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The Business of Being Born Series


Inspired by their own unique birth experiences, producer Ricki Lake and Director Abby Epstein team up to provide a nation of mothers-to-be with insight into the process of childbirth and the various options available when preparing for life's most special event. From pregnancy to the miraculous moment of birth, The Business Of Being Born is an entertaining and informative celebration of the road to motherhood that "should be seen by every pregnant woman in America."

Jack Mattews, New York Daily News

Executive Producer Ricki Lake and Filmmaker Abby Epstein follow their landmark documentary, The Business of Being Born, with an all-new, four part DVD series that continues their provocative and entertaining exploration of the modern maternity care system. More Business of Being Born, available on November 8th, 2011, offers a practical look at birthing options as well as poignant celebrity birth stories from stars including Alanis Morissette, Gisele Bundchen, Christy Turlington-Burns, Cindy Crawford, Molly Ringwald, Kimberly Williams-Paisley and Melissa Joan Hart.


1. Down on The Farm: Conversations with Legendary Midwife Ina May Gaskin

Follow Executive Producer Ricki Lake and Director Abby Epstein to The Farm Community in Summertown, Tennessee, where pioneer midwife Ina May Gaskin talks candidly about the latest birth trends and the art of midwifery. Gaskin, who was featured in the original The Business of Being Born, sparked Lake’s initial interest in natural birth and has continued to inspire the filmmaking duo’s advocacy efforts. Also on the journey is pregnant actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley, who has enlisted a midwife to attend the birth of her second child and joins the filmmakers in meeting The Farm’s famous midwives and touring the picturesque birth cabins in the woods. In the poignant final sequence, Gaskin exhibits her Safe Motherhood Quilt and calls for a deeper examination into the rising maternal mortality rate in the US.  (Running Time: 55 min)

2. Special Deliveries: Celebrity Mothers Talk Straight on Birth

Featuring celebrity moms Laila Ali, Gisele Bundchen, Cindy Crawford, Alyson Hannigan, Melissa Joan Hart, Kellie Martin, Alanis Morissette, Christy Turlington-Burns and Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Special Deliveries is a collection of intimate birth stories from a diverse group of mothers. Whether they chose to deliver at a hospital, home or birthing center, these heartfelt and humorous testimonies speak to the lasting power of the birth experience.  True inspiration for any mother-to-be, this group of women trusted their bodies and intuitions, taking responsibility for their birth decisions even when things didn’t go according to plan. None of these courageous women has ever spoken on the record in such compelling detail, and, on this DVD, the filmmakers weave together their passionate narratives as a celebration of the journey to motherhood that will leave viewers with a renewed sense of amazement about the power of women.  (Running Time: 74 min)

3. Explore Your Options: Doulas, Birth Centers & C-Sections

The most comprehensive and educational DVD in the series, Explore Your Options offers birth-planning guidance around key topics such as the role of doulas (labor support specialists,) the advantages of birth centers and the alarming escalation of cesarean sections in the United States and Brazil. Epstein and Lake talk to doulas about why their profession is currently booming and uncover why having a good doula can make-or-break the entire birth experience. They look at the ever-growing rates of inductions and c-sections, which have reached 50% in many US hospitals and more than 99% in some private hospitals in Brazil. How “safe” are these cesarean surgeries, and what are the health implications for the mothers and babies? Explore Your Options examines the pros and cons of birth centers, described as a perfect middle ground between home and hospital. Special features include Alanis Morissette and Alyson Hannigan on the advantages of doulas, Christy Turlington Burns on her unexpected complications at a birth center, Molly Ringwald on how she avoided a cesarean birth with her twins and  Gisele Bundchen and Michelle Alves on the cesarean epidemic in their native Brazil. (Running Time: 102 min)

4. The VBAC Dilemma: What Your Options Really Are 

The VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) has become a hot-button issue in the modern maternity care system, as one in three new mothers will give birth via cesarean section. Are all of these mothers then forced to undergo a repeat cesarean the
next time around? Epstein and Lake posed that question to dozens of experts, determining the surprising truth about VBACs. They also follow several women’s stories – both those who succeed and fail at attempting a VBAC – including that of filmmaker Abby Epstein, whose first c-section delivery was depicted in the dramatic, final moments of The Business of Being Born. (Running Time: 51 min)