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      The Business of Being Born

      Released Jan 9, 2008 1h 27m Documentary List
      81% Tomatometer 27 Reviews 85% Audience Score 5,000+ Ratings This documentary, directed by Abby Epstein, examines the ways that the American health care system approaches childbirth. The traditional form of U.S. birth involves hospitals, drugs and obstetricians, while births in many other countries utilize midwives. Interviews with parents and medical experts explain the realities of maternity care. When Epstein discovers that she is pregnant herself, the discussion becomes less theoretical, as she must decide which form of birthing she will employ. Read More Read Less

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      The Business of Being Born

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      Critics Consensus

      Epstein's argument in favor of home birthing is certainly biased -- but its biases are so transparent, and so impassioned, that they work in the film's favor.

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      Critics Reviews

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      Rachel Fudge Bitch Media The film is flawed in many ways, not least of which is its tendency to oversimplify the portrayal of hospital births vs homebirths... What the movie does well, though, is to offer a corrective to the mainstream narrative about childbirth. Dec 17, 2020 Full Review Maitland McDonagh Time Out Rated: 4/5 Nov 17, 2011 Full Review Moira MacDonald Seattle Times Important viewing for anyone contemplating a birth plan. Rated: 3/4 Feb 29, 2008 Full Review Gabe Leibowitz Film and Felt The Business of Being Born is Ricki Lake's passionate statement about natural birth and the health lobby's choke-hold over public perception. Rated: 67/100 Apr 18, 2010 Full Review Jennifer Merin About.com Full of surprises, including shocking stats about the high rate of infant mortality in America, prevalence and high cost of Cesarean deliveries and contextual presentation of Ricki Lake's home video of the delivery of her child. Rated: 4..5/5 Jun 9, 2009 Full Review Rachel Gordon Filmcritic.com an effective glimpse into the need for personal research, and a solid argument for making informed choices. Rated: 4/5 Apr 7, 2009 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

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      anarchic t Dangerous, scaremongering rubbish. Interestingly, when you visit the makers' website, they seem to be making quite a lot of money (or trying to) out of denouncing others as profiteering. Rated 0.5 out of 5 stars 08/07/23 Full Review Yo M Subject is literally life or death! Every woman should watch this documentary! I'd recommend every man as well, as they have as much to gain or lose. Though these days, they're probably busy playing video games. I'd give a thousand stars if I could. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 04/25/23 Full Review Audience Member The business of being born is not so cut and clear This documentary covers the lives of mid wives, at home births, performing C-sections Maternity care in the US was in crises We've relied on hospitals, obstetricians, and drugs yet many women prefer at home births Director Abby Epstein examines the ways that the American health care system approaches childbirth She also covers the realities of maternity care delivering with or without a traditional doctor Lots of theories and perceptions trace back to the early 1920s viewing midwives as untrustworthy and less qualified Professional trained surgeons to some are more reliable but the US has the second worst newborn death rate in the world and one of the highest mortality rates It's difficult because hospitals are businesses so they can't have women just sitting around in the delivery rooms as other expectant mothers have to be tended to yet the cost is still staggering for most The misinformation given to women is also one of the biggest problems from infections to being sanitary while in the delivery room Giving up autonomy, being resistant to drugs, and the culture expecting women to go through trauma during childbirth all work against the process A woman doesn't need to be rescued so a baby changes everything good or bad Birth defects would also be common for doctors not knowing exactly how to properly birth children which of course affects the feminist movement This documentary covers all sides of child birth by traditional or non traditional means wondering are home births safer, having machinery on stand by in case something goes wrong or worrying about being prepared for what happens to the child or mother So yeah it's biased but works in its favor because it's so transparent and impassioned Plus it offers a corrective to the mainstream narrative of the subject Very messy and amateurish in spots but heartfelt and compelling Might even make some realize how cold and impersonal the hospital births really are Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/16/23 Full Review Audience Member After hearing it cost a friend over $30,000 to have her baby, I got curious. I wanted to know why. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 01/11/23 Full Review Audience Member Thank you to Abby Epstein and Ricki Lake for making this documentary. Thanks to Ricki and all the moms for sharing their inspiring personal homebirthing experiences. Women have been giving birth since the dawn of time, but normal birth in the US has been hijacked for decades by a medical healthcare system that repeatedly turns what should be normal births into medical emergencies, often leading to more expensive and more complicated procedures. When there is a real medical emergency, those medical procedures can save lives, but too many births that should have been normal are turned into emergencies by bad hospital policies and procedures that are very common. American birth statistics are the worst in the industrialized world. Outcomes are statistically worse here. They are better in Europe and Japan, where more births are at home and midwife assisted. Between the fetal heart monitor tether that prevents normal and natural movements of the birthing mom and the pitocin drip that's almost obligatory in some hospitals to the episiotomy that is pretty much standard procedure in some hospitals, there's a lot of room for improvement to the cattlization of the birthing process. By cattlization, I mean the treatment of birthing moms like cattle. By simply letting birthing moms move about the room naturally, with light set to be more comfortable to their eyes, and some helpful props like a birth ball, birth chair, etc, a great deal of these usually unnecessary interventions could be avoided. Reform is needed, and more options and choices. Women shouldn't continue to be treated like cattle in the US during birth, unless that is what they really want. Some moms are okay with it because it has come to be expected. They think it must be necessary if that's how we do it. Such blind trust and faith. If that's how you want it fine, but why should everybody be forcibly treated like cattle? And when I say forced, I mean forced. Because, if you aren't given all your options and had them explained in a way that you understand, you are forced to choose what your provider has decided is best (or most profitable and most convenient) for them. The choices are taken from you. And also, forced, because staff may physically force you to accept whatever it is they want you to do, by for example, cutting an episiotomy against your wishes when it's not medically really necessary or putting pitocin in your IV without telling you or making it physically impossible for you to change position. This is all very common. Think you're safe because you wrote a birth plan? Why is it that providers really don't seem interested in birth plans? Apparently a birth plan is completely irrelevant. Just a piece of paper to give you a nice birth fantasy to think about, when the reality you will get is how your medical birth professional thinks it should be done. The potential for a positive birth experience is higher in a home birth. The mother has a lot more control of her environment. There is less likely to be large numbers of staff in the room or someone screaming at the mother to push. No one will be forcing her to lie flat on her back. She will not be tethered on a short leash to a fetal monitor. The lights can be adjusted to her comfort. And most likely that baby will be in your arms just moments after birth, vs having your baby endlessly poked, prodded, cleaned and monitored for however long the staff want to do it (could be an hour or more) before you finally get to see and hold your baby. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/21/23 Full Review Audience Member A must see for anyone contemplating giving birth. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/15/23 Full Review Read all reviews
      The Business of Being Born

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      Cast & Crew

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      Movie Info

      Synopsis This documentary, directed by Abby Epstein, examines the ways that the American health care system approaches childbirth. The traditional form of U.S. birth involves hospitals, drugs and obstetricians, while births in many other countries utilize midwives. Interviews with parents and medical experts explain the realities of maternity care. When Epstein discovers that she is pregnant herself, the discussion becomes less theoretical, as she must decide which form of birthing she will employ.
      Director
      Abby Epstein
      Distributor
      International Film Circuit [us]
      Genre
      Documentary
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Jan 9, 2008, Limited
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Oct 1, 2008
      Box Office (Gross USA)
      $69.3K
      Runtime
      1h 27m
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