Thursday, April 15, 2010

"Face of Birth": A documentary on the battle for birth in Australia

I cannot wait to see this, and of course cannot wait until the weekend to share it with you. We have our maternity care struggles in America, that's for sure, hence my very existence here, but Australia has its own unique situation. Here, though there are still states where midwives cannot legally hold licenses, the choice to birth at home is, at least, still protected for the family. In Australia, that choice is at risk of becoming illegal, period. Here's the trailer for "Face of Birth":

Choice in birth is a human rights issue. How can we in the U.S. best stand with the women of Australia on this? I'd love your thoughts.


  1. The most striking moment for me in that trailer was the women dressed as suffragettes. Same battle, different spark. It's sad to think about how much we still have to fight.

    Second thought sparked from that imagery, is that from the suffragette movement also came a push for medicalized birth...the option to have drugs, to not have to endure the pain. I suppose it comes down to the same thing though, choice.

  2. In British Columbia Canada, our women have the option to deliver at home or in the hospital setting. Depending on which MD you go to...your hospital birth may be not unlike a "midwife" birth....but having worked 33 yrs as an RN and most of it as an L&D RN (trained in the USA) there is a HUGE difference between a hospital birth in the USA and in least in BC. We allow the woman choices...whatever they would like to do....and most of the time non invasiveness is the nurse spending more time with the woman coaching instead of watching a monitor. The government requires midwives to do a certain % of births at home or you don't get to keep your license. I have nothing against home birth as long as there are 2 persons attending (one to care for mom and one for baby who is NRP certified) and you are not more than 30 minutes from a hospital that does deliveries. This is what the government mandates but sometimes the midwife doesn't follow this. I have looked after moms that have come to us after trying to deliver at home who have stated that they had pushed at home for 8 hours ....and the midwife told them not to tell us....and midwives who deliver beyond the 30 minutes from the hospital and who have run into problems and unfortunately ended up with a dead baby. If home births are to be done and continued....SAFETY should be paramount....the government likes home births because it does save them money, but I would just hate to see an irresponsible midwife jeopardize that.

  3. Thanks, anonymous nurse! I know there is variation between different provinces, but BC sounds great.

    And I do agree with you, definitely, on having 2 midwives at any home birth. If both mom and baby are having a hard time, someone needs to be available to attend to each of them with total focus. (This would be a good segue into my long-overdue feelings on UC, but I'm not quite ready to go there just yet.)

    And yikes, those last two examples are terribly irresponsible. I'm always sorry to hear about that kind of thing when MOST home birth midwives are scrupulous, diligent and safety-valuing above all.