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The First Delhi Childbirth Film Festival was held in May, 2008 was sponsored by the Delhi Birth Network, Matrika and Kriti Film Club. The following films were screened: Birth in the Squatting Position (10 mins, Brazil), Born at Home (60 mins, India), Birth Day (10 mins, Mexico) The Business of Being Born (83 mins, USA). The Delhi Birth Network is a group of professionals and concerned citizens in whose purpose is to raise awareness of and promote safe and supported birth and evidence-based care, from pregnancy through postpartum. They provide information and education to women and their families to enhance their understanding of birth as a normal life process and enable them to make informed decisions.
Born At Home
Born at Home observes indigenous birth practices and practitioners in parts of India (rural Rajasthan, Bihar, and the urban working class area of Jahangirpuri in Delhi). Poised between social reality and the eternal mystery of childbearing, the film poses a critical question. When dais or midwives are known to handle about 50% of births in India, why does the state not recognise the inherited and low-cost skills of the almost one million traditional practitioners in the country? Natural birth clinics and home births are increasing in numbers in the west, but our brand of progress continues to undermine our vast and centuries-old knowledge base. There are innumerable instances where modernity has only served to reinforce prejudices. The film presents an intricate delineation of the figure of the dai who is almost always a low-caste, poor woman. Unlike medical science to whose life-saving power the best of dais pay homage, indigenous birth methods are holistic, conceiving of childbirth not as pathology but continuation of organic life. Gender and class issues are juxtaposed with images of the postpartum massage, the ritual bath, and finally the miracle of an actual birth. Mind-body, earth-cosmos become one unified whole when, negotiating the nether world of pain and labour, a new life thrusts it way up into the sun. The dai's hands are experienced and empathetic as she guides the process.
The Business of Being Born
Birth is a miracle, a rite of passage, a natural part of life. But birth is also big business.
Compelled to explore the subject after the delivery of her first child, actress Ricki Lake recruits filmmaker Abby Epstein to question the way American women have babies. Epstein gains access to several pregnant New York City women as they weigh their options. Some of these women are or will become clients of Cara Muhlhahn, a charismatic midwife who, between birth events, shares both memories and footage of her own birth experience.
Footage of women having babies punctuates the film. Each experience is unique; all are equally beautiful and equally surprising. Giving birth is clearly the most physically challenging event these women have ever gone through, but it is also the most emotionally rewarding. Along the way, Epstein conducts interviews with a number of obstetricians, experts and advocates about the history, culture and economics of childbirth. The film's fundamental question: should most births be viewed as a natural life process, or should every delivery be treated as a potential medical emergency?
As Epstein uncovers some surprising answers, her own pregnancy adds a very personal dimension to THE BUSINESS OF BEING BORN, a must-see movie for anyone even thinking about having a baby.
National Consultation on the Role of Dais in National Rural Health Mission - May 2008, New Delhi, India
They reported that Dais (Traditional Birth Attendants) continued to play an important role both in home and in institutional deliveries in different parts of the country. And where institutional deliveries were on the rise, the Dai were involved in providing timely referral, accompanying mothers to the hospital and staying with her, and providing post-natal care and advice.
Hammamet Call to Action from Tunisia
In 2006 the 1st International Forum in Hammamet, Tunisia, on "Midwifery in the Community", organized by the International Confederation of Midwives, the United Nations Population Fund and the World Health Organization, put out a Call to Action for the strengthening and scaling up of midwifery in the community - to contribute to the prevention of the deaths and disabilities of mothers and their newborns, as well as promoting the health of mothers and babies.
Campaign to humanize birth in Costa Rica
A press release from 2001, this is a call for improving the quality of care of women and babies at the time of birth and denouncing the mistreatment, abuse and humiliation of women and babies in hospital labour and delivery wards. Sounds very much like the situation in India.

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