The Mama Sherpas (2015) reviewed

The Perceptions of Pregnancy blog, like the Researchers’ Network, aims to reach beyond boundaries and borders, and to facilitate an international and interdisciplinary conversation on pregnancy and its associated bodily and emotional experiences from the earliest times to the present day. This first post of the new academic year is contributed by Naomi Redina who has reviewed the 2015 film documentary The Mama Sherpas.

After being pressured into an unwanted c-section with her first child, director Brigid Maher sought to understand if it is “even possible for women to have a natural childbirth in a hospital.”  The Mama Sherpas (2015) — executive produced by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein — investigates collaborative care between midwives and physicians.  Throughout the film, “natural” birth is mentioned as ideal. Aren’t all births that results in a baby exiting the womb via the vagina, “natural?” An inattention to language resulted in the film discussing “natural” birth but really meaning “birth with as minimal intervention as mom wants.” At the end, Maher mentions there are various models of midwifery, including that which supports “natural” birth or the use of an epidural. Epidurals were never discussed in the filmed office visits, and only one c-section was shown. The c-section was sanctioned by the midwives because of health risks to the mother. Continue reading

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