With Woman: the high stakes for a home-birth midwife in the US

Published on November 27, 2023

Captions provided by CCTubes – Captioning the Internet! Star is a Black midwife who helps Black women give birth in the comfort of their homes, in the state of Illinois. She is part of a long-established African-American tradition of home-birth midwifery, which is currently in a legal gray area across a number of US states, with midwives unable to obtain a license to practice. Despite this legal peril, and motivated by the high maternal mortality rate for Black women (which is nearly three times that of white women), Star continues in her role.

Here we see Star guide Raven, who is expecting her first child, through her last month of pregnancy, from prenatal visits to the intimate experience of giving birth on her kitchen floor. Through observational black-and-white footage, the film documents an act of defiance and radical self-empowerment by Black women – mothers and midwives.

As a result of legislation advocated by Star, since October 2022, after this documentary was filmed, home-birth midwives have been allowed to apply for a license to operate in Illinois. Star is now the first Black certified professional midwife in the state

Trigger warning: this film includes some nudity and scenes of childbirth

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