It had been a while since I sat in a VCU lecture hall. But on a Thursday night, I found myself sitting in a lecture space once again, this time with midwives, doctors and doulas, along with filmmaker Brigid Maher to watch The Mama Sherpas, a documentary aiming to bust myths about midwifery in America.
The film focuses on midwives working in hospitals as a part of a “collaborative care” model, meaning they work in conjunction with doctors to provide a safe, low-intervention birth with healthier outcomes for both mom and baby.
The screening at VCU felt a little bit like preaching to the choir. VCU midwives attended 386 births in 2014 alone; and over 1,000 Richmond mothers have gone through the CenteringPregnancy program at VCU since it began in 2005. It appears that the collaborative care program has been working; VCU’s c-section rate is far below the national average. To take it a step further, VCU, among the midwives, boasts a low epidural rate as well.
Despite preaching to the choir however, The Mama Sherpas is a lovely film for anyone interested in the birth industry. The film features many birth stories, including VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarian) and breech births, highlighting that the doctors and midwives worked together to provide the best outcomes. There were beautiful moments and even some tears while watching the film (yes even among this group). Even after 4 kids, I felt slightly wistful watching brand new babies being slipped into the arms of tired, but elated mothers.
If you’d like to learn more about delivering at VCU, visit vcumom.com
To learn more about The Mama Sherpas or to watch the movie online, visit TheMamaSherpas.com