Giving Birth in America: California shines a spotlight on one woman’s experience at a community health center in Watsonville, CA, the “Strawberry Capital” of the U.S. The clinic, Salud Para La Gente, integrates services that support the social needs of their patients and provides high quality medical care tailored to the unique need of the community. The majority of the clinic’s patients are immigrants, many of whom work in the fields at local farms.
The film follows an immigrant farmworker from Mexico, pregnant with her third child, as she progresses through pregnancy and childbirth and explores the high quality care she receives from the team of obstetricians, midwives, and others at the clinic. Her care team is led by Dr. Cristina Gamboa, an obstetrician whose parents and grandparents were farmworkers in central California and who studied medicine with the goal of returning to serve a community similar to the one where she was raised.
Dr. Gamboa and her team understand the social, economic, and legal barriers immigrant farmworker populations face and how those barriers affect health outcomes. The team strives to provide quality care in spite of these challenges, but as this film shows, the health issues immigrant women experience often extend beyond the brief window of time around pregnancy when they have reliable access to health care and can define women’s experience of pregnancy and childbirth.