Having given birth to her second son Owen, now 6, at home, Ricki Lake has now given birth to a long-gestating project: a documentary on child birth, The Business of Being Born.
At its benefit screening Wednesday night in New York, the former talk-show host, 39, joked with PEOPLE after the graphic scenes in which she is actually shown delivering Owen: “I’m afraid it’s going to be on ‘Mr. Skin’ tomorrow.”
Still, she says, underlying the seriousness of the film, which she executive-produced and which actually shows a number of births in vivid detail: “I feel it is a little late to be ambivalent. It was a very tough choice, but I didn’t document the birth to show it to anybody. If I had, I would have done three things differently: I would have had better lighting, I would have removed the shampoo bottles behind my head, and I would have worn a shirt. I forgot that they were [filming] it.”
The documentary makes a strong case for home births, because, among other reasons presented in the film, the drugs that American hospitals use to induce labor and the epidurals to reduce pain may contribute to an alarmingly high rate of Caesarians being performed.
The film also suggests that in most advanced countries midwives make the need for Caesarians far less frequent, as well as improve survival rates for mothers and their children.
“I’m not anti-doctor, I’m not anti-hospital” Lake – whose older son, Milo, is 10 – emphasized on Thursday’s morning Today show, where the already much-discussed movie was discussed even more.
Felicity star Keri Russell, 31, who gave birth to her son in June, told PEOPLE after the Wednesday screening that she found The Business of Being Born to be “an inspiring, informative documentary. It really changed the way I thought about birth in an important way.”