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Birth Story, Ina May Gaskin

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Released: 2013
Runtime:  1 hr 34 mins

Ina May Gaskin and the Farm Midwives tells the story of counterculture heroine Ina May Gaskin and her spirited friends, who began delivering each other's babies in 1970, on a caravan of hippie school buses, headed to a patch of rural Tennessee land. With Ina May as their leader, the women taught themselves midwifery from the ground up, and became an integral part of a new, entirely communal, agricultural society called The Farm. The people of The Farm grew their own food, built their own houses, published their own books, and, as word of their social experiment spread, created a model of care for women and babies that changed a generation's approach to childbirth. Forty years ago, Ina May led the charge away from isolated hospital birthing rooms, where husbands were not allowed and mandatory forceps deliveries were the norm. Today, as nearly one third of all US babies are born via C-section, she fights to preserve her community's hard-won knowledge. With incredible access to the midwives' archival video collection, the film not only captures the unique sisterhood at The Farm Clinic--from its heyday into the present--but shows childbirth the way most people have never seen it--unadorned, unabashed, and awe-inspiring.


Orgasmic Birth

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Released: 2009
Runtime:  85 mins

A documentary that examines the intimate nature of birth, an everyday miracle, and the powerful role it plays in women’s lives when they are permitted to experience it fully. This documentary asks viewers to reexamine everything they thought they knew about giving birth and the potential it holds.

Undisturbed birth is revealed as an integral part of women’s sexuality and a widely neglected human right. Couples share their birth experiences, discussing their fears and how they found the support, nurturing, and ultimately the power and strength within themselves to labor and birth their babies in a beautiful, loving, and ecstatic way.


The Business of Being Born

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Download $9.99 via iTunes

Released: 2008
Runtime:  1 hr 25 mins

While the United States has perhaps the most advanced health care system in the world, it also has the second-highest infant mortality rate of any industrialized nation, and many have begun to question conventional wisdom regarding the way obstetricians deal with childbirth. While midwives preside over the majority of births in Europe and Japan, fewer than ten percent of American mothers employ them, despite their proven record of care and success. How do American doctors make their choices regarding the way their patients give birth, and who is intended to benefit? Director Abby Epstein ("Until the Violence Stops") and Daytime Emmy Award-nominee Ricki Lake (TV's "The Ricki Lake Show," "Hairspray") offer a probing look at childbirth in America in the documentary The Business of Being Born, which explores the history of obstetrics, the history and function of midwives, and how many common medical practices may be doing new mothers more harm than good.


MORE Business of Being Born
Part 1:
Down on the farm - Conversations with Legendary Midwife Ina May Gaskin

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Released: 2011
Runtime:  55 mins

Follow Executive Producer Ricki Lake and Director Abby Epstein to The Farm Community in Summertown, Tennessee, where pioneer midwife Ina May Gaskin talks candidly about the latest birth trends and the art of midwifery. Gaskin, who was featured in the original The Business of Being Born, sparked Lake’s initial interest in natural birth and has continued to inspire the filmmaking duo’s advocacy efforts. Also on the journey is pregnant actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley, who has enlisted a midwife to attend the birth of her second child and joins the filmmakers in meeting The Farm’s famous midwives and touring the picturesque birth cabins in the woods. In the poignant final sequence, Gaskin exhibits her Safe Motherhood Quilt and calls for a deeper examination into the rising maternal mortality rate in the US.


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Part 2:
Special Deliveries - Celebrity Mothers Talk Straight on Birth

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Released: 2011
Runtime:  1 hr 14 mins

Featuring celebrity moms Laila Ali, Gisele Bundchen, Cindy Crawford, Alyson Hannigan, Melissa Joan Hart, Kellie Martin, Alanis Morissette, Christy Turlington-Burns and Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Special Deliveries is a collection of intimate birth stories from a diverse group of mothers. Whether they chose to deliver at a hospital, home or birthing center, these heartfelt and humorous testimonies speak to the lasting power of the birth experience. True inspiration for any mother-to-be, this group of women trusted their bodies and intuitions, taking responsibility for their birth decisions even when things didn’t go according to plan. None of these courageous women has ever spoken on the record in such compelling detail, and, on this DVD, the filmmakers weave together their passionate narratives as a celebration of the journey to motherhood that will leave viewers with a renewed sense of amazement about the power of women.


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Part 3
: Explore Your Options - Doulas, Birth Centers, and C-Sections

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Released: 2011
Runtime:  1 hr 41 mins

Follow The most comprehensive and educational DVD in the series, Explore Your Options offers birth-planning guidance around key topics such as the role of doulas (labor support specialists,) the advantages of birth centers and the alarming escalation of cesarean sections in the United States and Brazil. Epstein and Lake talk to doulas about why their profession is currently booming and uncover why having a good doula can make-or-break the entire birth experience. They look at the ever-growing rates of inductions and c-sections, which have reached 50% in many US hospitals and more than 99% in some private hospitals in Brazil. How “safe” are these cesarean surgeries, and what are the health implications for the mothers and babies? Explore Your Options examines the pros and cons of birth centers, described as a perfect middle ground between home and hospital. Special features include Alanis Morissette and Alyson Hannigan on the advantages of doulas, Christy Turlington Burns on her unexpected complications at a birth center, Molly Ringwald on how she avoided a cesarean birth with her twins and Gisele Bundchen and Michelle Alves on the cesarean epidemic in their native Brazil.


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Part 4:
The VBAC Dilemma - What Your Options Really Are

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Released: 2011
Runtime:  51 mins

The VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) has become a hot-button issue in the modern maternity care system, as one in three new mothers will give birth via cesarean section. Are all of these mothers then forced to undergo a repeat cesarean the next time around? Epstein and Lake posed that question to dozens of experts, determining the surprising truth about VBACs. They also follow several women’s stories – both those who succeed and fail at attempting a VBAC – including that of filmmaker Abby Epstein, whose first c-section delivery was depicted in the dramatic, final moments of The Business of Being Born.