Screening of The Mama Sherpas

Advocacy, Birth Center, Childbirth, Choices, Events, Midwifery, Natural Birth, VBAC

CiC hosted a screening of The Mama Sherpas, a film by Brigid Maher, with executive producers Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein who are best known for The Business of Being Born, and more recently Breastmilk. Thanks to our collaboration with Bond Strategy and Influence, the screening and panel that followed took place at the luxurious screening room at Soho House.

IMG_1556Michele Giordano moderated a Q&A session with an incredible panel, including Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein, Dr. Jacques Moritz, and Rita Wagner, CNM. Ricki and Abby talked about the film’s departure from a more controversial Business of Being Born, and felt hopeful that this straightforward representation of midwives as professionals in hospitals would be well received by institutions and by women around the country. Dr. Moritz and Rita Wagner excitedly shared a slideshow of images of the brand new Loma Birthing Center, opening for its first deliveries Monday, December 7 at New York-Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital. The birthing center includes two birthing suites with air jacuzzi tubs, hooks on the ceiling to support slings, ballet bars in the hallways, not to mention state-of-the-art interior design features and views of the Brooklyn Bridge and downtown Manhattan. This will also be the first hospital in New York City to allow nitrous oxide.

The birthing center is an appropriate birth location for low-risk, healthy mothers. Currently VBACs will not be supported in the birthing center, nor will most of the standard high risk factors (twins, gestation past 41 weeks and 6 days, inductions). Although any provider at NY Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital will have privileges to work in the birthing center, right now the team of midwives will be the only group delivering babies there. This presents an opportunity to show the hospital administration what midwives are capable of so that the hospital culture shifts towards this model of care.

Dr. Moritz expressed his desire to see more of New York adopt the common sense of the UK’s National Health Service: “Every woman needs a midwife. Sometimes they need doctors too.” As Choices in Childbirth works to advance midwifery in this country to lower maternal and infant mortality and morbidity rates, we see the Midwifery Model of Care as the clear answer.