1-4: Childbirth in America, childbirth around the world, and other documentaries
5-6: Healthy body during pregnancy
7-8: Birth in the hospital
9-10: Birth in a birth center
15: Laughing through birth!
16-17: Labor interventions and alternatives (a work in progress)
- Ina May Gaskin on reducing the fear of birth in American culture. Remember how in the first class we were talking about ways that fear is linked to stress, and that both majorly impact the body? Cultural fears of childbirth can impede the normal flow of labor, make labor more painful by having us work against our bodies, and can set us up for more interventions as a result.
- The Business of Being Born is a documentary about contemporary childbirth practices in the United States and is eye opening as to the various pressures that come into play that shape childbirth practices and experiences.
- Le Premier Cri is a stunning French documentary on childbirth in different parts of the world, ranging from the a birth with dolphins in Mexico, to the Amazon to Touaregs to Siberia to France and so many more. Even if you don’t speak French, the film is gorgeous and shows the many ways that people have babies across the globe.
- What Babies Want looks at the experiences of babies in the womb and how birth impacts them. I’ve only included the first segment, but if you want to watch it you can follow the links to watch the other segments.
- Prenatal yoga routine.
- Prenatal yoga routine.
- This shows a medicated childbirth in the hospital. She opts for an epidural, so you don’t see her really changing positions or getting out of bed.
- Here’s an unmedicated childbirth in the hospital. It doesn’t show her in labor, just the birth part. Notice that in both this video and in the previous video the cord is immediately cut, which is currently a common practice in hospital settings, though parents can request to delay.
- Videos 9 & 10 are a mom having an unmedicated birth in a birth center. I like these videos because mom walks you through her labor process, talking about what contractions felt like, what she did in early labor (go shopping), the importance of rest in early labor to conserve energy, and some (Christian) spiritual visualizations that she used. Notice that she labored at home for a while, sitting on an exercise/birth ball.
- Here the mom from the previous video talks about her experience of childbirth at a local birthing center. Notice that she asks her husband to lower his voice when they arrive at the center–peace and quiet is great! She also doesn’t want to be touched–sometimes touch is great and sometimes you just need your space. She also says that she loves pushing, a very normal feeling when the sensations switch over from opening to the productive feeling of pushing. She births on hands and knees. Go ahead and watch part 3 if you want to, where she talks about why this birth was better than her first.
- This mom has an unmedicated home birth. She talks a bit at the beginning about her intentions for making the video, which is great. She has a water birth. Notice that she’s quite calm during the birthing phase. The video also includes the birth of the placenta, which is attached to the baby via the umbilical cord and is usually birthed within the first 5-10 minutes following the baby, though can take longer.
- Another unmedicated home birth in water, and in this one she talks quite a bit about her feelings of pain and discomfort. Right about transition (opening 7-10 centimeters) she describes how she feels like she can’t handle it anymore. This is a normal sign of transition and usually means that a woman is nearing full dilation — a relatively short period. After transition, the sensations completely shift as the pushing phase begins.
- Here’s an accidental unassisted birth for a mom whose homebirth midwife was on her way. Her husband goes downstairs to let the midwife in and in the meantime, the baby is born. I think it’s valuable to show you that most babies are safely born just with a woman’s own efforts, no one needs to tell her what to do!
- Another home water birth (at this point I think most home births happen in warm water) using an inflatable birthing tub. I believe this is in Australia, but it looks similar to other home births I’ve been to. The tubing in her nose is, I think, nitrous oxide, which is used for pain relief in the UK and Australia. A sweet and professionally filmed video.
- You’ll notice that I’ve picked fairly modest videos up until this point. Modest this one is not, but it’s amazing. Watch how this woman laughs uncontrollably while pushing out her baby, and receives her baby with absolute delight.
- A video on mother-directed pushing.
- A video on the risks of induction.