UnBreaking Birth – A New Documentary

About the New Study

New and largest study finds home birth safe for most women

On January 30, 2014, the largest-yet study[1] examining planned midwife-attended home births in the U.S. affirmed the consensus of medical literature that home birth attended by a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) it is a safe option for most women. In this study, published in the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health, Mothers giving birth with CPMs had outcomes comparable to women giving birth in the hospital, but with far fewer costly and unnecessary interventions. CPMs are the only U.S. midwives required to have clinical training in out-of-hospital birth as a condition of national certification.

Read more here.

About the Documentary

What is the motivation behind UnBreaking Birth?

In comparison with other countries and with what it could be, the U.S. maternity care system has profoundly failed, but many people either do not know something is wrong, are not aware of the severity of the problems, or do not know that there is a solution at hand.

UnBreaking Birth is an attempt to collect and present this information in a comprehensible and verifiable form. We have attempted to organize and share scientific and medical information without using jargon or graphic images. We have illustrated these kinds of information with personal narratives.

When expecting a baby for the first time, there is so much for a couple to think about besides critically examining the birth system they are about to traverse. Let us not leave them alone facing a broken system.

What do you mean that the U.S. maternity care system has profoundly failed?

Highly-trained specialists working in well-equipped hospitals manage most births. Seen this way, one might assume that our system is safe, evidence-based, and effective. One might explain the high cost as a necessary trade-off for quality service while complications, injuries, and deaths might be explained as unavoidable.

But overwhelming evidence shows that we’re living with a system that isn’t very good at all, on average. Instead, the U.S. birth care system has saddled millions of women with expensive over-treatment, unnecessary complications, and avoidable risks. Specific indicators that we have a serious problem include:

  • there are terrible health disparities by race and socioeconomic status
  • infant and maternal mortality rates are higher than in 45 other nations
  • the maternal mortality rate has risen every year since 1995 while in most other countries it has decreased
  • only 25% of obstetric practice guidelines are based on good scientific evidence, many are overtly contra-indicated
  • common hospital policies are not in the best interest of moms and babies
  • and we spend more than any other nation on healthcare

Read More About Unbreaking Birth


More On US Maternity System:

More US Babies Die On Birth Day Than Any Other Industrialized Nation In The World


Birth and Pregnancy Resources


Kindred’s Bookstore Selections for Pregnancy and Birth and Conscious Conception

Watch Ina May Gaskin speak on the Human Impact of Hi-Tech Birth.

American Pregnancy Association. The American Pregnancy Association is a national health organization committed to promoting reproductive and pregnancy wellness through education, research, advocacy, and community awareness.

Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and HealthAPPPAH illuminates the life-long impact of conception, pregnancy and birth on babies, families and society. APPPAH’s mission is to educate professionals and the public about, and advocate for, the life-changing discoveries made in the area of prenatal and perinatal psychology and health.

Birthing the FutureThe mission of Birthing The Future®, is to gather, synthesize, and disseminate the finest world wisdom about birthing and the care of mothers and babies from pre-conception to the first birthday.

The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth. The Bradley Method® teaches natural childbirth and views birth as a natural process. It is our belief that most women with proper education, preparation, and the help of a loving and supportive coach can be taught to give birth naturally.

CAPPA, Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association.  For over a decade, CAPPA’s mission has been to offer comprehensive, evidence-based education, certification, professional membership and training to childbirth educators, lactation educators, labor doulas, antepartum doulas and postpartum doulas worldwide. CAPPA is proud to provide new and expectant families access to these professionals here.

Cesarean Statistics for Your Local Hospital.  Find C-section and VBAC, vaginal birth after Cesarean, rates for your local hospital.

Citizens for Midwifery. The goal of Citizens for Midwifery is to see that the Midwives Model of Care is available to all childbearing women and universally recognized as the best kind of care for pregnancy and birth. Citizens for Midwifery also endorses the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative™.

Coalition for Improving Maternity Services. The Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) is a coalition of individuals and national organizations with concern for the care and well-being of mothers, babies, and families. Our mission is to promote a wellness model of maternity care that will improve birth outcomes and substantially reduce costs. This evidence-based mother-, baby-, and family-friendly model focuses on prevention and wellness as the alternatives to high-cost screening, diagnosis, and treatment programs.

Doulas of North America. Pardon us for bragging, but we are the oldest, largest and most respected doula association in the world. Our founders are among the foremost experts on doula care, and DONA International certification is a widely respected measure of quality and professionalism. We are an international, non-profit organization of doulas that strives to have every doula trained / educated to provide the highest quality / standards for birth and/or postpartum support to birthing women and their families.

International Cesarean Awareness Network. The International Cesarean Awareness Network, Inc (ICAN) was formed over 25 years ago in order to support women in their journey towards understanding the risks of cesarean section and with the purpose of helping them have healthy births and healthy lives after undergoing the surgery that changed them.

International Cesarean Awareness Network & VBAC Information. This is a collection of fact sheets and information put out by the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) and other sources. Information includes how to prevent an unnecessary cesarean, Vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), how to find resources in your community, information about ICAN, and how to become a part of ICAN.

International Childbirth Education Association. ICEA is an organization of over 4,000 members from throughout the United States and 42 countries who believe in freedom of choice based on knowledge of alternatives in family-centered maternity and newborn care.

Midwives and Mothers in Action, MAMA, The MAMA campaign is a collaborative effort by the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives (NACPM), Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA), Citizens for Midwifery (CfM), International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC), North American Registry of Midwives (NARM), and the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council (MEAC). This partnership is now at work to gain federal recognition of Certified Professional Midwives so that women and families will have increased access to quality, affordable maternity care in the settings of their choice.

Midwives Alliance of North AmericaMANA, In 1982, the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) was established as a professional organization for all midwives, recognizing the diversity of educational backgrounds and practice styles within the profession. Its goal is to unify and strengthen the profession of midwifery, thereby improving the quality of health care for women, babies, and communities.

National Association of Certified Professional Midwives.  

North American Registry of Midwives.  

Midwifery Today. Well-written technical articles by doctors, midwives, doulas, childbirth educators, nutritionists, herbalists and other practitioners. Birth stories that are beautifully written and have something to teach the practitioner. Stories about midwifery practices in other countries. Well-written academic articles on the subject of midwifery by experts.

Spinning Babies. Spinning Babies is a unique, step-by-step approach to Optimal Fetal Positioning. The techniques described here were found around the world. But, “what to do when” is found right here. Your labor can be shorter and less painful. Easier, in other words, than a posterior labor.

Ten Moons Rising.  Ten Moons Rising* is a non-profit organization committed to educating the public about Prenatal & Birth Psychology – how our earliest experiences influence our sense of self and experience of life – and offering resources for healing early trauma in infants, children and adults.

The Unnecesarean is a patient advocacy Web site that pulls back the curtain on the practice of prophylactic cesarean surgery for suspected fetal macrosomia and illuminates the experiences of women who have been harmed by the aggressive practice of defensive medicine. The site provides information about preventing an unnecessary cesarean and resources for making fully-informed decisions about childbirth while offering an irreverent take on the maternity care crisis in the United States and beyond. The most recently released data from the CDC on childbirth showed that 32.9 percent of U.S. babies in 2008 were born by surgery.  This is the twelfth year in a row that the rate has risen.  Rates of severe maternal morbidity have increased, yet maternal and infant mortality have not seen a decline with the aggressive use of this life saving surgery.

VBAC.com. VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) is a safe alternative to a routine repeat cesarean. Our aim is to provide evidence-based  resources and support about VBAC  from a variety of sources; scientific studies, professional guidelines, government reports, birth advocacy groups, as well as successful and established VBAC programs. Our goal is to help women make informed decisions about how they want to give birth and to encourage an honest and respectful dialogue with their caregivers.



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