Ricki Lake’s documentary, The Business of Being Born, features her most revealing role yet: naked in the bathtub of her West Village apartment, delivering her second child, Owen. She wants to call attention to what she sees as the shortcomings of giving birth in hospitals, which she believes push for a Cesarean too readily: Some New York hospitals’ Cesarean-section rate tops 40 percent. Lake wasn’t always the Al Gore of natural births—only after the drug-assisted delivery of her son Milo at St. Luke’s–Roosevelt did she look into alternative practices, which led to the tub birth that gave her “an indescribable high.” But being filmed doing it? “It’s not flattering in any way,” admits Lake, 38, whose movie will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. For the event, “My publicist said I needed to be in the best shape possible, so I just lost 24 pounds. I’d look pretty good naked in a tub now.” Still, “to this day,” says Lake, “my assistant talks about how she had to clean up my bathtub afterward.”
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