Search - The Business of Being Born on DVD

The Business of Being Born
The Business of Being Born
Actors: Julia Barnett Tracy, Louann Brizendine, Michael Brodman, Patricia Burkhardt, Tina Cassidy
Director: Abby Epstein
Genres: Special Interests, Documentary
UR     2008     1hr 27min

Studio: New Line Home Video Release Date: 05/06/2008 Rating: Nr


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Movie Details

Actors: Julia Barnett Tracy, Louann Brizendine, Michael Brodman, Patricia Burkhardt, Tina Cassidy
Director: Abby Epstein
Creators: Abby Epstein, Paulo Netto, Madeleine Gavin, Amy Slotnick, Ricki Lake
Genres: Special Interests, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Pregnancy & Childbirth, Pre & Post-Natal, Infants & Toddlers, Documentary
Studio: New Line Home Video
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Dubbed
DVD Release Date: 05/06/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/2008
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 27min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 10
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English, Spanish

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Member Movie Reviews

Damian M. (ratchet)
Reviewed on 3/11/2009...
If you ever wanted to see Ricki Lake's boobs, this is the movie for you! Besides that, it was full of good information about the whole birthing procedure and ridiculous overuse of hospitals for low-risk deliveries. Hospitals need to make money, thats why they love pitocin to get you out of that bed faster. Despite our nearly universal hospital baby deliveries, we still have a higher infant and maternal mortality rate than even some Third World nations. Also, the whole C-section fad is getting to be insane as well, brought on by Hollywood types and their legions of followers. Oh, also you get to see a baby poop out of Ricki's vag-hole!
1 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Review by a Couple With Some Home Birth Experience
Kenneth L. Smith | Ellendale, North Dakota | 03/03/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"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. The film did not mention the religious reasons some people choose home birth (we'd have loved to see interviews with Amish home birthers, for example). We did think the contributions of Michael Odent, Ina Gaskin, and the other midwives (and the back-up doctor) were portrayed very well.

We have had six home births (four with well-trained midwives). Our midwives definitely went the extra mile for us, and were genuinely interested not only in "getting the baby out" but in all aspects of prenatal, delivery, and early infant care. They were extremely generous in their time and expertise. In terms of theoretical and practical knowledge, our trained midwives were the equal if not superior to the typical birth-attending physician. This perspective comes across pretty well on the film.

All in all, this is a good film. It could be quite a bit better in terms of explaining non-medicalized birth to people who are unfamiliar with it. But it's a good start and we recommend it to anyone interested in the topic."
Much needed movie!
Elizabeth Rose Augustine | Whidbey Island, WA | 03/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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. They ignored my wishes, they insisted on a hep-lock, they refused to take my pitocin IV out after the birth and whenever I asked for it out, the nurse would "go to check" with the head nurse and never come back. Or they'd soothe me "sure, right after this bag." I had nurses who pretty much just strapped me to the monitoring and ignored me until I started moaning badly and then it was time to push. I felt violated and without dignity the whole time.

It pains me that women expect this. I have many friends who've birthed at home and it was the best experience in the world for them. This movie needs to get in the hands of all expectant mothers just for the simple fact that they should CONSIDER other options and perhaps clear up their misconceptions about midwives being little more than some hippy babushka who comes in with herbs and potions. Kudos to Ricki Lake for stepping us in the right direction."
A great introduction to birth choices
Saratchka | 03/06/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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!"