By Laura Maxson, LM
People are sticking pretty close to home with the recent COVID-19 flareups in our community. Families know the drill by now. Everyone already has a plan in place to safely shop, order food to go, and function in our partially functioning society.One thing that is often missing in this partial lockdown is casual conversation among friends and the opportunity to make new acquaintances. For those currently pregnant, there is no more lingering in the midwife’s waiting room to finish a conversation with someone who has the same due date, comparing childbirth education classes, or setting up playdates for kids.
Considering all the lost opportunities to talk with others, expectant parents might need some extra prompts to help them explore birth options and learn about alternatives in care. All the good shows have already been binge watched over the past year, so this might be a great time to check out some good childbirth-related movies and documentaries. It can be helpful to explore some of the issues that might get glossed over or missed entirely in childbirth classes online. There just isn’t time to cover everything in a Zoom meeting format, and chatting around the refreshment table just isn’t happening.
Understanding the choices around homebirth, unmedicated birth, and other options can help parents make decisions about their own birth plan. Someone doesn’t have to choose a homebirth to benefit from the discussions around that choice. A birth plan in any setting includes options stemming from topics covered in films with a broad range of interests like these below.
Why not home?
Created by nurse practitioner Jessicca Moore to highlight the choices parents make when considering where to give birth. Set in Northern California, Why Not Home tells the stories of real parents who are also nurses, midwives, doctors, and OBs.
2011 CNN Hero Ibu Robin Lim is featured in this documentary about her work as a midwife and clinic director in Indonesia. Robin shares her passion for childbirth and caring for her community after an earthquake, tsunami, and terrorist attacks.
Nurturing Your Gorgeous & Growing Baby By Breastfeeding.
David Stark provides a beautiful and informative film about breastfeeding. Pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum issues are addressed with parents sharing their experiences, animation to help with positioning, and many gorgeous images.
Ina May Gaskin and the Farm
This is the story of Ina May Gaskin, an influential midwife from the 1970s onward who helped bring the importance of midwifery to a more mainstream audience. A hippie caravan led to the founding of a commune and creation of a birth center that persists today; Birth Story documents one aspect of midwifery history.
The Business of Being Born
Abby Epstein and Ricki Lake explore the state of maternity care in the United States. Parents have choices around home and hospital birth, midwives, and OBs, as well as philosophies around pain relief and natural birth.
It’s My Body, My Baby, My Birth
Maria Iorillo, licensed midwife, put together this short video about homebirth and women’s experience of birth. Parents speak about pain, decision making, and their choices.
The Best Kept Secret
Debra Pascali-Bonaro’s film highlights seven births. While not everyone is going to have an orgasmic birth, the possibility of labor being a pleasurable event is refreshing. The basic needs for privacy and trust are explored.
Born in the U.S.A.
Presenting birth from three perspectives: home, hospital, and birth center. An obstetrician, licensed midwife, and certified nurse midwife provide their insights into childbirth.
Laboring Under an Illusion
Mass Media Childbirth vs. The Real Thing
People are influenced by childbirth portrayals in the media. TV shows, movies, and documentaries have all played a part in how each person might view birth. Childbirth clips from Marge Simpson and the Coneheads, to I Love Lucy and classic birth documentaries are covered. Lots of laughs in this informative film.
Lovely family-oriented film of a midwife who is giving birth to her third child at home in Mexico. This is a very gentle and peaceful movie suitable for most children.
Birth Network has resources for childbirth education and more birthnet.org