There are so many videos out there for the childbirth and breastfeeding world, and many come with hefty price tags -- it's hard to know what would fit your classes or clientele. Needing to make a concise list of my material anyway, I am taking the opportunity to also share what I have, how (if) I use it, and where it can be obtained.
One video I use at the beginning of every childbirth series is Lamaze's "Everyday Miracles." It is about 8 minutes long and for me, it sets the tone for my Lamaze-created curriculum, to let parents know what to expect and to introduce them to Lamaze as a philosophy (healthy birth practices) versus the older method (breathing). It follows three ethnically diverse couples through their labors and births with lovely, uplifting words detailing emotionally what the couples are experiencing. My only gripe is, they do not place the babies skin-to-skin with the mamas, but that is more about the time than the idea -- skin-to-skin and kangaroo care were just starting to get attention. Although this isn't a brand new video (2002), it is still relevant and the families shown look relatable. Two women have their babies in upright positions in bed, while a third births on a birthing stool. It is available to watch on Lamaze's website, and it is available for purchase for the very amazing price of about $13 through InJoy.
"The 3 Rs of Childbirth: Relaxation, Rhythm, and Ritual," by Penny Simkin is video I use every series. 15 minutes in length, this video shows clips of 23 labors where women are using one of the three Rs to cope. It also begins in early labor and progresses through active labor, transition, and then second stage. Many couples are shown, the diversity is excellent, and there are a few opportunities as a facilitator to set the class up for a funny quip here and there to ease tension and show how it is normal for women to respond in all kinds of ways that may look, sound, and seem strange but are actually effective coping strategies. Many labor positions are shown, as well as use of a squat bar (in my experience there aren't too many videos that show squat bars). You can order it through Penny's site for $50.
Another video I use, often as the last thing we watch together before a series ends, is Naoli Vinaver Lopez's "Birth Day." This is the sweet story of her 3rd baby's birth. As she is surrounded by family, the video shows how the unfolding of early labor can be a celebration. Her family goes for a long walk outdoors, rests a while at a stream, returns home to eat delicious rice and beans, and then labor continues. She is a midwife, so as she talks the viewer through the events, she shows the experience of her trade combined with the feelings of her intuition as a woman. The baby is born in the water and is soon enveloped in the love of her parents and two big brothers. I purchased it through SageFemme, for about $60, but at the time of this writing, it can't be accessed...maybe they are updating the website.
"My Baby, My Body, My Birth," sounds like the mantra of a movement in the 70s, but this video is a lovely overview of parents discussing their desires to work for natural births for their babies. This video is great for diverse populations, including GLBT families. I don't use this video regularly, but there are times when I will show it either in a private class or if we have a few extra minutes in a regular series. I ordered this for about $13.
"What If...?" I love this video. It is a hospital birth that does not seem like a hospital birth. The parents made choices to change their birth environment to accommodate their desires, and the results are inspiring. 6 minutes long and set to music, it is a feast for the eyes and ears. Mom is shown supported by her partner, sister, and midwife. Although the actual birth is not shown, you see in a mirror her water break, amazingly, while squatting in the shower. I do make an effort to show this at some point in my classes. It is about $40 through Birth International.
"Born in Water -- A Sacred Journey," is a DVD I often close each class with. I like to show one waterbirth from the 7 offered, and have a bit of discussion about it. Most of these take place at Andaluz Waterbirth Center in Guatemala, and two happen in the US (one at home, one in a birth center). The births are simple, inspiring, and there isn't a lot of talking. Parents are shown with their babies afterwards as well, bonding and breastfeeding. One contrast I have noted is the births at Andaluz show the mothers quietly moving through labor with seemingly normal appreciation for the difficulties of birth; the first US birth, the mother vocalizes her uncertainties in the process -- it feels like a cultural difference, although I might just be making that up :). This dvd is available for about $50.
A wonderful video to watch when you have the time and are a birth-lover is "Orgasmic Birth." I believe Debra Pascali Bonaro chose the word "orgasmic" for the buzz factor. I feel "orgasmic" could be replaced by "flow." Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi defines "flow" as "being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you're using your skills to the utmost." (If you haven't read his book, "Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience," I cannot recommend it enough.) Although I have used clips from OB, I don't use it regularly at all. One clip I love, though, is a woman who experienced prior sexual abuse; she shares how empowering it was for her to birth and breastfeed her baby when her initial fears had her doubting her abilities. There is a beautiful outdoor birth on a family's deck, a very long homebirth where everything was fine with mom and baby, and a gorgeous score to go along with the amazing births and families. This can be purchased for about $30 at Orgasmic Birth's website.
"Birth As We Know It" is a movie that I enjoy watching, but I haven't used any clips in class. The creator, Elena Tonetti, and I used to live in the same city. She would sometimes host meetings of local birth workers where we would hash out a lot of our ideas and feelings about birth. I haven't gotten on-board with her ideas about limbic imprinting, but I fully admit I may not be evolved enough to see its value :). This video has some amazing footage, including an actual orgasmic birth (which I think Bonaro played off of with her title). Maybe I need to watch it again, but I wasn't struck by anything I thought could be concisely helpful to show students. If you have never seen another video Elena is linked to, "Birth Into Being," you must find a copy and watch it (I don't own it) -- water births in the Black Sea! Both of these DVDs can be purchased through Elena's website for about $30 each.
Another Lamaze/InJoy DVD I sometimes use is "Healthy Birth Your Way, Six Steps to a Safer Birth." And another very affordable option. Based on Lamaze's Six Healthy Birth Practices, each one is addressed alone with evidence-based information in short segments. Scenes of laboring couples are interspersed with positive, uplifting narration and music. Great for when you need a quick example or substantial way to address one of the following: 1. Let labor begin on its own, 2. Walk, move around, and change positions throughout labor, 3. Bring a loved one, friend, or doula for continuous support, 4. Avoid interventions that are not medically necessary, 5. Avoid giving birth on the back and follow the body’s urges to push, 6. Keep mother and baby together – it’s best for mother, baby, and breastfeeding. Again, $13! The price for the content is a huge return! Purchase through InJoy.
"Comfort Measures for Childbirth the Rebozo Way" is a comprehensive 12 minute video that shows many ways to help a woman gain comfort during labor with the aid of a rebozo, a Mexican shawl that parteras have traditionally used during birth. The narrator's calm, soothing voice, coupled with the lovely courtyard where filmed, we see mom, her partner, and her doula, moving through a variety of positions and techniques. This is a great way to familiarize yourself and your students with the beneficial uses of a rebozo (or a sheet!) to help bring mom more comfort during labor. It is available for about $40.
I am taking a break now. Still on my list: The Stages of Labor, iBirth, Mothertouch, Birth Without Violence, Gentle Birth Choices, Natural Born Babies, Doulas: Making a Difference, The Essential Ingredient: Doula, Doula! The Ultimate Birth Companion, Business of Being Born, Born in America. Those are just for birth -- I also have breastfeeding videos I use. Too tired for now to go on! :)
♥ four young boys and a boy dog (offspring)