided
    This film starts a discussion that our society needs to have, for that I commend it to you. However, like many recent documentaries, it is one-sided (in favor of midwifery), makes some questionable claims, and "indulges in the kind of stunt footage for which Michael Moore routinely gets slapped" (Chicago Tribune review). For example, when the medical establishment is represented in the film, the individuals are usually self-critical - supporting the film's agenda - and they are rarely given the opportunity to rebut the many claims made against the medical practice. For instance, the so-called experts in the film talk about the power disparity and physician paternalism in the OB clinic; they claim that many obstetricians don't have the patients' best interests in mind and will do anything to drag them into the operating room to have a C-section (because this is most convenient for the doctors). This may be true in some cases, but it was not true in ours. Moreover, I find it hard to believe that in the modern climate of patient-centered practice that physicians on the whole are exercising this kind of influence and making these sorts of decisions. I think they are more interested in providing adequate patient care and creating a positive experience for each mom (which, by the way, has the upshot of increasing business and avoiding malpractice suits). In addition, the new buzz word among professionals and in popular literature these days is "the birth plan." Pregnant mothers are encouraged to have one, which means spelling out exactly how they want the labor and delivery to go. Furthermore, in our experience, the delivery nurses were great, and they fulfilled the role that a midwife or a doula might. Finally, many of the talking heads in the film pontificate that women who go into the hospital to give birth are "missing the experience" of what it means to truly be a woman and give birth the natural way. I find this judgmental attitude almost as offensive as those who argue that epidurals are wrong on the basis that the Bible says women ought to feel pain in childbirth since the Fall. My advice: consider both midwifery and the hospital and go with the option that works best for you. You could have a good or bad experience either way, so ask around for recommendations. ...more info
  • A Must-See for EVERYONE!!!
    After seeing 2 benefit screenings of the film, I am convinced it is a film that every single person in our country should see. It's not just for women of child-bearing age. When the profits from a maternity ward can make or break an entire hospital, we truly have a problem for the whole country - especially when so many people can't afford health care at all!

    As a doula, I see too many mothers who don't understand the things being done to them (and not always FOR them) when they are in labor. I see too many mothers with questions that aren't answered to their satisfaction. I see too many mothers with too few options.

    As good consumers, we research major purchases such as cars and houses, but very few of us have any choice about where and under whose care we deliver our children. It's time we demand a voice and better choices for our own care!

    While I am very glad we have the medical technology for birth available, not every birth warrants the use of most of that technology. Birth is not a crisis waiting to happen - at worst, it is a natural disaster from which 97% of women know how to cope and recover from. At best, it can be the most awesome experience you will ever have, and it should be that way for more women.

    I loved this film. I am buying two copies - one for myself/clients to borrow, and one for our local library. Everyone should see this film! Everyone!!!...more info
  • A fair look at home birth in the US
    Before I bought this, I saw what some people wrote about nudity and profanity and was a little bit skeptical. Those people are so WRONG!!! This film is amazing!! It is an updated film about the benefits of home birth. This film is a documentary not a movie. It has not been edited to cut out the parts that may not sit well with everyone. It shows real women (including Riki) in their unique birthing processes. They do not claim to be comparing home vs hospital birth. It is simply a film that shows women that there is another birthing option out there. If you know that a hospital birth is not for you but you are unsure of what lies ahead, get this film. It is honest. Even when some births end up going to the hospital they didn't edit it out. It shows women at home and in birthing centers giving birth. They don't shy away from certain parts of the process as many films have done in the past. This film bares all. The nudity is shown within the context of birthing and the profanity as others have noted is by the mothers themselves in the heat of labor. Not just some foul mouthed women spewing swears just because. Even though the nudity is minimal, if you are uncomfortable in your skin as a woman and nudity bothers you then refrain from this film.

    It is a film that I will be recommending for years to come, to open the eyes of women who are afraid of birth. This film sheds light on the fear-mongering that the AMA and the obstetrics industry have done since the 1900's. It questions why everywhere in the developed world except the US is home birth and midwifery the norm and not the exception? It questions why insurance companies will sometimes make it difficult or sometimes even refuse, to cover non-hospital or doctor based care for mothers to be even though it is thousands of dollars cheaper.

    It is a film that at the very least will make you check up on your chosen hospital and see how many C-sections they do, how many interventions and episiotomies they perform. At the most it will set you on the path to making home birth a viable option for your future births. ...more info
  • Loved it...
    This documentary should be watched by anyone pregnant, or considering becoming pregnant.
    Make sure you have a tissue box next to you when watching!...more info
  • excellent, informative,
    I just watched this online. It was incredible! I thought it was well written and directed. This film offers an insightful and informative view into the world of birthing and the limited choices women have. I would recommend to anyone, not just women of child bearing age, but anyone so that you can make an educated decision regarding the birth of your child. It helps to know that a woman can do a natural birth if she has the support of others. Too often, doctors and hospitals do not explain the effects of c sections on the mom and the baby. It is not a celebrity trend that you should use to decide how you birth, learn about it for yourself. You have to learn to read, to drive, watch this to learn about your options. It is fantastic to have doctors available in emergencies, that is what they are there for, but to medicate a natural process? Not in my opinion, but this movie helps clarify these points in an open way, not negatively....more info
  • Portrays the beauty and strength in birthing as nature intended
    I absolutely LOVED this movie. I had a homebirth that was wonderful and truly life altering. After watching this movie, (actually, crying through it, I was so emotional) I realized that my birth experience is the thing I am most proud of in all my life. As well, it was the most loving thing I could do for myself and my daughter. My confidence in giving birth without drugs or interventions, with my husband and midwives supporting me, in my own bed, has made me realize there is nothing in the world I can't do. I gave birth to a life as nature intended - that is probably the most powerful accomplishment of all.

    Having a homebirth requires that the mother (and father) take responsibility for the pregnancy and the birth of their child. It requires attention to diet, exercise and gaining knowledge about the process of birth. A midwife is your guide, your support and your lifeline. It's not the easier route, but it's definitely the most rewarding.

    Imagine a world in which all women believe they can birth their babies without drugs and interventions. Imagine a world where women anticipate, not dread their birth day. Imagine a world in which women speak of their birth days as proud accomplishments, not of a distateful experience they had to endure. It is the world I hope for.

    This movie, if it can open the eyes of even a handful of women to choice and gentle birth, may just spark the change in childbirth perspectives needed so that we can get to that world I hope for. A world I hope my daughter will be giving birth in and not the one promoting fear and disbelief in a woman's ability to have a gentle, and glorious, birth....more info
  • Amazing!
    This is one of the greatest movies I have ever watched. Every single woman in this country should watch it. The information is both shocking and moving. As a home birth/ midwife supporter, I was in love with this movie from the beginning, but I think a labor and delivery nurse, OBGYN, or any woman in America would walk away from this movie with a different perspective on the way we birth in America. I recommend it to everyone!...more info
  • A Must See!
    I am SO grateful I saw this film early in my pregnancy, before I gave birth. It encouraged me to research my options and make the best choices for myself and my family. It is empowering, informative and very moving. My husband loved it too. A great preparation for birth. ...more info
  • Informative and Enlightening Documentary
    This personal and compelling documentary explores current attitudes toward home-birth in the United States. Following a home-birth mid-wife as she makes the rounds from prenatal to postnatal checkups as well as a few live births in the homes of women in New York City, "The Business of Being Born" asks the viewer "what kind of birth do you want, and why?"
    Helpful and informative interviews with myriad birth authorities (from Farm midwife Ina May Gaskin to OBGYN Dr. Jacques Moritz) are sprinkled throughout this film, offering both pro home-birth narrative as well as explaining modern medicine's reluctance to accept and facilitate natural drug-free, intervention-free, home-birth for low risk mothers.
    Particularly interesting is the presentation of historical reasons in the United States for moving birth from the home to the hospital.
    This documentary is both touching and engaging. It puts a human face on the birth experience.
    While it exposes the medical community as generally uninformed about home-birth, it is not a condemnation of hospital birth.
    I recommend this movie for anyone who is pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant. I also recommend this film for those employed in obstetrics. If watched with an open mind, it has the potential to improve the way that many hospital employees treat laboring women.
    I believe that the most useful message this movie offers is that women should feel empowered to be active participants on birth rather than passive, unknowing and generally untrustworthy vessels.


    ...more info
  • Every woman should watch
    I think this is a movie every woman should watch. I had my first child at home with a midwife and it was the most wonderful, empowering, beautiful experience I've had. Even spiritual. I had control over how I wanted the experience to be and I never felt like myself or my baby was ever in any danger.
    My second child was in a hospital (basically because my insurance wouldn't cover a midwife). I had little to no control, they did a lot of intervening and I ended up having a C-section that I thought was not necessary and completely avoidable. They wouldn't let me out of my bed and it's sort of hard to progress when you're flat on your back. Because I wasn't progressing fast enough for them, it ended up being a much different and not pleasant experience. I don't think that you have to have a home birth to be happy about how it goes but this at least gives you a great start in letting you know that you SHOULD be in control and that we need to speak up and be in charge of labor and delivery again. There are options out there and this film help you to realize that. It was very inspirational. It could have been shortened a bit and I did find the F-word unnecessary. And about the complaint that there is too much nudity, it didn't bother me at all because it is very natural and even nice to have less or no clothes when in labor or delivering. It's not like it's a porn show, it's mothers giving birth to beautiful babies. ...more info
  • eye-opening documentary
    *SPOILERS*

    According to statistics, the infant mortality rate in the United States exceeds that of virtually every other nation in the industrialized world. The U.S. is also the only place in which far more women give birth in hospitals than at home under the care of a professional midwife. The documentary "The Business of Being Born" sees a connection between those two facts.

    Executive producer Ricki Lake first conceived of this film after she delivered her first baby in the hospital and then felt cheated of the potentially beautiful and meaningful experience a home birth might have provided. With the aid of director Abby Epstein, Lake has gathered together a group of women, couples, midwives and physicians who, through their own personal experiences and/or studies on the matter, help to provide evidence for her case that, for the large majority of women, delivering at home is preferable, on both a practical and spiritual level, to delivering in a hospital. Lake has even allowed herself to be filmed in the process of giving birth to her second child at home.

    This is an eye-opening and informative movie that admittedly provides really only one side to the issue. But it makes a pretty convincing case for that side and certainly gets the audience thinking. First, it offers a number of startling statistics, the prime one being that roughly one third of all babies born in America are now delivered through Caesarian Section, a procedure that is classified as "major surgery" but which is often treated with casual indifference by both physicians and patients (the shots of a Caesarian are far more "gruesome" than any of the shots of actual childbirth we are shown). The movie also recounts a brief but somewhat disturbing history of obstetrics practices in the United States during the past century when many women were put into "twilight sleep" and missed the birthing experience entirely. The movie also points out that, in a hospital setting, a "cascade of interventions" often prevents women from having the ultimate say in how they choose to deliver their babies. But the majority of the case is made through personal anecdotes from mothers and midwives concerning their own birthing experiences, as well as by the recording of many of those actual home births live on camera. Interestingly, after all the successful home births, the movie ends on one in which the child arrives prematurely and is in a breach position and thus must enter the world in a hospital room after all. It's an indication of the honesty and courage of the filmmakers that they didn't feel called upon to edit that sequence out of the movie.

    Yet, for the most part, the film takes the multi-billion dollar medical industry to task for being too quick to use drugs and a scalpel in the birthing experience. The movie also harshly criticizes the insurance industry for failing to recognize the much greater cost efficiency of home-birthing and hence refusing to cover it in their policies, thereby forcing many midwives to simply close up shop.

    In many ways, "The Business of Being Born" is fighting something of an uphill battle in that it appears counterintuitive - especially to a generation raised on the belief that the medical industry can do anything - to suggest that a birthing process with a physician and modern medical equipment on hand could actually be less safe than a birthing process without them (though the movie is quick to point out that the midwives are all state-certified and trained to deal with any unforeseen complications that might arise). Still, for women facing this decision - as well as for a society that for over a century now has frowned upon even the thought of natural childbirth - "The Business of Being Born" may serve as a paradigm-shifting event. ...more info
  • Great eye-opening video that isn't preachy at all !
    My wife and I had a home birth for our 2nd child. And it was the most amazing experience ever. But even after doing that, I wasn't too excited about seeing Business of being born. I thought it was going to force the "i hate the hospital" mentality down your throat.

    Well it didn't at all. It does provide very eye opening facts about the hospitals and rates of C-sections. Very Very interesting stuff.

    Definitely recommend this movie for anyone who wants to know more about how having babies is done in the US, and what questions you SHOULD ask your doctor, whether you want a home birth or NOT...more info
  • A Beautiful and Inspiring Film For All 20-somethings!
    Ricki Lake gives a wonderful introduction to the normal process of birth. She is not an expert on birth by any means, but she thoughtfully brings a variety of experts in the field together. This film does a great job of showing normal birth in a country that rarely sees it. It does not weigh you down with statistics or organizations, but it does offer questions and insight, and it gives every member of the audience an opportunity to see natural birth.

    One criticism: this documentary does not address breech positions, early labor, overdue pregnancies (past the due date), "failure to progress" or any complication at all (whether real or made-up) that women often hear from doctors to be dangerous. Since many women choose an intervention-laden birth (IVs, pitocin, epidural, fetal monitoring) only because their case was a "complicated" pregnancy (or so they are told from their OB), this film leaves you thinking that all these cases are exceptions to her story (instead of a part of the story). For instance, why is a breech delivery safer with a c-section? Why does your doctor diagnose you with IUGR and induce you, but then your baby ends up to be in the perfectly normal weight range? If I am 36 weeks pregnant (early) or 42 weeks pregnant (late), should I then go to the doctor? If my doctor tells me that I need to be induced or given a c-section, because I am a "special case" (a supposed "failure to progress" is the reason half of first time moms are given arguably unnecessary c-sections), what does this movie really tell me? It says that I shouldn't get induced or a c-section for no reason, but it also tells me that there are quite a few reasons that I should get induced or get a c-section. Is any reason my doctor gives me sufficient?

    Either way, this movie is the *perfect* starting point to asking these questions and more. It is the first and only of its kind to really appeal to modern young people and leave you wanting more!...more info
  • Every expecting woman should see this!
    This film articulated so well the feelings that I had about my birth experience. My son was born in a hospital 9 years ago. I did not head to the hospital completely na?ve about things. I had read some books and taken a class but I had never really discussed a birth plan with my OB. I was young and very introverted at the time and I did not feel comfortable speaking up for myself. I went to the hospital after a routine weekly check reveled that I was "borderline" for preeclampsia. Since this is a very serious condition, SOME of the intervention I received was probably necessary, but some definitely was not. They gave me pain medication in my IV without asking if I wanted it. They instructed me to push before I felt I was ready and I ended up pushing for over an hour. They removed the bottom of the bed and had me put my feet on plates that were way too far away from me and way too far apart to be comfortable and when I asked if they could just put the bed back the way it was they refused. God forbid my comfort as a laboring woman inconvenience them. In 11 hours of labor I was stuck to a bed the whole time. I was told what to do, what I was not allowed to do, and what they were going to do whether I liked it or not.

    I am planning my next pregnancy in the next year or so and I have already started searching for Certified Nurse Midwives in my area to facilitate a home birth. I do realize that preeclampsia is a very serious and dangerous condition for both mother and child. If there is any indication that I may need to go to the hospital I would be totally open to that. However, this time around no one is doing anything unless they explain to me why they feel the need to do it and I agree.

    Thank you to Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein for re-affirming my belief that the hospital birth experience was designed for the doctors, staff, hospital and insurance companies and has very little to do with the mother and child. My husband thought that the whole home birth thing was for crazy granola and tofu yoga hippies, but after watching this film with me (to my surprise) he agreed that a home birth should be our plan A.

    ...more info
  • Essential
    As a 77 yr. old librarian and mother of three plus one stillborn,
    I would hope this film on DVD becomes available in all public libraries
    for nation-wide access. Ladies, feet up in the stirrups is an obsolete
    method of delivery as you can see your yourself. Sylvia Mitchell,
    Honolulu, Hawaii....more info
  • Outrageous reality - pathetic approach
    Surely in this day and age the consumer is aware enough to understand that a documentary should in best case present an unbiased view of a situation.
    So why is it that films like this are being made?
    LET ME ASSURE YOU THE ISSUES THAT ARE PRESENTED ARE EXTREEMLY IMPORTANT AND VALID!! However that way in which it is presented is going to frustrate anyone who likes to come to their own conclusions with out being beaten into the presenters point of view. I feel that this film could potentially harm the cause, by compounding the already existing stereotype of the hard arse and slightly ignorant feminist radical... Come on people let the facts to do the talking and grow the hell up... ...more info
  • Don't Miss This!
    I absolutely loved this movie and any expecting parent who does not own it is a fool!...more info
  • A must-see film for expectant couples
    This is an excellent film. I would encourage all expectant couples to watch this film together to expand your knowledge of birthing options. We had a hospital birth with both a doula and midwife. It was a great experience and I would consider a home birth for our next child.
    However, the movie could have given more information about doulas. Our doula was a very positive and important part of our birth experience ...more info
  • Excellent DVD
    To know what is WRONG with birth in America, all you need to do is watch this documentary. ...more info
  • Review by a Couple With Some Home Birth Experience
    The film does a good job of explaining the "intervention cycle" that is so common in medicalized births--the mother is hooked up to intravenous tubes and all sorts of technology, and thus there is inevitable pressure to use (or misuse that technology). Anesthetics, which are supposed to ease the pain, lead to slowdown in the birth process, which leads to more intervention (pitocin etc.) and oftentimes to "crisis" into which the physician steps to save the day. The film gives a fair amount of attention to the power of the physician over against the mother in medicalized birth. The portrayal of the respectful and extremely helpful manner in which home birth midwives work comes across very well.

    We give the film a four-star rating instead of five for several reasons. We think it does not do quite well enough at explaining the reasons why home birthers do certain things--for example, why they often choose water birth. Why husbands/partners might not wear a shirt when assisting the mother. Why the home setting is generally superior to the hospital setting in terms of exposure to dangerous microbes. There are good reasons for all these things, but they're not really explained in the film.

    We think the film dwells excessively on the experiences of the director (Cara) and upon Ricki Lake. It's fine to have these folks profiled in the film we just think they take too much screen time that could have been better used educate people further about non-medicalized birth. This is one reason that the film starts to languish a bit in the second half. Some of the language used on the film (casual swearing) will be unnecessarily offensive to many home birthers and potential home birthers. The film did not mention the religious reasons some people choose home birth (we'd have loved to see interviews with Amish home birthers, for example). We did think the contributions of Michael Odent, Ina Gaskin, and the other midwives (and the back-up doctor) were portrayed very well.

    We have had six home births (four with well-trained midwives). Our midwives definitely went the extra mile for us, and were genuinely interested not only in "getting the baby out" but in all aspects of prenatal, delivery, and early infant care. They were extremely generous in their time and expertise. In terms of theoretical and practical knowledge, our trained midwives were the equal if not superior to the typical birth-attending physician. This perspective comes across pretty well on the film.

    All in all, this is a good film. It could be quite a bit better in terms of explaining non-medicalized birth to people who are unfamiliar with it. But it's a good start and we recommend it to anyone interested in the topic. ...more info
  • Awesome!!!!
    This is a ground breaking documentary that needs to be viewed by all expecting parents as well as health professionals! Thank you Ricki Lake for this wonderful learning tool!...more info
  • Informative? Yes. Entertaining? (Yawn!)
    Informative? Sure. Gives a new perspective on a broken system? Definitely. Entertaining? Er ...not really.

    After talk-show host Ricki Lake experienced a bad childbirth in-hospital, she decided to try a midwife, and thus THE BUSINESS OF BEING BORN was ...um ...birthed. I can't help but think that some of this (not all) was a ploy by Lake to put herself back in the public eye; specifically, the movie industry. Although this is strictly a documentary, and other actors support various causes (from freeing Darfur to Tibetan independence), this one felt a bit more forced.

    The reason I say this is that the entire documentary was exceptionally boring and exceptionally lopsided. I work in the medical field (as an RN) but not in an Obstetrics setting. I can, however, vouch for the terrible cost of healthcare and some of the impersonalness of those giving it (as this documentary pointed out). I've heard doctors talking about "tee times" on the golf course and the need to "get home by dinner," so time is a big factor for physicians (the film pointed out that C-section deliveries peek at 4pm -- just prior to dinnertime -- and again at 10pm -- so doctors can get home to bed). Be damned whether the patient needs a C-section or not, doctors force the decision so that they can "get on with their lives." Cut and run!

    Even with its interesting take on the care of OB/Gyn patients in the U.S., the film never delves outside of the States even though certain statistics are presented (including telling us that the infant mortality rate in the U.S. is one of the highest amongst developed countries). I would've liked to have seen at least one interview with a Japanese midwife or a European midwife, and have them show us how their system works. But we're never give the opportunity to see this for ourselves.

    The boring nature of the film is that it never really finds its focus. Although the title of it is The Business of Being Born, it focused more on the plight of midwives and their care of expectant mothers at home or in midwife clinics. We drive around with midwives, trot down the road with midwives, listen to midwives talk on the phone to patients, and get to watch a couple of in-home births. Then we start the entire process over again.

    And there's also a brief and confusing stint in which we learn one of the film's producers is pregnant and trying to decide on prenatal care.

    All-in-all it's an informative story, but one that might cause a few too many yawns....more info
  • IT'S ABOUT TIME!!!
    I loved "The Business of Being Born"! This is a film that everyone who cares about women's issues--or human rights in general--should see. I am so very glad that it touched on the campaign that was conducted--and is still being conducted--by the U.S. medical system to smear and discredit midwives. Remember, ladies: If you're pregnant, do your homework and ask questions. Learn about all your options for childbirth education, prenatal care, and care during labor and birth. Write a birth plan. If you're healthy and your pregnancy is normal, consider choosing a midwife and giving birth at home or in a birth center....more info
  • Everyone about to give birth get this!
    My husband and I watched this video when I was 3 ? months pregnant and we're so glad we did.

    This documentary follows real women as they share their experiences with homebirths. Included are lots of interviews with doctors, specialists, midwives, and information about how birthing has changed and moved from homes to hospitals, also the effects of pain medications, and the rise of Caesarean sections.

    If the birthing process made you nervous before, you'll feel really nervous now; and not about how you'll feel about giving birth, but about the way hospitals have developed the business of delivering babies. It's interesting to note that the US has the highest infant mortality rate of any industrialized nation, as well as maternal deaths. We also mostly choose to have our babies in hospitals, and do not use midwives.

    My husband and I had not considered having a homebirth, but this movie definitely has us considering it. I think we'll probably end up with a hospital birth with our midwife, BUT we have considerable knowledge and are willing to fight for our rights now.

    A great book I recommend is "Hey! Who's having this baby anyway?" which deals with many of the same issues and describes your rights for a homebirth and hospital birth.

    Thanks to the filmmakers for putting together a much needed movie. You've done a fabulous job!
    ...more info
  • Thank God for Ricki Lake!!
    This documentary was moving and eye opening. I am so thankful that Ricki was not only brave enough to tackle this subject matter, but to also show her own home birth experience. I did not find the movie to be preachy at all. It really explored all the choices we have as women about our birth experiences. Some women don't even know that they have more than one choice. It exposes some of the lies and misconceptions that we all have about the medical industry when it comes to birth and I feel that this is something that anyone, male or female who is thinking about starting a family needs to see....more info
  • A great introduction to birth choices
    This documentary does a wonderful job of introducing the ideas that motivate those who are working for change in the birth system in this country. The filmmakers have really portrayed the reasons that many "mainstream" families are opting for birth outside the hospital setting in a way that makes them easy to process. And they have done this without vilifying those who have hospital births and medical interventions.

    Having had both a birth in a typical US hospital and a homebirth I can say that I would recommend that any healthy woman having a normal pregnancy seriously consider birthing outside of a hospital. The care I received from my midwife was far superior to that from my obstetrical team and giving birth at home had positive effects not only for myself and the new baby, but for my husband and our first child as well. The whole family benefited from the experience. I only wish I'd seen this film before having my first baby!...more info
  • Every pregnant woman should see this movie!
    This movies is so important for every pregnant woman to watch. As a Childbirth Educator and a Doula, I understand how crucial this subject is to our society. The majority of women do not understand that they are being robbed of the most empowering experience of their lives by giving up their opportunity to experience labor to birth their babies. Labor has a purpose to prepare every woman to be a mother. If you sidestep this process, you miss out on the amazing bonding experience of BIRTH! I STRONGLY recommend that you watch this movie. Your baby is counting on YOU!...more info

 

 
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