Friday, October 23, 2009

The Business of Being Born  

I watched a GREAT documentary with some of my feminist friends last night: "The Business of Being Born." It's a film about how in the U.S., women are often pressured to partake in the typical hospital birth, rather than explore their other options, such as a home birth. Hospitals are a business, and the scary part is that doctors will try to rush births in order to clear more beds and keep women moving in and out, even if it means giving them harmful medication.

There are some really beautiful home birth scenes in this movie. The interesting part is that the women who give birth at home or in water hardly scream, and the baby that comes out hardly cries. The environment carries so much less stress than hospitals do. I highly recommend seeing this movie... you will develop such a deep appreciation for the birthing process.

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6 comments: to “ The Business of Being Born

  • October 23, 2009 at 4:34 PM  

    The problem is that you're able to say the same thing about doctors as midwifes in this topic. So the movie shows it from one side... It'd be possible to show it from the other, too, showing mothers birthing in hospitals barely crying and being comfortable and surrounded by family. Then remember that hospitals serve all comers, be they planned and timed or emergencies or unscheduled.

    So count me as unpersuaded one way or the other.

  • October 23, 2009 at 8:42 PM  

    The relationship between midwives and their patients is a unique one... it is unlike the one between doctors and patients. It is so much more personal. It is something you have to pay for, and it is a business because midwives do have to make money too, but do you know how much cheaper it is to use a midwife than a hospital? A midwife is around $4,000 (which includes pre and post-natal care), while a hospital can charge as much as $13,000.

    I am sure there are women who give birth in hospitals and don't scream or cry, of course every birth is unique. However, my argument is that the home is a much more comfortable place for a woman to give birth. You cannot argue against that. I would much rather be in the comfort of my own home than in a hospital bed. Hospitals have a stressful environment, so I feel that women are much more likely to be relaxed and be able to breathe through the pain in an environment that isn't stressful... like their living room or bedroom.

    Also, it is a common misconception that midwives cannot handle emergencies during the birthing process. This is completely false. If a woman who is giving birth starts to experience difficulties, the midwife knows to rush her to the hospital immediately. Midwives are trained like doctors and can deal with a lot of different emergencies, but should an emergency arise they cannot handle in the home environment, it is their job to take that woman to the hospital to ensure that her birth goes as smoothly as possible.

    Overall, I see your point. But I think you need to watch this film before making assumptions.

  • October 23, 2009 at 8:51 PM  

    i saw the documentary too and thought it was great. i didn't know anything about birthing options alternative to hospitals and this really opened my eyes to what options women have.

    in response to crissa, i don't know any hospital in my area that will allow more than 2 people in the room during childbirth and i have never heard of children being allowed in the room(it may just be my area though). in the documentary, even siblings were present. what a great experience!

  • October 24, 2009 at 7:56 AM  

    As an OB nurse, I see home birth and hospital birth as ends on a continuum, not an either/or choice. Some moms and babies need what the hospital offers; some don't. In this country, we've medicalized birth to the point where we can't tell the difference.

  • October 27, 2009 at 2:40 AM  

    'Oh no, not more than two people in the room!'

    So what? Hospitals run with strict rules regarding space available and fire codes. They're obviously expensive.

    I know my mother would've died (with my sister) had they gone with a traditional un-planned birth or non-hospital birth. I also know I was allowed to be there, in the room, with her and my step-dad.

    Since then, I've visited many people in hospitals, and I know they vary from place to place. But it's not really an either or. Midwives shouldn't exist without hospitals alongside them if we want to retain a high infant survival rate and long life expectancy for women. Maybe we should encourage them being used more, just as we encourage more outpatient procedures for other things which no longer require long hospital attention.

    But I think the documentary and its statistics are wrong to paint hospitals as a money-grubbing villain.

  • February 1, 2010 at 1:03 PM  

    I'm really interested in watching this documentary now. I have no problem with hospitals, or the way they deliver babies, I just think it's a good idea to learn about every possible option. When I'm ready to have children, I want to make sure I do it in a way that's best for me, be it midwife or OB/GYN.