The Birth Experience

The birth of a child can be the most beautiful and magical event in a woman’s life.

This transformation into motherhood, the culmination of a bond that has been growing unseen for months, is finally tangible as mom and baby see each other and hold one another for the first time. Amidst the beauty of bringing a new life into the world, for many women there is an underlying fear that this event will also be the most painful and frightening event that she will ever experience.

Does birth have to be painful and terrifying?

In this documentary we will explore why childbirth has the reputation of being both the best and worst experience a woman will go through. We will dive into what factors contribute to the persistence of negative birth experiences. We will look at the physiological and psychological effects that the fear of pain and childbirth has on a woman as well as the potential that the human body has for coping with childbirth. How can this connection turn a painfully and potentially traumatic experience into a beautiful, intimate and powerful life event?

We are interested in identifying the science behind fear and pain and its effects on the brain, and in turn on a mother’s ability to have the birth experience she desires. Conversely, we are looking at how pleasurable sensations and emotions impact the perception of pain and the birth experience. What’s the science behind the experiential nature of pain, particularly the pain of childbirth? In recent years there have been an influx of studies on various mindfulness practices, such as meditation, prayer and hypnosis and their effects on: the brain, hormone production and our body’s natural physiological and psychological responses.

What is the science behind these practices on the body’s physiological affect of fear in childbirth?

We will explore the connections between these studies, and how they then affect women prenatally, as well as during labor and childbirth. We will also look at the role that the hospital and care providers play in the promotion of positive and traumatic birth experiences from an emotional and scientific point of view.

This documentary will focus on the following topics:

  • Accumulate points of view from key players both in the field of science and the birth community, by interviewing obstetricians, midwives, doulas, pregnant women, scientists and researchers in the field of neurology and pain management, and psychologists.
  • Examine how fear plays a role in birth and how hospital policy contributes to fear and what can be done to change that.
  • Investigate how anger and conflict keep the birth community polarized and contributing to negative birth experiences for women as well as impacting hospital staff.
  • Explore practices that help to physically, mentally and spiritually empower and create positive birth experiences and how they can be integrated in mainstream birth practices.
  • Demonstrate the connections between emotional states and birth outcomes.
  • Open up discussion as to how litigation and preventative medicine influence standard hospital procedures, versus the midwifery model of trusting the natural process and the effects that each has on birthing women and their emotional states.

The birth experience is one of the most important milestones in woman’s life, it defines her as a mother, promotes a connection between her and her child, and empowers her to know her full potential. Science has proven that the human body has an amazing capacity to not only cope with the intense physical sensations of childbirth, but under the right circumstances, make it a beautiful and transformational experience. With this information, imagine what the birth experience could look like if we alter the way we think about and approach birth in our world.

The Birth Experience is a co-production with Dolphin Method Productions and Murmuration Productions.