The Business of Being Born – Time for a Change: Producer Ricki Lake's Documentary about Birth in the United States

Abby Epstein directed this documentary about The Business of Being Born. The history of the medical community intersecting with maternal health care has come to a point where the insurance business is not about giving good care, or options, for women and their families, but about maximizing profits and making life easy for physicians. Giving birth has become a billion dollar industry, with the worst outcomes by far per dollar spent of anywhere in the developed world. Yet insurance companies continue to fight midwifery as an alternative. A hospital birth is about $13,000 and a midwife birth about $4,000; why is this not a better way if the statistics show that less is more in this case?

The Business of Being Born is a Billion Dollar Business Not Aimed at Helping Mothers or Babies

There is a crisis in maternity care. We have higher death rates than many third world countries. Yet the system is designed to make things easy for the doctors and insurance executives, not for women and their babies. If the woman comes in and is not having contractions rapidly enough, she is give a drug, Pitocin, to hurry things up. Then to help her with the severe pain caused by the Pitocin, an epidural is given. This causes greater distress to the helpless infant, who is experiencing more the effects of the painful, dangerous and violent contractions.

Historically, the medical community has tried to make childbirth easier for the medical practitioner. A few decades ago, doctors were taking ex-rays of the woman's uterus, which led to cancer in the babies, so that practice was stopped. Then in the 1950s, Thalidomide was given to women, which led to children being born without arms and legs, so that regime was stopped. In the 1990s, women were given another drug that cause ruptured uteruses and death for many babies. Each of these practices left behind a legacy of suffering, infant deaths, and material maladies.

Normal Birth is Becoming Extinct in the U.S.

C-section is becoming the norm, with as many as 45% of all births being surgically planned in some areas. It has become trendy, with some famous women "too posh to push," and the trend then becomes the desired procedure for other women who emulate the celebrities. Will infants and mothers ever learn the truth about how natural childbirth can be a wonderful experience? Will women continue to go along with the trend towards scheduling births for the convenience of doctors and hospitals? This film was Rickii Lake's attempt to shine a light on a subject that is often overlooked by women. One midwife said that she had witnessed at 500% increase in C-sections performed, while in the midwife sector, they have been going down. This film urges couples expecting a child to research their options before deciding which type of birth they want to experience.