Saturday, January 22, 2011

Movie review: The Business of Being Born

One of the documentaries I watched on Netflix is The Business of Being Born.  As much as I'm not ready to have a baby yet, I am interested in the ongoing debate over the different ways of giving birth.  I'm not in any way advocating one way of giving birth to babies over another because I know next to nothing about it.  I haven't done any research other than reading birth stories on some blogs and watching this movie.  But there were some things in the movie that I found interesting:
  • Midwives attend to over 70% of the births in Europe and Asia.   In the United States they attend less than 8%.
  • "Women have been told that they're not responsible for their own birth process."
  • Obstetricians = surgeons
  • The United States has the second worst newborn death rate in the developed world.
  • The United States has one of the highest maternal mortality rates among all industrialized countries.
  • "Hospitals are businesses."
  • "Once they started an was like a domino effect."
  • "In the hospital you're not allowed to have very long labors, so if you're not dilating rapidly, which you're likely not to do if you have an epidural early in labor, you will be give pitocin.  They will put the in the IV.  It will flow into your veins.  Pitocin makes contractions longer and stronger and closer together.  So the pain of labor is much worse.  So you go with that for a while because you have the epidural, but eventually the pain of the contractions in overwhelming the epidural so you need to up the epidural and then labor slows down so you up the pitocin.  Now you're not feeling the pain of the extra pitocin because you have the epidural, but your baby is getting compressed. Blood and oxygen levels drop.  Because pitocin contractions last so long and they're so strong, the blood and oxygen flow to the baby is compromised.  So then the baby is likely to go into distress and then you're sent off for an emergency C-Section from contractions induced by pitocin..."
  • "Women have given up their autonomy about birth."
  • "I think there's a lot of fear instilled in women around birth."
  • "Why should women feel confident about giving birth when the whole culture is telling them this is scary, this is dangerous?"
  • "Women expect to have traumatic experiences.  That's why they're all having epidurals because they're terrified of what this is."
  • "You're going to be transformed by your birth.  Like it or not."
  • "For the rest of her life, a woman will remember how she was made to feel while giving birth."
  • "If you really want a humanized birth, the best thing you can do is get the hell out of the hospital."

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