Directed by Abby Epstein
In theaters: January 9th, 2008
On DVD: May 6th, 2008
Synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes:
While the United States has perhaps the most advanced health care system in the world, it also has the second-highest infant mortality rate of any industrialized nation, and many have begun to question conventional wisdom regarding the way obstetricians deal with childbirth. While midwives preside over the majority of births in Europe and Japan, fewer than ten percent of American mothers employ them, despite their proven record of care and success. How do American doctors make their choices regarding the way their patients give birth, and who is intended to benefit? Director Abby Epstein and producer Ricki Lake offer a probing look at childbirth in America in the documentary The Business of Being Born, which explores the history of obstetrics, the history and function of midwives, and how many common medical practices may be doing new mothers more harm than good. The Business of Being Born was screened as part of the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
I thought this documentary was excellent. I had heard of home births before, but while I always thought people should be free to do what they want, I had always just kind of thought of hospital births as superior. I definitely don't hold that view now. I still think that women should give birth where ever they want to, but I have so much more respect for home births after this documentary. I even think I would want to give birth at home if I ever have kids, although I'd be sure to do more research on it first. I think that was actually something that this documentary made clear to me. Before I would have just blindly gone to a hospital and given birth without really understanding what was happening to me or the baby. Now I know that it's far more responsible to research birth and actually know what's going to happen. It seems like common sense now because who wants to go through labor without really understanding what's happening to them? But that's just kind of what I thought before watching this documentary.
While this documentary does an excellent job of explaining the benefits of home birth, I loved that they also expressed that all women should have the birth they want, even if that means giving birth in a hospital. They didn't immediately dismiss hospital births as inferior, but they explored why home birthing can be better for many women. It was a very informative documentary, and I am very thankful that I took the time to watch it.
The original documentary did so well that the same filmmakers went on to create a series of documentaries called More Business of Being Born. I also really loved that entire series. It's full of more information, and there's one documentary in the series that interviews celebrities on their own experiences, which I found very fascinating. If you watch The Business of Being Born and enjoy it, then I highly recommend going on the More Business of Being Born as well. It's all very interesting stuff. I would most definitely recommend this to anyone who is pregnant, even if you plan on having a hospital birth. It's nice stuff to be aware of.