Pregnant in America is the video documentation of a journey to discovering birth options in the United States that began with wedding vows. Steve Buonaugurio vowed on his wedding day to protect and to be there for his wife Mandy. When the Buonaugurios found themselves pregnant with their first baby, Steve remembered those vows and along with Mandy began researching pregnancy and birthing care in America. They documented what they found alongside their personal journey to their baby Isabella.
The Buonaugurios interviewed obstetricians, midwives, nurses, doulas, childbirth educators, anthropologists and more, traveling all over the country and to Holland to find the information that they needed for themselves. The information that they desired to share with other women and their loved ones throughout the United States. What they found was troubling to them and influenced their birthing choices greatly. The Buonaugurios ultimately chose homebirth with a certified midwife that had hospital/obstetrician backup should emergency arise. But, aside from their personal choices the information that the two of them have compiled for this documentary will help women worldwide, and during the shooting of the film, helped their family and friends feel better about their birth choices. (Mandy’s brother and his wife choose to switch providers after feeling pressured into cesarean only to give birth the next day in a hospital with another practitioner vaginally without complications.)
The movie is beautiful because it highlights choices. Women have choices in pregnancy and childbirth no matter their situation. To have all of your options available to you means to educate yourself. Sure, most of us don’t have the time to travel the country and to go to Europe, but we do have books, internet resources, childbirth education classes, and a slue of wonderful and positive films that highlight those choices.
While the movie is definitely supportive of natural childbirth, there are a variety of women and men interviewed about their experiences, so many viewpoints are represented. One woman even says that she had her baby naturally and wouldn’t recommend it. Another lady had birthed naturally and when asked why, she says because she’s a strong lady. I thoroughly enjoyed the male perspective in the movie. Steve, other fathers, and male practitioners shared their love and concern for the women in their lives, and ultimately their support. It was refreshing. The movie works hard to explain its conclusions and to place them in the context of culture and history.
Along with The Business of Being Born, I would recommend this documentary to anyone who is looking to better understand the birthing climate of the greater United States. I firmly believe in reasonable choices for women in pregnancy and birthing care, and this film does the same. It doesn’t sugar coat anything. It shows the good with the bad. It is simple and complex. It is the story of two becoming three and what they found along that path.