The Business of Being Born 2008 NR CC

Amazon Instant Video

(345) IMDb 7.4/10
Available in HD
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The Business of Being Born 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.

Starring:
Mary Helen Ayres, Julia Barnett
Runtime:
1 hour 26 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

The Business of Being Born

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Product Details

Genres Documentary
Director Abby Epstein
Starring Mary Helen Ayres, Julia Barnett
Supporting actors Sylvie Blaustein, Louann Brizendine, Michael Brodman, Patricia Burkhardt, Tina Cassidy, Ronaldo Cortes, Robbie Davis-Floyd, Eugene Declerq, Abby Epstein, Eden Fromberg, Natashia Fuksman, Ina May Gaskin, Nadine Goodman, Carolyn Havens Neimann, Susan Hodges, Gregor Huebner, La Juana Huebner, Ricki Lake
Studio New Line
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 24 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

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Customer Reviews

I watched this movie and LOVED it.
L. Rime
And I do think the fact that the film maker had to go to the hospital just showed that the midwives DO work well with the hospital system.
Internet Safe
Imagine a world in which all women believe they can birth their babies without drugs and interventions.
MellyMelC

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

106 of 117 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth L. Smith on March 3, 2008
Format: DVD
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.
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74 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Rose Augustine on March 22, 2008
Format: DVD
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.
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42 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 6, 2008
Format: DVD
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!
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47 of 58 people found the following review helpful By ReadSub on August 4, 2009
Format: DVD
Like all documentaries, this one is biased. Overall, it explained a few things I was wondering about. First of all, what are my options on alternative births? What is the downfall of modern science? What is best for me and my baby is something I need to decide myself, but this movie gave me information to help me make that decision. I did not go into this movie thinking it would be unbiased. What documentary is? I did not like how the only doctors interviewed believed the system was faulty with the exception of one who they constantly proved wrong. Ever doctor was also from NYC. I am from a smaller Midwestern community and I think that the doctors in this area may have different opinions. Maybe they would not have a birth plan system or maybe they would be more accommodating. I only really know my doctor. Which is another thing that was not explored at all. My doctor is a family practice doctor. He has provided care for me since I was 12. Every doctor in the movie was only in the picture for prenatal care and delivery.
Also, I laughed at propaganda of the portrayal of the original hospital births. Yeah they were bad! But so was hospital care at that point! They had barely moved away from blood letting! What the medical profession was 100 years ago is a far cry from today.
I also have no option for alternative births. The closest midwife (and then only one) is 80 miles away. The next closest (Minneapolis) is a 5 hour drive. This type of situation was never discussed. I would have like to hear more about alternative birthing plans in the hospital. There was only one view of the hospital birthing. My thought is that the filmakers needed to do more research and spend more time on the movie.
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