Mothers Deserve Options: Ricki Lake

Visit my website to explore home birth, hospital birth and Medicare-funded private midwifery care.

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I made my 2008 documentary The Business of Being Born to educate women about choices in childbirth, and raise questions about maternity care in the U.S. ...

The impact of the documentary was monumental ... It's seems that the more we know, the fewer choices we have. In the last five years, New York City alone has witnessed the shuttering of its only freestanding birth center, two hospital-based birth centers, a popular childbirth education center and a major hospital that offered privileges to a large number of hospital midwifery practices and home birth midwives. This has left many parents-to-be struggling to find birth options outside of the traditional OB/GYN approach.

But why is all of this important? Why does it matter if a mother's prenatal visits are 10 minutes long or last more than an hour? Why does it matter if the care provider at her birth is someone she has built a trusting relationship with over 9 months or a stranger-on-call? Why does it matter if a woman brings her child into this world in a way that makes her feel empowered and respected, as opposed to feeling pushed through a delivery where she is not an active participant in her care? Does how we are born really matter if mom and baby are pronounced "healthy" in the end?

Well, I have seen that it matters quite a bit ... at its core, the birth process is directly connected to most important thing in this world -- loving and caring for our children .. mothers who receive attentive prenatal care and have a positive birth experience are in a better position to create a healthy attachment to their babies, have more success breastfeeding, and enter the experience of motherhood feeling empowered and energized ... that concept ... is what has become sorely lost in our mainstream medical system ...

... It concerns me to see that a growing number of mothers feel coerced and undermined during the birth process, and rates of post-traumatic-stress disorder after birth are on the rise. There is a blasé attitude toward rising cesarean rates, which now make up one third of all births ...

The entire pregnancy and birth process is physiologically designed to prepare women emotionally and physically for motherhood. Mother nature has endowed us with a complex interaction of hormones that literally reshape the human brain for motherhood. Doctors have not even begun to crack the surface of understanding the neuroscience behind the hormonal interactions between mom and baby during the time of birth. In fact, they do not even understand what causes a woman to go into labor, which is why labor induction methods remain crude and statistically double one's chances of ending up with a cesarean ... my true passion is making sure that new parents are informed ...