The Business Of Being Born

My head is buzzing with the film Mat and I saw tonight. We attended an advance screening of “The Business of Being Born“, a documentary produced by Ricki Lake. The film presented a critical yet insightful take on the state of maternity care in the US. We have possibly the most advanced health care system in the world and yet the second-highest infant mortality rate among industrialized nations. We have a national C-section rate of 30% and a maternal mortality rate that hasn’t improved in 20 years. Perhaps it’s the cynic in me, but statistics likes this really make me feel like we have to do our own research when making weighty health care decisions and not be afraid to break outside the mold. Something is screwy in the system that is leaving the essential part of maternity care, the health of women and infants, out of the loop.

Anyhow, I highly recommend the film. They do a fairly good job of avoiding the polemics of “OB vs. midwife” and focus on the importance of empowering women through information to make their own choices in pregnancy and childbirth. There is some amazing and beautiful birth footage which presents a nice contrast to the scenes we usually see on ER, etc. And there is some candid commentary by various doctors, midwives and writers on how maternity care has changed and been influenced by fears of malpractice liability, increased reliance on technology and so on. It really emphasized the importance of knowing our options as well as the risks and benefits of our choices when choosing our practitioners and planning a birth (or, for that matter, in all health care decisions).

Look to see if there’s an advance screening near you: http://thebusinessofbeingborn.com/screenings.htm
And, if not, check back again. New screenings are being hosted every day.

It’s intended for limited theatrical release in NY, LA and SF in early 2008 and then on DVD after that.

Also, here are a few links for some articles that were passed out at the screening:

http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2007/06/21/mother-friendly-childbirth-is-a-consumer-issue
http://www.cfmidwifery.org/pdf/cesarean2x.pdf
http://www.cfmidwifery.org/pdf/OverviewofMatCareApr2003.pdf

1 Response to “The Business Of Being Born”


  • Thank you so much for the tip-off about this movie. We’re having the worst time trying to find good care for my second pregnancy. I’m glad I’m not alone and that people have noticed how horrible things have gotten.

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