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1 hr. 27 min.

Plot Summary
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.

Cast: Ricki Lake

Director: Abby Epstein

Genres: Documentary

Distributor: International Film Circuit [us]

The Business of Being Born (2007)

Release Date: January 9th, 2008|1 hr. 27 min.

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critic reviews (10)
fan reviews ( 2 )
  • 75
    San Francisco Chronicle

    A powerful, frightening look at America's delivery room. show more

  • 75
    Jack Mathews New York Daily News

    Passionate, enlightening and unabashedly one-sided, Abby Epstein's documentary is not for everyone. But at the very least, it should be seen by every pregnant woman in America. show more

  • 75
    Maitland McDonagh TV Guide

    It's a serious and well-researched consideration of natural childbearing vs. hospital delivery that explores the larger social conditions and assumptions that shape women's choices. show more

  • May 22, 2008 chickenstrudelsm
    Report This User

    This movie touches emotional and scientific issues surrounding the appalling technocentricity of birth in the US today. As a very well-informed birth professional, my opinion is that the movie did not exaggerate any statistics; in fact, I wanted more to pre-emptively strike down the comments from the MDs and others in this dollar- and doctor-driven business. For the moviegoer who wants to be emotionally affected, it's a given; the birth sequences are peaceful, private, and show women in control of their bodies. (Contrary to popular belief, a moaning, rocking, writhing woman in labor has great control...a woman who cannot move for fear of disturbing the tubes and belts and lines whose presence is not even substantiated by research is not in control.) For the individual in agreement with the film's premise, there is plenty of info and anecdotes to satisfy. For the individual who wants to believe the film is propoganda, like one reviewer said, do your homework, buddy. Home birth is safer than hospital birth for the low risk patient for a host of reasons. Go to all the medical journals and you'll see nothing but substantiation of the film's tenets. Now, it remains up to the public to push for normal, non-manipulated birth. Lastly, the inclusion of the filmmaker's unexpected birth outcome lends credence to the film rather than dilutes it; because of course, a small percentage of births are rightly and safely taking place in hospitals and in ORs. Overall a great effort, and I hope Ms. Lake's drive does not falter. I also recommend this film for every expectant mother, to affirm to her that the experience of birth does matter; it's not all just about a healthy baby.

  • May 22, 2008 kag7575
    Report This User

    Points are well taken....if a bit scattered throughout. The birth scenes are moving and beautifully done. Those who are advocates for home birth and minimal intervention will find this movie uplifting. It will not affect the larger group-women of childbearing age- in the same way. Women are scared to give birth. They see epidurals as a means to gain some control over a process that will be too difficult and too frightening to tolerate. Until we gain some ground in re-creating an atmosphere of confidence in the birth process itself, we will be stuck right where we are.

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