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Born in the USA: a documentary about childbirth in America. (Media Reviews).

Born in the USA: A Documentary about Childbirth in America by Marcia Jarmel and Ken Schneider; $195.00; PatchWorks Productions, [C] 2000; for ordering call Fanlight Productions: 800-937-4113; www.fanlight.com; inquire about the educator's rate

I'll have to admit, I watched this video with a critical eye. I had heard mixed reviews, including one that was not very positive from a birth advocate for whom I have great respect. After watching it, however, my overall view of the video is that it accomplishes its goal and purpose quite well. I would especially recommend it as a helpful video to own if you happen to do community film nights or something similar. I found it extremely empowering because it honestly presents birth options and encourages women to decide what is best for them.

The video is moderately long (56 minutes) and therefore would be good to use in childbirth education classes in snippet form rather than in its full entirety. It clearly contrasts birth in a hospital, birth center, and at home--provoking mindful questions about quality of care in all three settings. It has a definite slant toward midwifery and is a good tool for presenting midwifery information to groups who might not be familiar with this form of care.

The contrasting of paradigms is what appealed to me the most in the video. During an interview, the female obstetrician says that "Birth is risky business, and my job is to manage the risk." She touts the wonders of continuous fetal monitoring, proclaiming that practitioners can serve more than one woman at a time with a central monitoring station. She explains the necessity of this because "most hospitals cannot afford one-on-one nursing/monitoring." Shortly afterward, a homebirth midwife is quoted as saying, "Babies have been born for thousands of years with the help of other women. And now we have all the technology that we can use if we need it ... So there's a beautiful collaboration where we use technology if we need it, or we contact the obstetrician if we need to, but women should be allowed to birth where they feel the safest."

Some of you may be curious about the births shown on the video. There are births in all venues (again, hospital, birth center, and home). I thought the filmmakers gave a realistic portrayal of all settings and models of care. The hospital births were not sugarcoated. There is a home waterbirth that shows a nice example of positive vocalization and super midwifery care for those of you looking for a good birth to show in birth classes.

My overall recommendation is that it would be a great video to see if you have not already viewed it on your local ins station (American viewers). Would it be a useful video to own? Possibly, if you have the resources (it's rather pricey), and if you have the right audience. I look forward to showing it periodically in my community in an ongoing attempt to boost the awareness of the midwifery model of care.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Association of Labor Assistants & Childbirth Educators
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Review
Author:Pestlin, Karen
Publication:Special Delivery
Article Type:Video Recording Review
Date:Jun 22, 2001
Words:507
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