Lights, Camera, Action – Filming The Birth?

Filming birthYou have under a month to go before your due date and you and your partner are at loggerheads about whether or not to film the birth? Bringing a new life into the world is, without a doubt, one of the most momentous events of a lifetime, but do you really want it to be captured on film?

First and foremost, the decision to have the entire birth filmed is a personal decision and soon-to-be moms should not be bullied or forced into making the choice. Fathers are certainly entitled to voice their opinions but at the end of the day, the woman may feel that filming is a violation of her privacy and also being filmed while in labour will rob her of her dignity. It is enough that the medical staff are continually prodding and pushing the birthing mother – bright lights and the constant hum  of the video recorder may just push the mom over the edge!

Is it for you? If you partner is keen to have the birth of your son or daughter captured on his new video camera, here is what should be considered, before making the decision:

  • While in labour, women want the support of their partner. If your birthing partner is off playing filmmaker, you will be without his support when you really need him.
  • When will the filming start? Will the proud camera-carrying dad only want to film the actual birth of the baby or will the camera be rolling from the first contraction?
  • Watching the birthing process can be rather traumatic. It is a, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful and unforgettable experiences, but moms who tend to be a little squeamish may prefer to remember the final moments of birth (rather than the entire process).
  • If you are having a homebirth or a water birth, it may be a good idea to document these unique birthing experiences.
  • Think carefully about the decision, because if filming of the birth is not done, the decision may be regretted later.

If you are however, open to the idea of filming the birth, be sure to :

  • Find out the hospital’s policy on filming. It may be necessary to obtain the hospital’s permission.
  • Buy or borrow a good quality camera. Dads will more than likely be excited and nervous on the big day, therefore zooming or panning should be limited, to avoid fuzzy images.
  • Decide on what should be filmed. Instead of capturing everything on film, expectant dads should try to capture extra-special scenes, such as the baby placed on mom’s stomach or the first attempt at breastfeeding.
  • Think about getting in a third person to do the filming. It is a very personal experience, but using the help of a close friend will free up dad’s time to help the expectant mom through labour and birthing.

The reality of the situation is that a person will only be part of the birthing process a few times in their lifetime, and having the experience documented on film will prove to be a lifelong keepsake. If you are dead-set against the filming of the birth, perhaps let the filming take place but decide who you want to see it? Rather than having regrets about not the filming the birth at all, keep an open mind and remember the film can be deleted, if the new mom is offended or uncomfortable with the footage.

As an alternative to film, consider taking photographs of the events as they unfold. It may be a lot better to have a collection of tasteful photos (which can be framed or kept in an album) than having reams of film which no one will ever get to see!


 – Kathy Baron


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