Film Review: The Business of Being Born

I think that, if I take an honest look into what sparked my interest in natural health, I can point to Matt and I’s decision to use The Fertility Awareness Method as a means of “birth control” when we first got married. I was fascinated with how I could be in tune with my body and how capable we can become with the right knowledge. This led into an interest in natural childbirth, which led me to….The Business of Being Born.

Now a cult favorite among crunchy moms everywhere, this documentary by Ricki Lake and friends was revolutionary in educating women on the healthcare industry’s claims on pregnant women and the options available to them should they choose to look. Many women (as Ricki did with her first pregnancy) go through their pregnancy assuming that induction, c-section, episiotomies, epidurals, and not eating during birth are completely necessary and unavoidable- but this documentary will show even the most skeptical woman that it simply isn’t true.

Ricki advocates for home-birth, birth centers, midwives, doulas, birthing pools, and a strict absence of medication and intervention. During the documentary, you will witness all of these things, so be prepared, it can be graphic at times. She uncovers many truths about the standard birthing industry, uses strong statistics to back her claims, and even documents her own home-birth experience for viewers. In addition, she shares the story of a colleague who attempted home-birth but had to be moved to a hospitalized in the end- a refreshingly honest look at the birth process.

This past year, Ricki and friends released a four-part follow-up series that delves deeper into the natural childbirth realm, entitled More Business of Being Born. Each episode takes an aspect of natural childbirth and breaks it down into more detail- should the first documentary leave you with questions, keep watching! These women are excited about their research and it comes through in the quality of their work.

While I don’t think that home-birth is for everyone (I am not sure that it’s even for me when that time comes), I do think that it’s good to consider every option when closing what is best for you and your child, and to be fully informed. These documentaries are great for helping women (and even men- Matt watched it, too!) ask questions that they might not think to ask, and rethink things that we have taken for granted about the process of growing a family. The best part- all of these documentaries can be viewed instantly on Netflix! Enjoy!

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