Ricki Lake Talks More Business of Being Born

07/13/2011 at 09:00 AM ET
Courtesy Ricki Lake

For Ricki Lake, working on the documentary The Business of Being Born was a labor of love.

“I worked on this project for three-and-a-half years. My son who is born in the movie is now 10,” she tells PEOPLE.

“It’s a lot of time, a lot of effort, and just hope that the public would care about the issue.”

Released on DVD in 2008, The Business of Being Born follows Lake and director Abby Epstein, whose pregnancy is also depicted in the film, as they investigate birthing practices in the U.S., from hospital care to midwifery and home births.

“The message is really about choices and exploring birth options,” Lake, 42, says. “I want a woman to be able to give birth in the way in which she chooses.”

“I want those women to be informed and to know what they’re getting into,” she continues. “They need to know the pros and cons of it all — I happen to support home birth because I had a beautiful experience, but I’m not telling everyone to do that. I’m advocating for choices.”

The documentary has found success at home and abroad, and in particular with Hollywood stars such as Pink, who recently voiced her support of the film. For the follow-up, More Business of Being Born,ย which Lake is currently developing and hopes to release in October, new moms Alanis Morissette, Gisele Bรผndchen, Laila Ali and more have reached out to share their own birthing experiences.

“I think because they feel so strongly about the experience they were able to have or the message of the film, they’ve been happy to come forward,” Lake explains. “Alanis is particularly private and she was so candid with us. She allowed me to interview her while she was still pregnant. She was planning a home birth and we interviewed her before she had her baby and after. She’s incredibly articulate and eloquent about her experience”

“Gisele was incredible. Abby went to her house in Boston and she was in tears talking about this experience that she had,” adds Lake. “It’s amazing. She said to Abby [that] she would do anything [to help us].”

Among other subjects, the sequel tackles the VBAC issue — having a vaginal birth after a Cesarean section — as Kate Hudsonย did over the weekend with her second son.

“In 300 hospitals around the country, once you have a Cesarean, you’re not allowed to have a vaginal birth,” Lake notes. “If a woman is given a C-section, she doesn’t know the next time around she will likely have another C-section, and it will not be her choice. If a woman knows that, she might fight not to have the C-section in the first place.”

Ultimately, “We definitely need some major reform in this birth system,” Lake says. “There needs to be a system in place where we honor normal birth and women’s bodies working the way they’re supposed to. Midwives should really be utilized more.”

“If women all had that experience and were able to feel empowered and transformed by however they give birth; if it can be a positive experience and they feel like they’re in charge of their babies and their bodies, I think the world would be a better place.”

Lake and Epstein are currently fundraising for a budget to promote and market More Business of Being Born. If you are interested in donating (the drive ends Thursday), please click here.

— Kiran Hefa

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Showing 78 comments

A on

This woman sets my teeth on edge. I’m all for knowing all of your options and doing what works for you. But she gives off such a huge elitist vibe and at the same time I’ve heard her spread dangerous lies, such as, “there’s no such thing as a baby that’s too large for its mother to deliver,” in interviews. Please people, remember that doctors, and even doulas and midwives, have education that celebrities decidedly do NOT!

A on

“If a woman knows that, she might fight not to have the C-section in the first place.โ€

Yes, because women should ALWAYS fight C-sections! Who cares if your doctor says that your baby is in distress and could die? Dangit, make sure you ALWAYS say no to your doctor, because celebrities told you to! *sarcasm*

Hope you’re happy, Ricki, that some babies will probably DIE because of your, “there’s never a reason for a C-section” stance.

Liz on

A, what are you talking about? Have you even seen the first documentary? It ends with Abby Epstein needing a c-section. Ricki’s stance is not that there’s never a need for a c-section, it’s that they are performed unnecessarily at a much higher rate than needed – and the research supports that.

Women need to be aware of all their options and of the initial decisions (like use of Piticon) that can have an effect on the outcome. It’s all about making educated and informed choices.

I chose to use an in-hospital midwife and did get pain relief, but I felt that I knew what I was getting into thanks to her documentary. I found it very inspiring.

melissa on

I loved this movie and I love with Ricki stands for. She’s not making a stand on unsafe practices, she’s making a stand on informed choices.

I’m planning a home birth in September after having had a hospital birth. I make all my choices as informed as possible. Too often we are trusting of the medical field that takes away the human-ness and it just becomes about making money. I’m all for people having hospital births as well as home births. I personally view birth as an experience, not a procedure.

Sarah on

Couldn’t agree more with what Liz said. Those of you attacking Ricki Lake b/c of her stance on natural childbirth without even watching the documentary, are the same women who don’t make educated decisions on childbirth.

The ENTIRE Doc is about making decisions that are right for yourself and your situation. Some women choose drugs and inducements. Others don’t want that, but also aren’t presented with any other option from their OBGYN. She is not asking anyone to do away with c-sections, only for women to make more informed decisions about WHY you would need one.

It’s a beautiful documentary, whether you advocate natural childbirth or not. As someone who does, it was incredibly inspiring. It’s great to know someone still believes women should have choices!

Mira on

I have enormous respect for this woman. I had to fight tooth and nail to get a VBAC and I wish I didn’t have to do that.

There is an enormous and growing body of scientific evidence that C-sections are associated with more complications and risks both for mother and for baby. Doctors agree that they should be used only as a last resort. Unfortunately, this is not the case in the US. They are used much more routinely and, not for the right reasons. Several developed countries with lower infant mortality rates than the US have C-section rates that are 1/3 of the rate in the US. Clearly, there are a ton of unnecessary C-sections being performed in the US every year and the Obstetrics Association have themselves recognized this as a problem that needs to be addressed.

Good for Ricki for contributing to the solution, rather than to the problem.

kay on

As a labor and delivery nurse for the last 25 years, I have had the privelege of being part of thousands of births. Some low-risk, deliver in the tub midwife deliveries, and some high-risk deliveries in ICU while the mom is clinging to life.

I have also seen the TOLAC (trial of labor after cesarean)pendulum swing both ways. First, it was a given that every woman would have a TOLAC. There was an increase in maternal/fetal complications, then the pendulum swung the other way. NO one was offered the choice. Now (at least where I practice), it is a decision reached by both the patient and her doctor.

For example..I will see a woman attempt a TOLAC if her 1st c/s was for breech or fetal distress. She will most likely NOT choose to have a TOLAC if she pushed for 3 hrs and couldn’t deliver a 6 lb baby, and current baby is estimated to be 7 lbs.

When it is all said and done, no one WANTS to have an unplanned c/s, but the desired end result, is a healthy baby and a healthy mama.

Speaking to Ricki’s comments about cesarean sections is difficult without getting snarky. If she ever had to be present when a mom (who refused to have a repeat c/s) was told her baby has no brain activity due to oxygen deprivation when her uterus ruptured, she might not be so quick to lump all previous cesarean sections into one group. She needs to educate HERSELF before making such comments.

lucy on

Love her, the movie and the cause, so absolutely right on and necessary in this present time. I had 2 healthy beautiful home births, they were so beautiful and empowering. Midwives all the waay!!!!

Vanessa on

I believe natural births are over rated. So many women in my family have experienced natural births and were jealous of my quick recovery from my c-section.

I tried…don’t get me wrong, but after 3 hours of pushing both baby and I needed to rest and a c-section was more than necessary. Seeing my child and holding him for the first time was a beautiful moment that I will never forget. Neither he or I cared where he came out of…A week later I was back on my feet just like nothing had ever happened and I had an healthy baby to show for all my hard work during the last 41 weeks!

This time, I’m having a planned c-section. It is my choice, which is absolutely important to me, but please don’t come around telling me I am making the wrong decision when what you are proning is the FREEDOM to decide, which I absolutely have! ๐Ÿ™‚

A positive birthing experience is about the freedom of choice not whether or not you go all natural or not! ๐Ÿ™‚

K.W. on

I am so sick of hearing all these women feeling the need or right to be empowered through their birthing experience…as a mom who came home w/ empty arms after losing a child in the third trimester – be thankful that your baby makes it into this world safely – whether you pushed them out or they were delivered by c-section. How quickly we have forgotten that childbirth used to be so dangerous for women and babies and that modern medicine has helped to make it safer. My empowerment came from making decisions that put my child’s safety before my own wants and desires.

Shannon on

Her preaching is annoying. The film is out there; no need to keep talking about it.

Laura on

I completely agree, K.W. I’m also sorry to hear of your loss- I have been there as well.

Liz on

Many of you are not reading (Shannon, this is in promotion of the new film, not the 2008 documentary), not understanding, or completely missing the point altogether. Sad.

Audrey on

K.W, while I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your child, I honestly couldn’t have said it better myself.

I have given birth to two healthy babies, and I think there is too my hyping up of natural births, and not enough education of what can go wrong. While it is a parents decision (and I do respect that), how they choose to give birth, I have seen Ricki’s documentary and frankly it makes me sick, especially since now many women its the ONLY safe and positive way to give birth. And it makes me sicker that celebs and everyday women think they know better than medicine and science, that doctors have spent years studying and practicing. Yes they don’t know ALL the secrets, and yes things can go wrong, like my son’s very difficult birth, and there is not always someone else to blame (like some good doctors do) its just they way it is, and it can happen ANY way you decide to give birth.

Empowerment comes from giving birth PERIOD, not by how it’s done.

p on

believe me, I’m pretty crunchy and this movie sent me into orbit. the movie was FAR from being just about ‘having choices’. until this country becomes less sue-happy cesareans will happen all. the. time! god forbid something tragic happens during a vaginal birth, our culture immediately blames the ob.

we don’t need another doctor bashing movie.

Crystal on

I don’t understand where the negative comments toward Ricki or the film are coming from. She is advocating for women to become educated on the birth process and make informed decisions which work best for THEM. Hence, she wants you to do what you feel is best for you, not necessarily what your doctor or health care provider feel is best for you (within reason).

I thank her for putting this movie out and simply letting us know many doctors/hospitals are more “business” minded about birth than concerned about the best possible outcome for their patients.

I experienced this first hand when an OB tried to give me pitocin to “speed up my contractions” when I was having contractions 1-2 minutes apart and had been laboring only ONE HOUR. My total labor was 4 hours and I had to FIGHT to refuse pitocin the whole way. It turns my OB at the time “gives everyone pitocin” at each delivery. Yes, maybe you have a medical degree but clearly you are not using your best judgement in my situtaion, under the circumstances.

I have since delivered 2 more children (one of them breech) both 100% all natural, with a wonderful midwife who studied each pregnancy and advised me accordingly. Another OB might have said “there is no way to deliver a breech baby and you need a C-Section.” Well guess what I am proof that maybe you don’t and women should know that, Ricki is trying to help people understand these options.

Birthing your child is the most personal, amazing experience anyone can have and they should have the ability to have THEIR very best birth without being treated like they are a bad patient or uncooperative. Also, there is no shame in requesting a C-section or pain meds, it’s your life and your birth!

Lis on

I also agree that a women should do what she chooses is best for her. However, it upsets me at how much c-section bashing there is. My son was breech. He was a planned c-section. I have no idea what it’s like to go into labor, what a contraction feels like, what it feels like to push, etc. And to be honest, I truly do feel a little bit of a loss because I didn’t get to experience that.

HOWEVER, my son…the most IMPORTANT thing that has EVER happened to me, was born PERFECT and HEALTHY. And at the end of the day, while I was sad I needed a c-section, my baby was my priority and it didn’t matter how he got here as long as he was healthy.

The truth of the matter is that c-sections are regularly performed…and this is because with the advances of modern medicine, they are *almost* as safe as vaginal deliveries. And THAT is why they are performed so frequently. Don’t get me wrong, I think that babies should be born the way nature intended, but if the mother ends up with a c-section it is almost ALWAYS because it is the best interest of the baby (and mother).

mommymaryRN on

Please remember that a celebrity that has a ton of money can find anyone she wants to say what she wants and tape a documentary and make it sound persuasive!

I work as a registered nurse in a holistic birthing center where we have doctors & midwives working side by side. Mothers get to choose anything from unmedicated tub births to epidural deliveries, but the main point is that they are at the HOSPITAL, not at HOME! If something goes wrong with either mom or baby (and trust me it can… I’ve seen it happen all too often) home is NOT where you want to be. Both a mom and her baby can die before EMS arrive.

But our society has become selfish, and distrusting of the professionals who have been educated to bring babies into this world. It is not about the money for me and the thousands of nurses and doctors like Lake claims! And we have one of the highest neonatal morbidity & mortality rates in the world not because of hospital births, but because we are one of the few countries in the world that practices infertility treatments such as IVF that leads to premature births and multiple births.

Anyone who is uneducated and ignorant enough to blindly believe what Lake has to say is as misinformed as she is. Go ahead and do what you want, not what might be is the best interests of your child.

Michele on

Not many people will deny that a healthy baby and a healthy mom matters, but let’s not forget that that is not ALL that matters. The birth experience matters too! We as women should be supporting each other not criticizing and bringing one another down.

p on

mommymaryRN – IVF does NOT lead to premature births!!! this statement could not be more wrong. People need to get their facts straight before making such absurd and ignorant claims. And IVF is also a worldwide procedure not something only for the infertile Americans.

good grief.

Michele on

MommymaryRN your comment is an example of exactly what they teach us not to do in nursing school. We are there to advocate for what the client wants NOT to spout off what we think is correct. Your comment is flawed in so many ways, I truly hope you do not share your thoughts with clients as you would truly be doing them a disservice.

Jacqui on

With my first pregnancy, I had a midwife and was very much looking forward to a completely natural water birth. I ended up having an emergency C-section.

Now, I am 16 weeks along with my second, and I am getting the opposite pressure that so many are describing — my OB is STRONGLY URGING me to have a VBAC. The pressure is ON, and honestly, I’m not sure that’s what is right for me. But she (my OB) is literally making me feel I don’t have a choice.

Amber on

Why is it that America has such a high infant mortality rate if these cesareans are a good thing? If you watch the first documentary, Rikki clearly states that the scenario she felt forced into was wrong FOR HER. This is something that keeps happening at an alarming rate.

The exact same situation happened to our best friends five weeks ago when their son was born. She was two days past her due date, not dilated and the doctor told her he felt they needed to induce. They gave her pitocin. Her contractions were massive, so they gave her an epidural. She never even pushed. The baby’s heart rate dropped twice from the monster contractions, so they rushed her in for an emergency c-section. She hemorrhaged and their son ingested meconium and had to be rushed to a different hospital. The baby had to spend a week at a different hospital than his mother. All of this was after a ridiculously routine pregnancy without so much as a hiccup. Both are doing well now, all things considered, but it isn’t a dire emergency if a first baby goes a few days over.

In medically necessary situations, c-sections are a godsend, but they are happening for the convenience of parents, the convenience of doctors and out of fear of malpractice lawsuits.

In Sweden, where I now live, cesareans are far less common. We don’t embrace the home birth, but well educated midwives are present at all deliveries. There is no magic time limit. Birth is a much more natural process and typically walking epidurals are administered rather than the full epidurals. We have the 3rd lowest infant mortality rate in the world. The US is #46.

While I may not embrace her home birth mentality because of what CAN go wrong, the general statement makes sense. Giving birth is a natural thing. It doesn’t happen on anyone’s schedule but the child’s.

Melody on


While I understand what you are saying, please understand that not everyone has the option of a birthing center. Being a Canadian living in a small town, we have one hospital equipped to handle three births at a time. I have friends who delivered in the hallway, waiting to get into a room.

As a young first time mom I felt like I had no choice in what went on in my delivery. Even though we knew the exact date we conceived and that we were having a big baby, my doctor still waited for me to go two weeks overdue (I could barely walk) to induce me. I ended up vaginally delivering an 11lb baby, which you can imagine wasn’t exactly fun. There were way too many people in the tiny delivery room, including 6 nurses who really needed an attitude check. Having a complete stranger scream in your face telling you that you’re “doing it wrong” (I wasn’t, he was stuck), and “you aren’t pushing” (I was pushing with absolutely every ounce of strength I had left) isn’t really encouraging. I shouldn’t have to tell a nurse to go f**k herself.

The aftercare left something to be desired… you are lucky if a nurse pays attention to you at all (I had to wait 4 hours to get tylenol and an ice pack). I also had pushy nurses randomly drop in and tell me I was breast feeding wrong (I wasn’t), and actually grab my extremely sore breasts without asking, more than once and violently rip them out of my child’s mouth. I felt humiliated, depressed and uncomfortable. They made me stay in there for five days… it felt like a prison. The maternity rooms are conveniently across the hall from the elderly care unit, so we got to hear people screaming and yelling constantly, and also families crying as their loved ones passed.

I felt like my doctor was never really ‘there’ for me throughout my pregnancy and delivery. She was always so busy she never had more than five minutes to listen to any of my concerns. To this day, she has misdiagnosed my son and I more than ten times. She has also ignored major health issues my son has, and made me feel like a hypochondriac for being concerned about him. We are currently seeing 4 different specialists for the serious things that she thought were “no big deal”.

There is no question in my mind that we will go with a midwife next time, and while I would prefer a home birth, I know I will most likely have to go to the hospital. I really wish there were more birthing centers around, because I think they are a fabulous option for people like me. It kind of gives you the best of both worlds.

Dr. Vivian on

Did someone actually write here that they are sick of hearing women say they have “a right” to feel empowered during their births? My god, it’s sad to read women attacking each other over their choices — so many of these comments are filled with self-hate and defensiveness pointed outward or vented onto a celebrity who is trying to do good.

Mommy-wars aside, its amazing how toxic some of these comments are and shows how easy it is to divide women around these issues. No wonder maternity care and education is so slow to improve – women are more interested in criticizing each other than coming together to support new mothers (and clearly without even viewing this documentary – as it actually ENDS with a necessary c-section!)

kendrajoi on

I feel like movies like this are out to make those of us who have had c-secs, even for medical reasons, feel bad, like we are less than human because we weren’t able to go the natural route. I tried but was unsuccessful. Does that make me less of a person or woman? If I have another one, it will be a scheduled c-sec. I guess that just makes me evil, because it’s not the choice RICKI thinks I should make.

kendrajoi on

I also don’t like that she assumes that if someone chooses a c-sec, she is uniformed. Ridiculous!

kristin on

I had all 3 of my babies naturally, and am thankful that I was able to. My grandson however would have died if not for an emergency c-section.. Next baby may be VBAC, or another c-section – we’ll be sure to consult the dr on the safest route when the time comes.

All that matters is a healthy baby being born safely ๐Ÿ™‚

Anya on

Honestly, I wish I had seen this documentary before my first birth. I ended up with a C-section and then had another C-section for my second child while attempting a VBAC.

I don’t know that I would have chosen a different birth plan had I seen this film (I planned to have a hospital birth with epidural) but I think I might have chosen my physician’s practice more carefully and perhaps found one that had a midwife on staff (even if I didn’t use the midwife…an OB/GYN practice that includes a midwife is likely more geared toward a holistic approach).

Perhaps I would have still ended up with a C-section, but I’d feel a bit more confident that every effort was made to avoid it and it really was the only option. I can’t say I feel that way about either of my c-sections and it still really bothers me.

Jacqui on

Anya, did something bad happen to your children because you had them both via C-section? If so, I understand your feeling bothered about it. If your children are perfectly healthy, why would you feel bothered?

Crystal on

Honestly, I feel that many of the mommies criticizing this film as being “Anti-Cesarean” are projecting their own insecurities and negative feelings regarding their own experiences onto the film.

I do agree with the person that said women need to criticize each other’s choices less. I would never want a c-section for myself unless it was 100% necessary but I would not dream of telling people how to birth their own child if they wanted to take that route.

Also, the bashing definitely goes both ways. I have been told countless times that “you don’t get a medal” for a natural childbirth. Why does it bother women so much if someone wants to have a natural childbirth, or advocate for natural childbirth? I could care less if a woman wanted to take every medication possible or have 10 elective c-sections, it’s not my business…especially if that is her choice. People who do choose to have interventions need to own their choice and not feel bad about it afterward.

I watched the film 3 times and have never felt like it was “putting down” C-Sections…just making people aware of the possible outcomes, etc.

Also, why comment about a film you have not watched? Clearly some people on here have missed the whole point!

Button on

There is definitely a feeling of loss when you have a c-section and were expecting/hoping/planning for a more natural birth and films that intimately detail the potentially empowering experience of a vaginal delivery can bring up those feelings. I REALLY get that. That’s not to say those films shouldn’t be made and that women don’t need to be educated about their options, however.

I had been a doula, trained on “The Farm” with Ina May Gaskin and hoped that I would have a smooth and empowering delivery of my own child. That was not the case and I have definitely ridden the emotional rollercoaster since as I processed the details surrounding my son’s birth. Living in the crunchy, granola mountains of Northern California has brought things up for me since so many of my friends had unmedicated homebirths with midwives while Bob Marley played on the stereo.

I had a placenta previa with my son and the “exit door” was blocked, so a c-section was completely and totally medically necessary. At 33 weeks, I had a placental abruption with massive hemorrhaging and needed an emergency c-section to deliver my preemie son. If not for the doctors, the level 3 NICU and the machines that go “ping,” I have no doubt that my son and I would be dead. The choices were clear on that one.

Now I am 24 weeks pregnant with my daughter, my placenta is totally normal and my uterus has had almost 4 years to heal from the c-section. Yet, the only hospital within 100 miles of where we live “doesn’t do” VBACs. I feel railroaded to submit to a second c-section, with nothing to medically indicate its necessity since I don’t want to drive several hours while in labor to another hospital. I guess I could also pack up my family, pull my son out of school, keep my husband home from work and live out of a hotel room while waiting to go into labor (could take weeks) just so I could have the chance for a VBAC.

To me, this is where I feel like I don’t have a choice. I shouldn’t have to go on a crusade to have a chance to have a vaginal delivery because the situations of my first birth are completely different this time around. It is not the relatively low risk of uterine rupture that has the local hospital anti-VBAC, it’s the risk of getting sued.

Choice is key. Whether you choose to go unmedicated, at home, at a birthing center, at a hospital, with an epidural, try for a VBAC, elect a cesarean- it should be a choice you make with the support and expertise of your doctor or midwife. Hospital politics shouldn’t make the choice for you.

p on

crystal says – “Why does it bother women so much if someone wants to have a natural childbirth, or advocate for natural childbirth?”

I don’t think it bothers people that some women choose a (to quote you) “natural birth”. it’s the judgmental, high and mighty, holier than thou attitude that typically comes with a non-medicated birth that is the issue. my birth was totally natural AND I had an epidural! — the horror! ๐Ÿ˜‰

btw, the movie was not a documentary. a true documentary responsibly shows both sides of an issue. “the business…” was clearly all about bashing.

fuzibuni on

Oh wow, I’m so curious to see the new documentary. The first one had such an impact and was so polarizing for many people. It was a really powerful film… regardless of what side of the fence you are on.

When I watched the first film I didn’t think it was anti-cesarean. One of the film makers ends up with an emergency c-section at the end of the movie.

I think Ricki knows that there is a place for c-sections… she is just illuminating the fact that there is “a business” behind the birthing industry that causes a very high rate of c-sections to be performed in American society.

Ultimately what I took away from the film was that it is important to educate yourself about the birthing process and not be afraid to ask questions.

And to all the women who feel defensive about having a c-section… please don’t. You did nothing wrong.

RKF on

What is she trying to “fight”? As women, we DO have choices. No one can force us to have a home birth, just as it’s not mandated to give birth in a hospital. She acts as if women don’t have choices. Until she has an M.D., or stops blabbering misinformation and lies, she really needs to go back to being a talk show host. It is dangerous to give out information based on opinion, expecting the public to accept her word over an expert opinion.

cc on

The thing about it is, “natural” birth actually means a vaginal birth with no drugs. Now, the judgement as to whether or not that is “better” in this day and age of obsession with all things “natural” is the real question.

I work in public health–trying to prevent maternal mortality in developing countries and the lack of a skilled birth attendant–a doctor or a midwife or someone who knows the slightest bit about labor complications–is the number one correlating factor with maternal death because THINGS GO WRONG. Yes, women have delivered “naturally” for millenia, but they have also died doing so. We are only able to romanticize childbirth because most of the time it is no longer dangerous.

I myself fell into this trap–imagining I could have an absurdly plearuable birth, could harness the waves of my contractions like energy and breathe my lovely baby girl into the world into a pool of warm water. I started out that way, but after 5 hours of pushing with 2 hours of her actually crowning, I was desperate for anything to end the “natural” experience.

My fear of the experience did not cause the pain. The experience itself was painful. And even in retrospect–it remains in my memory as painful. I did get her out–at that point and because we were in a birth center–there was no choice, but I had a severe hemmorhage afterwards and have alot of fear about the next time. Thank GOD I was with a team of incredible nurse-midwives who stopped the hemmorhage immediately. Medical intervention–whether before, during or after delivery–saves lives. Regularly.

I know noone is outright saying anything differently, but the underlying feeling that women have been able to birth naturally forever so let’s just encourage each other to do so is wrong. Let’s encourage each other to not be afraid, to be empowered by what our bodies do, but to access the highly trained and specialized care that most of us are lucky to have. And a birth using pain medication certainly does not make you weak. I actually think it makes you kind of smart!

Janie on

So much to say on this topic! One thing I’ve learned in my four births is to prevent initial interventions that may lead to unnecessary c-sections.

For instance, stay home as long as you can in the early stages of your labor so the hospital doesn’t start the clock on how long you are “allowed” to labor.

Try to avoid frequent cervical checks so as to avoid introducing germs and also to avoid the illusion of being “stuck” at a certain dilation centimeter. It is normal to be at 3, 4, 5 cm for several hours and then progress more quickly later but ob’s will often use that as an excuse to start pitocin saying that the labor is not progressing fast enough. Pitocin contractions are more intense and painful than regular contractions (I’ve had both!) which then leads to a need for an epidural.

Once you’ve had the epidural you must lie in bed which prevents your baby from moving down the birth canal properly and can lead to problems when it’s time to push….all of these are the all-too-common cascade of interventions which is why we have such a higher c-section rate in this country.

I’ve birthed in hospitals all four times but with a midwife and doula in attendance with my last three. And with each child I’ve become more assertive in what I want and how to avoid unnecessary interventions.

I believe this is what Ricki Lake is talking about. Becoming informed about the ways that ob’s/hospitals contribute to the rising numbers of cesarean births in America. It’s not about making c-section moms feel badly but rather empowering women to make informed decisions based on actual, necessary safety reasons and not doctor convenience or hospital law suit avoidance.

If you are a pregnant woman with a desire to birth vaginally it’s very important that you are aware of the ways that doctors and hospitals might impede your birth plan. It’s really up to you and your husband/partner to assert your wishes during labor–the more informed you are, the better.

fuzibuni on

cc… but as a medical professional in the field of maternal health, you must know that the US has a 33% c-section rate. Do you condone that?

ecl on

Thank you Janie! I couldn’t have said it better.

shalay on

@p, if you had watched the film, you would know that it DOES responsibly show both sides of the situation. The director of the film ends up needing an emergency c-section. If that doesn’t show the other side, I don’t know what does.

Why are people upset at the fact that Ricki Lake is encouraging women to be informed about giving birth? She’s NOT bashing c-sections, she’s NOT pushing home births, she’s simply showing people that they have options. If you find it disturbing that women could think for themselves, then you have problems.

Laura on

I don’t tend to comment on these things, but I’m a pediatrician and I can’t help but comment now. I just took care of a baby two weeks ago who was born via VBAC and the mom was at a hospital that does not have a NICU and unfortunately, she had a uterine rupture, and the baby was floppy, blue and not breathing. Baby had to be intubated and started having seizures in the NICU. She is now on anti-seizure meds and we are preparing the parents for the possibility of brain damage. I’m all for choices, but VBAC can be very tricky and horrible for the baby if it all goes wrong.

Ashley on

I absolutely believe that there are situations where advanced medical technology makes the difference between life and death, and because of that I am happy we have our doctors and nurses. Luckily, most women give birth without any serious complications.

I believe we need to have a more natural approach to birthing. My daughter was born 11 days after her due date (a hospital would have induced me well before day 11). I was in labor for 7 1/2 hrs total and pushed for over 2 hrs of that time. She was born 10lbs and 24″ with a 15 1/4″ head. Her head wouldn’t descend and I was pushing forever. After trying all these different positions I had the urge to lay down on my side. Pushing on my side finally got my daughter to descend. Had I been confined to a bed (as is done with pitocin or the epidural) I would have never got my daughter through the birth canal. I don’t doubt that I would have had a c-section had I been at a hospital.

I still believe that hospitals are great to have, but their common birth routines can actually make things much more complicated and expensive than they need to be. I have delivered a 10lb 24″ girl and a 9lb 23″ boy by midwives without any drugs of any kind. It was a great experience and I never felt pushed or forced into anything.

There are situations which require intervention, but we really should strive for truly natural births for the health of ourselves and our children. It’s such an amazing, magical experience too. I am so proud I was able to work through the contractions so I could birth my children naturally. It was definitely one of the toughest, and one of the most amazing events of my life.

Jesse on

Shouldn’t us women be supporting eachother? Not bashing eachothers birth choices? The movie is about having options, and educating expectant mothers.

Unfortunately, c-sections are pretty much all you see in tv and movies. No one should be forced to have a c-section, or forced to have a VBAC. No one should be “forced” to have a homebirth because their hospital doesn’t allow it.

On another note, if you’re not as excited about this movie coming out as I am, why are you posting here in the first place???

Nz student midwife on

So interesting to hear americans points of view on birth, over here america has a rep for jumping to csections when they in reality are not needed,

Vbacs, Vba2cs are common here, hospital birth are saved for high risk patients and over 90% of women go with independent midwives, and generally birth in birthing centers with out epidurals and other medical intervention. Home birth is common.

Why jump on Rikki because she has beliefs that differ to your own? Over here you can push for more then 3 hours without needing a c section for “failure to progress” provided mother and baby are going well. more countries need to take on this birthing way as apposed to what is in place in many many countries.

Janie on

@Ashley, I just wanted to add that I went 10 days past my very confirmed due date with my 3rd baby and the doctor or hospital cannot force a woman to be induced.

This is another issue to be discussed with your ob during your pregnancy–that you are aware that due dates are just estimates and healthy babies can be born anywhere between 38-42 weeks on average. Induction before the mom and baby are ready is one of the most common routes to a cesarean birth.

De on

I never comment on these things, but this has become a passion of mine. Thank you Ricki for making this documentary! Every woman should watch it no matter what type of birth they are planning.

My first was a C-section. I went into the hospital and was dialated to less than 1/2. They kept me and broke my water saying that it would speed things up. It didn’t. Then they started pitocin and an epidural when I was dialated to two! Being on pitocin for over 10 hours, OF COURSE my baby was distressed!! I was never asked or given a choice over ANYTHING in the whole course of this pregnancy. My membranes were even stripped to get labor going WITHOUT my permission! This should NEVER happen!

I planned a home birth for my second, avoiding a C-section. This pregnancy was not textbook and after an exhausting 4 days in labor, I transferred in. I was dialated to 6 and wanted an epidural. The anethesiologist and the doctor ARGUED in front of me for over 20 minutes about me as I was sitting there! It was unreal. Never once did they say my name or treat me as a person or even ask ME what I wanted! Eventually, I got my epidural, dialated very quickly, and had my VBAC.

My thrid was a home birth, less than 6 hours of labor – three pushes and a beautiful healthy baby girl. When I think of my first two births, I remember pain and helplessness, as if I was simply a spectator in my own labor and delivery. For my thrid completely natural birth, there was less pain, more joy, and I was finally in control of my own experiance.

Home birth is definately not for everyone, nor is Ricki saying that it is. But women should not have to be spectators in their own birth process. They should be given ALL the options for everything, not just what the doctor wants to do. Permission should be asked before anyone, medical degree or not, does anything to her body!! PERIOD!

It sounds like some of you enjoy your hospital births or scheduled C-sections and have been given choices. That’s great. But the reality is, that is not the norm.

Seanaci on

I watched the first documentary about 3 months ago. At the end…while I didn’t agree with everything she and Abby covered, I still felt my labor and delivery of my son would and could have been drastically different.

However, the documentary did not come out till the year after he was born. So, while I didn’t agree with everything, it was still very eye opening.

I have a handful of friends (both in the states and in other countries) who had C-sections, and then went on to have sucessful VBAC’s. If we were having another child, I would most def do my research and have a long chat with my doctor (who is very much about repeat cestions after the first) about avoiding a repeat c-section (if at all possible).

The reason I had a c-section with my son is because he was not dropping lower (turns out his cord was in a knot so wasn’t long enough to safely deliver him vaginally) and was in distress from the pit.

We all need be informed of our choices and options when it comes to pregnancy/labor/delivery. Some people I know are so ill-informed, they believe the only reason doctors do c-sections is because they have a tee time to make. >_<

So, rather than bad mouth Ricki Lake and Abby Epstien for their views, watch their documentary with an open mind. And when/if you get pregnant, you can make informed decisions based on our feelings and thoughts.

Diamond Girl on

Although Ricki’s co-producer (or whatever) Abby had to have a C-section, she also complained that she wasn’t able to “bond” with her son.

THAT kind of statement to me is hostile to those of us who didn’t have our babies in our bathrooms like Ricki did.

Our sons are now 24 and 26 – I can assure you their c-section deliveries have not prevented us from bonding then or now.

The birth is not the important thing – the BABY is.

Seanaci on

Jaqui, you still have PLENTY Of time to decide what is best for you. I for one would be looking for another OB/GYN in your case. I would hate to be told I had no choice for the birth of MY child.

Whatever you decide, I do wish you nothing but a happy healthy 9 months and successful birth (be it c-section or VBAC). ๐Ÿ˜€

Sarah Dorrance-Minch on

Ricki Lake: You go, girl. I apologize for the flood of negative comments that are plastering the wall of this article. Not sure what’s more at play, white-coat-worship or jealousy, but these mommies have no idea what they’re talking about. Homebirth, and birth choices in general, are not elitist – my husband and I paid for our homebirths out of pocket because Medicaid does not cover homebirth in our state, and we paid out of our tax refund money. We’re not rich. Neither is choosing to birth out of hospital or choosing to VBAC unsafe. I suspect most of these mainstream mommies wouldn’t know what the Cochrane library of evidence-based care was if they tripped over it in the middle of the night. Or even read stuff like Henci Goer’s articles, which are easier to come by. Sad.

Jacqui on

Seanaci, thank you so much!

Sarah Dorrance-Minch on

I am in my forties. I am mildly asthmatic. I am fairly low income, despite my master’s (well, hey, it WAS in English literature). My first child was abdominally extracted in a vaginal bypass operation after labour “failed to progress.” I have a tendency to glucose intolerance/hypersensitivity when pregnant (apparently it’s “gestational pre-diabetes”) and I birth large babies (aside from my second child, who was preterm, none of my babies were under nine pounds at birth, and the youngest was ten pounds five ounces). All of these factors would no doubt have the medical establishment in hysterics, classifying me as Very High Risk and automatically booking me for a c-section without even a so-called “trial of labour.” Which is why I chose a midwife and homebirth for my last two births, and paid her in cash from tax refunds when I could have settled for a free, “safe” c-section in a hospital, paid for by state Medicaid. BECAUSE I AM BASICALLY HEALTHY, BIRTH IS SAFE, RESEARCH SHOWS VBAC, EVEN HBAC, TO BE SAFE, AND WHAT IS RISKIEST ABOUT BIRTH IS UNNECESSARY INTERFERENCE. The United States has maternal/neonatal mortality rates comparable to those in a backwater “developing” country like Croatia. Obviously our love of the knife, Pitocin, fancy electronic monitoring, and epidurals to relieve the pain of lying still for monitoring and Pit drips are not doing much to improve birth.

Ginnie on

I just had my second child via elective C-Section. I elected both times to have a C-Section. I did not have any desire to go into labor,to have contractions. Nothing about that made me feel empowered. I wanted my children to enter into the world healthy that is what empowers me. I am glad that in the US we have the option to choose how we want to birth. I support everyone in the choices made, natural or c-section. I think we are privilaged to have a choice. I am glad we live in a nation that we have Dr’s that can help us if we choose. We are blssed to live where healthcare is avaliable.

Tee on

Oh my word, these comments are horribly depressing!

So many people are uninformed about how a woman’s body is meant to have a child without interventions. When they are truly needed, they can be life saving and wonderful for both mother and baby. But more often than not, they come about due to impatient medical staff. And in this country, we are taught that doctors are all knowing and we mustn’t question them. It’s that mentality that gets women and their children harmed and even killed.

This is a wonderful documentary. It doesn’t preach about home birth vs. hospital birth. It simply teaches and empowers women!

A- I’m going to assume that you haven’t actually seen this documentary. It’s not Ricki preaching not to have c-sections. It’s all about empowering women to think for themselves and not mindlessly follow the advice of a doctor or midwife. Nothing wrong with that.

Kay- You talked about having to deal with a mother who’s baby is brain dead from uterine rupture. That’s horrible, no disagreement here! But what about the mother who’s baby is brain dead from complications from an unnecessary c-section? Birth has risks, plain and simple. I hate the thought of a pregnant woman reading a comment like that and being scared into a c-section that is just as dangerous as a vaginal birth!

K.W.- I’m so sorry for the loss of your child. I’ve held my sister’s hand as she walked down the road of her still born baby and it was horrible. I miss my niece so much. But I don’t understand your comment at all. Do you mean to say that a woman should sacrifice the right to make the best decisions for her and her child? I am trying really hard not to read anything into your comment out of respect for your loss. Can you explain it further to me?

Crystal- Your story is awesome! My sister had four of her five kids at home. The first was born via c-section and the other four were at home… the youngest, Vivi, was born sunny side up and weighed 11 pounds! She is proof that it really can be done and so are you! Thank you for sharing such an empowering story with all of us.

Mommymaryrn- What are you talking about? IVF is not to blame for the high morbidity rates in this country! Unneccessary interventions are! It’s comments like this that make me want to scream because they are so uninformed.

Melody- I am so sorry that you had such a lousy birthing experience. I really hope that you get the birth you want next time. Don’t discount homebirth quite yet, though. It sounds like you could do well doing that route if you can find a midwife!

Dr. Vivian- I agree with every word of your comment. Yes, someone said that and it’s horrifying and sad. The comments here have been freaking ridiculous.

Tee on

Kendrajoi- Have you seen this documentary? At no point is it said or implyed that a woman that has a c-section is uninformed.

Anja- You have every right to feel bothered and I’m sorry that happened to you. It sounds like you weren’t really given the opportunity to try for a V-BAC.

P- I advocate for educated birth. That a mother chooses the right thing for her and her child. I think it’s wonderful that you had a vaginal birth and this might sound like nit picking but I’m sorry, you didn’t have a natural birth if you had an epidural. Natural birth means unmedicated birth. You had a vaginal birth with medication. The only reason I’m even saying anything is because I don’t want another woman that isn’t familiar with the right terms to get confused. I’m glad you had the birth you wanted!

Janie- I couldn’t have said it better myself! Thank you!

Ashley- Thank you so much for sharing your birth stories with us! Your story shows how wonderful giving birth with the help of trained midwives can really be. It can be done! If my sister can birth an 11 pound baby at home, it can be done! It’s not right for everyone and I understand that. I just hate it that so many women think there are no other options and so they automatically allow all these interventions to be done.

Nz student midwife- How right you are!

mommytoane on

I think many of you are reading this wrong. And I think many of you are quick to point the negative finger because of who this is. People change, learn to accept and stop judging.

I think its good that women are given more information about birthing choices. Not every birth choice works for every woman. And Its better to be educated in ALL options, so that if something like an emergncy c-section comes up, you aren’t all freaking out over only the negatives….you know the positives too (such as vbac). Theres nothing wrong with educating yourself in all options.

To Jacqui, Honestly, its not too late to switch OB’s if you feel as tho your’s isn’t right for you. You should do what YOU feel most comfortable with…not what someone else tells you to do. Follow your heart, you know whats right for you.

Silky on

“Why are people upset at the fact that Ricki Lake is encouraging women to be informed about giving birth?”

Anyone looking to be “educated” needs to watch The Business of Born with a healthy dose of scepticism. It misrepresents data shamelessly. For example, it interviews someone who says that in all other developed nations (including the UK, Australia, Japan etc) midwives attend 70-80% of births. However it leaves out the fact that in Australia (where I live) only only 0.2% of all births are homebirths. You wouldn’t get that impression from watching the documentary, would you?

It drives subtle misrepresentations like that home by showing a woman having a midwife attended homebirth, then directly seguing into the statistic that in Japan and Europe 70% of births are attended by midwives, failing to add that a significant portion of these midwife attended births are in hospital, not at home. If you didn’t know that, there is nothing to supply that context.

It also presents statistics like the maternal mortality rate directly next to other statistics that may or may not be related, for example the C-section rate, implying that one directly results in the other, when the relationship is complex and many other factors are important (education, other health issues such as obesity, health insurance, quality of care during pregnancy and follow up, etc). It never goes so far as to come out and say that one causes the other, by viewers (judging by the comments here) are definitely left with that impression.

sat on

I was pretty blown away at how Cara Muhulhan abandoned her patient (Abby Epstein) in labor in the movie, leading Abby to hail a cab across New York City to the hospital in full blown labor and find her own way to the OR for the emergency c-section. The movie’s very brief mention of planned homebirths having an average of 1 in 10 transfer rate was telling.

Further, hospitals are required by law to obtain informed consent for any procedures, midwives are not. If something goes wrong due to negligence in the hospital, the patient has a way to recoup monies, often to be used for future care.

If something goes wrong due to negligence at a homebirth, the patient has no avenue to seek compensation. Midwives rarely, if ever, carry malpractice insurance. Hopefully, every patient they have is aware of this before the fact. Informed consent must prevail both inside and outside the hospital.

Renee on

I am a 41 year old woman that just went through a VBAC home birth in March of this year. What brought me to this decision? When I found out I was pregnant again, I went to my OB to discuss birthing vaginally for this child. It was an absolute ‘no’ you can not do that and the hospital wouldn’t let me if I wanted to. I was stunned by this and for some reason…just couldn’t get my head wrapped around the fact that I needed to be opened up for no reason. I saw it as unbelievable that they wouldn’t let me try to birth my child, at the very least, before they opened me up uneccessarily.

My son was born via ’emergency’ c-section at 39 years old. Where I feel emergency c-sections have their place and obviously save lives..I feel emergency is used way loosley in our culture for childbirth. I was on my first day of my 40th week when my Dr wanted me to be induced. She gave me all kinds of excuses..my age, possible problems with placenta getting old, to maconium possibilies. I ‘let’ her talk me into it. It was the typical ‘started out with pitocin, baby lost heart tones, and I was wisked off to have a c-section’ that you hear about so often.

To be honest..after having both..I didn’t have the horrible experience some women have after c-section. I was walking the next day, driving the 2nd day and had no problems carrying my child. I found it to be an ‘okay’ experience. I healed quickly. I didn’t feel this way after vaginally birthing. It was MUCH harder, I thought. However, I had to fight to get my natural born right to birth my baby the way I wanted to. I, hands down, preferred the home birth, even thought it was 10 times harder, scarier and painful!!!

When I started looking into my choices, I found that most hospitals and birthing centers in Colorado didn’t support VBACs.. If they did, there was like a 3% success rate. My first thought was not having my baby at home. This wasn’t because of the danger..to be honest, it was because I just thought it would be messy. I know that sounds rediculous..but that is waht I thought. After much research and interviewing some midwives, my husband and I fell in love with the homebirth idea.

I did watch The Business of Being Born..and I thought it was very informative. It was one of the things my husband and I did to research our choices. I also read Ina Mays Guide to Childbirth..a book I think EVERY woman should read before they give birth. There was SOO much I didn’t know before I gave birth. Woman spend so much time picking the perfect nursery design, strollers, baby ‘stuff’…yet not many research about birth. They just blindly trust that Drs/hospitals know EVERYTHING about birth.

I was seriously distraut when I found out that most Drs don’t even have to witness or go through a natural child birth during their schooling!! Wouldn’t you hope that a Dr had witnessed and had hours nad hours of natural childbirth experience before they graduate to deliver babies??? They watch one on TV..how awful is that????…but I truly believe most Drs this day would have NO clue how to birth a baby naturally. NO idea! It is a LOST art….and that is SOOOO sad. I am not saying all Drs are bad, but after my research, I believe most of them are taught the art of getting a woman in and out of the labor process as quickly as possible for all the wrong reasons. This has also been my experience and so many others’ experiences.

I am sure my baby girl would have ended in c-section in the hospital….as lip of my cervix was stuck over babies’ head. What you would hear of this in hosptials is ‘failure to progress’. My midwife had to stick her hands into my ‘hoo ha’ during contractions..(yes, I wanted to kick her in the face:-)…to get it to move over the babies head. If this isn’t done…your cervix swells..and labor slows down. Nothing is coming out if the cervix is in the way! This is a small example of how midwives do the ‘little’ things to get your baby here. Birth is scary, it is hard, there are many little ‘secrets’ that midwives have…to make birth smooth and to move it along. Drs/Hospitals could care less about this. Everything is a darn emergency..and they know this is going to scare women!!! Start talking about a woman losing their baby..and ANY woman is going to say ‘open me up’. We are made that way…to protect our kids!!! The problem is…MUCH of it isn’t true. *failure to progress, you are too small, the baby is in distress, yada yada ( I have always found it odd that it is so hard to believe the baby is in distress ??? Hellooooooooo mom is in distress…so, wouldn’t it makes sense that the baby is stressed out too???? It is a ‘laboring’ process to get the little beans here!!!!)

My midwife birthed over 2000 babies in 30 years. She was an OBGYN nurse in ARizona for 6 years when she went to her best friends home birth. She quit nursing and said she literally had to relearn how to birth children..and has been doing it ever since. She fell in love with real childbirth at that home delivery. In those 30 years she lost one baby to the umbilical cord wripping in half during birth. She has never lost a mother and she has seen almost everyting scary you can imagine. (That is another thing..you HAVE to pick a midwife that is educated, has experience etc.. Just like Drs, I am sure there are bad midwives out there too) If midwives are doing their job well..there are many signs that tell them something might be high risk or need a hospital..and these signs usually show up before birth. They are all about getting babies here safely…so, they will tell you if you need to go to a Dr or hospital.

Anyway..ladies..I beat all the odds. I was 41, my children were 21 months apart, I had a previous c-section etc.. Everyting you hear about ‘high risk’, I was. Again, this isn’t about bashing women that choose ‘other’ ways. It is about education and informing yourself to have the birth you want. I believe Drs and hospitals have women so scared that they can’t do it on their own…and I believe people put soooo much trust in Drs and believe they can do no wrong. I think that is just plain silly.

Birthing naturally was the toughest thing I have EVER done in my life
but I knew my body could birth a baby! I am also very tiny.. 105 lbs and birthed a 7lb 3oz baby. I was told by an OBGYN Dr that I would never birth a baby over 6lbs vaginally. It is all smoke and mirrors ladies. Drs/hospitals arent’ about empowering..many of them are instilling fear, and that is not right.

I had two very different birth experiences. One with all the bells and whistles…from ultrasounds to c-section. And one with not one ultrasound and a vaginal home birth. The ladder was soooo much more rewarding, calm, and down right wonderful. I am far from ‘granola’ and never thought I would do a home birth, really. I just did my research, just like this article states, and ended up exactly where I belonged. Just read, read, read, and educate, educate, educate yourselves!!! AND make sure it is reliable information. There is so much bad information out there from hospitals, internet, and midwives. You have to be good at discerning what is true and what is not.

PS..Personally, I think we know WAY too much during childbirth. God did not intend for us to know EVERYTHING…yet, that is waht Drs and most people want. We are in an age…where no one wants to feel pain, no want likes the unknown,no one wants to have loss, and most will do EVERYTHING to prevent it. I have had miscarriages and I lost a baby at 16 weeks to Down Syndrome…so, I have experienced a plethera of things when it comes to children. My number one guide is God…and ladies..God designed our bodies to perfectly deliver babies.

jessicad on

As someone who was almost bullied into a c-section I love this film. My Dr. insisted I wouldn’t be able to deliver vaginally and asked me to schedule a c-section at 38 weeks, I refused and begged him to let me at least try.

One week later I went into labor on my own and gave birth vaginally and had no issues with that part, it was the epidural and pitocin that gave me problems, and interestingly enough my Dr was gone on vacation. It absolutely IS a business and so many Dr’s are only about making money. I also work in the medical field and people would be surprised to see how Dr’s really act.

The message I got from the film was educate yourself and realize that you have choices. I can’t believe all the negativity here either, it’s so sad that women tear each other down like this.

cc on

fizibunny–I am not saying I think a 30% csection rate is acceptable or that women should not have natural births. I in fact had a natural birth, in a birth center, in a bathtub, with amazing midwives. I am also saying that I had what could have been a fatal delivery complication but instead was not a big deal BECAUSE of medical intervention. I don’t deny that early interventions frequently lead to additional interventions and that no intervention whether pitocin, forceps/vaccum or c-section or any other, should be used unecessarily.

I just think there is a huge backlash against the medical establishment which isn’t entirely deserved. I went the route I did because I knew I would never be able to say that I didn’t NEED an intervention my OB might propose. I wanted a midwife who I trusted, if she proposed a particular strategy, it was the only way.

But we have to have a happy medium.

Danielle Friedland, Creator of Celebrity Baby Blog on

I credit The Business of Being Born and Your Best Birth as changing my complete perspective about giving birth. I delivered Anya under epidural and until I saw the documentary, read their book and then interviewed Ricki and Abby for CBB did I even consider the possibility that I could give birth without drugs. It’s a major paradigm shift for our culture as we’ve gotten used to the hospital being a place to give birth, along with the prone position and interventions galore.

I’m proud to say that I delivered Asher without pain medication in a hospital setting and it was a wonderful experience. I say proud because of the personal triumph, of what I was able to overcome – fear mostly. It wasn’t easy, it kicked my ass, but my recovery was much better than with Anya, nursing went better, he was more aware, etc. I would totally do it again too. It doesn’t make me a better person or mother but it was better for my body and my son’s.

I really don’t care what you decide but I encourage everyone to take a step back and give the documentary a chance to expand your horizons.

Here’s my interview with Ricki & Abby:

mommymaryRN on

So how many of you have worked in a NICU? How many of you have gone to college and specifically studied neonatal and maternal nursing/medicine that you speak like you are experts and assume you know more than those of us who have spent years studying? I worked for years in a NICU (and I teach this type of nursing at a collegiate level), and did in fact see that IVF and fertility treatments usually lead to multiple births, and higher-order multiple births (hello octomom) almost always lead to premature babies. That is why we have complication rates, and babies needing long hospital stays. But I guess you all just must be experts because you have access to a library or a computer.

And I am a full believer that within reason, every mom has the right to choose how she wants to give birth. I am just very much against homebirths, hence why I work in a birthing center. Our patients love us, and we are advocates for our patients. But everyone here just assumes we are the devils. Don’t spout off on me like you are an educated, degreed expert in this area like you know more about this than a RN, midwife, MD or OB unless you are one. I wouldn’t pretend to know more about law than a lawyer, or know more about teaching kids than a teacher. You people are too much! Get over yourselves.

I was simply making the point that the documentary was completely one-sided and as one person said, she should’ve spent more time covering ALL the bases. When use pitocin and epidurals and c-sections, the babies come out completely healthy.

I’m looking at my 3 healthy kids right now. There is no way of predicting which moms & babies will have problems, and that can be anything from a completely natural tub-birth to a c-section. Get your facts straight, and again unless this is something you do on a regular basis you have no experience but your own limited knowledge to back it up.

mommymaryRN on

Oh, and for those of you who still think I am not a patient advocate, he is a link to where I work. I wouldn’t work here if I didn’t agree with the whole philosophy of the patient having a choice of how she wants to give birth!

p on

mommymaryrn — unless you are ALSO a trained RE (reproductive endocrinologist) PLEASE, I beg you, keep you ridiculous and uneducated statements about IVF to yourself. you don’t speak the truth and you’re spreading false information based on your ideas. I work in the infertility world AND have experienced multiple IVFs — I have 1 (ONE!) child not triplets. your shining example of the octomom is both comical and rather insulting. I suggest posting about “the business..” instead of acting like a know-it-all.

mommymaryRN on

Ok @p, but as a RE, how many times did you go to the NICU when Your patients who did end up with multiples? Probably not too many times.

The point I was making was that until we had infertility treatments, women who previously would not have had children, now has children. Not all IVF treatments end up in multiples, I do know that. But in the last 15-20 years, fertility treatments and the advancement of neonatal care we are able to keep smaller and smaller babies alive. This is where the increase in morbidity & mortality rates comes from in our country. Have you ever seen what a baby born at 22 weeks has to go through? All of their strife adds to morbidity rates unfortunately. And when we would get the maternal history from our patients, especially the mothers of multiples (triplets, quads, etc.) majority WERE from IVF.

Theses births are rare, if not impossible without science. You cannot deny this info. With every extra baby in the womb, the “due date” is further from 40 weeks, hence the prematurity. Twins, term is 38 weeks, triplets, 36 weeks, quads, 34 weeks. Again, surely as a RE you know this. So where is my error?

fuzibuni on

First off… a BIG shout out to Danielle Friedland!!! Thanks for your post! I wish you still ran this site. Hope your life is going great ๐Ÿ™‚

and to MommymaryRn, I checked out the link to where you work and think it’s great that you offer natural birth in a hospital setting. But please be aware, the tone of your comments is making you sound like many of the doctors who give the profession a bad wrap… condescending, aggressive, defensive, and fear mongering.

You also contradict yourself with this statement: “I am a full believer that within reason, every mom has the right to choose how she wants to give birth. I am just very much against homebirths, hence why I work in a birthing center.”

Sounds like what you are saying is that every woman can give birth how she sees fit as long as it’s done the way you think is right. Of course, having worked in a NICU you are going to see the worst case scenarios, and that gives you a certain perspective on birth. But can you honestly say that the current state of obstetrics in the united states isn’t seriously flawed?

Women deserve to explore ALL their birthing options… and they have the right to question doctors and nurses, such as yourself, without being talked down to or made to feel stupid.

K.W. on

Tee – thank you for your consideration -I will try to give you an example or two…in Maryland a view months ago a first time mother opted for a home birth after her ob and two midwife practices told her that because her child was breech and she had no previous birthing experience that she should deliver in a hospital. They refused to deliver her at home. She eventually found a midwife to deliver her at home, the child died due to shoulder dystocia. (sp?) – the midwife was charged w/ manslaughter (can’t remember vol.vs. involunt.) – she said she had agreed to do it because she wanted to give this mom her “dream birth”. The child paid w/ his life because the mom ignored or didn’t believe medical advice – why couldn’t she just have tried laboring in a hospital to see if she could do it? Where is the compromise?

There was a mom on a birthing board I used to go to who bragged about finally getting her successful home vbac after 3 c-sections – but then we were horrified to find out that the baby died after he had lodged in her birth canal for an hour and the midwife had to break his clavicles to deliver him – how is this successful?? Apparently her 3 prev. babies had also been too large to push out. She said it was successful and the doctors were wrong about her pelvis because she did eventually push him out..

The one hospital I work in has vbac and breech baby moms labor/deliver in an O.R. suite in case something goes wrong – and it can go wrong so quickly and w/ devastating results. Two weeks ago we had a mom refuse to sign a c-section consent when her breech baby had major decelerations – she pushed him out. The mom didn’t have insurance (a cultural choice) and didn’t want to pay for the c-section. This was her 9th child and she felt like she was making the best decision. The baby is on a vent in the NICU w/ two very large brain bleeds.

My concern is that so many women are losing focus of what ultimately is the goal here – giving birth to a healthy child. We get so caught up in proving the strength of our womanhood in how we give birth..I really don’t care how you give birth, I just hope you make safe, informed and “looking outside your own personal box” decisions for you and your child. And I think the strength of womanhood is measured in so many other ways…my opinion – it matters more how you mother this child when they are on this earth then how you delivered them here.

I know there are bad doctors out there – but there are many, many good ones too. I feel like sometimes it’s catch 22 for them – they get sued when something goes wrong, so they feel like they should be calling the shots. We can’t have it both ways…it’s okay to push for what you want and as a patient you should have and need to find your voice – but then don’t put the blame (or the lawsuit) on your doctor when something goes wrong – accept the responsibility of your decisions – something a lot of people in this country have a hard time doing any more.

JenLaw on

Just for the record hospital employees and others, I delivered naturally, twins at 38 years old which I conceived unplanned, to say the least. Three months later my 35 year old sister got pregnant and delivered triplet girls she had not planned. And, no, this does not run in our family at all. I think a lot of women are getting pregnant later in life and our bodies are getting rid of our eggs. My twins were never in the NICU and my sister’s trips were there for 3 days so we did not wear out any doctors or nurses thankfully.

mommymaryRN on

@fuzibuni, I apologize. I was angry when I was reading some of the comments that were coming back to me. I usually never post comments on things like this because I always get fired up when I feel OB and nurses are against the firing wall. It’s true, we all want the same thing in the end.

This will be my last post because I don’t have the emotional energy to argue. I should’ve refrained from typing in anger and should not have resorted to name calling. I wholeheartedly agree with KW. My concern for my patient (mom and baby) is to have a safe birth, and no amount of convincing will ever prove to me that a homebirth is safe. If you’ve seen what I’ve seen, perhaps you would understand.

Just know this, as KW said there are good doctors, nurses, and midwives, and there are bad ones too. We live and learn.

LSMommyx3 on

There is obvious tension on this issue. While I believe Lake is shedding light on our current medical stand point and protocols when it comes to birthing in this country, I do not believe she is advocating a no c-section, fight your doctor to the end stance, nor is she promoting “a my way or the highway” approach to having the birth experience a woman desires.

In her first movie, she opened a door, questioned our societal and cultural norms of birth in the US, and also gave us her personal experience. Whether or not you agree with her message is fine; it struck a positive cord with many people and has caused many questions and backlashes. Now her follow-up movie will look into our cultural norms of c-sections. I look forward to objectively and critically watching it, because when looking at the stats of c-section rates in this country comparatively to other countries around the world it is questionable. Especially, when one compares our maternal and infant mortality rate with other industrial countries.

However, I have read and reread many of the posts here. While the issues kept circling between choices, options, empowerment, education, and overall health and well-being of mother and baby, I found a key element briefly touched upon and somewhat missing. Relationship! The relationship between client/patient and midwife/ob/nurse is key for a positive birth experience. The relationship built during the antepartum period lays the foundation for everyone involved. If trust is established between a woman and her care provider, I believe it is safe to say that when it comes to intrapartum that whatever medical advice and/or medical issues arisen it will be taken with more heed by all involved. It is also during this trust building time between a woman and her care provider that both parties learn if they are a good match together, because birth is a raw and emotional event. A relationship involving trust and understanding both between a woman and her care provider is crucial for both to achieve their goals when it comes to the birth. Because not all birth fantasies are achievable.

Relationship building is going to take time and involve longer prenatal appointments than just 10-15 minutes. It is going to take midwives and obs carving out time to get to know their client on many levels. So I challenge care providers. Break down those walls, build trust, and learn to compromise.

AMK on

To clarify something…while our c-section rate is ungodly high, it is not just because OBs are getting their jollys from slicing and dicing. Our c-section and infant/mama mortality rates are there because we still have a large percent of poor minority, urban woman who have life threatening diseases like pregestational diabetes, HTN, and preeclampsia that are going untreated until they show up to the county hospital with the baby’s head hanging out.

Please do your best to stay away from statistics and inform yourself of the actual birthing process and what is best for YOU. Each woman is different, each pregnancy is different, and the best we can all do (medical professionals and patients) is to treat everyone with respect and collaborate to have the best outcome for everyone. The distrust this country has begun to place on doctors as a whole is disheartening. In the same respect, the lack of desire to educate ourselves on our bodies and health is also quite displeasing. The best we (medical professionals) can do is properly inform our patients…at least then, they cannot claim ignorance.

I love this movie and I love Ricki Lake. It is easy for everyone to have an opinion, but much harder to take action like she did. Bravo!

NLT on

AMK: You think only poor, minority women get GD, or Pre-E? It seems we’re not the only ones who need to do research.

Evie on

I would have never known about the choices out there surrounding birth. I have grown up in america with plenty of messages that birth is something that has to happen in the hospital and that it is dangerous and painful. I have been fearing birth all my life until BoBB came out.

Do not condemn this documentary until you have done your research. People who choose homebirth put a whole lot of thought and preparation into it… they make sure they are making safe decisions. Too many people walk blindly into a hospital and not know what medications are being offered to them and what procedures are about to be done to them. BoBB is all about opening a door to more understanding.

Thank you, Ricky, for spending a decade of your life doing research on all of our choices and breaking the fear surrounding birth!

Tracey on

“If only we’d never seen the business of being born”


Sara on

I watched this documentary two nights ago and found it very informative. I have to agree with everything Ricki is saying. Doctors are surgeons and many haven’t even witnessed a live natural birth before practicing. Its very scary to me when the numbers came up on the number of women whom had c-sections then would have a tummy tuck right after birth.

My first child was born with a OB/GYN and I had no say in what happened once I layed down in that hospital bed. This time around I chose a midwife and so far I’m glad I have done so. Its not rocket science to what is best for the baby, but what Ricki is simply saying is women have more choices and say in their birthing experience then we think we do and we should simply look into them.

K.W. on

I really don’t think an ob/gyn can go through school/residency w/o witnessing a vaginal birth. Yes, they do have to do surgeries as part of their practice but they are different from a general surgeon..I wouldn’t want my ob/gyn removing my appendix or gallbladder anymore then I would want a general surgeon doing my c-section…I wish more people would understand that just because you lay down in a hospital bed it doesn’t mean that a nurse/doctor can do anything they want to you – you can refuse anything you don’t want – i.v. access, epidurals, fetal monitoring, frequent cervical exams, ice chips – it’s called patient consent. We document it in our charts all the time – “patient refused/declined/would not cooperate” – as long as you are of sound mind/not unconscious it is against the law to even take your temperature unless you say it’s okay. But then you can’t sue them if something goes wrong. You hired them to take care of you and to seek their expert (sometimes questionable – I know) advice – so does it make sense to ignore all of what they’re suggesting to you? And you can ask for a different nurse or doctor if you feel like things aren’t going the way you planned/don’t like the care or just don’t like them. You can’t be a voiceless being in a bed and then complain when you don’t get what you want.

Sarah on

I hate the term, “normal birth.” Every birth is normal, whether vaginally or via c-section. It’s a blessing and in my humble opinion, so long as the outcome of a healthy mom and baby is what’s left, who cares how! I hear so much about women feeling cheated out of the experience because they had a c-section. I have only one child who was delivered via c-section 15 yeas ago and to this day I have no regrets. Nor can you tell he was delivered via c-section – some want us to believe that babies born in an operating room who cannot instantly connect with their mothers suffer in some way and are “damaged.” I call BS, my son can’t remember the day he was born, but he does remember birthday celebrations, family vacations, dinners around the table and so on. Listen, I’m a liberal, but sometimes we just go to extremes and I’m offended by others telling me the beautiful birth of my son wasn’t “natural.” Pfffft!