Intro to Women's Studies 2010

etsu: 2011-2014

The Business of Being Born

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      When we first heard that we would be watching this documentary, my thoughts were, “Wait, women still do that?? I thought that died over 50 years ago?” and was really curious as to what I was about to see. Unfortunately, I too have been influenced by the ignorance of homebirths and what actually happens so I did not EVEN know what to expect. I was super interested in learning more. 
      A few claims made in the video really ‘raised my eyebrows’ so to speak. For instance, the fact that very few doctors have ever even seen a natural birth made me weary of hospital deliveries. Obstetricians are trained for surgeries and high-risk deliveries. And they treat most deliveries as such. The fact that cesarean sections, or C-sections, have grown ridiculously popular in the last 20 years was unsettling to me. I can’t believe that women actually ‘pick a date, and have a baby’. Wtf? It takes all of the surprise out of when the birth day will be? I thought the statement about women being “Too posh to push” was quite hilarious and that the trend of C-sections had really become that of a celeb trend women wish to follow. One important point also made by the film was that of interventions in childbirth. The film proposed that doctors are more concerned with getting patients in and out at a quick pace. Thus, if they feel that contractions are too far apart, or aren’t enough, they will give drugs to induce contractions. Is that really necessary? Once one drug is administered, another may be given to help with the effects of the first, then another to help with the second drug, etc. Because of these interventions, many women do not actually have full control or say in how their baby will be born.
      Evidence that homebirth is optimum for most normal vaginal births is supported by several statistics; sadly I was unable to write down all of them. BUT, the U.S. has one of the highest maternal mortality rates. That, I felt, was enough said. However, there were many more arguments for homebirths. The most important, I felt, was that with homebirths, there are more babies born with fewer complications. Most other countries worldwide know this and have greater percentages of homebirths. Unfortunately for us, insurance companies do not always cover it and are more interested in paying hospitals and doctors. The documentary made a comparison of geologists describing countries that they have never been to because they are too afraid to go there being much like those opinions of homebirth. Clever!
      Overall, I ended up really enjoying this documentary on the Business of Being Born. I never thought of it in such a way, but it is in fact quite a business. Before watching this, I had no idea that homebirth was even still an option. But now, I may actually be considering a homebirth for my kids, in several years of course. It must be so empowering to know that you delivered your baby in a way that was safer and better for both of you. Not only that, but at home with no doctor telling you what to do and pumping drugs into your system without really presenting you with a choice. Hospitals have been taking that power of choice and control from women, and I feel that we should take it back.

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