Gentle Birth Choices
Produced by Barbara Harper, RN
[1993, Global/Maternal Health Association, $29.95, available from Midwifery Today, P.O. Box 2672, Eugene, OR 97402, $6.95 S&H, 46 minutes, VHS in PAL or NTSC format]
[Review first published in Midwifery Today Issue 31, Autumn 1994, © 1994, Midwifery Today, Inc. Review by Sue LaLeike.]
Every once in a while an extra special birth video appears that can be a true catalyst for change. "Gentle Birth Choices" is this decade's video of choice.
Barbara Harper, RN, oversaw the production of what should become a classic visual and audio essay about how birth should be. The viewer's attention is held by scenes from six births interspersed with interviews with parents, midwives, and physicians. Judicious use of contemporary video techniques, lighting, computer enhancement and graphics help set a pace suitable for today's attention spans. The original musical score is a relaxing counterpoint to the intensity and beauty of the birth scenes.
The births encompass the best of natural birthing: water births, a VBAC, squatting, siblings, fathers' emotions, homes and birth centers, difficult contractions, and effective coping techniques and vocalizations. Every attendant is respectful, calm and reassuring. The parents and birth attendants embody the best births you've been to.
This is an ideal "first movie" for natural birth classes. It also has an important role to play as a tool for educating the general public about the safety of midwifery and out-of-hospital birthing.
Buy this video, share it, wear it out, then buy another! Donate it to libraries! Ask your bookstore to carry it!
Reviewer Sue LaLeike lives in Florida with her family. She is a birth assistant, Bradley Method educator and contributing editor at Midwifery Today.
Review of "Gentle Birth Choices" (book)—by Barbara Harper, RN