The Business of Being Born (2008)

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Birth: it's a miracle. A rite of passage. A natural part of life. But more than anything, birth is a business. Compelled to find answers after a disappointing birth experience with her ... See full summary »


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Credited cast:
Mary Helen Ayres ...
Herself - Homebirth Midwife in Indiana
Herself - Parent (as Julia Barnett Tracy)
Sylvie Blaustein ...
Herself - Owner & Director, Midwifery of Manhattan
Louann Brizendine ...
Michael Brodman ...
Patricia Burkhardt ...
Tina Cassidy ...
Herself - Journalist and Author of 'Birth'
Ronaldo Cortes ...
Himself - Ob / Gyn (as Dr. Ronaldo Cortes)
Robbie Davis-Floyd ...
Herself - Medical Anthropologist
Eugene Declerq ...
Herself - Filmmaker
Eden Fromberg ...
Herself - Ob / Gyn (as Dr. Eden Fromberg)
Natashia Fuksman ...
Herself - Doula (Labor Support)
Ina May Gaskin ...
Herself - Midwife
Nadine Goodman ...
Herself - Public Health Specialist


Birth: it's a miracle. A rite of passage. A natural part of life. But more than anything, birth is a business. Compelled to find answers after a disappointing birth experience with her first child, actress Ricki Lake recruits filmmaker Abby Epstein to explore the maternity care system in America. Focusing on New York City, the film reveals that there is much to distrust behind hospital doors and follows several couples who decide to give birth on their own terms. There is an unexpected turn when director Epstein not only discovers she is pregnant, but finds the life of her child on the line. Should most births should be viewed as a natural life process, or should every delivery be treated as a potential medical emergency? Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

9 January 2008 (USA)  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$9,574 (USA) (11 January 2008)


$69,348 (USA) (22 February 2008)

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User Reviews

Biased, but very informative and thought-provoking!
19 June 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Business of Being Born is about birth procedure in the United States today, specifically regarding home births in contrast to hospital births. According to the documentary, these days 99% of births in the United States happen in hospitals. Most women don't even know about their options to have home births or even what a midwife is. Interviews with several birth specialists concluded that this is in fact a travesty, that the rushed, drug-infused deliveries that doctors are pushing on women these days is actually contributing to the United States having one of the highest infant and women mortality rates in any developed country in the world. Host, Ricki Lake and just about every person interviewed in the documentary really pushed women to consider natural home births with midwives. Obviously, this documentary was very biased towards one point of view. Regardless, it really got me thinking about birth and about the questions I should ask if and when I have a baby.

The documentary showed four or five home births on camera. Sure, they were gross but what was nice about them was that they didn't look so frightening. Any time you see a birth scene in a movie, the woman is typically screaming her head off and many times complications arise and interventions are made. The home births made having a baby look like this super happy, empowering thing (and painful of course but I guess that goes without saying). The women were able to have their babies in their own homes on their own terms without having anyone make suggestions that they take drugs or induce.

Of course there are times when those things are needed. I'm not trying to downplay the value of hospitals when it comes to having a baby. Hospitals can provide services that midwives cannot. I just think that it's good to at least think about. Assuming your pregnancy is low-risk, why not try it? I don't know about anyone else, but personally I don't really feel comfortable in hospitals.

I'm a long way off from having to make these kinds of decisions. Who knows if and when I'll even have children. I'm glad I saw The Business of Being Born though. It gave me a lot to think about and really reminded me of the importance of doing research and developing your own birthing plan.

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