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All My Babies.

This is a re-issue of the 1950s classic, which today would be called a "docu-drama" about the practice of a Black midwife in rural Georgia before the state made such midwives obsolete and illegal. "Miss Mary" is a highly experienced midwife serving her Black community, and we follow two pregnancies with her - one of a woman who eats well and has a healthy baby, and one who has poor nutrition, a history of miscarriages and delivers this baby early as well. The midwife fashions a warmer out of a cardboard box lined with whiskey bottles filled with boiling water to keep the baby in until it can be safely transported to the clinic/ hospital for extended care.

The film shows the health department and the traditional midwives working together to successfully deliver care to a population which would otherwise be underserved and which has not, in fact, benefited from the elimination of home birth and the regionalization of health care. The officials are only once a little condescending (the midwives are called together because a baby has died from cord infection - Miss Mary is made to wonder if she could become too tired or sloppy with her sterilization).

The credits show that the movie was produced by certified nurse-midwives in the early 1950s. It's nice to know that they valued and wanted to preserve the work of the traditional or grand (granny) midwives in the south, whose statistics were undoubtedly better than the perinatal mortality rates for Black babies today, despite the high-tech approach.
COPYRIGHT 1995 Association of Labor Assistants & Childbirth Educators
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1995, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Dancy, Rahima Baldwin
Publication:Special Delivery
Article Type:Video Recording Review
Date:Jun 22, 1995
Previous Article:Spiritual Midwifery.
Next Article:Cesarean Births: Personal Stories.

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