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baby bucket list: The Business of Being Born

Part of my baby bucket list was to watch The Business of Being Born. They had it at our library, but we also found it on Netflix streaming. I had heard from several moms that the documentary was a “must see” for preparing for childbirth. J and I both enjoy watching documentaries, but sometimes I find them to be overly sensationalized and completely skewed to portray only one way of thinking. I was a little apprehensive about what the film would include – even though I’m pregnant, I don’t really want to watch a compilation of live births or c-sections to prepare. While I don’t subscribe to everything they were saying in the film, I’m happy to say that this documentary’s approach was not “preachy” or overly skewed. It definitely left room for each viewer to come to conclusions for themselves.

thebusinessofebeingborn[image source]

Overall, J and I were both REALLY impressed with the film. It briefly overviews the history of birth in the United States and how it compares to that of the rest of the world. It shows expectant parents the options that are available to them outside of what we have come to regard as “traditional” hospital birth. They do a good job of explaining what interventions are commonly carried out in hospitals and why they shouldn’t be considered standards of care for a normal, healthy birth. It was really eyeopening to see the c-section statistics and get a better understanding birth process in general.

Here are the highlights and main takeaways I took from The Business of Being Born:

  1. Birth is a positive, natural experience
  2. Many hospital births have unnecessary medical interventions
  3. Women should be empowered to make decisions in labor and delivery and not be pressured by medical staff
  4. There is NOTHING wrong with having a hospital birth, but you should be aware of your alternatives and the procedures of your particular hospital staff
  5. Knowledge and communication are power when making the best decision for you and your baby


I’m not going to get into the personal details of how J and I have decided to go about our birth plan, but watching The Business of Being Born was definitely a good starting point to get us talking about what is important to us. It sparked us to do more research, and I have a whole new list of questions and requests for the doctor delivering my baby.

I’d recommend watching the documentary to anyone preparing for childbirth. I wish I had watched it sooner because it was a great catalyst for me to face the questions and fears I had concerning birth in general. If you watch it, let me know what you think! I’m interested in hearing other opinions. 

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