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The Business of Being Born

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I just watched the movie this afternoon (I know, welcome to 5 years ago lol but someone mentioned in another thread it's on Netflix so I watched it)...


Am I the last one on the planet to be shocked by what a misleading and deceitful documentary this is?


I'm not debating the actual topic of home vs hospital, I'm just outraged at the shady and deceptive way they try to get their point across. It was just unbelievable.

post #2 of 15

What about it bothered you, specifically?

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 

Ahhhhhh! My son just deleted my entire post!! LOL I'm not writing out all the points again! duh.gif


...but after doing some research, I found that even other midwives think these people are crackpots so I feel a bit better... but this movie (I can't even call it a documentary) should come with a disclaimer. They compare apples to oranges. US midwives are not the same as those in Canada or the "industrialized nations" they compare themselves to. Those midwives are highly trained medical professionals who have hospital privileges, work in conjunction with OB/GYNs and are regulated. Here you're given a choice of a midwife or OB, but if there are any complications in the pregnancy, you're transferred to an OB. Only the lowest risk, healthiest patients are taken on by midwives (so of course OBs will have higher complication rates). Midwives in the US may be dangerously under qualified, inexperienced, unregulated, uninsured, etc. I'm not saying they are, I'm sure there are those who are so passionate that they go way above and beyond what is required to be a safe midwife, but nowhere does this movie mention that women need to research who they hire. They could very well end up with someone no more qualified than a dog breeder, have no insurance and end up caring for a child with a permanent birth injury. They don't mention that midwives in the US don't need to report adverse outcomes of their births. At the time of this movie the midwife was even being sued for a stillborn child and a paralyzed one. 


I'm not pro or anti any kind of birth but I just found this movie to be so irresponsible. Not every woman can have a home birth just because she has a vagina... and the bit about women who have caesareans are as a "medical fact" unable to bond with their babies was just disgusting. 


At least the movie draws attention to the normalization of home births and brings them into the mainstream (or kickstart the "homebirth industry", who knows) but it should not be used to "educate" anyone. 


I feel so insulted that they would try to manipulate women like this. 

post #4 of 15

I have to say I agree with you.  It is so manipulative.  I could type a big long post, but I pretty much agree with everything you wrote thumb.gif

post #5 of 15

Totally agree, Escaping. I think homebirth is a good option for a lot of people, but women in the US do have to research critically simply because there is no system friendly the homebirth midwives here. My biggest issue with the movie is that I don't think it accomplished what it set out to do. Instead of building support for natural/homebirth and shedding light on the failings of the hospital system, I think it just made the movement look irrational. Anyone with basic logic would have no issue poking holes in their arguments.

post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 

I went into it with good intentions, I heard so many great reviews about how objective it was and how it presented both sides... but it seemed to me they just selected two of the most clueless, disinterested OBs they could find and effortlessly disproved anything they said.


It's a wonderful movie for people who know what they want anyway, who just need someone to tell them what they want to hear, but I can't imagine what kinds of devastation it would cause for women who did not prepare themselves for any intervention, because this movie so strongly suggests they're not necessary, and were blindsided at the last minute. 


I kind of feel lucky I was able to go into my pregnancy without being coached or told what to feel because I can't imagine what it would be like to mentally prepare yourself and have your heart so set on one thing and fate have something entirely different in store for you... Especially if you buy into what they say near the end... I had to watch it a few times before I could believe what he actually said... good thing it had subtitles because I thought I was just hearing him wrong.



...so what is this saying about adoptive parents, same sex parents, fathers, etc... anyone other than a mother who gave birth naturally is incapable of loving or caring for a child?


For as many births experiences as this movie improves, it probably ruins just as many. 

post #7 of 15

Have you also watched Laboring Under an Illusion?


The NCB community seemed to think it would be a good one, at first, because it showed TV and movie births, all overly dramatic or comic. All quite unrealistic. Then the director talks about movies like Orgasmic Birth and BOBB saying that they are equally unrealistic and mislead women in the other direction. Telling them that if they just avoid interventions and doctors they can have a wonderful birth.


I am an OOH midwife and the first time I saw BOBB, I told midwife friends that that movie was going to come back to bite us in the butt. The reason is that so many women are poorly informed about their own health and what is going on with their pregnancies (basic denial in a lot of cases), that they watch the movie and start thinking they must be one of those women that the docs just want to cut open. I have seen a big increase in the number of women who don't believe they don't have GD, that 42 weeks and beyond is fine, and that "you can't grow a baby bigger than you can birth". I have received a lot of phone calls from women who want an OOH birth, but as soon as I start asking questions it is very obvious they are not good candidates. I know a fair number of midwives who in an attempt to "rescue" these women from hospitals and doctors are pushing the boundaries of what is safe. The increase in the number of baby deaths is the result.


However, rather than the midwives admitting these women were not candidates for OOH birth, they say it was the woman's choice and she understood the risks involved. I'm pretty sure not too many midwives would tell a woman that if she insisted on an OOH birth when things became complicated, that there was a risk of her baby dieing. I can't think of too many women who would think that having their baby die would be preferable to a C/sec or a vaginal birth in hospital.


And, I have yet to meet a NCB educator who teaches parents how to discern when interventions become necessary.

post #8 of 15

I just noticed that our local birth center has the trailer from BOBB on their "videos" page. It seems to be one of those things that provides an NCB "credential" and/or helps underscore the argument for why women should avoid hospital birth at all costs. It certainly has been influential in my community...even though I've never seen it, I've talked to women who have. It represents a mindset that is "mainstream" in my social circles.

post #9 of 15

Interesting article on the midwife featured in the BOBB...



post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by mothercat View Post

Have you also watched Laboring Under an Illusion?


I haven't... but I'll have to check it out if I come across it, I just watched the trailer for it smile.gif



Originally Posted by Buzzbuzz View Post

Interesting article on the midwife featured in the BOBB...




That was interesting... and scary. I understand there were points of the article which have been found to be defamatory... but still... 

post #11 of 15
She’d bring her patients in, holding their hands, find out we were going to have to do a section, and then she’s out the door. To me, that’s a dump.” Other doctors on the floor have referred to her transferred patients as “train wrecks.”


If this is the case, it's unfortunate. When I have a hospital transport, I stay with the family until the baby's born and everyone's settled in.



Though it is required by law for every midwife in New York to have one, Muhlhahn also doesn’t have a signed practice agreement with a physician,


This isn't true. New York dropped the WPA requirements.

post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 

Did they drop the WPA requirements recently? The article is from March 2009.


Our midwives in Ontario also stay with their patients if they have to transfer to the hospital. They also escort mom and baby back home and help them get settled which I think is pretty cool.

post #13 of 15

I didn't love it either. Nothing really resonated with me. 

post #14 of 15
Originally Posted by Escaping View Post

Did they drop the WPA requirements recently? The article is from March 2009.


Our midwives in Ontario also stay with their patients if they have to transfer to the hospital. They also escort mom and baby back home and help them get settled which I think is pretty cool.


I believe it was 2010? (Googled: Yes, the law was changed summer 2010.) The WPA rules were definitely in effect when the article was written. I remember the fuss when it came out. NYS abolished the rule after St Vincent's closed and all the home birth midwives lost their agreements. No other hospital in the city would allow its docs to provide formal backup to them. They viewed it as a potential liability. The mayor, IIRC, even asked one of the public hospitals if they would, and they said no. Midwives in other parts of the state had been losing backup too--in some cases not only due to hospitals, but the OBs' malpractice insurers would not continue coverage if they backed midwives they did not supervise or work with directly in the office--but the NYC situation put a spotlight on the issue. 


I don't like BoBB either and I particularly dislike the way it features Michel Odent. But then, I've had 2 Caesareans so yes, I would object to him "speculating" about the generation that cannot love. 

post #15 of 15

To be honest, I didn't really like TBOBB either. It was good enough to watch, but not something that would aid in the development of a semi-educated opinion about midwives/homebirth in the US. I would really like to see more normal birth documentaries....but not this one.


I tried to watch 'more business of being born' on netflix.

Yeah..Ricki was really coming off as an illogical sycophant the way she gushed over Ina May (later gifting her with a butt plug?). The gushing she should have saved that for off the camera - IMO she just looked silly. I would loved to have heard more from Ina and less (ok, much, much less) of Ricki.

The part I turned it off at was when Ricki and Abby were both (again, IMO) attempting to pressure Ina and the 2nd midwife to connect hospital birth and medication with autism and the like.

It was irritating to me, not because I have had all home births and non vax and STILL have an autistic child - but, irritating because it ranked up there with the same as Micheal Odent's "c-section/love" theory.

People should really only talk about what they KNOW. A c-section doesn't keep a mama from loving and getting a shot of drugs during an excruciating labor doesn't mean the kids going to have autism.

I don't know who elected some of these people as mouth pieces for 'alternative' medicine, but I shudder....really shudder.

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