We rented The Business of Being Born from Netflix last week, and I can't stop thinking about it. I really wish that all women would watch this movie. It is a documentary about birth practices in the United States. The film follows several women throughout pregnancy and labor. The director, Abby Epstein, and producer, Ricki Lake, do a good job of showing many choices available to pregnant women, as well as the positive aspects of both hospital and home births. If you are expecting to see A Baby Story: The Movie, this is not that kind of film... and that is a really good thing. (I stopped watching A Baby Story once Luke was born because I got so irritated by the interviews with the "fame hungry" doctors and how almost every birth was induced or ended in a c-section. The same with Bringing Home Baby. I couldn't understand why some of these women didn't even try to breastfeed in the first few days they got home from the hospital. Sorry, I don't mean to sound so intolerant, but I know I do.)

My favorite part of the film was the illustration of how unnecessary medical interventions cause a snowball effect, leading to complications and numerous c-sections. She makes a very compelling argument: There is a time and place for medical interventions, but for a healthy and low-risk pregnancy, this is overkill and causing too many problems.

The next time I tell someone I'm planning a homebirth and they say (as often happens about 75% of the time I tell anyone this), "You're brave, but I could never do that. What if something goes wrong?" I'm going to tell them to watch this movie. I feel very strongly that mothers should be able to do what they feel is best for them and their baby concerning childbirth, and this movie does an excellent job of educating women on the many choices that are available to them.

Even if you are not planning on having children any time soon, or you are done having kids, you should still check this movie out. (I think Netflix is the only place to get it right now, besides catching a special screening.) I would be really curious to hear other people's opinions on this film. Here's the trailer:


  1. Cristin,

    When I had Hayden he was posterior and my dr. never knew...despite my two days in labor with intense back labor. I delivered in Utah and the nurses at the hospital came and said to me "I'm so sorry. The dr. will not be checking you. He went home to have Sunday dinner with his family." I was in shock. I didn't know that this dr. that had pretended to be so concerned about me the entire 9 mo. of my pregnancy really didn't give a crap. Anyway, b/c of the ignorance of my dr. I was in labor for 52 hours and 4 of those hours I was pushing. At one point I was being prepped for a c-section and I asked what was going on and they wouldn't tell me. Luckly I knew what was going on (I wasn't THAT stupid) and I told them that I was NOT having a c-section unless my baby's health was in extreme risk. I did not end up with a c-section but did have a lot of problems afterwards - including a uterus infection that I was given by my unclean hospital staff. That was awesome. So my first hospital birth experience was awful and I was recovering for about six months after having Hayden.

    With Owen, I also had a hospital birth and it was AMAZING! I pushed for a few minutes and was up walking around within minutes of giving birth. I attribute it all to my dr. and the fact that I was more informed to choose a better dr. She was willing to let things go at their own pace. She was also just a better dr. After I had Owen she was stitching me up and I said, "I thought I didn't tear much" and she said, "oh sweetie, I didn't want to have to tell you, but I'm fixing the mess your first dr. created." Again...that's just awesome.

    I will be adding this movie to my netflix queue. I will not be having a home birth, but I also think it's so important to be informed and to be happy with your choices. You don't have to have the same birth that everyone on your street has. Had I just thought I had to do whatever my dr. told me I would have ended up with a c-section with Hayden for no reason other than a sucky dr.

    Having a baby is a business...that was never more clear to me then when I delivered in the baby capitol of the U.S.

  2. Kim, I had no idea you went through all of that. Yikes, that's awful! I had both of my kids in Utah, and I think I had a wonderful doctor - he was out of town at a conference when I went into labor with the second one, and he called me while on the road to ask if I could wait for him (only an hour mind you) because he wanted to be the one to deliver my baby. You're definitely right that a doctor makes all the difference.

    Cristin, I still think it's awesome that you're doing what you feel is right for you and your baby even if it is against the "norm" there. When I mentioned water-birthing to some people here, they wrinkled their noses at it. I think it all comes down to education and being confident in what you know.

  3. I loved my midwifes and I'm just praying that either I have my next baby here, or that I am able to find another great midwife or doctor somewhere else. I guess I'm going to have to get netflix so I can watch this movie!

  4. That actually looks really good. Sooo... are you going to be in the tub naked?

  5. I am really glad to hear about that movie, i'll totally check it out.

    I am seriously considering having a home birth for my next baby, I definately want a midwife on the scene either way i go...

    Just with Bella's delivery I had 3 different doctors all with different opinions of how I should give labor the one who actually delivered Bella didnt care about my birth plan and didnt listen to me when I told him I was tearing and numbed the area so I would keep pushing hard...after she was delivered he pulled hard on the umbelical cord which left chunks of my placenta attached to my uterus. Thanks a whole lot. For 45 minutes I was laying there bleeding to death and in and out of conciousness and then once sewn up the nurses were yelling at us to get out of that room so the next victim could come in.....I didnt want to tell you that part before.

    I cant wait to hear how your home birth goes!

  6. My sister got that movie from Netflix and was telling me about it. She really liked it, although she thought it was funny that everyone was naked while giving birth. We have been comparing our different views of birth because she is really big into going natural and I am all for epidurals because I am such a wuss when it comes to pain. I think it's so cool that you are doing a home birth. I have heard wonderful things about doing it that way. Just being in the hospital yesterday for 90 minutes reminded me of how much work having a baby is and trying to argue with nurses over things so you get the birth experience you are looking for. I would love to hear your birth story when you have this little one.

  7. Emily and I watched it last night (two week free trial of NetFlix!). We liked it. For a documentary, it was pretty biased with lots of scare tactics (Scary music, ugly visuals, unnecessary dramatic comments etc) in the first half. The second half was much better and more fair. I thought it was perfect that the director ended up having to have a cesarian (A truly necessary one), but the exposure this movie gives to home births is excellent. It definitely opened our eyes to the possibilities. What was most comforting is seeing the training and experience that the Certified Nurse Midwife had. She was ready for anything and open to whatever. I liked that the director's OBGYN was cool too, although they didn't emphasize that enough. There are sane and open-minded doctors and nurses out there, but they didn't show many of them. (Like the PIT-crazy nurse they showed over and over, it was the same nurse prescribing pitosin for everyone). Our nurses when Grace was born were great, they didn't do anything without asking us first. (The OBGYN who delivered Grace was a dork, though. He denied the nurses from calling Emily's doctor, stripped her membranes without telling us, which is probably why Emily's water broke when she wasn't having contractions thus facilitating the need for pitosin, epidural, more pitosin, Grace's heart rate going nuts, etc, and He didn't want Emily's doctor involved. Some political nonsense involved. Emily's doctor would've been great. He was on vacation but was in town and wanted us to call him. The other doctor got in the way of him, Jerk)
    A woman in our last ward called herself a midwife, but she was neither a nurse, nor certified, which to us is scary. She is out delivering babies without as much training or equipment to handle emergencies. The midwife they featured in the film was excellent, but how many midwives are really as great as her?
    It was a good movie all over and we're glad for your recommendation to watch it. Emily has said she'd like to try a natural birth, but doesn't want to have it at home. Too much trouble...

  8. I have heard about this movie coming out for YEARS. I really want to see this movie.

  9. I wish that I would have been smarter about researching different births. I ended up having to have a c-section with my first because she was breech, and I was 4 days overdue. It worked out. I have been pretty lucky to have good doctors and all were good about listening to me. I like the movie overall. It was pretty funny to me that all the women that were in the movie were okay with their naked selves being on TV. I don't want someone I know seeing me naked. I like the idea of laboring in the water, and the idea of squatting during the birthing sounds so much easier then laying in a bed. It makes me nervous about actually having the baby in the water though. I think we need more movies like this on all aspects of child birth/doctors, midwives etc. and we need to have them available in prebirth classes, or something.
    Thanks for recommending it.

  10. Hey, Cristin, it's Soeur Liljenquist, from the mish hahaha. I found your blog on your mission website profile, hope you're doing good...I need to rent this movie, I just loved the doctors' faces when they were asked how many natural births they've seen...hilarious. I had my first and 3rd babies at a hospital naturally, and the second one at home here in Utah with Tara Tulley (http://www.balancedfamilies.com/)...wonderful experience. The only reason I didn't have my 3rd at home was honestly the cleanup and to give my mom and husband a cooking break for a couple of days...tsk tsk. But the hospitals (one in Hawaii, one in Utah) both times, with the help of my outspoken husband, were pretty hands-off once I explained what I wanted to do (and them not to). Anyway, my daughter is creepily whispering in my ear for candy, I'll catch up with you later.



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