The Face of Birth

1 hr, 28 mins2012
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The Face of Birth - a film about pregnancy, childbirth, and the power of choice.

Three years in the making, filmed across the globe from London to Alice Springs, The Face of Birth is a movie with vital information for anyone considering giving birth today. In 2009 it nearly became illegal to have a home birth in Australia. Three years later, in 2012, the number of women choosing a home birth has doubled! Who are these women and why are the medical establishment and current birth culture so against them?

This documentary follows the diverse, heart-warming, and sometimes heart wrenching stories of a handful of mothers as they guide us through the plethora of information and opinions facing mothers-to-be when deciding how, where, and with whom to give birth to their babies.

The film sorts fact from fiction in childbirth. It explores the politics of risk, safety, and fear, and exposes our mistrust of women in birth. The film also features many of the world’s top birth experts, including the famed Sheila Kitzinger (author of over 23 books on pregnancy and childbirth), and the founder of modern midwifery in the USA, Ina May Gaskin.

We hear from Dr. Rupert Sherwood, (President, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) whose college actively opposes home birth saying that it is ‘unsafe’. Obstetricians Euan Wallace and Andrew Bisits (who have started up hospital home birth pilot programs) strongly disagree, claiming that modern obstetrics is not serving the best interests of women.

Our diverse home birth mothers include AFI award-winning actress Noni Hazlehurst. She’s known by one generation from Playschool and another from City Homicide, but do her fans know why she chose a home birth?

Mother and doctor Sara Renwick-Lau, chose a home birth for her second child after her first baby was delivered by emergency caesarean section at a maternity hospital in Darwin, where she also worked. She claims her independent midwife gave much better care than her colleagues at the hospital.

Young Aboriginal mum Tanya Kunoth, from the remote community Utopia in central Australia, who had two babies in hospital and two babies in the country. She shares why it’s so important for her to be able to birth on her land, and why her home felt safer than in hospital.

Beautifully filmed and openly revealing, The Face of Birth tells about all the things we never knew about birth and the power of choice.