I was able to attend a screening of the film The Business of Being Born tonight. It was previewed by the Arizona Birth Network as a fundraiser for their organization. I went with some friends and ended up being on the discussion panel at the end. It was a tremendous movie depicting the scary state of birth in the United States. It is likened to Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth.
The movie raises some startling issues. Although we are a large developed nation, we rank high in infant and maternal mortality. The maternal death rate has actually risen. It is theorized that this is due in a large part to the many interventions common in most births as well as the startling cesarean rate. Cesarean are becoming elective with the Unite States having a rate above 30% (the World Health Organization suggests a rate of no more than 10-15%). Some states and cities have rates around 45-50%. This is amazing to me. Cesareans are a major abdominal surgery. It is not something to be taken lightly. The movie discussed the issue of bonding with an intervention laden birth. It is harder for the natural "love cocktail" to be released with the normal birth process is disrupted. With the absence of these hormones, breastfeeding can be harder as well as basic maternal/baby bonding.
I really recommend additional reading for anyone pregnant or planning to have children. Some good websites are pushedbirth.com, alternet.org, an article on avoiding c-sections, and loads others I can provide if you are interested.
The movie will be released in the beginning of 2008. It will also be available on Netflix. I really urge everyone to see this film. Regardless of where you choose to birth your baby, be informed of your choices and their implications.