Thursday, 12 February 2009

Birthing around the world - Le Premier Cri

I finally was able to watch the movie, Le Premier Cri (The First Cry). If you haven't seen and you are interested in birth, this film is for you. This documentary about birth takes you around the world - to the United States, Mexico, Brazil, France, Niger, India, Russia, Japan, Vietnam - to witness all kinds of births - home, hospital, in the desert, in the sea, in a pool, natural, medicalized, cesarian, with a doctor present, completely unassisted, the works. Of course, along with the actual birth, you get to see how culture, wealth, religion and physical environment affect how and where women give birth.

Some reviews gave the director, Gilles de Maistre, slack for allegedly slanting the documentary towards natural birth. But as the vast majority of births in our world are still natural and take place at home, I don't think one can criticize the director for being representative in his choices of what to film. Also, Le Premier Cri does not, by any means, paint a rosy picture of all natural births. One bedouin gave birth in the desert and the baby was stillborn. Another woman had an unassisted birth in the United States and three hours after the birth, the placenta still had not come out. She risked bleeding to death. Fortunately, her friend (who was neither a doctor nor a midwife) managed to reach in and take it out!

Le Premier Cri does not pass judgment on how any of the births take place, natural or medicalized. And if there is one thing that you do learn from the film, it's that childbirth might be universal but just like everything else, how you go about it can sure depend on where you live!


Amanda van Mulligen said...

I'm a Brit living in the Netherlands and gave birth to my son here. The emphasis here is on natural birth, with home births heavily promoted. In fact, it goes so far that health insurers generally only reimburse the costs of hospital births if there is a medical reason to give birth there. 30% of births here take place at home - by far one of the highest rates in the Western world. It is a controversial issue amonget expats here, who generally come from countries where hospital births are the norm. An interesting topic! You can read more in an article I wrote at

Katie K Garrity said...

Where is the movie available to be purchased? Is it available on DVD yet?

dandelioncc said...

Yes would love to know where you can find this film!