Los Angeles, CA (March 2015) — Ninety percent of American women who give birth by Cesarean will have all future babies by surgery. The new feature-length documentary film, Trial of Labor gives a voice to four California women fighting those odds: planning births after Cesarean (VBAC).
Access to VBAC remains extremely restricted in the U.S., with many hospitals maintaining mandatory surgery policies (also known as “VBAC bans”) for women who have had Cesareans. These policies, based primarily on non-medical factors, mean that tens of thousands of women every year have no choice in how they give birth: they are pushed into surgery whether they need it or not.
This situation persists despite a top-level push to increase access to VBAC. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists calls VBAC, “safe and appropriate” for most women, while the National Institute of Health and American Academy of Family Physicians urge increased access to VBAC as a pressing issue of public health, warning against the life-threatening risks of harm from multiple Cesareans. When a woman is given the chance at a “trial of labor,” she has about a three-in-four chance of avoiding the operating room.
The women featured in Trial of Labor are determined not to have unnecessary surgeries, but face a gauntlet of self-doubt, unresolved feelings about previous births, limited support, and even ultimatums from their care providers. The film presents the poignant, sometimes messy, reality of their journeys: in their own words, from their own perspectives.
As the process unfolds, we watch the women learn to trust themselves again. For them, giving birth is more than just the means to an end: it’s a profound reclaiming of the right to use their own bodies to get there.
Trial of Labor premiers in Los Angeles on March 18, 2015. For a limited time, beginning March 20, it will be streamed to about 150,000 members of the public via multiple national and international childbirth, consumer, and advocacy organizations. The film will be released to the general public on March 31.
To watch the Trailer, visit www.trialoflabor.com