A new short documentary from Al Jazeera English, Birthrights: The Risk of Choice, examines the prevalence and safety of cesarean sections in the United States.
The film profiles many of the stakeholders in the maternity care system: a couple who must travel a long distance in search of a provider who will attend a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) labor, the Ob/Gyn who attends the birth, maternity care consumer advocate Jill Arnold, founder of The Unnecesarean, members of a local International Cesarean Awareness Network chapter, family members of a woman who died from a complication of cesarean surgery, and a woman who decided to have elective repeat cesarean deliveries rather than undertake the risks of VBAC.
This documentary provides a useful primer on issues in modern maternity care for the uninitiated, giving due respect to the medical, social, and emotional factors that play into women’s decision making about childbirth. One issue that is briefly discussed but is unfortunately too large and multifacted to fit into a 30-minute segment is the role of defensive medicine. For those interested in learning more, The Unnecesarean delved into the issue earlier this year with Defending Ourselves Against Defensive Medicine, a weeklong series of posts from stakeholders and advocates in maternity care.