Recommended Films About Childbirth

By OBOS Pregnancy & Birth Contributors | February 24, 2008
Last Revised on Jun 30, 2017

Looking to learn more about your birth options or about childbirth in the United States? Many excellent films, available for purchase or streaming, explore these topics in depth.

WHy not home? (2016)

Why would doctors who attend birth in hospitals choose to have their own babies at home? What do they know about birth that others don’t? Jessica Moore’s film examines the evidence on risks and rewards of different birth settings. 

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Why Not Home? Trailer from Jessicca Moore on Vimeo.

The film can be streamed online for $7.99.

The Business of Being Born (2008) and More Business of Being Born (2011)

These two films, produced by actress Ricki Lake, seek to understand and question birth practices in the United States. The films weave together intimate birth stories with a discussion of the history, culture and economics of childbirth.

The films are sometimes screened nationally and can be streamed on Netflix and Amazon. You can find out more at “The Business of Being Born” website.

Born in the U.S.A (2000)

Originally shown on PBS, “Born in the U.S.A.” provides an in-depth look at low-risk childbirth in America by presenting three different types of caregivers and settings: an obstetrician working at a teaching hospital, a licensed midwife attending home births, and a certified nurse-midwife bridging both worlds in an urban, out-of-hospital birth center. By examining the culture of birth practices in America, “Born in the U.S.A.” raises questions about technology, safety and quality of care, and it challenges parents to be proactive about getting the kind of care they want and need.

The film can be streamed online for $3.99 For more info, see the PatchWorks Films website.

It’s My Body, My Baby, My Birth

This film follows seven women as they progress through their pregnancies and births. Geared more toward women and their partners who are making decisions about birth, the film focuses on the joys and satisfactions of natural childbirth.

“It’s My Body, My Baby, My Birth” can be purchased for $10 plus $2.50 for shipping and handling. To find out more, go to the film’s website.

Orgasmic Birth (2008)

This documentary film follows 11 women giving birth and “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.”

“Orgasmic Birth” can be streamed on Amazon and Netflix. Additional information about the film and how to purchase it are available at the “Orgasmic Birth” websiteRead a review by OBOS co-founder Jane Pincus.

Laboring Under an Illusion: Mass Media Childbirth vs. The Real Thing (2009)

This film, which includes dozens of clips of birth scenes from movies and TV, explores media-generated myths about childbirth and how our culture affects our birth experiences.

“Laboring Under an Illusion: Mass Media Childbirth vs. The Real Thing” can be streamed or purchased through Amazon.com. Read a review of the film by OBOS co-founder Jane Pincus.

Reducing Infant Mortality (2009)

A film exploring how and why the current U.S. maternity care system is failing babies and families before, during and after birth.

The film is available for free at ReducingInfantMortality.com.