I subscribed to Netflix yesterday and was excited (probably a little too excited) to see that The Business of Being Born was in the film library. It didn’t disappoint. The documentary talks to the history of birth in the 20th century including all the drugs and techniques that were introduced throughout the century. Did you know that hospitals used to administer a drug in the 1920s that would make the mother lose control of her body and her memory of giving birth at all? And that they used to tie them down to the bed while they were giving birth? Not exactly the ideal way to bring life into this world.
But this isn’t a history of birth. It’s a documentary of the current system in the U.S. and touches on trends throughout the world. There were all sorts of factoids that I didn’t realize. Cesareans are more risky than vaginal birth. Pit, a drug administered to women to induce contractions, is a synthetic version of oxytocin (a hormone that floods your body during birth and gives you a high like no other immediately following birth).
So naturally I started thinking, hey! I could give birth naturally. Absolutely! That’s what I’m going to do (if I’m ever in a position to do it). But about three-quarters of the way through, the documentary started showing a lot of home births. It was amazing. But I watched with my hands covering my eyes. What does that say? The jury is out on this one. But I’m not worried – there’s plenty of time before I have to make that decision for myself.