Grab the popcorn, cancel your plans, set your phone to ‘do not disturb’ and settle in! This isn’t just a slideshow of birth videos – as cool as they are.
We’ve compiled a list for you of 7 of the most thought provoking, game changing, eye-opening and informative birth documentaries and films from the last 10 years.
Prepare to have your mind blown. It can be overwhelming sifting through the plethora of birth education on the internet. Not to mention you don’t know what you don’t know – so how do you know what to look for? It was enough to do my head in through pregnancy, and I’m a Midwife!
So we’ve made it simple. If you’re after something science minded, raw and powerful, political and informative, or just completely fascinating and inspirational, you’re going to find it here.
Whether you’re in your first, second or third trimester, each one of these docos and films are going to have a huge impact on your pregnancy and birthing journey in their own individual way. Though some similar, no two are the same. Let’s begin way back in 2008 – it feels like yesterday.
2008 – The Business Of Being Born
The Business of Being Born explores the American maternity system and how it compares to models of care in other developed countries. Medicalised and patriarchal – birth in the U.S is often interventionist and Obstetric led, yet not creating better outcomes for mothers and babies, while other countries have adopted a Midwife led model for uncomplicated pregnancy and birth.
Interviews with parents and medical experts examine women’s’ options for maternity care and place of birth in this film, produced by Ricki Lake.
There’s a saying that birth is a natural event that sometimes needs medical help, not a medical event that sometimes happens naturally. Think about it. How do your ideas and view of birth match up to that?
2012 – Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin And The Farm Midwives
Pushing fear out of the culture of birth, Birth Story explores how women of a 1970’s hippie commune changed the way a generation thought about childbirth, and how it is still completely relevant to modern birthing mothers.
Birthing in all kinds of crazy conditions, even the back of a bus, Ina May Gaskin and The Farm Midwives show how for most women, using strategies that promote natural physiological birth is the safest way to birth, and they have incredible statistics to prove it – not to mention amazing footage from their archives! Brazilians weren’t even a thing in the 70’s!
2012 – The Face of Birth
Though largely focused on women’s options surrounding birthing at home, this film is a must watch for all mothers-to-be, regardless of where you wish to birth your baby.
The Face of Birth will open your eyes to the importance of making informed decisions on where, how and who will care for you.
In Australia, we have a common system of finding out you’re pregnant, usually by peeing on a stick, confirming with your GP, then booking into your local hospital. Full stop, that’s that, no questions asked. Very little investigation into hospital or care provider statistics or options occurs.
This is what MOST women know to be the only way. In reality, I can think of at least 6 different models of care for the pregnancy, birth and new motherhood continuum off the top of my head.
You can watch a 20 minute free preview of The Face Of Birth here.
2014 – The Milky Way
Happy dance! Yes yes yes! The Milky Way is a film I didn’t know was missing from my life, and I’m so glad I’ve found it.
This isn’t just any common breastfeeding movie all about the how to’s and benefits of breastfeeding. The Milky Way delves into the way we value (or de-value) mothers and how poor breastfeeding rates are reflective of a profit driven system.
It empowers and educates mothers to trust their body and their baby, and the intuitive, physiological and instinctive dyad they share. You can see The Milky Way trailer here.
2014 – Microbirth
Obesity, diabetes, coeliac disease – could it all start at birth? I bet you’ve never stopped to think about what happens in birth on a microscopic level!
Microbirth is a fascinating, science based doco that explores the way in which a baby’s microbiome is laid down or ‘seeded’.
Some interventions in birth can affect this process, and is thought to potentially have lifelong implications on a child’s health and immune system, and future generations.
Surprisingly, Microbirth isn’t just a doco for health professionals! Completely eye-opening, thought provoking and easy to understand. Immerse yourself in the latest scientific research here.
2016 – Why Not Home?
The stories of Doctors, Nurses and Midwives who choose to birth at home – yet they attend births in hospitals. So what do they know that others don’t?
Why Not Home? puts the spotlight on maternity care in America and explores the latest evidence surrounding the benefits and risks of different birth settings.
I particularly love this one for its inclusion of balanced information and statistics, even though the statistics are often quite depressing! See for yourself. Don’t let the title put you off.
2018 – These Are My Hours
Babababaaaaam! And the grand finale – These Are My Hours. The most recent addition to the ever growing list of incredible birth docos, this 2018 film is like no other. Groundbreaking is all I can say to describe it.
These Are My Hours actually follows a mother through her birthing journey, cinematically beautiful yet raw and uncensored. It provides “a personal narrative of the heroine’s universal journey”. You’ll hear her innermost thoughts, intuition, and knowledge, yet witness her leave this universe to collect her baby’s soul from the stars, and return – a mother.
In a birthing culture that is plagued with fear, disempowerment, over-medicalisation and soaring rates of birth trauma, These Are My Hours reminds us that we are strong and capable – mentally, physically, spiritually.
And remember, no matter how or where birth happens, you’ve got this Mama.