Pregnancy – and subsequently, parenthood – can be a lot to come to terms with. No one is ever ready to be a parent, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try! Information is key, and nowadays your bigger issue isn’t finding learning resources but being able to identify the good ones.
Each of these informative pregnancy documentaries offers something unique – it may or may not suit your needs, but you’d be better off taking a closer look to decide on that yourselves!
- Babies (2010) – Artistic and enjoyable, providing a look into babies across cultures.
- The Beginning of Life (2016) – Covers everything from pregnancy to parenting, with a ton of credible sources and exposure from families across all walks of life.
- National Geographic: In the Womb (2005) – An amazing clinical resource that balances tact and specificity. Despite being over a decade old, it still holds up well!
- Birth as We Know It (2009) – Presents a firm, engaging stance on the topic of home births versus hospital births. It also clarifies common assumptions in that debate.
While those are our personal favorites, that’s not the end of our recommendation list! We’ve got a ton more to pick from down below – though your mileage on each might vary.
Early pregnancy feels like a huge time crunch, but you don’t have the time to spare to weigh the pros and cons of every documentary you stumble onto. We did what we could to find some solid choices – you need to see some of the informative pregnancy documentaries we have to offer!
Informative Pregnancy Documentaries Worth Your Time!
The documentary “Babies” makes use of an excellent premise, cataloging the lives of four infants in each of their family’s respective cultures. It aims to show just how universal child-rearing is, and that a mother’s role remains – for the most part – unchanged across the world.
One of the biggest strengths of this documentary is how it highlights these cultural differences while respecting all of their merits. Each family is portrayed distinctly, and their differences are acknowledged and presented objectively rather than compared and judged.
While the documentary is respectful of each culture presented, it handled each of them on a relatively shallow basis. The underlying message in this work – that babies are something universally experienced across even divergent cultures – isn’t a difficult conclusion to draw.
The degree this sentiment is repeated, throughout the film, might leave some viewers bored. The director also chose to present this documentary entirely without voiceovers – in fact, this film didn’t even come with subtitles or translations!
If someone in the film starts speaking in a foreign tongue, you’re pretty much on your own!
While there is a charm to the experimental means they’d used, the film relies too heavily on that – providing few other tangible things for viewers to invest themselves in. Think of it less as a film and more as a collection of video snippets of cute babies across the world.
The Beginning of Life (2016)
The documentary “The Beginning of Life” is a lovely, comprehensive 6-part production featuring parents from pretty much every walk of life and every corner of the globe!
It’s wonderful, but sometimes the content can take some questionable turns. The clinical research and feedback play a huge role in the documentary’s credibility, but this occasionally gets interspersed with subjective opinions on emotions, spirituality, and parenting roles.
At times, this documentary places quite a notable emphasis on heteronormative family structures. It speaks about the role and responsibilities of fathers and mothers, along with their necessity.
It’s a bit of bias in an otherwise-objective documentary, but that’s still a consideration worth noting down before watching.
While it did acknowledge the existence of non-heteronormative families for child-rearing, how it was discussed within the film structure was mostly offhanded in nature.
If you’re going to raise a child in a non-heteronormative family structure (or perhaps simply not conform to perceived father/mother roles) this documentary may not be the best fit for you.
National Geographic: In the Womb (2005)
This documentary might stand out against a lot of other entries on our list, but it’s still a great resource for people to learn all about pregnancy.
This video might be old, but its objectivity, meticulous research, and passion behind its production ensures that “In the Womb” is far from out of date!
Many pregnancy documentaries struggle to balance the type of content they’re displaying. Some works are a bit too candid, displaying explicit details on childbirth that border on gratuity. Others avoid these for presentability, which might be more tasteful but limits their educational merit.
“In the Womb” strikes a nice balance in that regard, covering the nuances of pregnancy with the right level of specificity and tact. In fact, you can even use this as a learning aid to tastefully (and informatively!) cover the topic of pregnancy with younger audiences.
Some teachers even use this documentary to teach their students about pregnancy!
That said, the documentary’s comprehensiveness comes at the cost of audience engagement. The video is full of relevant information, but how it’s delivered might drag on at certain segments.
Birth as we Know It (2009)
“Birth as We Know It” covers the long-standing discussion between home births and hospital births. It’s also unique because it covers how indigenous communities are affected in this debate. They specifically highlighted that sometimes hospital births aren’t choices but legal obligations, which can place an expectant mother under a ton of stress!
“Birth as We Know It” does an amazing job at both arguing for the validity of home births and shedding light on the less savory elements of hospital births.
It’s by far the most niche documentary on the list, but it still remains an excellent, informative pregnancy documentary worth watching.
Other Informative Pregnancy Documentaries
While all those informative pregnancy documentaries above are jam-packed with great advice, those four won’t be nearly enough to see you through the entirety of this long journey.
Once you’ve seen those four amazing documentaries, be sure to explore some other options. Your mileage may vary – depending on your personal situation – but having more information on babies and pregnancy will never be a bad thing.
The Secret Life of Babies (2005)
This documentary focuses on the baby’s growth and early development.
“Microbirth” highlights how microscopic factors in childbirth can sharply affect a baby’s health.
Birth Time: The Documentary (2020)
“Why do so many women emerge from childbirth both physically and emotionally taxed?”
This documentary strives to investigate the many contributing reasons behind this phenomenon.
Pregnant in America (2008)
This documentary rightfully scrutinizes the problematic maternity care system in America.
40 Weeks (2014)
“40 Weeks” covers a mother’s perspective, highlighting their turmoil from the pregnancy experience along with the painful choices they must often make in that challenging role.
One Born Every Minute (2010)
Pregnancy and childbirth, presented through the setting of a hospital’s maternity ward.
The Business of being Born (2008)
A deep-dive into maternal healthcare system of America. It highlights the nature of birth as a business, and raises serious doubts regarding the veracity of new childbirth techniques – along with questioning who they’re intended to benefit most.
A History of Childbirth: Pregnancy (2020)
A YouTube documentary covering the process of pregnancy.
A History of Childbirth: Conception (2020)
A YouTube documentary covering how conception was understood across different times.
Pregnancy – How a Wonder is Born! (2021)
A cute documentary that shows how babies develop in the womb – with cute animations!
When the Bough Breaks (2017)
An informative pregnancy documentary about serious post-partum conditions affecting mothers.
A History of Childbirth: Labor (2020)
A YouTube documentary covering the many ways labor was induced in pregnant women.
Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin and the Farm Midwives (2012)
A historical documentary that delves into the beauty and efficacy of midwifery, reinvigorating a counter-cultural practice that had long been in decline in modern America.
What Babies Want (2004)
An inciteful documentary on how infant consciousness and attitudes are greatly influenced by communication, compassion, and connection.
Orgasmic Birth: The Best-Kept Secret (2008)
This documentary presents a firm challenge to embedded birth norms and assumptions – and delivers that message through the personal accounts of 11 distinct couples!
Freedom for Birth (2012)
“Freedom for Birth” showcases how intertwined human rights are with maternity conditions.
Pregnancy is a big blind spot for most people, so having a few engaging, informative pregnancy documentaries queued up will be a huge help for any expectant family. There’s no need to start from scratch or learn as you go – just find the right resources and let them walk you through it!