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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Did You Know?


Features Ricki Lake (1992) See more »


Calling All Angels
Written and Performed by Jane Siberry
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records by arrangement with Warner Music Group
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User Reviews

Real life experience before your eyes
17 January 2008 | by (California) – See all my reviews

Everyone in America should watch this film, especially fathers and mothers-to-be.

As a father of two babies delivered by Caesarean section, my real life experience reflects what this film presents. With a first pregnancy, men like me might trust a maternity and birthing health care system that obviously is accepted by everyone we know. As an engineer and technologist, I am attracted to statistics and procedures, I am attracted to managed systems and to logical decision-making. And I understand that giving birth involves a lot of money, and that doctors, hospitals and health care companies have a burden in how to run a successful enterprise.

But the American birthing system is missing something very important... our humanity, our sensitivity, our vulnerability. Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein reveal the vulnerability of father, mother and child during pregnancy, how easily we allow a managed system to make decisions in the name of our well-being. When faced with an overwhelming majority of our family and friends who know only one way to give birth, in a hospital, there is little room for anything else.

This film challenges what we assume works, and informs us that there are alternatives accepted everywhere else in the world but in the United States. I pray that other mothers and fathers-to-be, for the sake of their children's' psychological and emotional health, will step up to the plate, become informed consumers about what is happening, and consider a traditional birth, at home.

Your first step is to see this film.

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