Why are the owners of “My OB said WHAT” hiding?

The website “My OB said WHAT?” is supposed to highlight “stupid” things said by obstetricians. It is a slick, professionally designed smear campaign, clearly requiring a fair amount of money to create and maintain. Yet the owners feel that they have something to hide — their own identities.

According to the website:

Who are the people behind My OB said WHAT?!?

We are a group of birth care professionals who have worked around birthing women for many years, and felt that there needed to be a forum for people to share comments like those found on our blog.

English to English translation:

‘We are a group of professional natural childbirth advocates who want to make fun of obstetricians, but know that our personal reputations would suffer if we did so publicly. Our public efforts to discredit obstetricians are not gaining as much traction as we would like and we believe that a smear campaign might attract more attention than actual scientific evidence.’

Information about website ownership is supposed to be public. Indeed there is an internet database, Whois, maintained for the express purpose of making that information available. In order to hide their identity, the owners of “My OB Said WHAT?!?” pay a fee to Domains by Proxy, an organization that exists solely to hide the identity of website owners. If you are willing to pay money to hide your identity, you must really want to hide.

The fact that the owners are hiding reveals several things about them:

1. They know that their tactics are unprofessional.
2. They know that the scientific evidence is not on their side.
3. They know that their professional reputations lead most people to believe that they and their organizations are fringe groups that publicize ridiculous ideas about childbirth.

The amount of money involved and the desperate effort to conceal themselves suggest that “My OB Said What?!?” is run by a professional natural childbirth advocacy organization that has seen its previous efforts to control women’s childbirth choices fail dismally.

It may be entirely coincidental, but Lamaze has made no secret of their vigorous efforts to influence women’s childbirth choices. According to Sharon Dalrymple of Lamaze:

For the past 50 years Lamaze International has been promoting normal birth practices in North America and more recently worldwide. Despite these educational efforts women are being over-treated more now than they have been in over 30 years…

One of the reasons these educational efforts may not have been as effective as desired is that our conversations may not be persuasive enough or clear enough…

Lamaze International hired a public relations market research firm to conduct research and identify which messages are the most effective for persuading women to adopt normal birth practices…

As a result of these and other findings, Lamaze International updated our six evidence-based key practice papers in Fall 2009 to ensure women realize that these practices simplify the birth process with a natural approach that helps alleviate fears and manage pain, with the ultimate goal of keeping labor and birth as safe and healthy as possible for each individual woman…

And it may be entirely coincidental, but it was also in the Fall of 2009 that “My OB Said What” was registered and launched.

If “My Ob Said What” was funded, created and maintained by Lamaze International or its employees, that would be extremely damaging to its reputation. The owners of “My OB Said What?!?” should publicly identify themselves. Women deserve to know who is behind this professional smear campaign.