What can you do to improve the health of the next generation? To reduce health care disparities around the world and in your own backyard? To embrace the beginning of life and welcome our children into a more peaceful world? Join Birth in Community as we tell the stories of individuals and communities as they come together to make a difference in the health and well being of women, babies, and families.

Mother and baby Philippines


Debra Pascali-Bonaro teaching in South Africa

Birth in Community is an independent documentary film that will follow the journey of medical communities around the world as they try to make their systems of maternal and infant care safer and more friendly to mothers and babies. Debra Pascali-Bonaro, doula, childbirth educator, birth activist, and chair of the International MotherBaby Childbirth Initiative (IMBCI), narrates the story of an international movement that has grown up in response to the horrifying conditions that plague the world of diseased medical infrastructures. Birth in Community follows Debra as she travels to and teaches at hospitals and places of birth in Brazil, Austria, Canada, and India, and meets with program directors and activists from New York to Bali.

Maternity in the Philippines

Mother with doula and family support

Doulas in India

Ideas churned and the group of pajama-clad women emerged from their hotel room with a loud cry of reform. In 2002, this international community of birth activists including the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS), the International Congress of Midwives (ICM), and the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) began to set the stage for developing an international Mother–Friendly Childbirth Initiative. When the United Nations showed interest in the initiative, and were then joined by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2003, the movement began to develop momentum. From the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative was born the International MotherBaby Childbirth Initiative, which holds the survival and well being of mothers and babies as inextricable. Grounded in the principle of Human Rights, the IMBCI offers ten steps for hospitals and birthing centers to adopt for the creation of more optimal models of MotherBaby Care. These ten steps hold the abundance of updated evidence-based research at their core, and support humane birthing environments run by humane practitioners.

Realizing that change is not only predicated on money and technology, but on education, compassion, and community involvement, Birth in Community will be a film that focuses on the story of real people making real change in their communities. Also realizing that it takes a community to make real change, we hope you will join us in our initiative to bring birth back to the community.