Documentary Review: ‘The Mama Sherpas’

Greetings again from the darkness. If you are not directly involved, it’s easy to underestimate, or even remain oblivious, to the stress involved as an expectant mother makes baby-delivery decisions. In this age of readily available information, women can no longer simply accept what their doctor says. Documentarian Brigid Maher sets out to educate us on the options available to pregnant women.

Ms. Maher opens our eyes to the growing trend of collaboration between doctors and midwives. One of the key factors in this shift is the fact that nearly one in three babies are now delivered via cesarean (C-section), even though the World Health Organization (WHO) says the figure should be closer to 15%. To her credit, Ms. Maher doesn’t attack the medical establishment, but rather focuses on the positive effects of the collaboration. Speaking from her personal experience (as a VBAC – Vaginal Birth After Cesarian), and also presenting numerous actual case studies, she expertly guides us through various birth methods including yoga birth, hypnobirthing, and waterbirthing … each a form of natural birth in a hospital environment.

Viewers should be prepared for some up close and very personal camera work – especially when demonstrating that natural birth is even a possibility (in some cases) with a breech baby, a big baby, babies showing little progress, and extended-labor cases which have always been stressful to mother and child.

Executive Producers Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein have allowed Ms. Maher to expose this little-known network of highly supportive midwives and doctors who firmly believe that Natural childbirth is preferable whenever possible. These folks (not surprisingly almost all women) are committed to the cause of helping the mother and baby through the process.

This will prove informative to some, and inspirational to many … though, of course, many within the traditional medical industry (the industry responsible for 33% c-sections) will argue that this method is unsafe for mother and baby. It doesn’t appear this position holds water, as the collaborative method covers both the medical facilities and the natural (lack of medication) bonding between a mother and child. What a miracle of nature to behold!

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