Bribing women to breastfeed is a spectacular waste of money

The BBC is touting a new study claiming that paying women to breastfeed is effective. What it really shows it that bribing women to breastfeed is a spectacular waste of ...

When it comes to survival, vaccinated children are the fittest

Everyone knows that evolution works by survival of the fittest. Anti-vaxxers seem a bit confused on this point. One of the resident anti-vax trolls on this blog, ciaparker2, illustrates the ...

Black maternal deaths: racism is deadly but malpractice is deadlier

One of the most fascinating aspects of the ongoing ProPublica/NPR series on US maternal mortality is watching the reporters learn from their research. To their credit, the reporters abandoned their ...

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Natural childbirth is a form of play acting

Whenever I write about the history of natural childbirth, a cultural construct ...

I breastfed my babies; I didn’t go on a “journey”

I breastfed my four children and I enjoyed it. I had the ...

Appeals to nature — anti-vax, natural childbirth, lactivism — are inherently conservative: why do liberals fall for them?

Anyone whose read the Skeptical OB for any length of time knows ...

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Bribing women to breastfeed is a spectacular waste of money

The BBC is touting a new study claiming that paying women to breastfeed is effective. What it really shows it that bribing women to breastfeed is a spectacular waste of precious healthcare funds. Offering shopping vouchers to new mothers can encourage them to breastfeed their babies, a study published in JAMA Pediatrics has found. About […]

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When it comes to survival, vaccinated children are the fittest

Everyone knows that evolution works by survival of the fittest. Anti-vaxxers seem a bit confused on this point. One of the resident anti-vax trolls on this blog, ciaparker2, illustrates the problem. Cia says: On the one hand, weak babies and children stand a much greater chance of surviving to reproduce now than was formerly the […]

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Black maternal deaths: racism is deadly but malpractice is deadlier

One of the most fascinating aspects of the ongoing ProPublica/NPR series on US maternal mortality is watching the reporters learn from their research. To their credit, the reporters abandoned their original understanding of maternal mortality and crafted a new one. That process is still ongoing and their latest piece, Nothing Protects Black Women From Dying […]

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Natural childbirth is a form of play acting

Whenever I write about the history of natural childbirth, a cultural construct created by men to control women’s bodies, someone (or several someones) inevitably drop in to comment that natural childbirth is nothing more than childbirth in nature. They probably even believe it. But the truth is that natural childbirth is a form of play […]

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I breastfed my babies; I didn’t go on a “journey”

I breastfed my four children and I enjoyed it. I had the usual relatively minor difficulties including pain and multiple bouts of mastitis. It wasn’t convenient, particularly when my first child was born and I was working 70 hours a week as a chief resident, but I had a booming milk supply, a private office […]

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Appeals to nature — anti-vax, natural childbirth, lactivism — are inherently conservative: why do liberals fall for them?

Anyone whose read the Skeptical OB for any length of time knows that I am a proud liberal. I strongly believe in equal rights for all, justice for the downtrodden and hold the conviction that the future is usually better than the past. Most liberals seem to share those views, with one important exception: many liberals […]

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Do women’s bodies exist for the benefit of men or children?

It’s hardly news to point out that advertising often involves women’s bodies. According to sociologist Stephanie Baran: …[M]ost advertisers rely on the old adage, ‘sex sells.’ Nothing “sells” quite like a woman’s body, particularly her breasts. …[I]n patriarchal culture women are meat and are to be consumed in a variety of ways. Therefore, advertising is, […]

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There’s actually someone more scathing in her assessment of natural mothering than me

Psychologist Susan Franzblau is even more scathing in her indictment of the inherent misogyny of natural parenting than I am. I recently came upon her chapter Deconstructing Attachment Theory: Naturalizing the Politics of Motherhood included in the 2002 book Charting a New Course for Feminist Psychology. Although Franzblau is refers to attachment theory, it seems […]

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Natural mothering seeks to shame women for daring to consider their own needs

I’ve often noted with surprise that no sooner do I write about a topic than natural mothering advocates rush to illustrate my claims. This time though, I’ve been preempted. I had already planned this post when New Zealand lactivists serendipitously came to my aid with the perfect quote to lead it. Access to infant milk formula should […]

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Midwives don’t know much about history

An article in Quartz illustrates the way that midwives are trying to rewrite the history of childbirth. The piece, entitled The reason American women over-medicalize childbirth has its roots in racial segregation, by Annalisa Merelli is pure, unadulterated nonsense. There were three reasons obstetricians and hospitals came to dominate childbirth in the industrialized world and […]

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