Last night I had the privilege of viewing a private screening of the new documentary film The Business Of Being Born, directed by Abby Epstein and executive produced by Ricki Lake.
I had just finished reading Tina Cassidy's book Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born and was even more convinced that my next baby will be born at home. So, going to this movie had me excited and eager to learn even more about birth in American hospitals, birth centers, and homes.
It's shocking, the misconceptions and misinformation that Americans (especially women) have about the labor and birth of a child. Many people view childbirth as a life-threatening medical emergency when really it was intended to be natural and beautiful with little need for any interventions.
I had Gray in the hospital completely natural (aside from the fact it was in a hospital) with no interventions, no inductions, drugs, etc. This was my third birth and first one that I did completely naturally. It was also my most peaceful and most comfortable. I did have a birth plan, but I also think that part of the reason everything went so smoothly was because the doctor wasn't there, and didn't make it on time. I moved around and labored in positions that I felt my body was telling me to do. I refused to have an IV inserted or to be hooked up to the fetal monitor. Too often women are hooked up to the monitors and IVs and thus stuck in one position lying on the bed. And what worse position to deliver a baby than lying flat on your back!
In the film, it is demonstrated how much smaller the pelvic opening is when lying flat on your back with legs in stirrups. But stand, squat, or get on all fours and it opens up, allowing for the baby to move through without much need for pushing at all!
BUT- having the patient lie flat on their back with legs in stirrups is much better for the doctor's position. And you think that pain relief is just about making you feel better? The doctors and nurses consider it a better way to manage you as the patient, too. Ahem.
Many things done during hospital births have helped and saved lives- yes. But should everything be so strict and standard for every single birth? Are we losing sight of God's design in all of this?
There are so many helpful, factual statistics in this movie that I think anyone would find eye opening. Having a midwife and doula present- in hospital, birth center, or home- statistically will do wonders for your labor and delivery. Your chances of having a c-section go up as soon as you walk through those hospital doors. Should everyone stop having babies in a hospital? I am not saying that. But, women need to be informed when making their choices and then stand up for those choices in order to have the birth story they deserve.
This movie is not specifically about home birth. It's about birth in America and how far off track we have become.
When I say that our next baby will be born at home, I expect to hear the obvious concerns that it's not safe! But I know the truth. I think you should, too.
I wanted to add that I don't think anyone should be judged for where they choose to birth their baby. I think there is a lot of misinformation and assumptions about just what those choices are regarding labor and childbirth, and this movie is a wealth of information and fact for that whole spectrum.
Click here to see if there is a screening near you, and please go if you can!
Cross posted at The Chicago Moms Blog.