No, Ina May, the cervix is not a sphincter

It must be awesome to have followers so gullible that you can make up whatever you want, no matter how idiotic, and your supporters will believe you. Ina May Gaskin, the ultimate fraud, should know. She makes it up as she goes along and homebirth advocates, among the least knowledgeable people alive on the subject of childbirth, promptly accept it.

Gaskin has made up “facts” about post dates pregnancy, maternal mortality, and animal reproduction.

Gaskin’s biggest lie? It’s hard to choose since there are so many and they are so stupid, but any top ten list of Ina May Gaskin’s biggest lies would have to include her “Sphincter Law.” Let’s let her explain it:

… I will start with the observation that the vagina and the cervix—not just the anus and the urethra—are sphincters, that is, the circular muscles surrounding the opening of organs which are called upon to empty themselves at appropriate times.

There’s just one teensy, weensy problem. Neither the vagina, nor the cervix are sphincters.

What is a sphincter? A sphincter is circular muscle that surrounds the opening of an organ, as the illustration below demonstrates.

The vagina does have some muscular fibers, but most its muscular strength is longitudinal and the cervix is not made of muscle or encircled by muscle at all. But Ina May is not worried about that since her followers don’t know any anatomy or physiology and are unlikely to check.

What is the anatomy of the vagina?

The vagina consists of an internal mucous lining and a muscular coat …

The muscular coat (tunica muscularis) consists of two layers: an external longitudinal, which is by far the stronger, and an internal circular layer…

So there is muscle in the vagina but the strongest fibers run longitudinally. In other words, it is not a sphincter.

How about the the cervix? According to Hassan et al.:

The uterine cervix is essentially a connective tissue organ. Smooth muscle accounts for less than 8% of the distal part of the cervix. Cervical competency, defined as the ability of the cervix to retain the conceptus during pregnancy, is unlikely to depend upon a traditional muscular sphincteric mechanism… It is now well-established that the normal function of the cervix during pregnancy depends upon extracellular matrix.

No, the cervix is not a sphincter, either.

The human body does have quite a few sphincter muscles including the anal sphincter and two urethral sphincters (internal and external). There are others: the upper esophageal sphincter, which opens as food passes into the stomach, the sphincter of Oddi, which controls the release of bile and pancreatic enzymes into the duodenum, and the iris, which controls the size of the pupil to regulate the amount of light entering the eye.

According to Ina May:

For anyone dealing with or organizing maternity care, probably the most important feature of sphincters to understand is that they function according to several factors:

  • Sphincters open best in conditions of privacy and intimacy
  • Sphincters open best without time limits
  • Sphincters are not under the voluntary control of their owner. They do not obey orders, such as ‘urinate now!’, ‘push!’, or ‘poop!’
  • Sphincters, however, do respond well to praise if there happens to be another person in the proximity of the sphincter’s owner. This other person might be the mother of toddler or a midwife assisting a woman giving birth
  • The opening of sphincters can be facilitated by laughter (the owner’s)
  • When a person’s sphincter is in the process of opening, it may suddenly close if that person becomes frightened, upset, embarrassed, or self-conscious. This is because high levels of adrenaline in the bloodstream do not favor (sometimes they actually prevent) the opening of the sphincters
  • The state of relaxation of the mouth and jaw is directly correlated to the ability of the cervix, the vagina, and the anus to open to full capacity. A relaxed and open mouth favours a more open vagina and cervix.

Really? Let’s test these claims.

The iris opens best in conditions of privacy and intimacy? No. The iris opens and closes in response to the amount of ambient light and privacy and intimacy have no effect.

Sphincters are not under the voluntary control of their owners? Wrong. Whether or not a sphincter is under voluntary control depends of whether it is made of smooth muscle or skeletal muscle. Both the external urethral sphincter and the anal sphincter are under voluntary control. Indeed the entire point of toilet training is to teach children to control these sphincters?

High levels of adrenaline do not favor (sometimes they actually prevent) the opening of sphincters? That’s why when people are very frightened they do not pee in their pants or defecate. Oops! That’s obviously a lie.

In fact, every one of these “rules” is nothing more than a complete fabrication, as even the most cursory knowledge of human anatomy demonstrates.

Gaskin professes surprise that no one has mentioned the Sphincter Law before.

I would argue that Sphincter Law may apply in both the first and second stages of labour. In the first stage, most of us who have been midwives for several years have noticed that, once in labour, a woman’s cervix will occasionally close. I described the first such case (Gaskin, 1978), but I have found no other documentation in the 20th and 21st century medical literature of this rather common phenomenon…

That’s hardly surprising, Ina May, since you made the whole thing up.

There is a saying in science that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. In the world of homebirth, extraordinary claims require no proof at all, just a self-proclaimed “midwife” willing to lie and a bunch of ignorant followers willing to believe.

  • MdwfMom

    Ancient Greek physicians believed in order for women to release an egg required an organism. We have learned more since then. We have also learned more since the strict belief that only certain orifices are sphincters. Many midwives have verified the Gaskin Sphincter Law. It has been peer-reviewed (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2776526/). We now know more than the information above.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Ina May Gaskin is a charlatan and has blood on her hands from all the babies who died as a result of her homebirth advocacy (including one of her own).

    • Roadstergal

      “Ancient Greek physicians believed in order for women to release an egg required an organism. ”

      What the hell does that even mean?

  • Francois Gerland

    Just the tone and aggressiveness of this article is enough for me to turn away from this doctor whose arrogance and obvious lack of humility is so common in a profession which doesn’t have that much to be proud of… Gullible may be, but I’d trust Ina May hundred times more than this so called doctor busy protecting her little business. Deplorable…

    • Sarah

      #that’snicedear

    • Roadstergal

      “I’d trust Ina May hundred times more”

      Ina only seems to get off on sexually assaulting women, so you’re probably safe on that front.

      And since you don’t have a cervix, she gets your anatomy a lot less wrong than she gets mine.

      All in all, not as bad an idea as a pregnant woman trusting Ina. I mean, still not a _good_ idea.

    • Empress of the Iguana People

      Ah, a tone troll, so lovely. Her tone isn’t always my favorite either, but this is Dr. Amy’s internet persona, not her professional one, or for that matter her social one.
      You can go to Ina May for your own pregnancy, Francois. I’d far rather see someone with an education like Dr. Amy, not a wanna be with bizarre ideas about rubbing women’s “buttons” because apparently orgasms are supposed to make labor happen better or something. Having been in labor, I think she’s f’ing nuts.

    • Azuran

      Ina May sexually abuses her patients. I’d take Dr Tuteur over her any day. I would pay to NOT have ina May as a health care provider.
      Hell, I’d go without any help over having this disgusting woman anywhere near me.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      • Roadstergal

        Seriously, even if you think tone trolling is legit, the Ina quotes from this post are just… super creepy.

  • rw

    This quack has no knowledge of cervices or irises.

  • Lauren
  • Dawn Batson

    Ina May is very aware that the cervix is not considered a sphincter. She’s saying it acts like one. And she’s aware current medical doctors are taught that it is impossible for the cervix to close. What she’s saying is that it does happen. To say that this is an impossibility and that all of the anecdotal evidence is wrong without even investigating this seems silly. To say that every time a previous measurement is larger than the current measurement then the ONLY reason for that is that the previous measurement was wrong because it is IMPOSSIBLE for a cervix to undilate seems just silly to me.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJV3wDqry_Y

    • Who?

      Well Dawn we know you’re not in communications if it took you a couple of days to come up with that.

      Ina May and her appalling late husband are bad news. If I have the choice between someone who let her baby die for want of medical care, and an actual doctor, I’ll listen to the doctor. Why would anyone have confidence in someone who advocates the sexual assault of women during labour in the guise of pain relief?

      Smart people who know way more about physiology, pregnancy, labour, birth and babies that Ina May ever will find her positions on these matters farfetched, if not completely wrong.

      • Azuran

        Honestly, I’d have an unassisted birth in the middle of the woods over having Ina May Gaskin anywhere near me during birth.

        • Who?

          Also a very fair choice. I’d just add ‘(during birth) or any time.’

    • momofone

      Is that the best you could do? I’m disappointed. All I’ve heard from you is a lot of “Oh yes it IS!!!” and now “That is NOT what she said [apparently to divert attention away from what YOU said], and if you don’t believe anecdotes then you’re dumb, because this is what I think, and someone said it happened, so it must be true!”

      • Dawn Batson

        I don’t have the time for responding to these things. It really feels like I’m talking to a wall. I have a three year old who pays more attention to what I’m saying than you do. I won’t be engaging again in this utterly pointless effort to communicate with vicious children.

        • momofone

          We pay plenty of attention to what you say; the difference is that your three-year-old accepts it as fact, and we don’t.

          • Dawn Batson

            Nope the difference is you clearly still don’t know what my argument is. And after this much time invested it’s clear you don’t even care you just want to argue. When did you hear me say “oh yes it is!!!”

          • Roadstergal

            “Nope the difference is you clearly still don’t know what my argument is”

            Your argument is that the cervix, after having had its extracellular matrix broken down until it’s thin and weak and can be forced open by the uterus pressing a baby down into it, can somehow violate the basic tenets of biology, chemistry, and physics to instantly re-generate that tough ECM while simultaneously pulling itself together against the pressure of the uterus shoving a baby down on it, despite the lack of muscle in any sort of a position to pull it in that direction.

          • momofone

            I’ve quoted you already where you were saying, in various ways, “oh yes it is!”

            I don’t believe you yourself know what your argument is.

          • Azuran

            We know what your argument is. You started by: The cervix is a sphincter. We showed proof that it doesn’t.
            So you change your argument to: Fine it’s not, but it doesn’t matter, it still closes during labour. And we are once again showing you various proofs that it doesn’t and even cant close and various explanation as to why someone as uneducated as Ina May might think it does.

            You are just sour because you have no valid argument and we are not as gullible as your 3 years old.

          • Dawn Batson

            My very first post:

            Such anger! And none of what you’re saying matters. If your cervix is or isn’t a sphincter- nothing changes. Yes people give birth all the time in unsafe environments. Ina May is simply observing that women’s labors seem to stall when they’re not feeling safe. Why would this be such a shock to you? it seems perfectly scientific and reasonable. If a cervix is not exactly a sphincter but acts like one during birth I just don’t see the point in being so furious about semantics. Have you ever been a part of an unmanaged birth? Have you witnessed a cervix close up several centimeters suddenly?? These midwives you clearly despise know some things you probably never get the chance to observe.

          • Nick Sanders

            And the refutations are still:
            Everything changes.
            Just because people have given birth in unsafe situations doesn’t mean we should encourage it. (And birth the Ina May way is definitely an unsafe situation.)
            Her observation is wrong.
            Seeming “scientific and reasonable” is not the same thing as actually being such, and that is why a lot of dangerous bullshit still clings to life despite being thoroughly discredited.
            It does not act like a sphincter during birth, that’s not semantics.
            “Unmanaged” is a horribly dangerous state for something that can go so catastrophically wrong so quickly.
            What would midwives observe in there handful of births that an OB would not see in their thousands?

          • Azuran

            and many people have already pointed out post where you have said that the cervix is a sphincter.
            And actually, the cervix being or not being a sphincter ABSOLUTELY changes everything. You are just too uneducated about basic physiology to see how important it is.
            The cervix does not have a significant amount of muscles. How then does is closes? Muscles are the only thing in the body capable of actual movement. Everything you have that moves is moving because of muscles. How do you propose that a cervix, that does not contain a significant amount of muscles, is moving?

            If your argument was limited to ‘stress can sometime affect labour’ than yea, I’d be of a mind to answer with: Probably, but I don’t think it’s a major factor in birth complications (considering virtually 100% of birthing women are stressed and in pain).
            But your argument is: Stress can block labour because it causes the cervix to contract.
            This is absolutely false. The cervix is not a sphincter and it absolutely does not ‘act’ like one during birth. It cannot act like one because it doesn’t have the basic cell structure to do so.

          • Roadstergal

            “Ina May is simply observing that women’s labors seem to stall when they’re not feeling safe. Why would this be such a shock to you? it seems perfectly scientific and reasonable. ”

            It’s the opposite of reasonable. It makes no sense. Imagine two women in labor in the prehistoric times. They feel unsafe – because bad weather is coming, because the lions are roaring, because a tribe of Neanderthals is on the march. Say one woman has a labor that stalls due to the stress, and she’s lying in the ground in agony with a baby still inside of her when the floods come, when the lion comes, when the Neanderthals invade. The second woman has a labor that hurries due to the stress, that shoves the kid out right away so the woman can grab it and run (or chose to ditch it and run, and live to have another baby, because nature doesn’t care about individuals). Which one will survive to pass her genes on? Which bodily behavior will be selected for?

            And in fact, that’s exactly what you see. Stress is one factor associated with pre-term labor and birth:
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26855101
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19741043
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24216160

            And studies (you love those, yes?) are looking into the biochemical mechanisms of same:
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26504199
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26070700
            Etc, etc

          • Who?

            I’m pretty sure that ‘semantics’ doesn’t mean what you think it means….

          • Nick Sanders
          • Amazed

            Your argument is “Ina May is right even when she’s wrong!” At the end, that’s what it boils down to.

        • Nick Sanders

          Your three year old pays attention, because you can just say “this is what it is” and demand they agree, or else they get in trouble. Here, you have to actually meet adult standards of proof, but you continue to use the same tactic of demanding we believe you without question. You’re not getting anywhere not because we’re childish, but because we aren’t.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      So wait. You spent how many days trying to defend Ina May Gaskin, insisting that it is to a sphincter!!!! You even quoted a dubious MD page and 100 year old veterinarian stuff to prove it.

      Now, having been completely demolished in those attempts, you turn it around and now insist that hey, Ina May knew it wasn’t a sphincter all along! Ha! Showed us, you did!

      Showed us that you don’t have an ounce of intellectual credibility, of course.

      • Dawn Batson

        Are you KIDDING?! How many times do I have to say a thing before you people pay attention to what my argument is??? It is and has been that regardless of whether or not it is the full definition of a sphincter, if it closes during labor as I believe if it were studied we would see that it sometimes does, then Ina May’s theory is right.

        • Daleth

          is and has been that regardless of whether or not it is the full
          definition of a sphincter, if it closes during labor as I believe if it
          were studied we would see that it sometimes does, then Ina May’s theory
          is right.

          Right, but it doesn’t close during labor, although it can appear to because the stress of labor can make it swell, causing the opening to become smaller–which is not at all the same as the cervix pulling itself shut.

          And whether it’s a sphincter (i.e., a ring of muscle) matters because if it isn’t one, then it has no mechanism by which it can slam itself shut. It doesn’t close itself during labor; it can’t reverse the biochemical processes that made it ripe, and the contracting uterus puts pressure on it, making it open–that same pressure can’t close it up again any more than pushing on the side of a door that’s marked “push to open” can make that door close.

          Ina May’s theory is wrong.

        • guest

          The cervix will continue to open as long as the presenting part is applying pressure to it. If the cervix closes, it means that the pressure being applied to it has lessened. For example, in a uterine rupture the path of least resistance for the baby becomes the abdominal cavity instead of the cervix and vagina. For the baby to stop applying pressure to the cervix to this extent is a huge red flag. OBs know very well that the cervix can close during labor, but it’s due to mechanical factors, not psychological ones.

        • Charybdis

          Here is a reply from a MIDWIFE further downthread. I’m cutting and pasting it here so that you don’t have to tax yourself looking for it. Thank you Ms. Deborah for spelling this out.

          I’m going to add my two cents worth into this debate for what it’s worth.

          I think you are confusing the cervix and its function with a kind of metaphorical gate complete with its own unique gatekeepers, who, depending on the situation and environment of the labouring woman, allow the cervix to open or close back up again.

          Regardless of the correct terminology of whether the cervix is a sphincter or not, your fundamental understanding of what the cervix is and does and how it may be affected during labor is incorrect.

          As a midwife I have seen many labors stall. The most common reason is due to an obstruction of some kind. When this happens the cervix often becomes oedematous and gives the impression that it is less dilated than it was previously. The cervix hasn’t “closed” in response to stress or any other kind of emotional discomfort. It has simply become swollen in the same way other tissue becomes swollen when it is injured or when unrelenting pressure is put upon it. Sometimes the cervix itself may have its own particular form of pathology. It may be scarred or damaged in some way or diseased. This will affect its ability to dilate normally and may give the impression of “opening and closing”.

          I know it must be hard for you to digest the thought that Ina May is not the expert she purports to be and that she is actually quite detestable in her sexist attitudes and questionable practices.

          There has been a lot written about The Farm and its leader Stephen and it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.

        • Azuran

          You could think of it like putting on a shirt. The opening for the head
          is usually smaller than the head itself. While I push my head through it, the opening is stretched and become bigger. if I stop pushing, the opening will unstretch. It’s now smaller than it was a few seconds earlier. But the opening of my shirt didn’t contract itself or closed itself. It just stopped being stretched. Anything that reduces the amount of pressure a baby’s head is putting on the cervix can make it look like it contracted, but it’s not what happened.
          And many people also brought the point of swelling.

          • Charybdis

            Maybe a turtleneck would be a better analogy?

          • Roadstergal

            I told my boss that my morning preparation was arrested due to the head-hole of my turtleneck closing due to stress and not allowing my head through. He asked if I had any proof that a head-hole could spontaneously slam shut in the absence of a drawstring to close it, and I told him to talk to Dawn.

          • Azuran

            Haven’t you been taught that it’s very important to reassure your shirt and cuddles them a little before you put them on to prevent stress induced turtleneck closing?

          • Charybdis

            No, no, no. You have to relax your jaw, mouth and throat and moan, using low toned “OOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHMMMMMMMM’s” to relax the turtleneck to prevent the stress induced closing.

          • Deborah

            While masturbating of course 🙂
            (or having your madwife do it for you)

          • Azuran

            More extreme example, but absolutely.

          • Get off my brain wave! {giggle}

        • Nick Sanders

          It’s not a theory, it’s a hypothesis, and an absolutely crappy one.

    • Heidi

      Or, you know, the cervix is swollen and feels less dilated but isn’t.

    • Azuran

      You think it hasn’t been investigated.
      But the anatomy, histology and physiology of the cervix is well known. It does not have any amount of muscle capable of causing a contraction or closing itself.
      We have already provided many example of things that could make it look like it’s closing, but it isn’t. You are just ignoring them all.

      • Dawn Batson

        I haven’t seen any studies done about the cervix and how it operates during birth so please.

        • Daleth

          Would you need a study to tell you that the lungs don’t beat? They don’t beat, and can never beat, because unlike the heart the lungs are not a muscle.

          However, the lungs DO make a rhythmic sound when you listen to them through a stethoscope, just like the heart. We normally call that sound “breathing,” but Ina May’s logic would say it means the lungs are a muscle and are beating.

        • Roadstergal

          They’ve been cited in several posts below. Dr Amy even posted pictures of the histology of the cervix vs skeletal and smooth muscle, so that you can see the difference (actually ‘see,’ rather than your metaphorical ‘see’). Just because you don’t understand them doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

          • Dawn Batson

            Again, have there or haven’t there been studies about how the cervix dilates in labor?????????

          • Roadstergal

            They’ve been cited in several posts below, as I just said.

          • Dawn Batson

            this is not a study about how the cervix dilates during labor. This is not something we can draw a conclusion from about whether or not the cervix undilates.

          • Roadstergal

            That’s exactly what it is. The cervix dilates because of, in this order, a specific set of biochemical changes, and then pressure on it from the presenting part of the baby due to uterine contractions.

          • Charybdis

            How the bloody hell do you figure that? It specifically talks about effacement and dilation.

          • Charybdis

            Here you go. Here’s one, that a kind soul posted earlier and further downthread for you to peruse. It even cites the medical book it is taken from.

            not sure why I’m wasting my time, but this is from the textbook “Histology for Pathologists, Third Edition,” Ed: Stacey E. Mills, MD:

            “In contrast to the wall of the uterine corpus, which

            is predominantly muscular, the stroma of the exocervix is mainly fibrous tissue admixed with elastin through which run infrequent strands of smooth muscle.”

            Note the word “infrequent.” Infrequent strands of muscle do not a sphincter make.

            Then from the section on the cervix during pregnancy:

            “The stroma of the cervix undergoes a complex series of biochemical and biomechanical changes during pregnancy and parturition that taken together are known as cervical “ripening.” The initial change seems to be extensive destruction of collagen fibers by various collagenases accompanied by the

            accumulation of gel-like acid mucopolysaccharides. This process causes the cervix to soften, a

            process that reaches its zenith immediately before parturition. As a result, the cervix is easily effaced by

            the presenting part of the emerging infant. ”

            Nowhere does it mention anything about a sphincter or sphincter-like behavior.

          • a pathologist

            I thought you had read the textbook in its entirety? You said you had read it all. I would have thought you’d check the references that are cited to really delve into the topic.

          • Roadstergal

            *crickets* from Dawn whenever someone with real knowledge shows up…

          • Amazed

            Sweetheart, there has been enough studies about the mechanics of labour, cervix included. The problem is that someone like you have no way to understand them because they don’t write “the cervix is or isn’t a sphincter”. You see, they’re written for people who already have a pretty good idea how human body works. That disqualifies you. Automatically. That damned education is needed to understand them.

        • Azuran

          My pleasure: (here’s the result of a 5 minutes google search, since you like google so much)
          http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/263311-overview#a3
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2225599
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7554594
          https://en.wikivet.net/Cervical_Softening_-_Anatomy_%26_Physiology (this last one is not a study, but it’s a veterinary reference website, showing you that unlike what you pretended earlier, even veterinarians don’t believe the cervix is a sphincter.

          Do we know everything about the cervix, no. But we certainly know that it is absolutely not a sphincter and that it is unable to contract during birth.

          • Roadstergal

            I want to pull those two papers you cited! Interesting to note that the few scattered smooth muscle cells apoptose during the ripening process, so there is zero muscle of any kind present once the cervix is competent to dilate.

          • Charybdis

            Don’t tell Dawn. She’ll be crushed.

          • Dawn Batson

            We know that some women have what has been called a “dynamic” cervix that opens and closes during pregnancy and leads often to preterm birth…

          • Azuran

            Citation needed.
            And also proof that this opening and closing of the cervix is an active contraction that can happen during labour.

          • Dawn Batson

            http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/402598-overview#a1

            Yeah, I would love to have access to that proof myself. What needs to happen is a research study in which someone accurately keeps track of the dilation of the cervix of women in labor, and I don’t believe that has happened. All I have for you is anecdotal evidence of nurses checking dilation and then finding the cervix several centimeters smaller than it was, which I’ve personally witnessed, and reports of “dynamic dilation” during labor.

            I think there is reason to believe we need more information than we have.

          • Who?

            Part of the challenge in what you suggest is that you don’t think accurate records are kept at the moment. OBs and other doctors here, and midwives here, all agree that the cervix doesn’t get smaller during labour. You and Ina May disagree.

            For you, that’s compelling. For others, not so much.

          • Dawn Batson

            Oh I absolutely don’t think accurate records are kept- Amy herself admitted she has to “correct” the measurements of less experienced nurses who she assumes measured wrongly. This is one of the main reasons I feel so strongly about this- the assumption that someone very experienced measured several centimeters off seems to happen too often.

          • Azuran

            It’s a measurement made blindly with fingers. Or course it’s very prone to errors.

          • Who?

            And that’s what I think is interesting. Someone measures, someone with more knowledge/experience measures and reviews, and that’s accepted as good practice.

            Do you think Ina May accepts that someone in her circle (or anyone else, come to that) could ever measure more accurately than she does? Or is Ina May’s word the final say?

          • Dawn Batson

            I think human error is a part of the equation for sure. But there have been reports of a woman being several cm dilated and then completely closed. Anecdotal, yes.

            Dr Amy Tuteur/ the OBs I’ve worked under arent standing over the shoulder of a nurse who is measuring wrongly and then immediately re-measuring. She’s waiting an hour, two hours and then finding the cervix smaller.

          • Dawn Batson

            And she’s assuming the first measurement is wrong because she’s been taught the cervix absolutely can’t get get smaller during labor.

          • Amazed

            And why has she been taught this, pray tell? Just because YOU can’t understand the conditions that would let an organ dilate and that are not there for a cervix, it doesn’t mean that people who spent 8 years studying it – at least 8 – can’t. All you have is internet ramblings by loons who have no idea what they’re talking about.

            There is anecdotal evidence that a vaccine turned someone into the Incredible Hulk. I guess you believe this one as well? Or are only sexual predators the one you believe?

          • Azuran

            Except that the OBs are also checking the cervix multiple time in the same labour. They would also notice the difference between their own measurement.

          • Azuran

            You have any actually written proof of this sudden closure of the cervix? Or did you read it on the internet from someone who hear it from someone who heard it from her cousin who heard it from the hairdresser?

          • Azuran

            Basically, your stance on the matter is: Even though right now we have absolutely no real evidence of this ever happening, it has never been recorded, there is no anatomical, physiological or histological evidence that it can happen, and we have a ton of evidence that point that cervical contraction is not happening and not even possible, I’m going to keep thinking that it’s real until it has been proven impossible in every single imaginable situation possible.

            And then, even if we did manage to prove in every single possible way that it’s not possible, you’d claim we can’t be sure because we didn’t do it on the moon.

            You’ve said it, all you have is anecdotal evidence. That isn’t worth anything. There is no credibility behind that claim. Nothing supports that claim­. Those who made it where just wrong in their evaluation of the dilatation or in their reasoning to explain the changes in dilatation.

          • Dawn Batson

            Never been recorded? Ina May Gaskin must have recorded it, among other people who do all their own checks and don’t just assume a measurement is wrong bc it doesn’t fit their expectation.

            I get that anecdotal evidence isn’t science, I really do. But I don’t believe it’s not worth anything. I think it warrants studies. How do you explain all of the nurses who report witnessing it? All of the women who claim it happened to them? Every one of them is wrong? Because te cervix can only open and close in preterm labor, eh? Is that it?

          • Azuran

            Ina May Gaskin has also recorded that masturbating pregnant women is an acceptable medical treatment. So excuse me for not putting much worth into her works.
            All those who pretend they saw it are usually DEM. Why are OBs not seeing it? You are basically saying that there is a worldwide conspiracy of OBs to lie on medical chart about cervix contraction. For what purpose?

          • Who?

            Perhaps they are in cahoots with vaccine manufacturers et al?

          • Roadstergal

            Oh FFS. This is a link to a discussion of cervical insufficiency – that is, the cervix doesn’t stay firm enough through pregnancy to keep everything inside. It’s not a discussion of the cervix ‘slamming shut’ during labor, it’s a discussion of the cervix unable to stay properly closed up to term. The cited papers are all about trying to identify women with the greatest risk of delivering pre-term.

            You keep trying to prove to us that the cervix can slam shut during labor if the woman is uncomfortable or stressed, and all you can show us is links to discussions of when the cervix is _too_ ready to let things out.

          • Dawn Batson

            Not even Ina May says the cervix “slams shut” you guys made that up yourselves

          • Roadstergal

            You said that the cervix can close during labor enough to prevent the baby from coming out, with enough strength to work against the uterus pushing the baby. How else to describe it?

          • Dawn Batson

            I love when you guys tell me the things I supposedly said! It’s fascinating, really.

          • Azuran

            So now you are not saying that the cervix can close itself during labour? What the hell have you been saying then?

          • Roadstergal

            *crickets*

            I think what she’s been saying all along is “Ina Mae is right and obstetricians are wrong.” Really, the details don’t matter, which is why she keeps moving the goalposts and grasping at straws. All she cares about is that her income depends on her being privy to ‘secret knowledge’ that OBs dismiss/don’t have, so she’ll just find something, anything, that fits that description.

          • Nick Sanders

            When a person’s sphincter is in the process of opening, it may suddenly close if that person becomes frightened, upset, embarrassed, or self-conscious. This is because high levels of adrenaline in the bloodstream do not favor (sometimes they actually prevent) the opening of the sphincters

            Which I find hilarious, given that voiding oneself is a well known response to being frightened.

          • Dawn Batson

            This is proof the cervix opens and closes without mechanical force sometimes.

          • Azuran

            We also already know that the cervix opens and closes during menstruation as well. Are you going to pretend this is proof it can contract itself during birth?

          • Roadstergal

            And according to Ina Mae, that would be caused by being too relaxed during pregnancy, and we need to stress the crap out of those women?

          • Dawn Batson

            A dynamically changing cervix is a dramatic finding that can be seen during ultrasonography. The cervix shows varying degrees of funneling of the internal os over time in association with vigorous closing and opening of the cervix. These cervical changes occur in the absence of uterine contractions.

          • Azuran

            I like how, every time you are proven wrong, you move the goal post.
            Whatever the cervix does during a pregnancy is no indication of what it’s capable to do during labour.
            So far, I’ve found no indication that a dynamic cervix is secondary to muscles contractions inside of the cervix. So it does not in any way proves that a cervix could contract during labour.

          • Dawn Batson

            The goal post all along has been exactly this: that I don’t think we have solid evidence that the cervix doesn’t close during labor and that more studies should happen. I believe the cervix can undilate. I believe this used to be common knowledge and now because it isn’t taught in medical school and a bunch of lay midwives report it then it’s treated like blasphemy because what could an idiot midwife without an education ever know about birth that someone who went to medical school doesn’t know.

          • Azuran

            Evidence that it can contract: A midwife without any real medical training told me so.

            Evidence that it cant:
            -Multiple anatomic and histologic evaluation of the cervix that show an absence of muscles fibers or any other kind of cell to cause a contraction in the cervix
            -Not seen by any medical provider with actual medical training, either during labour, pregnancy, after labour or in not pregnant women.
            -Multiple studies on the process of cervix ripening during labour and it’s changes back to normal state afterwards, none of which ever showed any evidence of contraction of the cervix.

            Like I said, you’ll never accept any kind of proof that it doesn’t.
            It also used to be common knowledge that bloodletting was a cure for anything. But I guess they just stopped teaching it to doctor so they all forgot about it.

          • Dawn Batson

            Mmmm lack of muscle fibers…. No doctor has witnessed a dynamic cervix?? Wrong. I already proved that earlier

          • Azuran

            And as I’ve said, I have found no proof that dynamic cervix is caused by muscles contraction in the cervix. Do you have any?

          • Dawn Batson

            Nope. Just that it’s not from the baby’s head and not from contractions.

          • Azuran

            So….It proves nothing about what a cervix can or can’t do during labour. Like I said, it does open during menstruation, which also doesn’t prove anything about what it can or can’t do during labour.

          • momofone

            Oh ok. And that’s solid enough to base an opinion because…you said so?

          • Dawn Batson

            You can have whatever opinion you want. I don’t see Ins May proven wrong here at all, and I’d like to see more studies done on cervical contractions or the lack thereof during labor

          • momofone

            You are busting your ass trying to make the evidence and your arguments fit what Ina May says. It must be very difficult to consider that she could be wrong.

          • Azuran

            And as I’ve said: Dynamic cervix does not equal the cervix being able to contract during labour.

          • Dawn Batson

            So the cervix can contract without mechanical force but DEFINITELY NOT during labor right?

          • Azuran

            Considering we are comparing a change of opening in mm with a dynamic cervix (of which, I can’t find the cause, so it doesn’t prove that it’s something that could happen during labour) a change of opening in cm during labour, I’d say that no, one does not prove the other is possible

          • Roadstergal

            The cervix does not contract. It opens by being forced open by something else. Typically, the head of a baby being pushed by the uterus. Remove that pressure – by delivering the baby, ideally – and the cervix no longer stays as fully open – but it doesn’t contract, as the placenta and/or someone’s arm can easily go through it.

            The cervix, once ripe, is a bystander.

          • Dawn Batson

            Ahhhh I see. It doesn’t contract except during cervical insufficiency at which time it does everything we say it can’t do and we don’t know how or why but that it CANT do those things during labor. I get it now. Case closed then. Glad that’s over. Phew.

          • Azuran

            ……cervical insufficiency is not a contraction or closing of the cervix. It’s actually the cervix OPENING before it’s supposed to.

          • Dawn Batson

            Yes, but a dynamic cervix “vigorously opens and closes” aka contracts and dilates.

          • Azuran

            You are really grasping at straws here and making very huge extrapolation here. Again, the fact that this small changes in the cervix can happen during pregnancy does not mean that any significant contraction, even less one of many cm of dilatation, can happen during labour.

          • Azuran

            Also, you moved the goal post again.
            This whole discussion started because Ina May stated that the cervix is a sphincter and can close itself during labour because of stress. Dr. Tuteur explain it wasn’t the case.
            You jumped in, claiming it is a sphincter.
            We showed you it wasn’t
            You came back with: Ok, but it still contracts during labour.
            We showed you it doesn’t
            Then you went with: I’m just saying that nobody knows how a cervix works, so we can’t be sure it’s not true.
            We showed you how a cervix works.
            And now you are at: But look, the cervix ‘might’ have some very minimal muscular activity during pregnancy.

          • Roadstergal

            Nope. The cervix doesn’t contract. It doesn’t contract when it’s in good nick and holds the pregnancy to term, and it really doesn’t contract when it’s insufficient and you get preterm delivery. It’s odd that you think that the existence of cervical insufficiency is proof that the cervix can contract and arrest labor.

          • Azuran

            As far as I can tell, the mechanism of dynamic cervix is unknown. But it doesn’t appear to be muscular contractions, so it doesn’t prove that contraction is possible during labour.
            It could be anything really, but there is no proof that whatever this mecanism is, it could close a cervix multiple centimeter very rapidly, during a labour (which only a muscular contraction would be able to acheive).

          • Roadstergal

            You have no mechanism. We have described to you in excruciating detail how the cervix opens due to biochemical changes that break down and thin the matrix that composes the cervix (including causing the death of the few muscle cells scattered in it to start with), leaving the cervix free to be pushed open.

            You have no mechanism, part 2: the cervix simply can’t close itself, any more than a double amputee can climb a ladder. The cervix has no muscle. Once it’s ripe, it’s at the mercy of what the uterus and baby are doing to it. You’re clinging to the complaint that we don’t have nanometer-level resolution of the double amputee not climbing the ladder.

            You have no correlation. You say that stress stops labor; there is a lot of good evidence that stress causes preterm labor, and that is more in line with evolutionary pressures. There’s no evidence that stress stops labor; the correlation goes the other way (difficulties in childbirth due to size/positioning of the baby vs mom’s pelvis are often painful and stressful).

            You think what you think because it’s a nice narrative that helps you make a case that doulas are a medical necessity rather than a nice-to-have. But that’s not how science works.

          • Dawn Batson
          • Azuran

            Again, this does not prove the cervix ability do contract during labour.

          • Dawn Batson

            Some people’s cervix can apparently figure it out despite not having a mechanism: ”
            A dynamically changing cervix is a dramatic finding that can be seen during ultrasonography. The cervix shows varying degrees of funneling of the internal os over time in association with vigorous closing and opening of the cervix. These cervical changes occur in the absence of uterine contractions.”

          • Roadstergal

            I explained down below what this article refers to. Pro tip – it doesn’t talk about the cervix contracting.

      • Dawn Batson

        It has NOT been studied. The way the cervix dilates in labor has not been studied and clearly needs to be.

        • Azuran

          Are you really claiming that we don’t know why and how a cervix dilates in labour? You really are an idiot.

          • Dawn Batson
          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            That piece is about incompetent cervix and has nothing to do with labor.

          • Dawn Batson

            Yes, this piece is not about labor. But it is about the cervix contracting without the use of force. And if the cervix can do that during preterm labor then it seems like we need more evidence in order to conclusively rule out the idea that it could possibly sometimes do that during labor.

          • Who?

            If what you assert could be proved, how would that change the way that pregnancy, labour and delivery are managed?

          • Roadstergal

            No, it is not about the cervix contracting. Words have meaning, and you don’t get to play Humpty Dumpty and say that ‘sphincter’ and ‘contract’ mean just whatever you want them to mean at the time. Contract refers to the action of muscle, to the shrinking in size as the muscle fibers slide across each other and closer together. A contraction is a flexion of a bicep, or an action of the uterus, and it’s easy to see and measure. A small variance in a diameter that’s caused by greater susceptibility to outside forces due to cervical incompetence is not a contraction, and that is not a technicality – that has everything to do with the point you are making, which is that during normal, non-pathological labor, a cervix can close of its own accord and stop the baby from coming out despite effective uterine contractions. Cervical incompetency has nothing to say about that.

          • Heidi

            It’s almost like she didn’t read the same article she posted.

    • Roadstergal

      I think part of the problem – and oh lord, you have so many problems – is lack of clarity in language.

      “And she’s aware current medical doctors are taught that it is impossible for the cervix to close.”

      That’s obviously not true, because the cervix slowly comes back to close to its post-partum state after birth, and doctors know this well. What has been shown to be true is that the cervix does not suddenly reverse the biochemical changes that make it ‘ripe’ (soft and thin) and allow the uterus to force it open by jamming a baby through it – during the process of the birth of the baby. These biochemical changes take time to reverse, which is why midwives and doctors can get their arms through a cervix post-partum to retrieve placenta (and if stress and fear caused cervixes to slam shut, they’d never get their arms out again) and why it’s a lot easier to put an IUD in a woman in the weeks after vaginal birth.

      Ina Mae does not know biology or chemistry, she only knows sexual abuse of laboring women. So she made this shite up out of whole cloth.

      • Dawn Batson

        I think part of your problem, and oh lord you have so many, is that you want this argument to continue because it’s all you have. I, on the other hand, have a three year demanding my attention and crawling al over me, so I forget that unless I spell out the specifics of the thing we’ve been discussing for days in every post (“current medical docs are taught it is impossible for the cervix to close DURING LABOR”) then you will all act like you don’t know what I’m saying even though it is absurdly obviously. I don’t have time for this.

        • Roadstergal

          “I don’t have time for this”

          You have time to comment endlessly without addressing the substance of any posts. It took you two days to finally admit that you really didn’t know what a sphincter was and to stop insisting that the cervix was one, and then to start insisting it didn’t matter what the cervix was. I suppose that’s progress?

          If you have time to lie to pregnant women and try to convince them that your mistaken, antiquated, misogynistic views are the truth, we will make the time to counter them with science. Because the only reason we’re here is because the lives and health of women and babies are very important to us, for a variety of reasons. This forum is full of doctors, midwives, scientists, mothers, and friends of mothers, loss mothers and mothers of mothers, and many of these are overlapping.

          • Who?

            Upvote this one.

            It can’t be said too often that Dawn puts her trust in someone who is not worthy of anyone’s trust.

        • Azuran

          You are the one who came back here after a few days of absence. So apparently you want this argument to continue.

        • Nick Sanders

          I’m still waiting on proof for your claim that a cervix can snap shut around a baby that’s partway out.

          • sdsures

            Piranha cervix mental image…

        • corblimeybot

          I’m still waiting on your acknowledgement that Ina May proudly molests laboring women. Or did you already acknowledge that somewhere, but it’s cool with you?

          A lot of people here have active toddlers, and haven’t used her as an excuse for making shitty arguments.

          • Dawn Batson

            Why on earth would I acknowledge your tangents that have literally NOTHING to do with anything I’m saying???

            Also please outline my “shitty” argument.

          • Amazed

            It has EVERYTHING to do with what you’re saying. You’re singing the praises of a sexual predator targeting women in labour and think her this great and revered.

            I guess you’re licking Fischbein’s butt as well? After all, he would be a great OB in your opinion. A sexual offender, just like your patron saint Ina May Boobskin,

          • corblimeybot

            You cite Ina May as a valid source of information on the behavior and composition of the cervix.

            It IS relevant that Ina May thinks that sexual abuse during labor is appropriate, because it calls EVERYTHING SHE THINKS ABOUT CHILDBIRTH into question.

            It is relevant because, I, personally, want to see you admit you’re allying yourself with a person who sexually assaults women and admits it.

            Everyone else has thoroughly outlined why your arguments are shitty. I don’t have to rehash it. You’re just trying to get my to waste my time on what’s already been done.

          • Roadstergal

            Note to self – Dawn considers sexual molestation by self-professed health care providers to be a ‘tangent.’ Is that a service you provide as a doula – to not care terribly much whether or not your client is having her breasts played with and her clitoris rubbed by her HCP?

            What do you have to say about the links I posted below, showing that maternal stress is a risk factor for pre-term labor rather than post-dates, in contrast to what Ina Mae’s hypothesis would predict?

    • Nick Sanders

      Ina May is very aware that the cervix is not considered a sphincter. She’s saying it acts like one.

      Funny, her language uses no such hedging:

      I will start with the observation that the vagina and the cervix—not just the anus and the urethra—are sphincters, that is, the circular muscles surrounding the opening of organs which are called upon to empty themselves at appropriate times.

      • Roadstergal

        Yeah, that’s not a metaphor. She’s saying, very clearly, that the cervix, JUST LIKE the anus and urethra, is a sphincter, and specifically called out that it’s made of muscle. IOW, she doesn’t know WTH she’s talking about. Also nothing that the sky is fairly blue outside.

      • Dawn Batson

        You clearly only watched the beginning

        • Nick Sanders

          I didn’t watch any of it. I have no interest in listening to a woman who purports to be knowledgable about birth and female anatomy yet refers to the vagina as “the puss” while giving medical advice.

          • Amazed

            Don’t worry, Nick, Dawn will watch you for you, her tongue lolling out of her mouth with excitement as she listens to her goddess once again.

          • Who?

            Ickity ick.

          • Charybdis

            I hesitate to quantify what comes out of Ina May’s mouth as “medical advice”.

          • Nick Sanders

            Perhaps it should say “while framing what she says as medical advice”?

    • corblimeybot

      Ina May is very aware of how to rub a woman’s clitoris during labor and get a handful of boobs while she’s at it.

      • sdsures

        Uggggh!

  • Squillo

    If the cervix (sphincter or not) can close in reaction to psychological stressors, it seems to me the best prevention would be effective pain relief. Given that, I’d assume Ms. Gaskin advises women to give birth where it’s widely available.

    • Azuran

      Nah, she just fondle them and pretend it’s a form of analgesia.

  • Roadstergal

    Shorter Dawn Baston:
    “Manatees are cows.”

    Us: “Um, no, they might have some generic features in common, but they’re different animals…”

    Dawn Baston: “Prove they’re not cows! Look, here’s a link to a webpage that calls it “The cow of the sea!””

    Us: “That’s just a thing a page is saying, if you look up in any textbook…”

    Dawn Baston: “I looked in a textbook, and it didn’t say that a manatee isn’t a cow!”

    Us: “Urm, it’s not going to say everything a manatee isn’t, you just need to look at what a cow is vs what a manatee is…”

    Dawn Baston: “You can’t believe what someone says about a cow just because they went to Harvard!”

    • Dawn Batson

      Actually from my perspective:

      You: open any anatomy book if you want proof that the cervix isn’t a sphincter!

      Me: show me where in an anatomy book you find this proof!

      You: you’re stupid! Why would it say that in an anatomy book?!

      The entire discussion has gone that way. It’s amazing.

      • Charybdis

        http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/mcp/education/300.713%20lectures/2014/byung_kang_pelvis_09.15.2014.pdf

        The cervix forms the inferior part of the uterus and is shaped like a short, broad cylinder with a narrow central channel. The
        body of the uterus normally arches forward (anteflexed on the cervix) over the superior surface of the emptied bladder ( Fig.
        5.54A ). In addition, the cervix is angled forward (anteverted) on the vagina so that the inferior end of the cervix projects into the
        upper anterior aspect of the vagina. Because the end of the cervix is dome shaped, it bulges into the vagina, and a gutter, or
        fornix, is formed around the margin of the cervix where it joins the vaginal wall ( Fig. 5.54B). The tubular central canal of the
        cervix opens, below, as the external os, into the vaginal cavity and, above, as the internal os, into the uterine cavity.

        The vagina is the copulatory organ in women. It is a distensible fibromuscular tube that extends from the perineum through the
        pelvic floor and into the pelvic cavity ( Fig. 5.56A ). The internal end of the canal is enlarged to form a region called the vaginal vault.

  • Dawn Batson

    Amy will you please tell your cult following that a cervix can close during birth.

    • Amazed

      Dawn, will you please point us at the temple where you pray at the revered Ina May, a labouring women fondler, her own baby’s killer and other babies’ killer?

      • Dawn Batson

        I haven’t been, but it’s probably right next to the temple where you believe everything this woman says just because she went to Harvard.

        • Mel

          Oh, I don’t believe her because she went to Harvard.

          I believe her because what she writes about here matches the best practices of the ACOG and SOGC.

          And the fact that she didn’t let her own child die without any attempts at getting him medical attention. That’s a big one for me.

        • Amazed

          And because she supports it with citations from actual respectable sources, and because she has the training that you so despise, and because she isn’t a sexual predator of labouring women, and because she didn’t sit by and watch her own baby die… We’re so strange, I know. We could just “rever” her like you do rever Ina May but we choose not to. She even labours (pun intended) to give us sources because she knows she’s not going to be taken to her word just because she says the sky is green.

          It’s interesting, though, how you equate believing something that is well-supported with your blind devotion to Ina May’s inane dronings.

          • Dawn Batson

            Her citation doesn’t even say that. It says it’s unlikely that it acts like a traditional sphincter.

          • Nick Sanders

            There’s no such thing as a “traditional” sphincter, something either meets the definition or it doesn’t.

          • guest

            I don’t care for traditional sphincters anyway. We’re more the progressive sphincter types in this household.

          • Nick Sanders

            You’re ruining this nation!

          • guest

            That’s my plan!

          • Dawn Batson

            I’m quoting the exact wording so take issue with her source not me

          • Nick Sanders

            Try again.

            It says that “Cervical competency, defined as the ability of the cervix to retain the conceptus during pregnancy, is unlikely to depend upon a traditional muscular sphincteric mechanism.” In other words, that the womb is probably not held in place by the bodies normal method of holding things inside, which is sphincters.

            http://mfmfellowship.com/downloads/ch3_cervical_insufficiency.pdf

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      It doesn’t close. That’s just one of the many wacky things made up by Ina May. Here’s some ugly stuff about your hero:

      http://www.skepticalob.com/2013/06/would-you-hire-this-midwife.html

  • Dawn Batson

    Also the proof you’re basing this entire article about the cervix not being a sphincter apparently rests on:

    “Cervical competency, defined as the ability of the cervix to retain the conceptus during pregnancy, is unlikely to depend upon a traditional muscular sphincteric mechanism.”

    Yeah man, science. So much of this science is thrown around angrily at us “psuedoscientists.” So hypocritical.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      Actually, the proof that the cervix is not a sphincter rests on opening any basic anatomy and physiology textbook and looking at what a real sphincter is versus the cervix. Or, heck, taking an anatomy course and dissecting a body yourself to see, so you don’t have to rely on experts.

      I’m glad, at least, that you’re passing on insisting that the vagina is a sphincter too, as was claimed. That one is just too ridiculous to think about.

      • Dawn Batson

        Do the medical doctors who wrote this know how it’s supposed to be common knowledge that the cervix isn’t a sphincter? Maybe tell them? http://m.med-health.net/Function-Of-The-Cervix.html

        • Amazed

          Where do they write that it is a sphincter? Where do they equal menstruating with giving birth?

          • Dawn Batson

            Wait, seriously???

            It clearly says: One of the most important functions of the cervix is as the sphincter for the uterus.

            ‘m done with this discussion. If you want to prove that Ina May is wrong about sphincter law then you’ll have to work harder.

          • Amazed

            Oh yes. Does your fluency in English include fluency in texts? Clearly not. They’re only talking about such a function in relations to monthly cycles. And they don’t say it’s a sphincter.

            I haven’t looked at their sources anyway. Other posters have. Since they obviously have no names and organizations listed, it’s just a random internet page anyway.

          • Dawn Batson

            I also found a number of vets who describe the cervix of animals as being a sphincter in addition to a medical journal from 1908 stating that the cervix is a sphincter. I’m not attempting to prove anything other than that it’s debatable, not black and white like this blog makes it appear. For me the question is settled- the cervix opens and closes during birth, I know this to be true, I think most OBs probably know this to be true, so just because the cervix isn’t a typical sphincter doesn’t negate anything.

            There’s not a lot of information available but if you want to disprove Ina May then you haven’t done so.

          • Poogles

            Yes, the cervix opens (dilates) during labor and delivery and closes after delivery (with possibly some tiny changes during labor if the baby’s head is no longer applying the same pressure as before) – but not in any way related to the ways and reasons that Ina May gives. Not due to fear, intimacy, laughter, praise, adrenaline or the tension (or lack of) in the mouth and jaw.

          • Dawn Batson

            You are SO positive about this, but we haven’t even studied it scientifically yet. That’s unscientific. Test your hypothesis!

          • momofone

            “(W)e”? What hypotheses exactly have you studied? I would be very interested in reading your research.

          • Dawn Batson

            Exactly. Once again, for the tenth time- everything I have said on here is just to support one argument only: that this blog sets out to prove Ina May Gaskin’s Sphincter Law wrong and it fails to do so. I’m not here to prove it right, I’m not a scientist. But to act as if the science is there on either side is frustrating and useless. You’re speaking definitively in a way I am not.

          • momofone

            I’m responding to a direct quote from you: “You are SO positive about this, but we haven’t even studied it scientifically yet.”

          • Nick Sanders

            Until Ina May or someone else first provides meaningful evidence for her claimed Law of Sphincters, there is nothing we need do. The Burden of Proof is on the claimant.

          • Poogles

            “You are SO positive about this, but we haven’t even studied it scientifically yet. That’s unscientific. Test your hypothesis! ”

            No…Ina May is the one who would need to test her “sphincter law” hypothesis, which she has not done. There is no reason to believe any of what she says about her “sphincter law” is actually true because there is no evidence of it.

          • a pathologist

            not sure why I’m wasting my time, but this is from the textbook “Histology for Pathologists, Third Edition,” Ed: Stacey E. Mills, MD:

            “In contrast to the wall of the uterine corpus, which
            is predominantly muscular, the stroma of the exocervix is mainly fibrous tissue admixed with elastin through which run infrequent strands of smooth muscle.”
            Note the word “infrequent.” Infrequent strands of muscle do not a sphincter make.
            Then from the section on the cervix during pregnancy:

            “The stroma of the cervix undergoes a complex series of biochemical and biomechanical changes during pregnancy and parturition that taken together are known as cervical “ripening.” The initial change seems to be extensive destruction of collagen fibers by various collagenases accompanied by the
            accumulation of gel-like acid mucopolysaccharides. This process causes the cervix to soften, a
            process that reaches its zenith immediately before parturition. As a result, the cervix is easily effaced by
            the presenting part of the emerging infant. ”
            Nowhere does it mention anything about a sphincter or sphincter-like behavior.

          • Roadstergal

            Hey, I learned something! I didn’t know collagen destruction was a key part of cervical ripening. I work with MMPs in other (very different) contexts – I wonder if they’re involved here?

          • Dawn Batson

            Yep I’ve already read that entire thing myself.

          • Roadstergal

            So you just plain don’t know what a sphincter is? Tell us, in your own words.

          • Dawn Batson

            I’ve given the definition of a sphincter several times in this thread. The cervix is a circle. It opens and closes to let out menstrual fluid and babies. Dilation can increase or decrease during labor and if you’re not open to this fact because you haven’t seen it documented by people who go to Harvard then I’m afraid the people who go to Harvard are failing us and need to investigate further.

          • Nick Sanders

            The mouth is a circle, it opens and closes, it lets things in and out, but it’s not a sphincter either.

            http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/sphincter

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphincter

          • Roadstergal

            So that’s the definition of a sphincter for you – a circle that opens and closes to let things out? That’s necessary and sufficient to characterize something as a sphincter?

          • guest
          • Roadstergal

            A case could be made that the bag is more like a sphincter than the cervix is! You can open and close it just with the drawstring, after all.

          • guest

            Right? But it seems to me that mechanical force is what opens and closes the bag, not the fibers of the bag contracting.

          • Roadstergal

            Good point.

          • guest

            This is a sphere, not a circle, but it has an opening that lets things in and out: http://www.disneyfanatic.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/spaceshipEarth-620×330.jpg

          • guest
          • Charybdis

            No muscle…..:P

          • guest

            There’s muscle in my finger operating the shutter release, though.

          • Who?

            Would you like a treat? The ‘entire’ thing? The whole book, or the 100 or so words quoted?

          • Dawn Batson

            I would love a treat.

          • Charybdis

            Then why are you still insisting that the cervix is a sphincter?

            The very basic definition of a sphincter is a circular ring of muscle. The cervix is NOT a circular ring of muscle.

          • Dawn Batson

            which one of those things is it not? It’s circular. It’s a ring. It has muscle.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            It must be a circular ring OF muscle, not a circle that has muscle fibers in it.

            A sphincter is like a drawstring with the drawstring being the muscle. The cervix does NOT contain a circular ring of muscle. All you have to do is look at it under the microscope to see that.

            I’ve done tens of thousands of cervical checks, possibly even hundreds of thousands and I never found one that showed a cervix had closed. Yes there were cervical checks where the opening had been narrowed by pronounced swelling of the cervix itself, and there were exams where I was forced to correct the incorrect previous assessment by someone less experienced, but the cervix does not close.

            That’s not surprising because the cervix dilates by mechanical pressure forcing it open. Once it is opened, it doesn’t close.

          • Dawn Batson

            It would be impossible to know for sure that you were correcting a mistake rather than finding a cervix had un-dilated. it happens all the time- a nurse swears a patient was at 8 and the OB says 5. There are two possible reasons for this.

            We do know the cervix doesn’t always open only by mechanical force. For example, during menstruation or early miscarriage.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Of course it opens because of mechanical force. Why do you think there are menstrual cramps and severe cramps associated with miscarriages?

          • Dawn Batson

            Well then those same cramps that open a cervix should be capable of closing it

          • Roadstergal

            Yes, because if you can push on a door to open it, you should be able to close it by continuing to push on it in the same direction.

          • Daleth

            Well then those same cramps that open a cervix should be capable of closing it

            Wait, what? That makes no sense at all. A contracting uterus puts pressure on the cervix, pushing it open. Why on earth would you think that a contracting uterus, by putting pressure on the cervix, could somehow CLOSE it too?!

          • Roadstergal

            The phrase ‘inter-operator variability’ has never entered your mind-space, has it?

          • corblimeybot

            By saying “there are two possible reasons for this”, I think you’ve accidentally summed up your entire way of thinking.

            There are undoubtedly multiple reasons why a nurse and an ob might disagree about the amount of dilation, but you think there are only two. And in your mind, that the correct reason is that obs suck and midwives are great. It’s a simplistic way of thinking.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Here’s are microscopic views of different circular structures within the body. The description notes that the cervix has relatively little smooth muscle and that it propels nothing.

            http://www.bu.edu/histology/m/append04.htm

          • Heidi_storage

            Thanks. Until I read your article, I always thought the cervix WAS a sphincter, because I’m not a doctor and haven’t studied anatomy or physiology. (It’s round. It opens. It closes. Sounds like a sphincter to me!) However, your descriptions and definitions are very clear and coherent, and I am very glad to know something that I did not know before.

            By the way, this is why I engage people who know what they’re talking about–my excellent obgyn/CNM practice–to care for me during my pregnancies and labors. Goodness knows doctors and modern medicine have plenty of faults, but one thing that makes my “sphincters” feel nice and relaxed is the knowledge that the baby or I is HIGHLY UNLIKELY to die from something preventable like hemorrhage, puerperal fever, or Group B strep.

            Edited to change “are” to “is” in the last sentence.

          • Charybdis

            The. Cervix. Is. NOT. A. Muscle.

            Never has been, never will be.

          • Azuran

            You are being stupid on purpose here.
            Yes it’s round, yes is has some muscles in it.
            But its muscles are not organized into a ring that are able to contract themselves in an organized fashion to close the cervix. So it is not a sphincter.

          • Nick Sanders

            So, you were knowingly giving false information when you said it had not been scientifically studied? That’s known as lying.

          • Dawn Batson

            They’ve studies whether or not the cervix closes during labor? Great! That’s the one thing that will put this to rest for me

          • Azuran

            Have you tested your hypothesis about cervix contracting during birth?

          • Heidi_storage

            Vets? An article more than 100 years old? Holy cats, you’re reaching.

          • Amazed

            When new research cancels out old beliefs, to the past they go and belong.

            The reason I found this site was that a vet in my country thought herself equal to her patients and she’d never had a dog or cat go to her office to give birth, so she chose to homebirth her human baby. The baby didn’t make it but mom made the news. That was the first time I heard that homebirth was even a thing somewhere. Colour me unconvinced that animals and humans are this much alike. Last time I checked, I only had hair on my head, not all over.

          • Dawn Batson

            were not even debating the safety of home birth here. We’re simply discussing the cervix.

          • Amazed

            And you give vets’ knowledge as something to go by. I do not agree and I told you my reasons why.

          • Dawn Batson

            I didn’t quote the vets because I’m not an idiot, it was said in passing but I do think it’s worth mentioning.

          • momofone

            So you won’t quote them, but what they said is worth mentioning? You’re citing them either way.

          • Roadstergal

            So, Dawn. If the cervix is a sphincter that contracts when you’re stressed, is relaxation during pregnancy the cause of miscarriage? Do we need to stress the crap out of pregnant women until they reach term? Do you suggest sleep deprivation instead of cerclage?

          • guest

            I looked in a veterinary anatomy book and saw that mammals have tails, and although I can’t see mine, I assume it’s there, somewhere. Because mammals lactate, or something.

          • Amazed

            When Amazing Niece is hungry, she sounds remarkably like a Bengali tiger. A baby-sized one, of course. Never occurred to me to look for the reason for this very amazing coincidence.

            In my defense, that occasion a few days ago was the first time she got truly hungry in her five months of life. Mom’s visually nonexisting but finctioning like a prize heifer’s breasts spectacularly failed her that time. A glitch. As we know, happens even to mama tigers.

          • Ever heard of someone breaking their coccyx? Also known as the “tailbone”?

          • Azuran

            You bring us something from 1908? Wow.
            For your information. I’ve just opened my veterinary anatomy textbook and there is absolutely no mention anywhere of the cervix being a sphincter.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Tsk, tsk. Don’t you bring up that new-fangled veterinary expertise around here. Just because you are a vet doesn’t mean your opinion means jack, compared to that 100 year old reference she has.

          • Amazed

            Come on, Bofa! Didn’t Mrs Bofa tell you that the cervix is a sphincter and this bit of knowledge hadn’t changed in the last 110 years of vet knowledge?

          • Irène Delse

            If you go back enough in time, you will also find that doctors used to think that a woman’s uterus was bifid, just like those of rabbits. That’s because the Church forbade the dissection of human bodies, so the study of internal anatomy was done on animals instead.

            But medieval medicine books do not give an accurate picture of medicine in the 21st veg century!

          • LibrarianSarah

            1908!!!!! You are using a source from 1908 for medical information? Get thee to a library and talk to the reference librarian!

          • Deborah

            I’m going to add my two cents worth into this debate for what it’s worth.
            I think you are confusing the cervix and its function with a kind of metaphorical gate complete with its own unique gatekeepers, who, depending on the situation and environment of the labouring woman, allow the cervix to open or close back up again.
            Regardless of the correct terminology of whether the cervix is a sphincter or not, your fundamental understanding of what the cervix is and does and how it may be affected during labor is incorrect.
            As a midwife I have seen many labors stall. The most common reason is due to an obstruction of some kind. When this happens the cervix often becomes oedematous and gives the impression that it is less dilated than it was previously. The cervix hasn’t “closed” in response to stress or any other kind of emotional discomfort. It has simply become swollen in the same way other tissue becomes swollen when it is injured or when unrelenting pressure is put upon it. Sometimes the cervix itself may have its own particular form of pathology. It may be scarred or damaged in some way or diseased. This will affect its ability to dilate normally and may give the impression of “opening and closing”.
            I know it must be hard for you to digest the thought that Ina May is not the expert she purports to be and that she is actually quite detestable in her sexist attitudes and questionable practices.
            There has been a lot written about The Farm and its leader Stephen and it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.

          • Daleth

            I’m going to add my two cents worth into this debate for what it’s worth.

            Your two cents are gold! That post is probably the best explanation of what is going on in this whole thread. Dawn, if you read nothing else, read Deborah’s post.

          • PrimaryCareDoc

            Your mouth opens and closes while eating. It’s not a sphincter.

          • Nick Sanders

            Hey, no fair! That was my argument! Give it back, I wasn’t done playing with it yet!

            https://disqus.com/home/discussion/skepticalob/no_ina_may_the_cervix_is_not_a_sphincter/#comment-2778171619

          • Dawn Batson

            They do call it a sphincter. They specifically call it a sphincter.

          • momofone

            That’s the problem though; who exactly are “they”?

        • Heidi_storage

          Maybe someone should tell them. Unfortunately, no author is listed, so we don’t know whom to tell.

          • Mel

            Let’s set up a mass mailing list to all wikis!

        • Nick Sanders

          No citations on that page, I notice.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym

          I don’t know, Dawn Batson. The site claims to be written by MDs, but the “about us” section names no names and solicits contributions from the readers, without any reference to their qualifications. Plus, looking around a bit further reveals a page recommending home treatments for food poisoning and another recommending aloe vera for weight loss. Something tells me this isn’t a very authoritative site.

          • Dawn Batson

            I will give you that. I’m aware the website I referenced seems very un-MD upon further inspection.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Good you recognize that. Perhaps in the future, instead of forming your opinion and just running to any source you can to try to support it, you might actually look into reliable sources FIRST and then form your opinion?

          • Charybdis

            Pffft! Silly Bofa! *Everyone* knows you start with a preconceived idea and then try to find evidence to support it. Or, if you can’t find anything to support your preconceived notion, you then claim that if *all* the literature does not SPECIFICALLY state otherwise, then your idea is valid, because the literature (and I use that term loosely) did not specifically say it was or wasn’t true, depending on what you are trying to prove.

          • LibrarianSarah

            And this is why you do not use the first googled result that shows what you want it to.

            https://media.giphy.com/media/83QtfwKWdmSEo/giphy.gif

          • Amazed

            Oh so you type things in the internet and then rush to the first site saying what you want to see without checking who maintains it first? Why am I not surprised?

  • Dawn Batson

    Such anger! And none of what you’re saying matters. If your cervix is or isn’t a sphincter- nothing changes. Yes people give birth all the time in unsafe environments. Ina May is simply observing that women’s labors seem to stall when they’re not feeling safe. Why would this be such a shock to you? it seems perfectly scientific and reasonable. If a cervix is not exactly a sphincter but acts like one during birth I just don’t see the point in being so furious about semantics. Have you ever been a part of an unmanaged birth? Have you witnessed a cervix close up several centimeters suddenly?? These midwives you clearly despise know some things you probably never get the chance to observe.

    • Nick Sanders

      If your cervix is or isn’t a sphincter- nothing changes.

      Actually, a lot changes, did you not even read how differently the cervix operates from a sphincter?

      Yes people give birth all the time in unsafe environments.

      Just because something is done, doesn’t mean it should be encouraged.

      Ina May is simply observing that women’s labors seem to stall when they’re not feeling safe. Why would this be such a shock to you?

      Because it is blatantly and flagrantly false.

      it seems perfectly scientific and reasonable.

      So do a lot of falsehoods touted by woomeisters, it’s part of what makes them so dangerous.

      If a cervix is not exactly a sphincter but acts like one during birth

      It doesn’t act like one at all! Read, damn you, read!

      Have you ever been a part of an unmanaged birth?

      Define “unmanaged”, because I’m pretty sure having an OB in attendance automatically rules it out.

      These midwives you clearly despise know some things you probably never get the chance to observe.

      I’m curious what she never observed in the thousands of babies she delivered, and if there might be good reasons she never saw whatever it was.

      • Dawn Batson

        I read the article, I think the problem is you don’t understand what I’m saying. I’m not saying women should give birth in unsafe environments. I’m responding to what keeps being thrown around as some kind of “proof” that Ina May is wrong- that because women give birth in unsafe environments all the time then clearly labors don’t stall when women feel violated. This is such bad reasoning. Women do give birth when they feel violated or unsafe but that doesn’t mean their bodies don’t make it harder for them- that the cervix doesn’t close back up a few centimeters.

        And again, sphincter or no sphincter, a cervix doesn’t just dilate but it also closes up. Its actually unscientific to tell someone who has been a midwife for thousands of births that because science hasn’t proven it then she’s a liar. Is it harder to put in a tampon when you’re tense? Yes. Is it harder to poop when someone else is in the room? For a lot of people it is. Do people sometimes defecate themselves when they’re stressed? Yes. But that doesn’t negate that there is an emotional component to our bodies that makes certain biological processes more difficult under certain situations which is the actual point Ina May is making.

        Unmanaged birth means a birth that is allowed to progress without interference. Most OBs haven’t witnessed what “normal” birth looks like because they’re so eager to change it. But so much of what a typical OB does is unscientific. Putting a woman on her back and telling her she’s not “allowed” to move around. Inducing half the births they attend because the baby is “post date.” Calculating due dates not by the length of a woman’s cycle and ovulation date but in a dangerous one size fits all manner. This is why our c section rate has sky rocketed and our infant mortality And maternal death rates are some of the worst in the developed world.

        There is such a strong angry backlash against “woomeisters.” It’s everywhere. It’s no wonder we can’t figure out how to stop having wars- because people can’t even talk about birth without attacking people who have different views than we do. But a lot of my choices you find so infuriatingly “woo” are the result of the complete disregard for science in the field of medicine. So often I see this blind faith to the established norm and anything that challenges that incites fury. But western medicine ignores science in real and dangerous ways all the time.

        • Nick Sanders

          someone who has been a midwife for thousands of births

          Compared to an OB who has also attended thousands, and actually studied human anatomy and physiology?

          Your second paragraph is a bunch of meaningless comparisons between unrelated processes and structures, while your entire third paragraph is nothing but bullshit that has been refuted on this blog over and over again.

          But a lot of my choices you find so infuriatingly “woo” are the result of the complete disregard for science in the field of medicine.

          Oh, that’s extremely clear.

          But western medicine ignores science in real and dangerous ways all the time.

          Give some examples. And keep in mind, there’s no such thing as “Western” medicine. There’s modern medicine, which is used around the world, and there are various “alternative” medicines, some of which are regional, many of which aren’t.

        • Sarah

          If you think the cervixes of women giving birth in dangerous situations close back up a few centimetres, the onus is on you to prove that not someone else to disprove it.

          • Dawn Batson

            Actually the burden of proof lies with the person who decided to publish an article ridiculing a revered midwife’s observations. but since you asked- I’ve seen a nurse enter a room and tell a woman she’s six centimeters dilated. A few hours later an ob will check and he’ll say she’s four. Aside from my own observations I fall back on what countless midwives who have attended countless births have observed. If you want to publish something that refutes these observations then post something that actually refutes them please.

          • Nick Sanders

            “Revered” means nothing. Jim Jones was “revered”. So were David Koresh, Cyrus Teed, and L. Ron Hubbard. Doesn’t make anything they said worth a damn though. So no, I will not be taking medical advice from someone who refers to genitals as if she were still in middleschool.

          • Azuran

            Hum no, the burden of proof is on Ina May, who has to give some scientific evidence to the ridiculous stuff she’s saying. No matter how many of you ‘observed’ something, it doesn’t make it true, it’s the midwives job to actually prove that it’s true.

            And everyone knows that checking dilatation is not actually an exact science. It uses fingers ffs. Maybe the first nurse has really tiny finger and the OB has huge ones?

          • corblimeybot

            So, about your totally real nurse/OB story, which definitely happened, and which you’re certainly not making up or exaggerating for impact. Do you think it’s more likely that the cervix closed, or that there was a measuring discrepancy between two providers?

          • Dawn Batson

            Oh that’s cute. I think they assume it’s a difference in finger size. And I think assumptions are bad science.

          • Azuran

            So, why are you taking the assumptions of women on the internet as face value? Why are you refusing to show any kind of proof to your rambling? Why are we the only ones who should bother showing proofs?

          • Dawn Batson

            This whole page is about proving Ina May wrong and it doesn’t do that at all. I don’t have to prove Ina May right, I just have to say you didn’t prove her wrong either.

          • Nick Sanders

            Before anything else, Ina May needed to prove herself right. She didn’t do that, but many people have still listened to her anyway and have risked severe injury to themselves and their children because of it, so Dr. Tuteur attempted to undo some of the damage.

          • Sarah

            As discussed previously, the burden of proof falls on you when you make a claim, which you did. You either evidence it or look like you have no idea what you’re talking about.

            And your anecdote is not evidence. Even assuming both that you’re telling the truth and the nurse and doctor each measured accurately, this still wouldn’t tell us why it actually happened. I mean really, even your unverified anecdote doesn’t say what you want it to say. You could at least pretend she told you afterwards it was because she was frightened. Make the effort!

          • Dawn Batson

            Honestly I didn’t even know this was debated- and am still not sure it is. It’s happened a couple different times at least in my limited experience, it’s all over the internet. No anecdotal evidence isn’t science but it certainly suggests in the lack of science that there is something happening here worth looking into.

          • Sarah

            There’s no ‘certainly’ about it.

          • Dawn Batson

            I never said WHY it happened. We haven’t been talking about the WHY.

          • Sarah

            I’m afraid that won’t do. You’re claiming that women’s cervixes close up during labour when they feel violated and unsafe. If you didn’t think their feeling violated and unsafe was relevant, you wouldn’t have mentioned it.

          • Mel

            This isn’t an article – it’s a blog post. If this were published in a peer-reviewed journal, it would be referred to as a review paper or possibly an editorial.

            It sounds nitpicky, but it’s a critical distinction between the level of oversight into the claims made. Blog posts have no peer oversight. Editorials have a small amount of peer oversight. Review papers have somewhat more peer oversight (at least in the fact that someone could argue that an important topic was missed or that a paper was misconstrued). Articles have the highest level of peer-review behind them.

            Which leads to why many of us are getting exasperated. We ask for actual, peer-reviewed information on the “emotional regulation of cervix dilation” ….and we get sent to websites that are essentially blogs without named authors. A few years ago, you might have been able to argue that you didn’t have access to those papers, but between PubMed, Google Scholar and ResearchGate, you should be able to support your views with actual, peer-reviewed papers.

            It’s like being handed a copy of “Goodnight, Moon” when you ask for a description of lunar landforms or a copy of “Pat the Bunny” when asked for the dietary needs of lactating rabbits.

          • Azuran

            But if stress makes cervixes closes, and if all midwives see it, but OBs dont. Doesn’t that mean that giving birth with a midwife is way more stressful than giving birth with an OB?

          • Dawn Batson

            how do we know no OBs see it? Is that just an assumption? Aren’t assumptions unscientific?

          • Azuran

            See, why should I bother proving my arguments when you don’t have to? It goes both way honey.

          • Mel

            OH! You gave me an opening! Thank you! *quivers with nerd glee*

            Actually, all science is based on a series of assumptions. These assumptions are studies within the field known as “nature of science”. These assumptions can be based on the culture in which the scientist is embedded, the discipline in which the scientist is trained, and the personal history of the scientist themselves.

            So, for example, the USA gov’t has decided that studying how children are affected by handguns should not be funded. That has affected the questions that researchers can ask about the effects of handguns in households with children.

            Likewise, a country in which intercourse is expected to be unpleasant for women is not going to have scientists researching cures for vaginal pain during intercourse.

          • Dawn Batson

            I’m pretty sure I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. I’m not publishing articles trying to prove that someone is an idiot with a flimsy sentence that doesn’t prove anything.

          • momofone

            Minus the publishing articles part, I think you just described yourself quite well.

          • Heidi_storage

            But, er, why are you having this discussion if you’re not trying to prove the correctness of your position? Look, I’m a layman. Go ahead and prove that cervixes close up during labor to me. I do ask that your sources be reliable, though–ie, article from journal indexed on Pubmed, or an information sheet from, say, ACOG or the NIH. Simply saying “midwives see it all the time” is not sufficient, because CPMs don’t have the formal training in anatomy and physiology to make that determination.

          • Azuran

            For that matter, even ‘doctors see it all the time’ would not be an acceptable answer either. The would be asked to prove it.

          • Dawn Batson

            Doctors don’t have to prove things!!! Midwives don’t have to prove things. Scientists prove things and scientists haven’t proven anything about the cervix being or not being a sphincter. All of this prove it business is exhausting because there isn’t proof either way. It’s a discussion! And it’s a discussion because an article was posted as if it were proof against something someone posited, and it isnt. Ina May wrote a book about her philosophy on birth. She backs it with decades of her own experience. She doesn’t market herself as a scientist therefore there is no burden of proof. A scientist is welcome to come along and prove or disprove any part of it while Ina May continues doing her work which is midwifery.

          • Heidi_storage

            If we were talking about pizza toppings, Ina May could claim that mozzarella cheese is made from unicorns and I wouldn’t care. The problem is that, in childbirth, lives and brain function are at stake. Anyone taking on such a responsibility had darned well better know what she is talking about; the application of incorrect theories can literally kill. So if Ina May advances any new theories, she needs to prove them.

          • Mel

            Interesting fact, Dawn: Doctors are a form of medical scientist. While many do not publish papers, all are quite capable of running a decent, publishable study.

            I would hope that midwives would hold themselves to the same standards of well-designed studies, peer-reviewed journals and practice guidelines. (I am a bit of a dreamer, I know.)

          • Mel

            Snap! I missed the most obvious bit: Scientists don’t prove things. We can occasionally disprove the null hypothesis (on a good day), but we don’t and can’t prove things.

          • Roadstergal

            “She doesn’t market herself as a scientist therefore there is no burden of proof”

            I don’t market myself as a scientist. Buy my herbal tea, it will guarantee an easy birth and make you rich. I don’t have to prove it!

            “Scientists prove things and scientists haven’t proven anything about the cervix being or not being a sphincter.”

            Care to revisit this one, in light of your backpedaling above?

          • Dawn Batson

            yeah, why would you guarantee something? Ina May doesn’t guarantee anything. This is a bad analogy.

          • Roadstergal

            Nice ignoring of the question.

          • Nick Sanders

            This is the dumbest thing I have read in weeks. I’ve been trying not to flame you, but I can’t hold this in any longer. Medicine is a science, you witless tool. Learn something, anything, I don’t care what, hell, learn origami for all I care, but then at least there will be something in your head besides this moronic anti-intellectual contrarianism, and you’ll have done something that wasn’t a complete waste of everyone’s time and ludicrously dangerous to anyone stupid enough to listen to you.

          • Dawn Batson

            I’m not even being that contrary. I’m not even saying the cervix IS a sphincter. Saying the quote doesn’t even say definitively that it isn’t a sphincter isn’t that contrary. Saying even if it isn’t a sphincter it still opens and closes during labor also isnt that contrary. NOthing I’ve said is really that contrary or moronic. There are a lot of birth professionals who have been doing this for years who believe that sometimes cervixes un-dilate partially, and I don’t think the evidence for that being just human error is totally believable. Now please explain to me what I’ve ever said that was “ludicrously dangerous.”

          • Nick Sanders

            The bullshit lies you stated about OBs, for one.

          • Roadstergal

            Given that the evidence is overwhelmingly strong that 39-week induction reduces perinatal mortality and lowers the rate of unwanted C-sections when compared to your favorite method, sitting on your hands and waiting (aka expectant management), your crap about ‘pushing pitocin’ is indeed both ludicrous and dangerous. No OB ‘pushes’ pitocin. They advise it when indicated because their job is to get healthy moms and babies out of the other end of a pregnancy. Midwives and doulas, in contrast, are all about selling birth as an ‘experience,’ like it’s a trip to Disneyland.

          • corblimeybot

            Ina May’s work is keeping her hands “busy” during childbirth, massaging baby oil onto womens’s “buttons” while taking time out to tell the woman’s husband how nice the woman’s tits are.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            But, er, why are you having this discussion if you’re not trying to prove the correctness of your position?

            One of the reasons I left the WTE boards is because they were so moderated and delicate, that they were the equivalent of talking about your favorite pizza toppings.

            “I like pepperoni”
            “I prefer sausage”
            “Oh, my favorite is ham and pineapple.”
            “I don’t like cooked pineapple. Just ham for me.”
            “Hey, that’s not nice jumping on her like that. She was just expressing her opinion.”

            That’s what happens when you have a “discussion without trying to prove the correctness of your position.” It’s content free. And boring as all hell.

            Now, at least with pizza topics, it’s all opinion. But she is treating this like Zeke on the Big Bang Theory. “That’s what you gotta love about science – there’s no one right answer”
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvOWE5S4x9U

          • Dawn Batson

            I don’t know why I’m continuing this discussion. I started it because I felt the article didn’t disprove what it claimed to disprove. But it’s clearly been a massive waste of my time because all anyone wants to do is call names and say asinine things that are beside every point, so I’m going to stop now. I’m fairly sure Amy knows the cervix can dilate and undilate. It’s highly unlikely she’s seen that many more births than I have and not noticed it.

          • You shouldn’t have started it as it was an old thread. Now you drag us all back into this again. You can’t even read for comprehension. Just quit since nothing we say will change your mind.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Why? Because she’s a doula and she makes her money peddling this nonsense.

          • Dawn Batson

            Amy, are you going to sit there and act like you haven’t seen a cervix close back up a few centimeters? Really?

          • Dawn Batson

            I don’t peddle anything. As a doula I support every safe decision a woman makes. If she wants an epidural I am all for it. If she wants an unassisted home birth I strongly discourage her and do not participate. I am aware that epidurals can solve everything and have seen them help a woman progress. Educating is beyond my scope. I strictly support.

          • Sarah

            You’re pretty wrong, then. If you say something, the burden of proof is on you, you evidence it. Or look like you’ve no idea what you’re talking about, obviously. Your choice.

          • Dawn Batson

            That’s so funny you should say that, as that was my original beef with this article.

          • Sarah

            Don’t think nobody’s noticed you’ve still proved nothing.

          • Nick Sanders

            So, where is Ina May’s proof then?

          • Mel

            In all fairness, I see no evidence that you are publishing any kind of article in a peer-reviewed process.

            Because – honestly – this should be a super easy, low-hanging fruit study to run and get published if women’s cervixes respond to stress as rapidly and invariably as you believe they do.

            It’s really not that hard.

            1) You need to find a HRRC (Human Research Recruitment Committee) to verify that your proposal is safe to be studied on humans. Since the humans are pregnant women, there is a higher level of oversight required, but that just means you need to be very clear about the benefits and risks of your study to the patients going in. Best spot to start is the nearest biomedical science research university.
            2) You’ll need a primary investigator or PI. That friendly OB is probably a good starting spot plus a faculty member at the university with the HRRC.
            3) You need to write up a proposal for your work. What I’d recommend is combining hourly cervical checks by the OB PI with an hourly survey of Likert-type (or actual Likert) items. That would be items like “In the last hour, I have felt scared a)never, b) a short time, c) half the time d) most of the time, e) all the time. You’ll need to find a verified, reliable survey (or make one yourself…which takes ~3 years) and need to run down some studies to support the ideas behind the cervical dilation and emotion connection.
            4) Collect your data.
            5) Analyze your data.
            6)Write and publish.

          • Heidi_storage

            Nah, she just needs to write about it on her blog page. Just as good!

        • Charybdis

          “Unmanaged birth means a birth that is allowed to progress without interference. Most OBs haven’t witnessed what “normal” birth looks like because they’re so eager to change it”

          So, by your statement quoted above, “normal birth” is considered “unmanaged birth” because OB’s don’t see, understand or promote “normal birth”. If midwives are self-identified experts in “normal birth” and eschew interventions because “normal birth” does not need interventions/interference, then why do midwives do things like monitor fetal heart rate, check the cervix for dilation and effacement, sweep membranes, promote using castor oil as a labor inducer, suggest position changes, birth balls, tubs, etc?

          All of those things I just listed are interferences and could *gasp* be construed as “natural interventions” because a woman’s labor is not being allowed to happen “naturally” for her. And if unmanaged birth equates to normal birth, then midwives and all their “natural interventions/interferences that aren’t REALLY interventions/interferences” aren’t necessary either.

          Because midwives DO interfere/intervene when a woman is in labor and delivering their child. They interfere/intervene in a decidedly “non-mainstream medical” sort of way, but interfere/intervene they do.

          • Dawn Batson

            What does this have to do with anything again?

          • Amazed

            So you talk shit and when said shit is proven irrational, you exclaim, “What does this have to do with anything again?” What is has to do with anything is that it’s another one of your irrational, unsupported, illogical claims.

          • Dawn Batson

            It doesn’t seem like you’re following along. http://m.med-health.net/Function-Of-The-Cervix.html

          • Charybdis

            Which comment caused this retort?

          • Dawn Batson

            My statement was a comment on how OBs maybe aren’t noticing certain traits of normal birth that midwives are because they’re intervening and changing it?

            It makes sense that a midwife would see different patterns than an OB pushing pitocin and epidurals who pops in every few hours if that.

          • Amazed

            Pushing pitocin and epidurals?

            Listen now, you dangerous asshole! Just close your fucking mouth and use the time you spend worshipping Ina May’s butt to pray that the OBs you rush your clients too with complications that could have been managed at the hospital but weren’t because you were saving women from having pitocin and epidurals pushed on them are capable to save them or their babies without lifelong damages! You freaking nut! You’re a fucking doula. When you graduate from whatever riduculous program you’re attending, you’ll still know about 10000 times less than OBs – and you won’t know nearly enough to fathom why pitocin and epidurals aren’t pushed but needed and life and bran saving. Oh, and while you’re at it, please don’t let your own preterm baby die following your revered Ina May’s lead.

            Pushing epidurals and pitocin? Ina May plays with women’s tits during birth, you fool, and if you don’t know it, google the citations of her book before the last edition. Since you love googling so.

          • Dawn Batson

            Hi darling. Yes OBs push pitocin and epidurals- is that shocking for you? Pitocin and epidurals have their place but not in most births. What are your thoughts about our c section rate out of curiosity?

            I’m not rushing my clients anywhere, I’m not sure where you get your info but 99 % of my clients choose hospital births with awesome OBs who understand birth.

          • Amazed

            Hi, sweetheart. It is indeed shocking for me since women want epidurals on big scale and pitocin is applied when needed and doesn’t lead to nearly the same death and brain damage toll your beloved non-interventional, unmanaged births do. When you have made your clients think that you know what you’re talking about and pitocin is only pushed on and almost never needed, of course they’ll feel it was pushed on them. You took care to make them think so.

            I thought you were going to be a midwife? I admit I am not seeing much sense of getting any official capacity if you don’t plan on having midwifery clients. And if you do, I pray you had the knowledge to recognize complications and good sense to rush the women to the hospital in time. By what I saw here, I doubt it.

            What about the USA c-section rate? I prefer to look at the low-risk peri rate since that’s the only way to know that something different should have been done. And it’s reached dramatic low since the c-section rate plummeted. Of course, there are many c-sections that are unneeded. Has Ina May invented the machine that can tell us which ones they are in advance?

          • Dawn Batson

            Oh pit is given only as needed? It’s cute you think so. And pitocin causes less damage than births without it? You’re hilarious.

          • Amazed

            Yes, sweetpie. Low-risk OB attended births, with and without pitocin – lower peri mortality. Midwife-attended homebirths which are by default low-risk since the women you so respect holler from the rooftops that they’re only taking low-risk clients – zero pitocin and mortality that’s several TIMES higher. Clearly, pitocin isn’t the devil and “pushing” pitocin isn’t nearly as dangerous as sitting on your hands at a labouring woman’s home, basking in the respect of someone like you and not pushing for a hospital.

            Please tell me that you can at least gather this much? No advanced education is needed!

          • Dawn Batson

            Dear entire skeptical OB community! Listen up! Doulas do not tell their clients what to do! I encourage my clients to get informed about their options and then I back those options as long as it doesn’t pose danger to them or the baby. I don’t know where you get your information about my role but it clearly needs clarifying despite being completely OFF Topic

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            My midwife “pushed” (recommended) pitocin and an epidural. It was good advice, though in hindsight I think she could have pushed for the c-section sooner as well.

          • Dawn Batson

            I haven’t yet responded to any of the amazing assumptions made about my aspirations, my philosophy, my supposed lack of respect for OBs or necessary interventions or my ego and that’s because they’re off topic. But I would like to take this opportunity to again point out that you sound like a psychopath.

          • Amazed

            I guess it would be so. Since you rever people who harass women in labour and let their own babies die without seeking medical help for them but are sweet on talking, someone like me, caring about lives and brains, comes across as so very strange.

          • Nick Sanders

            my supposed lack of respect for OBs

            Are you under the impression that your posts on this very page are a secret or something?

          • Dawn Batson

            Ive already said almost all of the births I’ve attended have been alongside great OBs. If you’re insinuating as everyone else has that I don’t respect the knowledge and skill of those OBs then that’s yet another assumption.

          • Nick Sanders

            I insinuate nothing, I stated clearly that all up and down this page you have made insulting comments about OBs as doctors and people.

          • Dawn Batson

            For example???

          • Nick Sanders

            It makes sense that a midwife would see different patterns than an OB pushing pitocin and epidurals who pops in every few hours if that.

            B. There’s also the very obvious possibility that the OBs are far less attuned, that multiple people checking a cervix can make it too easy to assume a change in dilation is really just a difference of finger size, and anyway most OBs have very little contact with the woman before the pushing stage.

            Most OBs haven’t witnessed what “normal” birth looks like because they’re so eager to change it. But so much of what a typical OB does is unscientific.

          • Dawn Batson

            Not following how this is an example. I wasn’t even attempting to be insulting. It’s a very different style- the midwifery model vs the typical ob model. It makes sense that if you have multiple people checking a laboring woman, if you’re rushing the birth, if you’re augmenting with pitocin then you might miss the cervix closing a bit or you might have an easy time assuming the less experienced nurse was just wrong.

            The reason this is so difficult for me to drop is because I’ve seen it happen more than once and I’ve only attended 30 some odd births. I’ve also seen labor seem to stall over emotional factors and then resume when those factors are resolved. I’m aware this isn’t science but it’s something that’s very hard to shake. I’m clearly in no position to prove anything to anyone, I didn’t come into this discussion confused on that front. But Amy’s response about discrepancies in cervix dilation being because other people were wrong doesn’t have me convinced.

          • Who?

            Ok, so let’s get this straight. You’ve been to 30 or so births, and during those events have formed a view about those births, which you then extrapolate to all births.

            And this is your basis for disagreeing with doctors and highly trained and qualified nurse/midwives. They have years of education and training, and have attended thousands of births, all of which you dismiss in favour of, effectively, ‘the vibe’.

            I think with this assertion you have made your point eloquently. Perhaps more eloquently than you realise.

          • Dawn Batson

            What have I extrapolated to ALL births?? Not a damn thing. Have I ever said ALL births do anything??? Also, that was a self admitted “only” thirty births. I’m not sitting here assuming I’m some expert on anything. I do know that some women I respect believe very strongly that your cervix can close up a few centimeters, I do know that I’ve seen it happen more than once, I do know that there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that it happens, I do believe that a lot of the time a doctor assumes some idiot doesn’t know how to measure dilation and is off by several finger widths that it’s more likely the cervix changing. Now someone please tell me why Ina May Gaskin would make up a lie like that? What purpose does that serve??

          • Who?

            Thanks for sharing what you know and believe.

            I have no idea whether Ina May believes what she says, or not. It actually doesn’t matter. A weight of science and medical opinion says she is in error, and that what she believes is wrong. Would I put my life and safety in her hands, based on this article and your passionate advocacy of her views? I would not. Your advocacy has done her no favours.

            Thankfully I’m not privy to the workings of a mind that let her own baby die for want of medical attention. Or to the workings of a mind that advocates sexually abusing women in labour.

          • Dawn Batson

            WHAT VIBE? Not all doulas are the same doula. Not all doulas have the same thoughts, motives, personality, style, mindset. I don’t talk about VIBES, I don’t even like the word. You don’t know the first thing about what I think about any of it.

          • Who?

            The bigger issue is that you have no idea what you think about it either. As you have displayed here, you just ‘know’ stuff, without reflecting on it.

            I quite see you wouldn’t talk about the vibe. I wouldn’t either if I was an ignorant hobbyist making a living flogging that ignorance to the gullible and ill-informed.

            If you attend enough pregnant women, with that attitude, someone will be seriously injured or will die. But then, and this all doulas and other birth hobbyists, whatever they style themselves, do have in common: it won’t be your fault, because it was her choice, and you were only relying on your feelings.

          • Dawn Batson

            How will someone be injured or die based on my attitude? Please elaborate. How does my belief that the cervix is capable of closing during labor change the course of anybody’s history??

            It doesn’t seem you even know what a doula does.

          • Who?

            You must be very different when dealing with your clients than in your interactions here. You show no respect here, not even for yourself with your ducking and weaving.

            I don’t care what a doula does, or more accurately, claims to do or to be able to do. ‘Get paid’ seems to be the only thing they all have in common. Certainly nothing a kind partner, friend, sister or mother couldn’t do, more cheaply and more respectfully.

          • Dawn Batson

            it’s hard to tell the order things were posted in on this thread, but it’s not hard to see that I’m not ducking and weaving anything. I’ve summed up my position more times than I can count, but I’ll do it once again. I believe it is possible for a cervix to close up during labor, and I don’t believe this blog post refutes what it claims to refute. From the beginning and consistently all along I’ve said “whether the cervix is a sphincter or not….” which means I’m not arguing that it is, I’m arguing that it acts like one.

            I also began respectfully and then after having my character and my intelligence repeatedly insulted, I peppered in some sarcasm here and there. But definitely nothing in comparison to the furious insults I received myself. No, I definitely don’t respect people who call me names. I think thats repulsive and childish behavior.

            As far as your not knowing or caring what a doula does? That’s fine with me, I just wish you would stop making assumptions about what I do and what will supposedly happen if you don’t even know that much.

            For the record, my job is not to inform or educate. I support women’s choices as long as they are safe. I’ve supported women through voluntary inductions, I’ve supported women through c-sections. I’ve gotten nothing but great feedback from these women and they claim I was a great comfort.

            Seeing as how more than half of my clients were single mothers, teen mothers, or immigrants whom I didn’t charge a penny from I don’t know that it gets much cheaper than that.

          • Who?

            ‘Yes OBs push pitocin and epidurals- is that shocking for you? Pitocin and epidurals have their place but not in most births.’

            So is that an opinion you keep to yourself, or do you share it? If you share it, do you claim that isn’t ‘education’? I’d suggest that your communication might come across as education, even if that is not your intention.

            Words have power. I understand you don’t recognise that-you’ve accused some people here of playing with words or indulging in semantics, when all we have done is responded to the words you provided. ‘Seeing the cervix’, for example. You were patronising to the person who picked you up on it, because they didn’t realise you were speaking figuratively. It wasn’t obvious to this lay person that you were.

            If you set yourself up as knowing something, among people who believe they know less than you do, then they may just take you seriously. That’s a profound responsibility, whether or not you understand or accept it.

            Take care with your words if you are a serious person trying to do some good in the world.

          • Dawn Batson

            And what is it I “just know” “without reflecting on?” The fact that this blog has done a poor job of refuting Ina May’s claim?

          • Amazed

            God help us when you do try to be insulting! You were as offensive as hell to obstetricians while praising midwives to high heaven and now you’re backpedaling like crazy.

            You don’t have the knowledge needed to correctly use a textbook. (What do they teach you in middle school anyway?) You don’t have any medical education. You have 30 births under your belts compared to Dr Amy’s thousands. And you think your “not being convinced” should be impressive when you can’t make the difference between IS a muscle and CONTAINS muscle? Dear God.

          • Charybdis

            What about midwives who sneak shots of pitocin to laboring mothers without their consent?

          • Nick Sanders

            Wait, is that seriously a thing that happens? Because that’s horrifying.

          • Charybdis

            Yes. Someone, I can’t remember who right now (The Honest Midwife, I think) wrote about how the CPM’s are trained/taught to use pitocin on the sly, as well as vacuum extractors (they called it “the fruit”, because Kiwi is a brand of vacuum extractors, I think).

            Hair-raising stuff.

          • Roadstergal

            http://www.honestmidwife.com/cytotec-tea/

            “It wasn’t something that the midwives openly discussed, the clients were never informed, and it certainly was never written down in anyone’s chart. But sometimes, with a little wink, they might indicate that they had given her “just a little Vitamin C,” and let the students figure out the rest. It was drilled into us in class that we should never give Cytotec to anyone who had had a previous Caesarean section because it dramatically increases the chance of the uterus rupturing, a deadly emergency. But giving just a little bit to a woman with no history of uterine surgery? It might just be enough to help a lazy labor pick back up! Cytotec was also administered vaginally to induce labor; the midwife would tell the client she was inserting evening primrose oil.”

          • Nick Sanders

            That’s repulsive.

          • Roadstergal

            Especially when you read between the lines of that quote and see that it’s common and accepted for the CPMs to oversee HBACs.

          • Dawn Batson

            What about them

          • Charybdis

            Pitocin is evil when an OB decides to use it (and TELLS the mother about it) to help augment contractions, help induce labor, or deal with a PPH because…..well, REASONS.

            Midwives who surreptitiously slip a laboring mother a shot of pitocin to help with contractions due to an extended labor, ineffective and/or disorganized contractions, or other intuited reasons are well within their rights to do so?!!?!

            How is that any different than an OB using pitocin, other than the fact that the OB TELLS the mother about the pitocin and a lot of midwives don’t mention it at all?

    • momofone

      I know several people who gave birth to very early preemies–24 weeks–they definitely didn’t feel safe during labor. Wonder why their labors didn’t stall? They sure as hell wanted them to.

      • Azuran

        The 2 hours ambulance ride to the hospital with an NICU apparently wasn’t stressful enough for my coworker to prevent her from giving birth to her 26 week preemie.

      • Dawn Batson

        I already said this, but once again, nobody is saying it’s impossible to give birth if you’re stressed. For the love of god you all sound like my mom who refused to quit smoking on the grounds that her mother smoked all her life and never got cancer. You’re smarter than this reasoning, I’m sure.

        • Who?

          So it’s stress causing delayed labour when you say it is, and the rest of the time it isn’t delayed it’s just Nature doing its thing.

          And so what if Nature doing its thing kills a few babies or mothers, or leaves them permanently injured?

          Or does that overstate your position?

          • Dawn Batson

            No, what I say has nothing to do with anything. Sometimes cigarettes cause lung cancer and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes stress causes a cervix to close and sometimes it doesn’t.

            The rest of your questioning is out of left field and has literally nothing to do with anything that were talking about here. Do try to stay on topic.

          • Who?

            Your first sentence shows remarkable self awareness.

            If you meditate on that sentence for a while, rationality may be within your grasp.

          • Dawn Batson

            That’s ironic- I’m literally the only one here trying to stay on topic.

          • Who?

            It’s sarcastic, not ironic.

            Literally.

          • Mel

            We are staying on topic. The issue, Dawn, is that you struggle to articulate how the cervix works under stress.

            You said “I already said this, but once again, nobody is saying it’s impossible to give birth if you’re stressed.”
            followed by the sarcastic use of ” Sometimes stress causes a cervix to close and sometimes it doesn’t.”

            So which do you believe in – stress will not cause the cervix to close enough to impede birth (statement one) or stress will cause the cervix to close enough to impede birth (statement two)?

      • guest

        This.

        There are also women who fully “trusted” birth and had relaxing water labors at home who never progressed. Maybe cervixes have their own brain and their own emotions?

        • momofone

          They’re sentient little gatekeepers–who knew?

          • guest

            I’ve got an idea for the next horror film monster now.

          • Nick Sanders

            Sequel to Teeth maybe?

          • guest

            *Shudder*

            I’m thinking that due to radiation in the atmosphere or whatever, all the cervixes decide it’s time to detach and live independent lives, but first they must rid the planet of human life.

          • Nick Sanders

            That might run into legal trouble for the concept being too similar to The Day My Butt Went Psycho.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            Ah-ha! TDMBWP almost certainly involves a sphincter and you just said it was too similar to the cervix movie. Clearly that means the cervix is a sphincter. Check mate!

          • Who?

            😉

          • {shiver}

            Thank God I had a hysterectomy when I did!

    • Azuran

      Hahahahahaha
      You really think that any one of those midwives has managed to see something that an OB didn’t? Get over yourself.

      • Dawn Batson

        Get over MYSELF? I’m not sure what I have to get over, but one thing this OB hasn’t observed that all the midwives I know have observed is that the cervix opens and closes.

        • Azuran

          So, for some reason, midwives are the only one who see a cervix closing. But OBs don’t?
          So then there are 2 possibilities: Either the midwives are mistaken in what they are seeing. Or midwive are causing the cervix to close.
          The cervix is dilated by the contractions pushing the baby’s head against it, so anything that affect the uterine contractions could make the head stop pushing against the cervix or even move the baby a little back up, giving the impression that the cervix is now less open. But it’s not because a magical sphincter muscle that only midwives know about has contracted.

          • Dawn Batson

            This is a bad argument, and I’m getting exhausted responding to all the unsound reasoning but ok I’ll bite. Again.
            A. You’re assuming only midwives know the cervix can close during birth.
            B. There’s also the very obvious possibility that the OBs are far less attuned, that multiple people checking a cervix can make it too easy to assume a change in dilation is really just a difference of finger size, and anyway most OBs have very little contact with the woman before the pushing stage.
            I’m actually a little confused about why this is such a hard thing to grasp. We know the cervix closes after the birth, so why would it be so far fetched for it to close during??

          • Nick Sanders

            We know the cervix closes after the birth, so why would it be so far fetched for it to close during??

            Besides the presence of a baby trying to pass through, you mean?

          • Dawn Batson

            And that baby can also reverse station and go back up into the pelvis! Gasp!

          • momofone

            In that case, thank heavens for c-sections, right?

          • Dawn Batson

            Thank heavens for c sections anyway, but the baby comes back down again lol

          • Nick Sanders

            Prove it.

          • Dawn Batson

            Ask any OB. This isn’t debated.

          • momofone

            Any OB, including the one whose blog you’re posting on?

          • Dawn Batson

            I would be so surprised if this OB debated this fact, yes.

          • Nick Sanders
          • Azuran

            Many people have already bothered with giving you real argument such as: Open any anatomy textbook and you’ll see that the cervix isn’t a sphincter.
            But we both no you don’t care about actually science and actual fact. And my own argument is just as valid as your ‘I googled it’ argument. Or basically any argument you’ve provided. None of them are based on any kind of science.
            I’ve also already given you 2 plausible explanation as to why a cervix might appear to be contracting.

          • Dawn Batson

            Show me an anatomy book that says a cervix isn’t a sphincter, please

          • demodocus

            Granted it’s been a few years since I read one, but I’m pretty sure anatomy books don’t list things that aren’t sphincters, just things that are sphincters.
            So, what would the analogous sphincter be in men?

          • Dawn Batson

            Men don’t have a cervix sweetie. I’m sorry.

          • demodocus

            Of course not, honey, that’s why I asked about analogs. Men have the Braille version of the alphabet while women have the print. They both have the letter A but the A’s don’t look anything alike.

          • guest

            Some men do.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Show me an anatomy book that says my left knee is not a sphincter, please.

            If you can’t, does that mean it is?

          • Dawn Batson

            Oh lord this is exhausting. It was stated that if you open any anatomy book you’ll have proof that the cervix is not a sphincter. Then when I say show me that proof you respond with this bs. Which is it??

          • Amazed

            And you take offense at my calling you ignoramus.

            My education has nothing to do with medicine, biology and so on. But I know enough to gather that you don’t have an idea of a main principle in any science: you can’t prove a negative. Not possible. Never. So please prove your positive… and be convincing. A hint: Google University isn’t legit around this corner of the internet.

          • Dawn Batson

            You are trying to tell me you can’t prove a cervix isn’t a sphincter? Good grief

          • Charybdis

            Are you continuing to tell us you can prove a cervix is a sphincter? Because you aren’t offering any citable proof.

          • Who?

            Why would an anatomy book say that? It might as well say the cervix isn’t an elephant for all the meaning it would add. i

          • Dawn Batson

            Thanks for proving my point, which was a response to repeated claims that if you open any anatomy book you’ll find proof that the cervix is not a sphincter

          • Who?

            So anything not specifically excluded by an anatomy book is truth?

            You’re about to set the world of anatomy by storm! You heard it first here, people: according to Dawn, the cervix is an elephant, as proved by the fact that no anatomy book says it is not.

            Not sure where that leaves Ina May’s sphincter hypothesis?

          • Roadstergal

            Do midwives terrify elephants into closing?

          • Who?

            You’d need to check the book. If it doesn’t say so, I’d suggest that is a very likely outcome.

            Of course, I’m no expert on elephants, cervixes or sphincters. But it seems like that shouldn’t stop me blowviating (sp) about them.

            I thought this one would be boring, but she turns out to be super fun!!!

          • Dawn Batson

            Oh my god read! Please! AGAIN: what I said was a response to someone repeatedly saying I only need open an anatomy book to find proof that Ina May is wrong.

          • Roadstergal

            Yes, because if you open an anatomy book, you will find that the cervix does not actually have the necessary characteristics that define a sphincter. You will not find the specific statement “The cervix is not a sphincter,” because textbooks are heavy and expensive already, and reprinting all of the things that everything in there isn’t will not help. You have to engage your brain to the teeeeeniest extent.

          • Dawn Batson

            I will if you will pal. I actually think this is all semantics. As I’ve said all along, whether the cervix fits the definition of a sphincter perfectly or not, if it opens and closes during labor then it’s a moot point. And there are people on both sides saying both things, but in this instance I trust the person who does her own checks throughout the birth.

            It’s hard for me to make the assumption that the cervix doesn’t close up and that human error accounts for all of the instances in which it has appeared to do so. It’s hard for me to assume that the midwives who are the only one to check their clients’ cervix during their births aren’t crystal clear about when it has closed up and when it hasn’t. It’s hard for me to think of a reason why so many nurses and midwives are certain this happens. I have the highest respect for an OB who is open to the idea that a midwife who has delivered as many babies as she has might know something despite not going to Harvard. The attacks I’ve received on this thread about my lack of education have been vicious and are telling. It’s as if you can’t even presume to point out a bad argument if you haven’t graduated college. It’s obvious nobody here has any interest in discussion unless the discussion supports what they already think. It’s just been a lot of very childish name calling except by Amy herself who added to the discussion like an adult.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            The issue is whether or not the cervix is a sphincter. Ina May says it is, but she just made that up since it’s absolutely untrue.

            Gaskin’s claim is that anxiety can cause the cervix to close BECAUSE it is a sphincter.

            That’s wrong on two points:

            First, as we’ve demonstrated to you repeatedly, the cervix is NOT a sphincter.

            The second issue, which we haven’t yet discussed, is that anxiety causes sphincters to OPEN not close. That’s why people urinate and defecate in situations of extreme stress.

            Ina May is an uneducated fool and the only people who believe her are other uneducated fools.

          • guest

            It doesn’t even work according to Dawn’s logic. If anxiety and fear make sphincters close and if the cervix were a sphincter, most births would end in disaster. How many primagravidas are not anxious at some point during labor? Hardly any, because labor is painful and unpredictable, and both of those things naturally cause anxiety and fear. So logically, then, this sphincter-cervix would be snapping shut in nearly every first birth, and then due to that experience likely repeating the same performance in every birth after that.

          • Roadstergal

            “As I’ve said all along, whether the cervix fits the definition of a sphincter perfectly or not,”

            Actually, you’ve been arguing pretty damn hard that it is indeed a sphincter, and opens and closes based on the action of smooth muscle. Despite what the biologists, obstetricians, pathologists, midwives, and veterinarians have told you. You’ve been sticking on that point and re-posting multiple times a link to a lay website that you think supports your misconception.

            If you want to change your point to ‘stress stops labor,’ we have plenty of evidence throughout history that this isn’t the case, and would need more than just your say-so to convince us. Like, say, a published study of some decent quality, and one that takes into account the actual workings of the actual cervix that have been actually very well studied. That’s what research studies are for – to test a hypothesis in a controlled fashion, and to open up that test to fair comment and replication. Minds change all of the time in modern medicine based on quality data, not on anecdote.

            “I have the highest respect for an OB who is open to the idea that a midwife who has delivered as many babies as she has”

            How many babies do you think the author of this blog post has delivered? I’m interested to know, as the homebirth midwives that have paracheuted in have generally delivered a fraction of a percentage of yer average OB.

            “It’s just been a lot of very childish name calling except by Amy herself who added to the discussion like an adult.”

            She’s been more than patient with you, that’s for sure. And you haven’t had much pertinent to say to her educational posts.

          • Dawn Batson

            I’m not referring to any midwives except the ones who have been doing it for forty years and might know what they’re talking about.

            And I haven’t been arguing pretty hard that the cervix is a sphincter. I’ve been arguing that it hasn’t been proven not to be. I’ve been saying from the very beginning that even if it isn’t it still closes sometimes during labor.

          • momofone

            Your words:

            “which one of those things is it not? It’s circular. It’s a ring. It has muscle.”
            “They do call it a sphincter. They specifically call it a sphincter.”
            “Do the medical doctors who wrote this know how it’s supposed to be common knowledge that the cervix isn’t a sphincter? Maybe tell them?”

            This is not arguing that the cervix is a sphincter?

          • Nick Sanders

            Maybe she’s arguing that it’s in some unresolved quantum superposition? It would make as much sense as anything else she’s said.

          • Roadstergal

            Until it’s observed, the cervix is simultaneously open and closed.

          • Nick Sanders

            And may or may not contain a very confused cat.

          • guest

            I love this thread.

          • An Actual Attorney

            There’s a pussy joke in there, but I’m too tasteful to make it.

          • Charybdis

            Schrodinger’s Cervix?

          • Roadstergal

            Ah, I get it. You don’t know the difference between a category and a hypothesis.

            “Sphincter” is a category. We say that things that have certain characteristics fall into certain categories. Eg, things of a certain size with four wheels that have tires on them and propel humans and cargo using an internal motive force are in the category of ‘car.’ You can look at a thing and see if it meets the pre-defined criteria of that category. You don’t have to ‘prove’ if something is a car or not, you just need to look at the thing and see if it meets those criteria.

            “The cervix opens and closes in response to stress” is a hypothesis. The person making that claim has to design an experiment to ‘prove’ (the old use of the word, meaning ‘test’) that hypothesis, and then show the design and the results to the broader community for comment, critique, and replication. With enough replication, hypotheses become accepted as generally true.

            Biologists and pathologists have looked extensively at human cervixes. They’ve done the work for Part 1, the classification. It’s not a sphincter by virtue of being a circular-ish thing that other things go through, any more than a horse is a car because it carries people and cargo.

            We have substantial evidence that Part 2 is not the case, as we have scads of terrified, stressed women throughout history giving birth, including prematurely, precipitously, and other super terrifying and stressful situations. We have zero evidence that it doesn’t, as noted above, because anecdotes based on highly variable measurements where the variability hasn’t even been characterized aren’t evidence (see Part 1, above, as ‘evidence’ is one of those pre-defined things).

          • Nick Sanders

            As I’ve said all along, whether the cervix fits the definition of a sphincter perfectly or not, if it opens and closes during labor then it’s a moot point.

            Actually it’s not. Because what kind of structure it has determines how it opens and closes. If it’s a sphincter, it should be able to close with decent force, and at any time. Were it a sphincter, it should be seen closing, not just before and after labor, but sometimes during it, because no bodily process or the parts involved are perfect. So if the cervix is a sphincter, there should be the occasional mother who has a baby partway out when suddenly the cervix clamps down. Does this happen?

          • Dawn Batson

            Yes!!! Which has been my point all along.

          • Nick Sanders

            Then prove it happens. Please, because that only allows the possibility of it being a sphincter, not guarantees it.

            Also, your point all along has been “it starts opening, woman gets stressed, baby goes back up, and cervix closes”. Which is not the scenario I just described.

          • corblimeybot

            You’re the one who asserted it’s a sphincter (or so close to being a sphincter that it’s semantics to debate the point). You cough up the relevant anatomy book excerpts.

          • Dawn Batson
          • Heidi_storage

            That citation is maybe one step up from a Wikipedia article. No author is given, no professional body has approved it.

          • Nick Sanders

            Actually, it’s several steps down. Take a look at the rest of the website.

          • Azuran

            oh it has muscles, hurray. Sorry honey, still doesn’t make it a sphincter.

            Do you know what a sphincter is? It’s a circular bunch of muscle that keep an orifice closed by contracting. When a sphincter is closed, it’s because it’s muscles are actively contracting.
            If the cervix was a sphincter, then it would be kept closed because of muscle contraction. It isn’t.
            If it was a sphincter, then, as with all other sphincter, it would be possible to manually open it close to it’s relaxed opened size at any time without much pain or any trauma. (probably 10cm at any time, since that’s how much it opens during birth). It isn’t.
            If it was a sphincter, whenever anyone does a manual exam to check for dilatation, they would feel the cervix contract on their finger (as you would putting your finger through any other sphincter). They don’t, because it’s not a sphincter.

            General anaesthesia causes a general relaxation of practically all muscles, including sphincters. Pupils dilatation is actually a way to monitor anaesthesia. Fasting is recommended because the esophageal sphincters will relax and make vomiting more likely. People under general anaesthesia will also have relaxation of the anal and urethral sphincter, which makes ‘accidents’ happen quite frequently.
            If the cervix was a sphincter, general anaesthesia of any women (pregnant or not) would cause it to relax and open. Causing a risk of uterine infection in basically all women and having an extremely high risk of causing labour/abortion in pregnant ones. It doesn’t, because it’s not a sphincter.

            If the cervix was a sphincter, it would be controlled by nerves. (I sure as hell don’t remember any nerve responsible for cervix sphincter contraction and relaxation in any of my anatomy books.)
            People with spinal cord lesion usually end up with fecal and urinary incontinence. Those people would most likely also end up with cervix sphincter incontinence. Depending on how those imaginary nerves works, the cervix would either be constantly completely dilated or constantly constricted. It isn’t the case.
            Administration of muscle relaxant would also cause your cervix to open.
            There are also a lot of problems that can affect sphincters when they don’t work correctly. That’s the case for urinary incontinence, people with gastric reflux etc. Ever heard of anyone with cervix sphincter dysfunction?

            Any basic logic would tell any woman that it’s a good thing that the cervix isn’t a sphincter. It would be horrible if it was. Most sphincter will contract due to stress or pain. Virtually 100% of women giving birth are stressed and in pain. It would be extremely counterproductive. (and no, it wouldn’t happen only a few times, cervix contractions would be a constant problem is basically all births)

          • Mel

            For a moment, I’ll stick with your “OB’s are less competent in cervical checks” hypothesis.

            If that is true, why aren’t L&D nurses who do the cervical checks lining up to support you? After all, someone is doing those checks and for over 99% of women in the USA, it’s not an untrained midwife.

            There is a problem with your assumption of OB incompetence, though. OBs may have less to do with a woman’s cervical checks than a L&D nurse – but they do a whole hell of a lot more of them over all time periods than untrained midwives. And certainly way more than a doula would.

          • Dawn Batson

            Oh I totally think a lot of L&D nurses would agree with me. There’s anecdotal evidence all over the Internet.

          • corblimeybot

            EVIDENCE ALL OVER THE INTERNET

            OH MY GOD IT’S SO FUNNY I CAN’T DEAL

          • Roadstergal

            “We know the cervix closes after the birth, so why would it be so far fetched for it to close during??”

            We know that the beaded curtain closes after I pass through it, so why would it be so far-fetched for it to close as I pass through it?

            The cervix closes after birth because those strong uterine muscles are no longer jamming a baby through it, and it slowly regains its pre-birth biochemical structure (unripens, if you like). It doesn’t ‘slam shut,’ or else the lovely stories of CNMs and docs getting their arms through the cervix after delivery to pull out retained placenta wouldn’t exist.

            What do you think ‘effaced by the presenting part’ means, in the description of the cervix above? Seriously, in your own words.

          • demodocus

            and apparently it takes weeks for the cervix to close up again. I had a very educational visit with my OB this week.

          • Charybdis

            This is why it was easier and less painful to have my IUD inserted at 6 weeks postpartum than it was to have it replaced 5 years later.

          • Dawn Batson
          • Dawn Batson

            Just a two second Google because it’s time for a glass of wine and tv. Why don’t you take a minute to do some googling yourself and with an open mind read about all the women who report their cervix closing back up. Have fun! Night everyone!

          • Amazed

            Just a two second google search revealed that if you are who your name suggests you are, you’re a doula who’s full of herself and gorging on natcherel childbirth, studying midwifery but having no real education, or at least none deserving to be listed in your bio. I am constantly baffled at how people like you think they can fly in and school a bunch of doctors, midwives (real, not like the pretended midwifery I assume you’re “studying” – but it really isn’t your fault, it isn’t as if you ever had any real education to compare it to) on medicine and human body without feeling how they’re embarrassing themselves. I guess lapping at Ina May’s bullshit, aka revering her, must feel really good.

            Look! You aren’t the only one who can google. The only difference is, my googling won’t potentially kill or maim anyone. Yours… not so sure. Nature is a cruel deity and your patron saint has sacrificed babies’ lives to her.

          • Dawn Batson

            Well I am just STUNNED that you put that together! I’m clearly trying to keep it quiet that I have seen babies be born and been present during other women’s cervical exams. I guess I shouldn’t have signed my FIRST and LAST name on these comments.

            Now why don’t you attempt to stay on topic and Google the actual point of this discussion, k? Then when you have something that actually adds to the discussion we can continue. Won’t that be fun?

            Why don’t you put your first and last name so we can judge the person behind your comments?

            I didn’t think I was trying to school anyone. Im very humble in my work. How was I to know it was so revolutionary an idea that a cervix can close and open??!

          • Amazed

            Well, since you’re so big on googling, I thought you’d love to know that you aren’t the only one who can google. Of course, it’s a little embarrassing that you think googling is a legit way of getting information but for someone with your level of education, I guess it must be big.

            You were trying to school an OB. And humble is the last thing you showed here. It isn’t as if we know your work, right? We have to go by your words. They aren’t this impressive.

            I see you clearly couldn’t grasp the idea that a cervix is NOT a sphincter either. My only consolation is that you’ll be unleashed on women far away from me. Not that it’s great but it is something.

            I always shudder when I see someone who’ll be able to put a “midwife” after their name running in to defend babykiller Ina May and deriding obstetricians. It speaks delayed transfers and lives or brain cells lost to me. You’re headed there, methinks.

          • Dawn Batson

            This is giving me a headache. I literally ASKED you to google something and you respond by telling me I’m not the only one who can google.

            By trying to school an OB do you mean me questioning her supposed “proof” that a cervix isn’t a sphincter? Are OBs gods who should never be questioned?

          • Azuran

            Except that, anecdotes is not science and is totally unreliable. The fact that you think that asking people for their experience on the internet shows how much you know nothing about how science work. Do you also believe all those people who say their child are vaccine injured because they said so on the internet?
            No matter what those women think happened, it still doesn’t make the cervix a sphincter. It isn’t. That’s an established anatomy fact.

          • Dawn Batson

            You know what else isn’t science? Saying you’ve disproven Ina may gaskins sphincter law by quoting something that says a cervix is “unlikely” to be a sphincter!!!!!!

            And if you really wanna get into the topic of vaccine injuries we can do that. We can talk about the millions of dollars awarded to families who have been able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that their vaccines caused their autism.

          • Amazed

            Typical. A birth junkie and an anti-vax junkie. Let me help you around here: Microbirth is the next step for you.

          • Poogles

            “We can talk about the millions of dollars awarded to families who have been able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that their vaccines caused their autism.”

            Oh please do post links to these cases. Please note that compensation for encephalopathy, “autism-like symptoms” or mitochondrial disorders do not count.

          • Who?

            And isn’t it ‘balance of probabilities’ in the vax court?

          • Roadstergal

            I thought it was just ‘table injury post-vax, you win,’ no causality needed.

            Oh, wait, for non-table, it’s 50% and a feather? And the autism omnibus case still didn’t win.

          • Who?

            Are you saying that because you know it in a special way, or because it isn’t published anywhere???

            I’m just having fun with this now.

          • Roadstergal

            I have a “vag” and uterus, so by Kate’s standards, I can opine on these things.

            (I own a Ducati, which, thanks to the complexities of global ownership, was financed through Volkswagen Automotive Group. I call it my VAG-mobile.)

          • Who?

            You make a very fair point.

            Nice bike, great name!

          • Nick Sanders

            But is is a crotch rocket?

          • Who?

            You’re on fire today Nick! The ‘ruining our country’ response above made me laugh out loud. Then this!

          • Mel

            Yes, it is.

          • Poogles

            If it’s a table injury you really don’t have to “prove” anything except that the injury occurred within a defined timeframe after the vaccine was administered. If it’s not a table injury, you still only have to prove it was more probable than not – otherwise known as “50% and a feather”.

          • Yes, @dawnbatson:disqus … please do post links. Please also note that autistic + vaccine-injured =/= autism is the vaccine injury.

          • Nick Sanders

            The whole whopping zero of them?

          • Daleth

            We can talk about the millions of dollars awarded to families who have been able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that their vaccines caused their autism.

            Actually no, we can’t. No families have ever proven that. The “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard (let’s call it “BRD” for short) only applies to criminal cases. You can’t put someone in jail for murder/rape/etc. unless you can prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

            That is ALL the BRD standard applies to. If you sue someone, you only have to prove that it’s “more likely than not” that they did X and that X caused your injury or financial harm. If it’s a hair more likely than 50-50, you win. That’s what Poogles was referring to as “50% and a feather” (picture a scale with 50% on one side, 50% on the other, and a feather on one side of the scale: the side with the feather wins).

            And most vaccine injury cases don’t even have to do that. If your/your kid’s injury appears on the official table (http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/vaccineinjurytable.pdf), all you have to do is show that you/your kid experienced that injury within a certain time period after getting the vaccine. You don’t have to show causation AT ALL; that is, you don’t have to even present any evidence that the vaccine is what caused the injury. You just have to show that X injury happened within Y time after getting the shot.

            And if the injury isn’t on the official table, then you just have to prove that it’s “more likely than not” (50% and a feather) that the injury was caused at least in part by the vaccine. It doesn’t even have to be caused solely by the vaccine–just partly, and just by 50% and a feather.

          • Do you know what the burden of proof is, Dawn?

          • corblimeybot

            Holy shit, you really do believe that googling is the same as research. You’re a self-parody.

        • carol walker

          To actually “see” the cervix you have to insert a speculum.

          • Dawn Batson

            Lol I’m using the word see as one would use the word observe. Try to follow along

          • Who?

            Oh when you say ‘see’, you don’t mean ‘see’.

            Silly us, paying attention to what you write!!

          • Amazed

            She reminds me of Gma Gardner. Do you remember her? The Midwife of great knowledge and mechonium.

          • Mel

            Seriously, it all makes sense when you realize no one actually visually inspected the cervix…..

          • Dawn Batson

            Yes, I thought I was speaking to very educated people here. See can mean to perceive with the eyes and it can ALSO mean to discern or deduce mentally or to understand. does that help?

          • Mel

            Oh…it makes so much more sense when you realize that the midwives “deduced mentally” that the cervix has closed rather than actually seeing that the cervix has closed.

            Now, I’ve seen a bovine cervix reduce in diameter during a labor – but that was caused by change in the dam’s position moving the calf off the cervix. When the pressure of the calf was off the cervix, the cervix stopped dilating and regressed slightly.

            After a few more contractions, the calf was repositioned at the cervix, the cervix completed dilation and the calf was born.

            Here’s the problem, though, Dawn. The cow was more comfortable and relaxed when her cervix closed. She had been laying down, found that position uncomfortable, and stood up. That movement set about moving the calf and closing the cervix.

          • Amazed

            IOW, you take what midwives tell you they have deduced as God’s holy truth. Glad to have that one cleared.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            See can mean to perceive with the eyes and it can ALSO mean to discern or deduce mentally or to understand. does that help?

            Even if we take that as true, I am having trouble with the “deduce mentally” part of your claim. Are you claiming that the cervix closing is an issue of a logical proof or rational argument?

            Because “deduced mentally” otherwise sounds to me a lot like “asserted to be so”

        • Amazed

          Get over YOURSELF, you self-professed ignoramus. Go lick Ina May’s feet some more and leave adult conversations to adults.

          • Dawn Batson

            Name calling isn’t nice darling. And also when did I profess to be an ignoramus lol

          • Amazed

            When you put “No education listed” in your page, sweetheart. It’s a little sad that your fluent English doesn’t encompass the idea that “ignoramus” isn’t name calling. It’s stating a fact (one that you chose to disclose).

          • Dawn Batson

            I refuse to justify this with a response as it doesn’t actually make any sense. You also sound like a child and have resorted to the same thing this whole blog resorts to- name calling and bad reasoning instead of calmly and respectably talking facts.

          • momofone

            (You do realize you did respond, right?)

          • Dawn Batson

            Yes, the words I’m not going to justify that with a response are always a response of a sort. But what it means usually is that what was said doesn’t deserve a rebuttal. I’m not going to defend the fact that I’m not an “ignoramus” for many reasons.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym

          one thing this OB hasn’t observed that all the midwives I know have observed is that the cervix opens and closes.

          So if the cervix only opens and closes when midwives are around not when OBs are, that must mean that midwives are really scary and that women can’t relax and have a baby when they’re around. Best drop that model of care then.

    • Amazed

      If your cervix is or isn’t a sphincter – oh yes, that changes all. That proves your venerated patron has no idea what she’s talking about. Then, the likes of you who doesn’t have ANY education, as mentioned on your page, aren’t likely to grasp why that matters.

      • Dawn Batson

        Does it open and close? Is it a ring of muscle serving to guard or close an opening or tube?

        Look, you’re clearly so educated. I’m sure you’re just resorting to being a nasty human being because you’re so angry at the idea that your education has apparently blinded you to some very basic things about childbirth. I can’t really take anything you say seriously though because you literally sound like a bully. If I knew who you were I still wouldn’t retaliate because I think that kind of behavior is repulsive. Best of luck to you and your fury.

        • Heidi_storage

          It doesn’t help your argument to insult people for being educated or knowing some facts. Reasonable people may have differing opinions, but they must start from true facts. It simply isn’t up for debate that the cervix isn’t a sphincter, and so any arguments based upon that premise are invalid.

          • Dawn Batson

            The text this article uses as proof that the cervix is not a sphincter actually says its “unlikely.” Our understanding of how the body works is evolving- surely you don’t think we have reached the point of full understanding of our bodies? Aside from that, it really doesn’t matter at all as I’ve already stated. Whether it is or isn’t defined as a sphincter, if it opens and closes around the opening to the vagina it’s acting like a sphincter.

          • Mel

            Yes and no.

            We are still learning lots about the cellular level actions of the human body. We are occasionally having breakthroughs in some areas of tissue study – but that tends to be how tissues change during disease states. We are getting better at figuring out what a few understudied organs (e.g., the appendix) do.

            What we aren’t doing is suddenly realizing that organs that lack circular structures of voluntary or involuntary muscles are actually sphincters.

            I suspect you know that already. That’s why you keep ignoring the line that states ” It is now well-established that the normal function of the cervix during pregnancy depends upon extracellular matrix”.

          • Poogles

            “if it opens and closes around the opening to the vagina it’s acting like a sphincter.”
            Actually it’s opening and closing around the opening to the *uterus*, not the vagina. If it was the vagina, sex would be incredibly uncomfortable for women…

          • Dawn Batson

            Yes, the point where the uterus opens to the vagina. Sex is very uncomfortable sometimes because of this, that’s true.

          • Dawn Batson

            I’ve been repeatedly insulting for what an “ignormaus” my lack of education apparently makes me. But show me where I’ve insulted someone for being educated, please. And then show me where it isn’t up for debate. It used to not be up for debate that the world was round.

          • Heidi_storage

            “Yeah man, science. So much of this science is thrown around angrily at us “psuedoscientists.””

            “Look, you’re clearly so educated.”

            I don’t think it’s unreasonable to construe these statements as insults toward people more educated than you are in obstetrics.

          • Dawn Batson

            Are you kidding? My sarcasm began way after everyone else began attacking me about my education level and name calling. Pretty sure my response is deserved.

          • Amazed

            Everyone else? As far as I can see, that was only me.

          • Nick Sanders

            Don’t forget the claims we only believe Dr. Tuteur because she went to Harvard, and the following inferences that going to Harvard was somehow a bad thing.

          • Roadstergal

            Tommy Lee Jones went to Harvard, and although I admire the dude’s acting chops, I’m not going to ask him about the workings of the female reproductive system.

          • Dawn Batson

            I’m confused Heidi, can you clarify? You seemed POSITIVE this wasn’t up for debate? http://m.med-health.net/Function-Of-The-Cervix.html

          • Heidi_storage

            Yep. I looked for descriptions of the cervix from ACOG, the NIH, the Mayo Clinic, and didn’t see anything talking about cervixes as sphincters. Citing some anonymous web page doesn’t really make your case.

          • corblimeybot

            It’s crazy how hard you’re doubling down on this nonsense. You’re outing yourself as willfully ignorant, over and over, and you can’t even see that.

        • momofone

          My office door opens and closes. Prove it’s not a sphincter.

          • Roadstergal

            Hell, my friend has a play-house with a door that’s round, and when I’m walking through, there’s smooth muscle in it. I guess it’s a sphincter.

          • Charybdis

            Hell, then all the Hobbits must pass through sphincters whenever they enter or leave their little Hobbit homes. ‘Cause their doors are round, right?

          • Roadstergal

            Oh, that gave me a smile.

          • corblimeybot

            It checks out.

          • guest

            Best response ever.

        • LibrarianSarah

          The old “keep sweet” card. Women are allowed to get angry, frustrated, annoyed and express those emotions. Refusing to listen to a woman just because she is expressing her anger, frustration, and annoyance is sexist as hell. Not to mention immature.

      • Dawn Batson
    • corblimeybot

      It’s gross and misogynist to try to dismiss a woman’s argument as being too “angry”. It’s irrelevant. It’s condescending. It’s bratty. It’s a cheap rhetorical technique.

      • LibrarianSarah

        It’s classic trolling but with an intellectual facade. Say something awful, and when someone (understandably) gets upset smile and say “you mad bro?” Or in this case “you are wrong cause you got mad bro.”

  • Kate

    Why are you so angry? It seems obvious that labor won’t progress if a woman feels unsafe. I imagine with you in the room I would jump out the window before giving birth.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      Why are you so angry?

      Oh, I don’t know. Maybe the unnecessary suffering and loss of life that home birth causes?

      It seems obvious that labor won’t progress if a woman feels unsafe.

      Really? Then why does premature labor happen. Don’t women who are going into labor at 20 weeks feel unsafe? Why doesn’t that automatically stop the labor? How do women in war zones ever deliver? Heck, how did any woman before the late 20th century ever give birth? Or perhaps they weren’t scared and just made their wills for fun?

      • Kate

        You’re making false comparisons. Birth attended by midwives works for a lot of women. If it’s not for you, fine. It doesn’t disprove Ina’s theory. You also sound as if you’ve never given birth or given birth with really unpleasant folk. It worked for me when I gave birth in a birthing center. It worked 5 out of 6 times for my mom (she hated her doc so much with my oldest brother she only used midwives for last 5 kids). This article is bizzare as is your reaction.

        • Wren

          She hated her doc that much yet your oldest brother was born? How’d that happen?

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          You’re making false comparisons. Birth attended by midwives works for a lot of women.

          But that’s not what you claimed. You didn’t claim “birth with midwives is possible.” You asserted that feeling unsafe will prevent labor from progressing. You don’t support that by showing that labor progresses with midwives.

          It’s not about what “works,” it’s about what you claim “Doesn’t work.”

        • Azuran

          Birth works more often than not. Wether it’s attended by a doctor, a midwife, a taxi driver or your dog. No one is claiming that you cannot give birth to a healthy baby outside of a hospital. Humanity has survived without those for a long time. Lots of babies and mother died, but birth still ‘worked’ for a lot of people.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym

          Actually, you’re wrong on all accounts. I have given birth attended by a very pleasant midwife and the very pleasant OB that she brought in to deal with the obstructed labor. So I’d have to say that giving birth attended by a real midwife, a CNM with credentials at any Ivy hospital, worked out very well for me.

          Being attended by undereducated CPM/DEM and giving birth at home has worked out poorly for a number of women. About 3x more often than giving birth with an MD or CNM in a hospital, in fact. Where “worked out poorly” means “had a baby not survive.

          If you don’t think that women being lied to and convinced that being attended by someone without adequate training or experience in a setting that is unsafe is something to get angry about, well, that’s your decision. But you asked why so angry and, well, that’s why.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym

          Also, you haven’t answered the question: If labor won’t progress when a woman is scared, how do premature births occur?

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      It seems obvious that labor won’t progress if a woman feels unsafe

      Not to me. Therefore, you are going to have to actually explain it. I’d start with actually providing evidence that it is true.

      • Kate

        It’s not something that can be explained. Seems like tacit knowledge for women. Do you! Have fun giving birth your way.

        • Wren

          Labour won’t progress if a woman feels unsafe? That’s why no woman ever gave birth in an unsafe environment.

          • Susan

            Kate’s discovered the cure for preterm delivery, just put an OB you don’t like in the room. Give her the Nobel prize

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          It’s not something that can be explained. Seems like tacit knowledge for women.

          OK, so forget about explaining it, show that it is actually true in the first place.

          As others have pointed out, women have given birth in very unsafe circumstances. Warzones, for example. Premature. Do you not think that women going into very premature labor feel unsafe? They are largely scared out of their minds!

          3000 years ago, childbirth was recognized as being so bad that it was considered a punishment from God. Did they think it was safe? I doubt it. They feared it. Yet it happened.

          Doesn’t seem obvious at all to me that feeling unsafe will prevent labor from progressing.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym

          My tacit knowledge says that you are being paid $100 a post by Big Naturopathy to troll blogs and write nonsensical anti-OB comments. Does that prove that you’re a paid naturopathy troll?

    • Sarah

      It only seems obvious if you don’t know that women have given birth in concentration camps, on slave ships and plantations, during sieges, shackled to beds in prisons. Or if you think the women in those situations felt safe, I suppose.

      • carol walker

        Let’s not forget women giving birth during hurricanes!

  • Karine Langlois

    Interesting ro read your opinion and facts… I’m a registered midwife in canada and I have seen women at 6-7-8 cm come back to 4-5 because the contractions had stops and the baby went back up even sometimes! Have’nt you see that before? My belief is that we don’t see it in hospital because most women who don’t dilate fast enought end up with pitocin. It’s impossible to go back if you have all the ocitocin needed. But still don’t you thik its physio’logical’ that if contractions stops cervix close back a little sometimes? I’m curious to read your answer! 🙂 Thanks.

  • SkepticMel

    It seems that Ina isn’t the only one who believes in a vaginal sphincter. There was even a patented device for such a sphincter. I guess sarcasm instead of neutral fact reporting is less valuable than this article would have us believe. http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect2=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=/netahtml/PTO/search-bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&d=PALL&RefSrch=yes&Query=PN/5931775

    • Nick Sanders

      A patent being awarded is not proof of medical accuracy.

  • Gaskin Fan from NZ

    Ina May Gaskin fellow woman and sister and world renowned, you criticisms of her and her works simply define you and being resentful and spiteful. Make me waste 10 minutes of my time reading your self-inflating diatribe.

    • Nick Sanders

      Sorry that facts don’t align with your fantasies.

      • Kate

        Dudes need not comment. Call me when you got a vag and uterus.

        • Nick Sanders

          Just because I don’t have my own doesn’t mean I’m not capable of listening to the people who do. And they have painted a very clear picture of Ina May as a sleazeball at best and a total nutjob at worst.

          Of course, my anatomy is totally irrelevant to knowing the medical definition of a sphincter.

          • Kate

            Come back when you’ve got a vag and uterus.

          • Nick Sanders

            Come back when you can do more than repeat yourself.

          • Wren

            I’ve got both.

            Ina May is indeed a sleazeball at best and a total nutjob at worst.

            And yeah, the cervix is not a sphincter.

          • Kate

            That doesn’t discount the point of what lna said. Women need to be comfortable and safe to give birth. Only the midwife and my husband present for me, which was perfect. I’ve used midwives, my mother always used midwives, my mother in law always used midwives. It may not be an option for unhealthy or obese women but it works for so many fit women. Folks have such a chip on their shoulder about other peoples choices, making up stories about all the “dead babies”. Relax, nobody is forcing you to use a midwife. Get your scheduled C or do the hospital room delivery. Nobody cares what you choose. Let other people make their own choices without the adolescent tirade. All my mom’s 6 kids were between 8 and 10 pounds. Healthy, happy, no episiotomy… Went on to Ivy league colleges eventually. Calm down about other folks. Again, why so angry?

          • AllieFoyle

            Why are you so angry? Why don’t you just calm down about what other folks think of Ina May and her dopey ideas?

        • Deborah

          Out of everything I have ever read in any comment anywhere this would have to be the most disrespectful and abhorrent. In that one sentence you have defined and discredited yourself and in one foul swoop you have proven to us all that natural childbirth adherents are not real feminists, are gender bigots who value themselves and others in terms of their biological function and genitalia.

          • corblimeybot

            It’s a very short leap from what she said there, to transphobia. Super gross.

            Also Nick doesn’t need a uterus to understand that Ina May is awful. He just needs a brain.

          • BeatriceC

            And for all we know (without being told otherwise, anyway), Nick is short for Nichole or Nichola, or some other female version of the name. The bigotry came out pretty fast on that one, didn’t it.

        • momofone

          So people without a particular set of sex organs can’t understand the biology of those organs? That may be the stupidest comment I’ve ever seen here, and that’s saying a lot.

  • Lurker

    Shorter Sara: I prefer women to be misinformed and patronised than have to read negative things! If you must give me information, please make it fluffy.

  • Sara

    I like the information you provide most of the time. Honestly, though, it is very difficult to read with all of the needless negativity so lavishly splashed throughout your articles. You may have all your facts straight but I would never want you as my OB, I don’t need to deal with one more doctor with a chip on their shoulder trying to prove their worth by tearing other people down in any way, shape, or form. I can’t come back and read your articles any more. You’re just too bitter and angry. Here’s hoping you find a less violent way to express yourself.

    • Who?

      Fair enough. Much more reasonable to be offended by the doctors telling the truth than the ‘midwives’ and their hangers on with their lies and prevarications. Mention dead or damaged mums or babies to them-if you can find a ‘positive’ way to do it and see the response you get. I guarantee it will out-chip any chip you think any doctor might have.

      Relentless positivity is not only stupid, it’s vicious, because it entirely removes capacity for empathy.

      • Belle

        Amen to that!

    • Nick Sanders

      So, when someone is telling harmful lies, no one should confront them, lest they appear as “tearing other people down”?

  • yugaya

    Not from people living among those other cultures. People ought to run away as fast as they can from any “gipsy” momma blogger advice in the opposite direction because those mommas sure write like they haven’t spoken to a real Roma mother ever.

  • yugaya

    “And Ina May IS a real midwife, a Certified Professional Midwife.”

    Newsflash: in pretty much the rest of the developed world a CPM would not be allowed to practice due to lack of education and training.

    CPMs are NOT real midwives.

  • Tay Lynn

    First off, are Amy Tuteur’s stats as amazing as Ina May Gaskin in terms of women being able to birth naturally? Secondly, the use of the sphincter law is a METAPHOR. Did this Amy Tuteur loose her ability to read between the lines? It is stuck up, arrogant doctors like Amy that really ruins the experience for any patient. Amy is a ridiculous doctor/person. It is about encouraging strength in women to BIRTH NATURALLY. However that may be. Ughh. She is such nonsense.

    • Stacy48918

      Guess what – some of us don’t WANT to birth naturally. Natural birth is agony thanks. Stop trying to decide for all women what you think is best. And learn the difference between loose and lose.

      • Tay Lynn

        Watch the microbirth documentary. Since you have so much time to comment on grammatical errors, you’ll have time to watch it. And know that the implications of wanting and needing to birth naturally means so much more.

        • Amazed

          Dr Amy’s stats are not nearly as impressive as Ina May’s where birthing naturally is concerned. But then, Dr Amy was always more interested in live and healthy mother and child. Ina May isn’t and the fact that she chose to birth her son naturally and let him die naturally proves it.

          • Elizabeth A

            I tend to think that comparison between Gaskin’s stats and the stats of any practicing OB is pointless.

            1. “Natural childbirth” is a term with so many warring interpretations that it doesn’t mean anything. Some people think a childbirth is natural if the baby comes out the vagina, others think that the moment you get in your car to go to the hospital, the process isn’t natural anymore. I can see the logic to both sides there, btw – CaveMama didn’t hop out of a Volvo and toss the keys to a valet parking attendant. I refuse, however, to ascribe value to avoiding modern inventions while giving birth.

            2. Gaskin’s pool of patients is drawn from the small portion of the population that’s interested in having a completely natural delivery and happens to be able to access her services, either because they live in the area, or because they can afford to travel and camp out with her cult for weeks on end. OBs take patients with all kinds of risk factors, and varying desires concerning their labor and delivery experience, from all walks of life, and a wide variety of living situations. When you compare results there, you are not making an apples to apples comparison.

            So yes, a high percentage of women who start labor with Gaskin and her colleagues deliver without medical intervention (because they have chosen a situation in which such intervention is not available). That doesn’t mean that Gaskin is somehow doing it right in ways that OBs are doing it wrong.

        • Bombshellrisa

          Implications of wanting and needing to birth naturally? What does that even mean? I didn’t WANT or NEED to give birth without benefit of pain medication or the possibility of other interventions.

        • Dr Kitty

          More than what, exactly?
          I wanted and needed to have a live, healthy child.
          I have a pelvis and spine that are, technically speaking, deformed, although I prefer to say that they aren’t the factory default setting.

          To get a live, healthy baby I had a CS, which was a beautiful, life-affirming, wonderful, transcendent, painless experience.

          I have no time or patience for people who think that I should have forgone motherhood if I couldn’t do it “right” or who feel sorry for me because of some imaginary loss they think I must feel.

          The only people judging women about how they give birth are people like Ina Gaskin.

          My body IS a lemon, and she is an ignorant, ableist fool.

          You can have your baby however you want, just don’t pretend it is better, or safer or more desirable to have it that way, when all available evidence doesn’t support you.

          • Amazed

            But Dr Kitty, your body isn’t a lemon, you see. The greatest proof that it isn’t? You didn’t feel any need to prove it! It serves you well enough, making you feel womanly enough not to need a vaginal birth.

            Those all-hail-natural-birth though…

        • Anj Fabian

          I watched it today. It was riddled with caveats about how we really don’t have evidence to prove many of the claims that were made and cesareans are being done more than they were in the past because they are so much safer now.

          The conclusion could be summed up this way:
          We need to do more studies to discover if any of this is true.

          I agreed with the conclusion. Oh, sure they tried to imply that c-sections. formula and pitocin was responsible for asthma and various other health issues – but they never once managed to provide any evidence of a link. It lacked hard crunchy data.

          • Amazed

            And it featured Hannah Dahlen! I really. really have a hard time accepting anything birth-related that has SOMETHING to do with this woman seriously.

            As to one of their other expert, the zoology professor, the very reason I found the SOB a few years ago was a vet who thought herself equal to her patients and since no cat or dog had been brough to her office to give birth, giving birth at home was a wondeful idea. The baby didn’t make it.

            Sorry, not overly trusting of this one either.

        • MaineJen

          I think we should add either “Microbirth” or “microbiome” to the Bingo card.

    • namaste863

      How about comparing the number of live babies to the number of dead or brain injured ones? Who gives an ever loving shit how they’re born as long as everyone goes home healthy at the end of the day?

    • Bombshellrisa

      Tay-please read more here. Dr Amy isn’t against natural birth. She just refused to sacrifice the safety of mother and baby for an experience. Encouraging strength instead of interventions does nothing for mother or baby. Keep in mind Dr Amy has had natural births, so she has had the experience herself

    • Box of Salt

      Tay Lynn “the use of the sphincter law is a METAPHOR,”

      Help me out here since I’m just a scientist who does like to read a lot.

      How exactly is it a metaphor? A metaphor for what? And how exactly does use of this “metaphor” enhance our understanding of anatomy and physiology?

    • Dr Kitty

      A metaphor for what though?

      “The Philosophy of Rhetoric (1936) by I. A. Richards describes a metaphor as having two parts: the tenor and the vehicle. The tenor is the subject to which attributes are ascribed. The vehicle is the object whose attributes are borrowed.”

      If the cervix is metaphorically a sphincter, with sphincters having attributes only Ina Gaskin recognises, what is the cervix in reality, and why does Ina Gaskin call it a sphincter, rather than, say a “flurubble”. Sphincters being real things with real, testable attributes, and flurubbles being something I just made up, with whatever attributes i decide.

    • yugaya

      ” stats as amazing as Ina May Gaskin”

      Number of their own children that died as a result of mother giving birth without adequate medical care:
      dr Amy – 0
      Ina May Gaskin – 1

      • Amazed

        Neighbour… You aren’t being fair.
        Dr Amy’s goal was to have live babies. So, that’s 1 for her. Nowhere does she say that BIRTHING NATURALLY was her ultimate goal.

        Ina May’s goal was to BIRTH NATURALLY. So, that’s 1 for her. Nowhere does she say that a live baby was her ultimate goal.

        I just happen to ally myself with Dr Amy’s values and priorities and not Ina May’s. But don’t take away Ina May’s medal. She got her “achievement” after all

        • yugaya

          That is not just discussing abstract concepts of priorities in life, that insane woman has sacrificed her own child at the BIRTH NATURALLY altar.

          There is this gut-wrenching folk epic from my part of the world that describes how during dark ages feudal rulers used to do human sacrifice to achieve their priority goals – in this one song they wanted to build a city and the fairies would only let them do that when they eventually sacrificed one of the daughter-in-laws. When that epic is discussed in literature class usually the emphasis is on just how incomprehensible to us today it is the way that they believed in those supernatural forces at work enough to sacrifice the life of a loved one, and how they were convinced that it was the only natural and logical thing to do. We shudder at such ignorance from the past, and yet somehow this creep of a woman has managed to sell the same twisted narrative and dark ages patriarchal worldview to millions of expectant mothers.

          • Amazed

            Indeed! Since your part of the world happens to be my part of the world, I remember said epic (or a variation of said epic). Seeing it being carried out in real life is terrifying. And it expands right in front of us. From Ina May’s own child to Gavin Michael WHO WAS NOT Christy Collins’ to sacrifice. And he wasn’t Jan Tritten’s either.

    • Nick Sanders

      Define “amazing”.

  • Jennifer

    Her use of ad hominem is apalling

    • Young CC Prof

      *appalling

  • Madamhotrod

    What has dead babies got to do with sphincters? And really what Ina May is trying to do is create a metaphor with you use of the word ‘sphincter’. It is a known fact that oxytocin is required for labour to progress smoothly. If a woman feels afraid, unsafe or not supported, that cervix is not going to open on command or dilate if there is too much cortisol in the system. So therefore it is fair to say that the dilation of the cervix is effected by a womans emotional state and reacts like a sphincter. When she’s talking about bowel movements and being safe to poop in public, I can vouch for feeling ‘inhibited’ to poop in some public toilets and my poop won’t happen regardless of whether the bowel is ready or got waste product to dispose of. Im so upset that you feel you needed to attack Ina May in this way and infer that home birth is for the ignorant. I know plenty of women and people who have been treated poorly by OB’s. And it is a fact that more babies die in hospital than at home. There is evidence to suggest now that home births are actually safer than birthing at hospital.

    • sameguest

      Are you just making this shit up?

      • sameguest

        Yes, you are just making this shit up.

      • Madamhotrod

        Sorry? Making what up? What have you got to say on the article?

    • Beth S

      Homebirths are not now, nor have they ever been safer than birthing in a hospital. Even in using the spincter as a metaphor it makes no sense, my anus regularly doesn’t work right. I deal with constipation issues daily, and it has not now nor has it ever responded to any sort of cheerleading.
      Here’s the thing, no one is campaigning to make homebirth illegal, we are however trying to dispel the myths that run through the homebirth community, myths that Ina May Gaskin herself has promoted. We are also pushing for higher educational standards. I’d rather work with a CNM and know that the person delivering my child has had some formal education rather than work with a CPM and know that my child is at the mercy of someone who may have only graduated high school.
      Read further in this blog, see how Ina May Gaskin advocates sexual assault on a birthing mother, see how she’s hidden her own abysmal perinatal mortality statistics. You tell us to do our homework, why don’t you do yours.

      • Kendal

        Actually, in the 1800 hospitals reused surgical utensils between clients and didn’t wash their hands or even change gloves between the clients either. Before doctors started using sterilization techniques on their utensils, and before they started washing their hands in between clients, home births were safer because the patients suffered fatalities in hospitals from nosocomial infections (infections you get while staying at the hospital). Most people didn’t know about bacteria and germs then, and if they did they didn’t think much about it. A man names Ignaz Simmelwiss, who worked in a hospital, knew about bacterium and hounded his coworkers about washing their hands. He always told the doctors and nurses that it was them killing their patients, which he was right because the bacteria set up infections. It wasn’t until after Joseph Lister came up with the sterilization technique of boiling the surgical supplies in carbonic acid, that hospital births were safer than home births.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      And really what Ina May is trying to do is create a metaphor with you use of the word ‘sphincter’.

      I can’t imagine where you get this idea from Gaskin’s statement: “I will start with the observation that the vagina and the cervix—not just the anus and the urethra—are sphincters,” If that’s a metaphor, how would she put it if she wanted to say that the cervix was literally a sphincter. I can’t imagine any way that makes it more clear than “the vagina and cervix…are sphincters”. The comparison to the anus and urethra only makes it clearer: she is stating that these body parts all go in the same category and the anus and urethra are not metaphorical sphincters.

      Nonetheless, let’s suppose it’s a poorly phrased metaphor. Great. Then…what? How does it help to think of the cervix as a sphincter? Why make that metaphor in the first place?

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      If a woman feels afraid, unsafe or not supported, that cervix is not
      going to open on command or dilate if there is too much cortisol in the
      system.

      What’s your evidence for this statement? Women who are in premature labor must be frightened, yet their cervices dilate just the same. Women who are in labor and can’t get to the hospital for one reason or another feel unsafe and yet dilate just the same. Finally, women in premature labor are given massive doses of steroids to try to mature the fetus’ lungs prior to delivery and give the baby a better chance of survival. They receive far higher doses of steroids than their bodies could produce, scared, unsafe, unsupported, or not. Why do their labors not stop?

    • Trixie

      Could you just do me one favor?
      Could you please learn the difference between “imply” and “infer”? It’s an important one.

    • Nick Sanders

      What has dead babies got to do with sphincters?

      Fairly simple: if you don’t know shit about anatomy and physiology, but style yourself as an expert in delivering babies, you’re going to kill them.

      Edit:

      And it is a fact that more babies die in hospital than at home.

      Not by percentages.

  • Jen

    Why are you so mad Amy? Are you mad that you went through extensive schooling only to be told “leave me alone” by the women you help during birth? Is the notion that our bodies are made to give birth and can do it on
    their own threatening your existence as an
    OB? I just don’t understand the need to bash a respected midwife who has helped a lot of women realize the beauty of natural, un-stressful birth. I don’t bash my friends who get epidurals, or c-sections. To each his own. Don’t worry there are still plenty of women out there who don’t have the time or don’t feel the need to learn more about birth, and will gladly follow your educated lead. You don’t have to put others down to keep your career.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Listen carefully:

      I’m mad about the … DEAD BABIES!

      Why aren’t you mad?

    • yugaya

      I’m mad about idiots not only reducing women to their physical bodies, but reducing them even further to mere bodily functions and biological processes that they were “born” to perform.

      That repugnantly backwards patriarchal bs is what NCB is preaching to our daughters and it makes me mad as hell.

    • Nick Sanders

      Respected is not the same as intelligent. If someone like Ina May is spreading falsehoods about the human body, especially ones such as these that compromise people’s health, everyone damn well should be mad.

  • The Computer Ate My Nym

    Well, that was an amusing set of trolls, but not very filling.They displayed a distinct lack of actual support for their arguments and tended to prefer insults over data. I’m still hungry for more in depth argument. I didn’t even get to play with CDC Wonder. Disappointing.

    • Guestll

      But babies die in the hospital too!!!11!! Thousands of them!! Way more than at home!!!

      You’re welcome.

    • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

      That lady (whose name shall not be spoken) is the definition of troll and if she had at least one legitimate argument or statement we all could have had a friendly debate on sphincter function, also known as cervical dilation! But, hey what do I know? I have a “cock” so I really can’t comment on sphincter function/cervical dilation!

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        Did someone manage to get herself banned? Dr Tuteur’s pretty tolerant but even she has her limits. But there was at least one other person posting with…opinions and no data. Perhaps a sock puppet, but perhaps a separate individual: IMG gets her support from somewhere…

    • It was a typical one-note troll. Not very original trolling at that. So, we won’t feed it Iams Low Fat Troll Biscuits. I didn’t even get to do any existential trolli attack, like we did at alt.callahans (fun!).

  • MLE

    I really don’t want my butt blooming. It needs to close like a steel trap. No incontinence for me!

  • Life Tip

    I am so glad some loons resurrected this old post so I could read this comment.

  • Jain Hayles

    Maybe because they’ve been other places than Disneyland?

  • Jain Hayles

    Midwives do cervical exams. Who told you they don’t? Wow, talk about ignorance and gullibility…and pure hatefulness.

    • Bombshellrisa

      Nobody told me anything, I was at one time a midwifery student apprenticing with midwives who are fairly famous and very well known in the Pacific Northwest. They also credit Ina May Gaskin a great deal for the way they practice. I have no doubt that certified nurse midwives do NOT substitute watching a flower open for a cervical exam, but many CPMs do. I say that because when I was training to be a midwife, my CPM preceptors didn’t place a lot of importance on cervical exams. They are among the better trained ones too. So, I am not gullible or ignorant or hateful, merely stating what other midwives taught their students

  • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

    I just showed this thread to the nurses and doc at work and we are all dying laughing at the hysteria right now! The nurse just said she has to go check some sphincters, she’ll be right back lol!

  • Jain Hayles

    Western medicine looks at pregnancy and child birth as a disease that must be cured. Other cultures view them as a natural occurrence for which their bodies were designed, and which don’t need to be intervened with or controlled, unless there is something present that isn’t “natural”.
    I suspect the author to which you refer was “speaking” metaphorically, as was Ina May.

  • Jain Hayles

    “New Age business”? I do believe that women have been giving birth for thousands of years. Hmmm. That doesn’t sound “New Age”-y to me

    • Guestll

      Only thousands?

      • Life Tip

        Yes! We were all perfectly created to give birth 6,000 years ago!

        Pay no attention to the fossil records. Or the entire fields of anthropology and archeology. Or literature describing mothers and babies dying throughout history. Or women who can’t get pregnant. Or those who miscarry. Or the homebirth stillbirth rates.

        • yugaya

          They were not designed properly, those untermenschener women and babies who die in childbirth.

          Do these people even realise how much Hitler-era racial science they are spewing around?

  • Jain Hayles

    My father is a rocket scientist. You are an ignoramus.

    Ignoramus:
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ignoramus

    Yet again, it’s a metaphor.

    Metaphor:
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/metaphor

    I guess that PhD Pops didn’t make sure that you were able to read with comprehension. Surprising. Or maybe you’re just stupid?

    • moto_librarian

      I’ll bet he’s so proud of you…

  • Jain Hayles

    She was using a METAPHOR. Guess you don’t pick up on the “obvious” as much as your name implies.

  • Jain Hayles

    I’m sorry that you don’t trust your own body, which was designed to give birth, and that it disgusts you so. Are you sure that you didn’t have that C-section so that you could go on that vacation you’d already paid for?

    • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

      Hell no I don’t trust my body, if I did my kid would be deader than your brain cells! Birth is not a one size fits all science and just because some people need c-sections, like myself and Nym does not mean we didn’t trust our bodies or had vacations scheduled. It means we trusted our doctors and their professional advice. So keep taking your bologna about metaphors and all that sh!t so we can keep laughing and I can’t wait for Nym to log on and eviscerate your ignorance.

    • moto_librarian

      Oh Jain, I “trusted” birth the first time around. I had a natural delivery with a CNM, pushed only when I felt the urge and in multiple positions, etc. And then do you know my pesky cervix did? It tore open, causing a massive hemorrhage. Lucky for me, I was in a hospital where they were able to wheel me to the OR and stitch me up. And you know what? I’m pretty sure that I would have rather had a c-section than gone through that experience.

    • AllieFoyle

      Someone got a c-section AND a vacation? Now that’s a birth plan.

      • Young CC Prof

        I’m disappointed! I didn’t get any vacation with mine!

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        Oh, yeah, I got the c-section so I could make my flight to Paris the next day. First class, of course. I simply HAD to go shopping there before I dropped the baby off at boarding school in Switzerland, you know. I’d look so dowdy if I showed up in my old maternity clothes.

        Honestly, I may be a first worlder, with first world problems, but I have no idea where Jain got the idea that I’d scheduled a vacation for within a week of when I was expecting to give birth. Maternity leave, yes, vacation…not so much.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      My body wasn’t designed at all. It evolved in such a way that it works quite well for a lot of things–and fails spectacularly in others. But my body was neither designed nor evolved to cope with obstructed labor due to a malpositioned fetus. The typical next move of the NCBer is to tell me that I should have died to better the species. Going to go for it?

    • yugaya

      I’m sorry that you do not use your brain that was designed to learn and that it disgusts you so.

      The second part of that comment makes me wonder about things like age-appropriate emotional maturity and wonder how on earth some women in their fifties manage to never grow past playground antics.

  • Ashley Cassidy

    You’re a fucking idiot. She never said they were the same. She just compared giving birth to having a bowel movement. How can someone that is SUPPOSE to be smart be so damn ignorant?! I guess you just don’t like the competition. Her “law” has helped a lot of women so kindly shut the hell up.

    • anonymity@@

      SUPPOSED

    • Guestll

      “I will start with the observation that the vagina and the cervix—not just the anus and the urethra—are sphincters, that is, the circular muscles surrounding the opening of organs which are called upon to empty themselves at appropriate times.”

      She said that the vagina and cervix are sphincters. They are not. Those are Ina May’s own words.

    • MaineJen

      Oh my. Your well-reasoned and eloquent response has certainly changed my mind. This article points out that a leader in homebirth ideology is spreading misinformation about basic anatomy, and the best you can do is call the author “a fucking idiot?” Sorry, but all you’re proving is how ignorant you are.

    • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

      Wow, what a class act!

    • LibrarianSarah

      Nothing says “I love babies and want them to be delivered as safely as possible” like comparing them to poop!

    • Stacy21629

      “She just compared giving birth to having a bowel movement.”

      If she can’t tell the difference between my baby and a bowel movement, I want her nowhere near me. EVER.

    • MLE

      It’s comments like these that really push my button. Yes ladies and gents, I’m here all night.

  • emily

    Really? Its not? Than how was I at 8 cms and labor stopped when my sister showed up? And went down to 3cms and has since been stalled 2 weeks. I really dont think you know shit when it comes to birth. All youre there for is to cut woman open and rip the babies out. Its what your best at.

    • MLE

      From one Emily to another, you should probably see a doctor now if your labor has been stalled for two weeks. Not 100% clear on the situation from what you’ve described, but if you found this article then you must be searching this topic for information because you’re getting nervous. On this page we want babies to live. Please get an OBs opinion.

    • Bombshellrisa

      Eight centimeters according to a CPM? Well, they don’t usually assess cervical dilation correctly. Have a real midwife or OB consult.

  • ksager

    All that I get from what Ina May says about the “sphincter Law”, is that childbirth goes more smoothly when a woman in labor can relax and feel comfortable. I think this is true and I don’t see how this can be harmful. Do you think this can be harmful? If so, please explain it to me. Thank you.

    • S

      I agree that labor probably in most cases does go more smoothly when a woman is relaxed and comfortable. Not that it necessarily progresses more quickly, but it would certainly be a more pleasant or at least bearable experience for the woman.

      I guess i’m confused as to why you don’t have a problem with misleading women about how their bodies work. “Sphincter” is an anatomical term. It is a type of muscle with a particular structure and function. You can’t use words to mean whatever you want them to mean. If Ina May wants to claim that relaxation makes for a more pleasant labor experience, she should say just that, and leave the nonsense out of it.

      • ksager

        “I guess i’m confused as to why you don’t have a problem with misleading women about how their bodies work”

        To me, it doesn’t feel like I am being mislead, but rather that Ina May is using a metaphor that someone who has never given birth (but has gone to the bathroom) can understand. I was unable to find the article that Amy Tuteur was responding to, but I just watched a video of Ina May talking about the “Sphincter Law”

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erQaieezOwo

        It seems to me that she is explaining something that she has seen in many of the births which she has attended. In her experience, when a woman is relaxed, she is able to give birth more efficiently than when she is feeling uncomfortable or uptight. It makes sense to me. I have only given birth once and have not attended other people’s births, so I can’t speak from very much experience. Although, Ina May has attended very many births, why would she lie about what she has observed?

        The point that she is making seems reasonable enough. I don’t think she is putting women at risk with her analogy, but rather helping them to feel more comfortable about the birthing process, which in her experience is helpful for the overall birth.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym

          Gaskin is quoted as saying that the cervix and vagina are sphincters. This is simply factually inaccurate. If she did not literally mean that the cervix and vagina are sphincters, why didn’t she employ the words “like” or “as” the way people normally do when making a simile? The original linked post in which Gaskin made the statement has been removed. Perhaps she was embarrassed by her mistake and decided to remove that bit of misinformation.

      • Jain Hayles

        “I guess i’m confused as to why you don’t have a problem with misleading women about how their bodies work.” Oh, the irony!!!!!!! Women who have home births are much more informed about their bodies, and the birthing process. OBs and hospitals WANT woman to be kept in the dark. That way they can be controlled and kept in ignorance and fear. MUCH easier to do a C-section when a birthing mother is ignorant and terrified. That way, they can get back to the golf course…OBs don’t birth babies; WOMEN DO.

        • Young CC Prof

          Do you have a dispute with any of the medical facts in this post, or did you just show up to spread nastiness?

          • Bombshellrisa

            We need some of this stuff again!

          • Jain Hayles

            You may want to try this.

          • She showed up for the nastiness.

          • Jain Hayles

            Here you go…

          • Jain Hayles

            That’s very funny! Yes, read my other comments. “Spread nastiness”? A perfect description of “Dr.” Amy’s blog.

          • Young CC Prof

            Yep, read your other comments. They amount to, “Gaskin was using a metaphor” in writing that sounded pretty straightforward and factual to me, and “Women don’t need obstetricians.”

          • Jain Hayles

            I never stated that women don’t need obstetricians, so why did you put it in quotes? To the contrary, I honour any woman’s individual decision on how and where she wants to give birth. Unlike you, I would never try to dictate how a woman “should” give birth. Like choosing to have an abortion, what happens to a woman’s body is solely up to her. I take umbrage with the Western medical strategies, interventions, etc., that are pushed on women who are ignorant about pregnancy and childbirth, which is, most likely, the majority of women in ‘Murica. Talk about Patriarchy!

          • JH

            So then you’re okay with elective pitocin? epidurals? c-sections? Or are you only okay with choice when it’s the choice YOU would make.

          • Young CC Prof

            So women only need obstetricians if they think they do, and if they choose not to use one, everything’s going to be fine anyway.

          • Irène Delse

            It’s all about what Jain thinks, obviously. All who question her are meeen!

          • Jain Hayles

            Wow, you guys are pathetic! Here’s what I wrote above:
            “To the contrary, I honour any woman’s individual decision on how and where she wants to give birth.”
            You MUST just be baiting me, or are you truly that obtuse?
            Basta! It’s been a hoot, ma sistahs…

          • JH

            What’s the flounce count here?

          • Bombshellrisa

            Nobody is holding you hostage and making you read and comment. If you do choose to read here, please keep in mind that there are many women who chose homebirth just like you did. Dr Amy isn’t against homebirth, merely wants women to know the facts about what the risks are and the levels of education (or lack of) with home birth attendants. There are former lay midwives, doulas and a lot of doctors and nurses who read and post here.

          • Bombshellrisa

            Apparently it’s running rampant-there were some particularly nasty patients at the doctors office yesterday and they all sounded like this (not my patients, I was taking my son in for his check up). Sounded like a full moon in the ER from what was being hurled at the doctors and their assistants.

          • Amazed

            Sorry, the full moon myth had been debunked.

            It’s just nastiness that these people owe to their nature, not the moon, the sun, or the wind change.

          • Bombshellrisa

            Yeah-the nurse and I were joking about it, for some unknown reason a bunch of people crawled out of wherever they lurk and decided to argue with their doctors yesterday.

        • Guestll

          “I will start with the observation that the vagina and the cervix—not just the anus and the urethra—are sphincters, that is, the circular muscles surrounding the opening of organs which are called upon to empty themselves at appropriate times.”

          How informed are you about your body and birth if you believe this to be true?

          • Jain Hayles

            How much have you read, or, more aptly, comprehended, in this thread? This is perhaps the 5th time I’ve tried to clue you witches in. Ina May was using a METAPHOR. Day-um, you’re not only ignorant and nasty, but uneducated, as well.

          • Irène Delse

            Oh, great and wise educatrix*, learn that to be appropriate, a metaphor has to say something true about the thing they try to convey!
            Here, it was just misleading to talk about sphincter about something that doesn’t work like a sphincter. And in real world situations it’s bad advice. Were it just a metaphor in a novel, that wouldn’t matter so much. But Make-it-up as you go along is worse than useless in anatomy, physiology, and of course childbirth.

            *Oh the irony to call your contradictors ‘witches’, that word used in old patriarchal society to demonize independent, knowledgeable women…

          • Jain Hayles

            Like midwives, back in the day and currently.

          • Irène Delse

            I knew it was too much to expect Jain to see the unintentional irony of her using ‘witch’ as an insult while worshipping self-taught lay midwife Ina May Gaskin…

          • MaineJen

            I think the understanding of the ‘irony’ concept would be about as successful as the understanding of the ‘metaphor’ concept.

          • LibrarianSarah

            There is noting metaphorical in that statement Jain she literally described both the vagina and the cervix as ” circular muscles surrounding the opening of organs which are called upon to empty themselves at appropriate times” which is wrong. She was comparing birth to a bowl movement, she wasn’t using flowery language she was wrong about a basic fact of female anatomy.

            It is becoming more and more apparent that you don’t have the intellectual chops to rationally debate people in this thread. That is why you have to lean on (often misogynistic ) insults towards Dr. Amy and the poster here. I hope you are not posting under your real name because you are just making a fool of yourself.

          • Jain Hayles

            Nope. That’s my real name. Why, are gonna git yer gun? Since Gaskins has attended the delivery of thousands of babies, I’m pretty sure she has female anatomy down pat. As I stated before, having you ugly people find me foolish would be a badge of honour. BTW, what’s a “bowl movement”?

          • Irène Delse

            Since by your own logic, merely attending (‘only mothers deliver babies, not OBs’) a birth doesn’t mean a thing, IMG has nothing of worth to offer either…

          • LibrarianSarah

            No but I’d be concerned that one day you might need to get a real job and potential employers might Google you. Or that your kids might one day see this and think that this is acceptable behavior. The internet never forgets Jain.

            And yes you spotted my typo. Does that make you feel good about yourself?

          • Jain Hayles

            No, it makes me laugh. I’ve worked since I was 16. I am now 56. I worked in restaurants in my youth. I worked in IT, as a software engineer for 20-plus years. My kids are extremely proud of me, as I am of them. They admire me for my passion, compassion, and outspokenness in the face of hate and ignorance. Is it “acceptable behavior” to bring someone’s children into the mix in an internet comment thread? Classy.

          • JH

            About as classy as calling someone a twat, douche, bitch, witch, or cunt.

          • Amazed

            Of course your children would be proud of you. You taught them not to know any better.

            So, you’re my mom’s age. I am so happy that she’s a woman who doesn’t boast about accomplishments that cannot be verified and a verified potty mouth.

            Somehow, the 13-14 year old bratty boy version sounds more plausible to me.

          • Box of Salt

            Jain Hayles “outspokenness in the face of hate and ignorance”

            You are the one who brought the hate and ignorance on to this comment thread this morning.

            Please think about that as you sit by your computer congratulating yourself for your wittiness.

          • AllieFoyle

            I’m sorry, did you just call someone “classy” in an ironic way?

          • Irène Delse

            Obviously, no, she doesn’t know as much anatomy as she thinks she does. Her description of the cervix is wrong, and her choice of metaphor (though really, as was pointed to you earlier, an analogy) incorrect. You repeating that she was correct doesn’t make it so. But you should know that if you stopped 5 seconds to think instead of spinning words to extricate yourself from your own contradictions.

          • Jain Hayles

            How about addressing what I am actually saying, rather than obsessing on the incorrect definition I used. Ha! YOU repeating that I am incorrect doesn’t “make it so”. How about saying something yourself?

          • MaineJen

            A bowl movement is when we all fall to the floor, weak with laughter, when we realize that this train wreck of a thread is still going on. As in, “Your ignorance and unintentional irony has bowled us over.”

          • Susan

            I just am grinning at the “bowl movement” in the sphincter thread.
            On a side note, what in the heck is this strong correlation with the posters who put the Dr in quotation marks and incredibly foul insults that for most normal people, say more about the person hurling the insult than the subject at hand.

          • Life Tip

            I’m going to use this next time I’m wrong about something. “It was a metaphor, you nasty bitches! Stop saying I’m wrong when I was just using a literary device, you ignorant witches!”

            Too bad I’m an adult and a professional instead of a self-proclaimed expert with a made-up degree that I conferred upon myself.

          • Jain Hayles

            I never claimed to have any degree, or to be an “expert”. If you read all of my comments, you will find I’ve done a lot more than mention the fact that Gaskin was being metaphorical or allegorical, unlike you, who apparently has shite to say.

          • JH

            And you were wrong. Which you admitted.

          • Jain Hayles

            Actually, a metaphor and an allegory are very similar, but you’re right, I used the wrong word, and I “admitted” it. Keep on dealing with BS semantics, since you have nothing to actually add to the debate.

          • JH

            Says the woman who called out someone on “you’re”

          • JH

            And what exactly are we debating here? Other than the you thinking everyone here is a “nasty fillinthemisogynisticcurseword?”

          • MaineJen

            Saying a thing repeatedly does not make it true. I could shout “2+2=5!” at you all day long; wouldn’t make it true. You can shout “Ina May was using a metaphor, ignorant witches!” at us all day long, and it wouldn’t change the fact that a. She wasn’t using a metaphor, b. Her statement was factually incorrect, c. Many women on this board are highly educated, in point of fact, or d. Calling names only makes you look silly, and “witch” is what they used to call a woman when she was right but they didn’t like what she was saying.

          • Jain Hayles

            So you actually call yourself a Feminist? Hahahahaha!!! Looking “silly” to this group would be a bad thing? Do you know that midwives were called witches, back in your day? I don’t care if one is “highly educated. “Dr.” Amy is supposedly “highly educated”, having gone to Harvard. Proof that one can be “highly educated”, and still be an idiot.

          • LibrarianSarah

            Actually, Dr. Amy didn’t just go to Harvard but she taught there as well. And we get it. You are as anti-intellectual as fox news. You didn’t have what it takes to get yourself a real education so you have to convince yourself that it is not worthwhile and that you are really more intelligent and “educated” than people who did put the work in to get their degrees.

            What makes me sad is that you have three kids and you are teaching these values to them. That education doesn’t matter and they don’t have to put in the work to get an advance education. They can just sit back and do nothing and call the kids who do put effort into their educations and take it seriously names.

          • Jain Hayles

            Wow. Aside from the fact that women educating themselves about their bodies, pregnancy, and childbirth is exactly what I am promoting, you have the nerve to speak about my children? You truly ARE a cunt. Nice. I’m anti-intellectual? Yes. That’s why I have been a voracious reader all my life, write BEAUTIFULLY, am über quick on the uptake, etc. …etc. …etc. :))

          • JH

            In fact you grasp English so well that you don’t understand the meaning of metaphor or irony.

          • AllieFoyle

            It’s just that she’s so über quick. You wouldn’t understand.

          • GuestB

            Cunt, twat, bitch – that’s writing beautifully? You really want your kids to read that?

          • Irène Delse

            The children that YOU brought up in the conversation, bragging about them as a “credential”, as if it was one. Oh, but now people have read what you posted and don’t react by praising you? What an outrage!
            /Snark

          • AllieFoyle

            Promoting women educating themselves about their bodies and calling someone a cunt in the same post!

            (no, but seriously, BEAUTIFULLY? hmmmm….)

          • Irène Delse

            Well, beautiful p0rn, maybe…

          • AllieFoyle

            She is a voracious reader, you know.

          • JH

            Voracious reader…of disqus threads…

          • Amazed

            … and 50 Shades of Grey.

          • JH

            Even E.L. James isn’t that crude. That stupid? Yes, but not that crude.

          • Bombshellrisa

            Are you using “cunt” in its original form? Have you read Inga Muscio’s book entitled “Cunt”. It’s a feminist manifesto and worth reading.

          • LibrarianSarah

            Based on how you are presenting yourself here you are anti-intellectual. You have shown that you do not value education or respect those with educations. That is anti-intellectualism at it’s core.

            Tell me would you like your sons to call their classmates “idiots,” “cunts,” “bitches” and all the other names that you used today. Then why do you act that way? Do you want your son’s to respect women? Then why do you disrespect women by using misogynistic language. And yes when you use those words you disrespect all women not just the ones you think you are insulting. You don’t agree with Dr. Amy fine. You don’t like what is written here than walk away. This post is almost two years old as soon as you disengage it will fall into the ether.

            I’m sorry I hurt your feelings but you have to look at your behavior. And I am going to take my own advice and walk away from you now.

          • MaineJen
          • Siri

            On Facebook you seem like a nice person, Jain, and I don’t see you calling anyone witches, bitches, douches or c**ts there. Your son and you look like happy, lovely people. So why do you come on here and hurl insults around in that way? The commenters here are people too; not targets for misogynistic invective. Please read through your own comments and ask yourself honestly if that’s the best you can do. Act like a grown woman, not a toddler or stroppy teenager.

          • MaineJen

            You are the one who tried to “insult” us by calling us witches. So what were you trying to say?

          • Guestll

            She wasn’t using a metaphor. Nor was she using a METAPHOR.

            I know, I know, freshman English is hard!

          • Bombshellrisa

            Ina May must have been using a metaphor when she suggested molesting patients is appropriate too-otherwise she would just be a monster.

        • AllieFoyle

          Yup, that sums up doctors completely. They just want women to be kept in ignorance and fear because it facilitates their golf game. How many doctors did you see to reach your current level of fear and ignorance?

          • Jain Hayles

            None, as I am not fearful, nor ignorant. Of course, not all doctors are arseholes. For example, “Dr.” Amy is definitely one nasty douche (get it haha), but, thankfully, she is not representative of the entire profession.

          • AllieFoyle

            No, I’m sorry, I don’t get sophisticated humor like that. Could you explain it please?

          • Jain Hayles

            That doesn’t surprise me. A “douche” is used to freshen up stanky twats. I’m sure you know all about those. That’s what you meant, right?

          • AllieFoyle

            Touche. I bow to the master.

          • Jain Hayles

            “Touché” would be more accurate, dear. I would think someone with the name of “Foyle” would have gotten that one correctly. Also: “used as an acknowledgment during a discussion of a good or clever point MADE AT ONE’S OWN EXPENSE by another person” (emphasis mine) That would be you.

          • AllieFoyle

            Well bless your heart. Aren’t you clever?

          • Irène Delse

            Nice class stereotypes, too, with the quip about the name Foyle. Or is it stereotypes about British people? What a winning personality, anyway! /Sarcasm

          • Irène Delse

            While you’re looking things up in the dictionary, try reading the meaning of ‘irony’, too.

          • MaineJen

            Son, isn’t it time you got back to class?

          • Jain Hayles

            I am WOMAN! Wow, you are just hysterically funny! Brava!

          • MaineJen

            My apologies. Going by your previous comment, I was assuming 13-14 year old boy (at the very oldest).

          • JH

            Now now Jen, that’s insulting to 13-14 year old boys.

          • I thought you were “woman”.

          • Bombshellrisa

            That is one meaning although it means shower in French and when used figuratively it can also mean to have a series of tumultuous events or a shock

          • Jain Hayles

            Yes, Bombs, I know what it means “en français”. I’ve been to Paris so many times, I can’t even count the number. My best friends live in the 7th Arrondissement. That’s the thing, travel is one of the best educators.

          • JH

            Except travel clearly didn’t teach you how to properly define metaphor. Or understand when someone is applying sarcasm.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            or soap in German lol

        • There are women who are OBs, if you hadn’t heard yet. They know how to deliver babies, even without interventions, if none are needed. There are plenty of doctors who don’t play golf, too. (It’s called “golf” because the other four-letter words were taken.)(Can you tell I tried to play?) No Nestle Trollhouse Cookies for you.

          • Jain Hayles

            I didn’t mention the sex of the OB. Oh, maybe because I mentioned golf, and you don’t know that women can actually play that game, too? Oh, I see. You misunderstood (how surprising!). You see, no one but the birthing MOTHER (now, they DO have to be women) delivers” her baby. Midwives or OBs may “catch” the baby, but only the woman giving birth “delivers” a baby. Why are you “women” such biyatches? Methinks you doth protest too much, perhaps? Peace and love, sweets.

          • LibrarianSarah

            You do nothing but hurl insults (and gendered insults at that so much for sisterhood) and yet we are the “biyatches” (you can curse sweetie you aren’t going to get in trouble). Methinks it is you that doth protest too much.

            By the way ending your post with “peace and love” is meaningless when all your posts do is attack others. If you want’ to be a “peace and love” person walk the walk. If you want to be an attack dog own it.

          • Jain Hayles

            OK, then! Fuck off! Ahhhhh…
            I know you are probably unable to catch nuance, but the “peace and love” was “tongue in cheek” Now, is that a metaphor or analogy or…

          • Jain Hayles

            Also, I calls ’em as I sees ’em. A BITCH is a BITCh is a…

          • LibrarianSarah

            Your the one calling people names and being nasty. You are the one resorting to misogynistic insults towards other women who disagree with you. Maybe you are the one who has to take a good long look in the mirror.

          • Jain Hayles

            Uh, LIBRARIAN Sarah, that would be “you’re”.

          • LibrarianSarah

            Again harping on typo’s because you don’t have what it takes to discuss this topic? Whatever makes you feel good I guess.

          • JH

            She may not know what a metaphor is but she sure knows her contractions!

          • Irène Delse

            Oh, surprise. An hour ago, you were complaining that people argued “semantics” about your use of the word ‘metaphor’, now you’re trying to nitpick on spelling and typos? Whatever.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            You can’t argue with trash like her, the best thing we can do is ignore her trolling and make her irrelevant as her metaphors. She called me Jenny with a Cock which is beyond disgusting and just proves how banal and pedestrian her thinking and behavior, because she can’t come up with any facts to support her “metaphor” she attacks your character and education. This trash can’t even read a sentence properly before replying, making her look even more ignorant. So yeah, make fun of my “cock” and my screen name which is a play on song lyrics and my country of origin, but at least I’m educated and can have a friendly debate without name calling.

          • Bombshellrisa

            She called me hateful for quoting something I heard from my preceptor (a lay midwife who apprenticed with lay midwives and all of them Ina May worshippers). Not sure she is stable enough to be able to hold a real conversation. Her argument on raising the minimum wage on another forum had nothing to do with logic

          • Irène Delse

            Why mention the sex (more accurately, the gender) of the OB? Because you blithely asserted “OBs don’t birth babies; WOMEN DO.”
            Well, there are women OBs who have babies of their own. Duh.

            But it’s interesting that you retreat back to insults and nastiness when your first badly thought salvo didn’t impress the commentators here. Bad arguments and worse behavior, what a package!

          • Jain Hayles

            Yes. exactly. Women give birth; babies are not “delivered” by anyone else, male or female, midwife or doctor. Again, reading comprehension, anyone? I didn’t state that women OBs don’t give birth to their own babies. Duh.

            I only “hurl insults and nastiness” when they are “hurled” at me first. “Dr.” Amy does it herself in her “blog”. Let s(he) who hurls the first stone…etc. I’m not trying to impress anyone, especially not the nasty twats in this thread. Since you read my comment inaccurately, and then “chastened” me for my “argument”s and “worse behavior” (kinda sounds like something an OBGYN might say to his or her “patient”), I guess you have nothing of any import to say. Feel free to try and dispute my “argument”, otherwise, please don’t waste my time. Peace and love, but absolutely no respect!

          • MaineJen

            “Please” “stick” the “flounce.”

          • AllieFoyle

            Well guys, I think we’re going to have to concede defeat here. There’s just no arguing with such crystalline logic and eloquence. I’m hopelessly disarmed by the quotation marks alone.

          • Irène Delse

            Next step, multiple exclamation marks?

          • All you do is troll, which tells me you have no knowledge of value. I’d wish you peace and love, but trolls don’t know the meaning of either, especially ones who call me a bitch.

  • aspiring OB

    Speaking of sphincters, you are an asshole.
    That said, I have had much education in anatomy and physiology, and I agree that though the vagina and cervix are not sphincters by definition, they behave like them, and particular like the anal sphincter. You’re wrong about the majority of what you preach – and I chose that word carefully – because you are perpetuating fear with your raving blog posts. Fear makes women distrust themselves and their bodies; makes their pregnancies and labours more difficult, and makes you money because you’ve *created* situations where you need to step in and “save the day.” Creating such situations is against the Hippocratic Oath to DO NO HARM. By spreading fear, you feed your greed and there is nothing honourable about that. I will be a proud OB one day, but you are an embarrassment as a future colleague.

    • Karen in SC

      Please aspiring OB, share with us how the cervix can act like a sphincter.

      • Jain Hayles

        It’s a metaphor. Look it up.

        • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

          There are no metaphors in science. It either is or it isn’t and in this case the cervix is not a sphincter or a muscle. The cervix is an organ or more precisely; A small cylindrical organ about an inch or so long and less than an inch around that makes up the lower part and neck of the uterus. The cervix separates the body and cavity of the uterus from the vagina.

          • Jain Hayles

            Perhaps, but I do believe that metaphors, or analogies, may be used to describe something “scientific”. Nice copy and paste from Wiki, though.

          • Young CC Prof

            Well then, it’s a bad metaphor. Sphincters open because muscles relax. A cervix opens when its connective structure falls apart, which is a process that takes weeks to reverse after birth.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            And never completely reverses at all. A cervix that has dilated completely looks different from one that has never dilated completely. That is, if I understand correctly, part of the reason that second births are easier than first births.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            Actually it came from an anatomy textbook, something you have never seen in your ignorant life.

          • GuestB

            But she edumacated! She don’t be needin’ no stinkin’ amnatomy book.

          • GuestB

            And uber quick. Don’t forget uber quick!
            (A thousand apologies for not knowing how to type the appropriate umlaut on my keyboard.)

        • MaineJen

          Jain, you seem to be really, really proud that you’ve mastered the high-school English concept of the metaphor. Let me tell you a little something about metaphors. They are a literary device. They are meant to compare like to like; likening something you aren’t familiar with to something you are familiar with in order to highlight similarities. From Ina May’s statement above, it does not sound like she was trying to employ a literary device. It sounds like she’s trying to educate women about anatomy. But the thing is: she’s wrong. So even if it is a metaphor, it’s a false one.

          • Jain Hayles

            What a sweetie you are. I will tell you that I AM very, very proud of my three beautiful sons, all of whom I gave birth to at home with lay midwives. In answer to your snark, here’s a copy of my reply to “S”, above.

            “I stand, semantically, corrected. Semantics aside, the bottom line is that Gaskins is, very vividly, describing the birthing process to women in a way that they can use. Hmmm, how long do OBs spend with pregnant or laboring woman, explaining what the birth process consists of, and what they can do to prepare? Fifteen minutes, tops? But stay there arguing semantics, when you all know damn well what she meant when she described the cervix as a “sphincter”. Hey, ya got nuthin’ else.”

          • JH

            ” I will tell you that I AM very, very proud of my three beautiful sons, all of whom I gave birth to at home with lay midwives. ” Where would you like us to pin your medal Jain?

          • GuestB

            As my brother used to say:
            “Would you like a medal or a monument?”
            Medal: “Sh*t don’t hang.”
            Monument: “Sh*t don’t pile that high.”

          • AllieFoyle

            Ooh, ooh! I think I know.

          • yugaya

            Me too … insert … sarcasm.

          • MaineJen

            It’s not semantics. She was wrong. You can’t dispute that, so you came here and you got nasty. The more wrong you are, the nastier you get. I think I speak for everyone when I say that we are very happy you have 3 beautiful children and they all arrived safely. None of us would wish anything different. There are women here on this board who bought into Ina May’s teachings hook, line and sinker, and they paid the ultimate price for that. They do not have their children with them. Those particular women might think that a natural childbirth leader, spewing incorrect information as if it is fact, is a lot more than “semantics.”

        • S

          It’s not a metaphor. It’s an analogy. It’s a failure of an analogy because it’s based on factual inaccuracies.

          • Jain Hayles

            I stand, semantically, corrected. Semantics aside, the bottom line is that Gaskins is, very vividly, describing the birthing process to women in a way that they can use. Hmmm, how long do OBs spend with pregnant or laboring woman, explaining what the birth process consists of, and what they can do to prepare? Fifteen minutes, tops? But stay there arguing semantics, when you all know damn well what she meant when she described the cervix as a “sphincter”. Hey, ya got nuthin’ else.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Gaskin is a charlatan with blood on her hands. Countless babies have died because of her nonsense.

          • Michelle Catherine Bowen

            If you don’t mind me asking, where can I find the stats for that?

          • Stacy48918

            Well the first one may have been her own. Ina let her own premature baby die out of hospital rather than seek medical care for it.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            Oh? How is the comparison useful? What help does it provide? Does anyone who has given birth really find the process similar to having a bowel movement?

          • Irène Delse

            It’s certainly a way of thinking some women have… before having a baby. My mother was from a family where girls received little to no sex education, and she couldn’t even discuss it with her own mother. As a teenager, she knew a baby had to come out from the woman’s belly, somehow, but the only natural orifice that seemed able to give passage was the anal sphincter. Other girls in her school had even got to marriage and pregnancy with similar ignorance. Most were very anxious from simply not knowing what to expect.

            You would think that a thoughtful lay educator, the kind Ina May Gaskin pretends to be, would at least give accurate, useful info instead of fostering that old confusion.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym

          A metaphor for what? Why would one compare the cervix to a sphincter? In what way is this helpful to the understanding of the situation?

          Gaskin goes on to make several other incorrect or perhaps “metaphorical” statements about sphincters. For example:
          1. She says that they aren’t under the owner’s conscious control. Um…this may be TMI, but I only urinate and defecate when I consciously decide that it’s ok to do so. Of course, there are conditions where this control is lost. For example, pelvic floor damage from prolonged second phase of labor. Perhaps Gaskin has simply never seen a woman who did not have pelvic floor damage and so thinks that sphincter failure is the normal default for humans.
          2. Adults rarely require–or desire–praise for proper sphincter function. Someone in the area telling you that you’re doing great during a poop is not likely to be conducive to further bowel activity. The toddler==mother in labor comparison is telling as well. No doubt you’ll say she is only comparing mothers to toddlers, not saying that mothers are toddlers and I agree, but the fact that that comparison springs to her mind is interesting.
          3. I don’t know where this vagina/anus/mouth opening statement comes from and a thousand dirty jokes ran through my mind when I wrote that sentence. But that doesn’t change the fact that there’s simply not any data saying that opening or shutting your mouth during labor changes anything with respect to how the labor goes. Or, for that matter, how the bowel movement goes.
          4. A case report of one woman’s cervix closing during labor does not prove anything in particular. Certainly not that it occurs regularly or can be altered if a midwife stands there and praises the cervix. I suspect that Gaskin sees cervix closing regularly because she routinely misestimates cervical dilation.

          • Jain Hayles

            I’d say you defecate every time you open your mouth.

            1. I do believe she’s referring to the cervix, when she speaks of “conscious control”. ” You DO have control over your cervix? Maybe you should join or circus. Perhaps Gaskin has simply never seen a woman who did not have pelvic floor damage”. What a joke. On what are you basing this statement? Or maybe you’ve seen so many women birthing in a hospital that have pelvic floor damage that you got confused?

            2. Are you truly claiming that being surrounded by support and love, and yes, even praise, while giving birth isn’t conducive to an easier birth? That doesn’t even rate an answer.

            3. Have you ever heard of visualization, and how it may be used to improve one’s “performance” of anything? No, I thought not.

            4. Are you able to back up your “suspicions” that Gaskins “routinely misestimates (SIC) cervical dilation”? No, I thought not. You’d much rather spew bs, and imagine yourself on your high horse. In all three of my home birth’s, my labor stopped for several hours. Had I been in hospital, it would have been, “C-section…now!!!”. Hmm, turns out that’s just the way that I give birth. Too bad hospitals don’t account for the fact that different women birth differently.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            1. No, she specifically said that sphincters were not under the conscious control of their “owners”. The quote is “Sphincters are not under the voluntary control of their owner.” It has already been established that the cervix is not a sphincter. I’m not quite sure why you’re defending IMG so hard on this issue, but you’d really be better off dropping it. It’s not one of the more defensible parts of the NCB movement or even IMG’s writing.
            2. Again, IMG specifically referred to sphincters as responding to “love and support”, using the analogy of a toddler learning to be toilet trained. But going back to the issue of labor. Your hypothesis is that “love and support” will make labor easier, safer, or faster. What specifically are you claiming? That support can make labor faster? Easier to tolerate? I could see how that could be possible, but what’s the evidence? What conditions of “love and support” help women in labor and how do they help?
            3. Ok, so the hypothesis now is that visualization will improves labor in some way? Again, what’s the evidence?

          • Jain Hayles

            What DOESN’T love and support make easier, fool? I attended the hospital labour and delivery of a friend, along with several other friends. We stayed with her all night. We talked, we laughed, we listened to music, we gave her massages with nice smelling lotions, we were there with her during contractions, we stroked her brow…The nurse was lovely. She came in the room, and said, “It’s so calm and peaceful in here. I wish all the mother’s were having the same experience.” Big, big smile. Thank Gawd there ARE some hospital personnel who are human.

            The AMA’s take on visualization I know that YOU probably consider them a definitive voice):

            http://books.google.com/books?id=DtZ_XdSymSIC&pg=PA734&lpg=PA734&dq=American+Medical+Association+use+of+visualization&source=bl&ots=KnRg7QDmga&sig=xwQ_WbJNiQcTPFe9oSBgmY2Qkdk&hl=en&sa=X&ei=dNd8U7SREIO6oQTg6YKgBw&ved=0CFIQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=American%20Medical%20Association%20use%20of%20visualization&f=false

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            Glad she had a good experience. But an anecdote only proves that something is possible. It doesn’t say anything about how likely something is. A friend of mine had her baby in the hospital completely alone as her family was in Puerto Rico and her husband deployed overseas. She was one of the lucky women who had an hour long labor, pushed about 3 times, and had a baby with very little pain. She smiled through it too. So can we conclude from this anecdote that the best way to guarantee an easy delivery is to have no one but strangers around during the delivery? If not, then why should we conclude that your friend’s experience means that your support made her delivery easier?

            Your link goes to a page in a book published by the AMA that defines visualization. It doesn’t say anything about the efficacy of visualization as a technique and certainly doesn’t make any recommendations on it. It is not the AMA’s “take” on visualization in any sense except their acknowledgement that “visualization” is the name of a technique that people have used to try to improve their health or experience.

          • Jain Hayles

            I’d say you defecate every time you open your mouth.

            1. I do believe she’s referring to the cervix, when she speaks of “conscious control”. ” You DO have control over your cervix? Maybe you should join or circus. Perhaps Gaskin has simply never seen a woman who did not have pelvic floor damage”. What a joke. On what are you basing this statement? Or maybe you’ve seen so many women birthing in a hospital that have pelvic floor damage that you got confused?

            2. Are you truly claiming that being surrounded by support and love, and yes, even praise, while giving birth isn’t conducive to an easier birth? That doesn’t even rate an answer.

            3. Have you ever heard of visualization, and how it may be used to improve one’s “performance” of anything? No, I thought not.

            4. Are you able to back up your “suspicions” that Gaskins “routinely misestimates (SIC) cervical dilation”? No, I thought not. You’d much rather spew bs, and imagine yourself on your high horse. In all three of my home birth’s, my labor stopped for several hours. Had I been in hospital, it would have been, “C-section…now!!!”. Hmm, turns out that’s just the way that I give birth. Too bad hospitals don’t account for the fact that different women birth differently.

          • Irène Delse

            “I’d say you defecate every time you open your mouth.”

            Hey, Jain, are you ‘Guest’ from a little while ago? If so, you may want to avoid sounding like a six-year old who just discovered toilet humor.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            Given that the comment below is identical to the one Jain makes, I’d have to assume that she’s both. And she’s just expressing her love and support for women by comparing disagreement with herself as “defecating”.

          • Jain Hayles

            I don’t support all women, just those that aren’t nasty cunts. And yes, the comments are identical. I mistakenly posted it twice, once under “Guest”. It’s a conspiracy!

          • JH

            “I don’t support all women.” How very feminist of you.

          • Irène Delse

            Which is fitting, for a fan of IMG… The woman who rivaled the old school doctors in patronizing behavior and lack of respect for women’s dignity.

          • Box of Salt

            Jain Hayles “I don’t support all women”

            You don’t support any women as long as you use the kind of language which finishes that sentence.

          • yugaya

            ” I honour any woman’s individual decision on how and where she wants to give birth.”

            “I don’t support all women, just those that aren’t nasty cunts.”

            Pants on fire.:)))

          • Jain Hayles

            No, all my comments are under my name.

          • Jain Hayles

            My bad. I posted the above twice, once under “Guest”.

          • Irène Delse

            “A metaphor for what?”
            For blowing smoke up expectant mothers’ a$$es?

    • I don’t have a creative name

      Spreading fear?

      No, a woman needs to go into birth with her eyes wide open and fully informed. NCB ideology lies to moms and tells them that bad things only happen when you fear. Healthy fear, the kind that causes one to be prepared and not have the “it can’t happen to me” mindset, is a good thing. That’s not the same thing as what you are claiming.

    • Dr Kitty

      I wouldn’t want to read your charts if you write like this.
      Really hope you aren’t a Dr…

      • Jain Hayles

        I really hope that YOU aren’t. And you forgot your “BS” degree, hun. Keep it movin’. I do know that one shouldn’t begin a sentence with “and”, so you need not “school” me. I do believe the first sentence of your first comment should be, “If I’VE said it once, (note COMMA) I’VE said it a million times.”

        • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

          She doesn’t need to state her BS because she has a Masters which implies a Bachelors degree. Can’t have one without the other!

          • Jain Hayles

            Jenny-with-a-Cock – I never claimed to have any degree whatsoever. That’s “BS” right there.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            Um nobody ever said you did and it is quite obvious you don’t have a degree in anything. BS stands for Bachelors in Science you ignorant piece of trailer trash. I’m not from a hood block like you imply, I’m from the former Soviet Bloc, so your little cock joke is irrelevant and disgusting

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            It is quite obvious you do not have a degree in anything because you cannot even read or reply to a sentence properly. BS stand for Bachelors in Science you ignorant, petty, piece of racist troll trash. The only sphincter on this thread is you and your little cock joke isn’t even funny and is quite irrelevant because there is no “k” in Bloc as in Soviet Bloc. Your ethno racial slurs are beyond offensive and disgusting. We should all make her as relevant as her metaphors and ignore this dumb, racist troll

        • moto_librarian

          So instead of picking some old blog post to comment on, why not engage with us on something current?

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            For real! Check out her comments down below and notice how anything that refutes her claims and nastiness goes, you guessed it, unanswered!

          • moto_librarian

            I guess she knows that she’d get her ass handed to her big time in an ongoing discussion.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            She has been getting it handed back to her left and right! I just can’t WAIT for Bofa and Nym to get on here and read some of her comments to them, it’s going to be the most educational blood bath on the internet!

          • moto_librarian

            You’re right about that. I just was thinking that this level would seem like a party comparatively.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            Lol, I just can’t stop laughing!

        • Anj Fabian

          I was one of the people who called IMG on her “the cervix is a sphincter” statement.

          I had no idea if the cervix was a sphincter or not, so I looked it up. The sources I found agreed that the cervix was nothing like a sphincter since it lacks the one thing that all sphincters have – muscles. Without muscles, there is nothing to either contract or relax.

          The conclusion is that the cervix is not an active participant. It is utterly passive. The cervix reacts to its environment, to pressure and to hormones. It doesn’t “do” anything because it is incapable of action.

    • LibrarianSarah

      If I said it once I said it a million times. People with real educations don’t call themselves “educated” (or in your case “have much education”). They state their degrees. For example, I have a MS, a MLIS and a MSpEd.

      • Jain Hayles

        Actually, this doctor’s educational credentials just go to prove that one can go to Harvard, and still be an idiot.

        • moto_librarian

          And what are your credentials?

          • Bombshellrisa

            Her mom was a nurse, so she is an expert on doctors (like the blogger who is an expert cause she has smart family members).

          • Jain Hayles

            RYT-200 and Mother Who Raised Three Sons Completely On Her Own. I don’t have a degree. I don’t need one in order to be intelligent or “educated”. I come from The School of Hard Knocks, where one learns how to think objectively, react appropriately, and stand on one’s own.

          • JH

            So…none. The correct answer is none.

          • AllieFoyle

            Well, to be fair, she does seem to have an extensive knowledge of feminine hygiene products.

          • MaineJen

            React appropriately by hurling misogynistic insults and calling names? And BTW yes, I do call myself a feminist. To me, that means that the words “douche,” “witch,” and “twat” are not appropriate insults.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            In other parts of the thread you say your father is a rocket scientist and you’ve been to France a number of times. So…you’re a hippie from the School of Hard Knocks…with a middle class upbringing subsidized by the military industrial complex…who goes to France regularly. Got it.

          • Bombshellrisa

            I just keep reading “I don’t have to have a degree to be educated” as “I don’t have to have an education to call myself educated” which sounds alarmingly like so many home birth midwives.

          • moto_librarian

            Might want to revisit that whole “think objectively” piece of your education…

  • Maggie Garrard

    Well, I’m just an ignorant woman but I had a lovely, quick and ‘easy’ birth at home and I credit Ina May’s ‘Sphincter Law’ for preparing me. Perhaps her terminology is inaccurate but it gave me the necessary ideas on how to relax my bottom and allow the baby ‘pop’ out. I practiced prior to the birth while defecating and that became easier too (great, as I had nasty hemorrhoids). There are drawbacks to home birth but hospitals have problems too. And now the baby is awake… bye!

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      If the shoe fits …

      • Rebecca Grove-Foster

        dear god! we are taught to respect doctors. I don’t know why…I thought respect was earned. I most certainly wouldn’t want an OB like YOU delivering my baby! Ina May may have her terminology wrong, but you certainly have everything else going against you with an attitude like this!

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          So you would rather have an idiot who is nicey nice than an actual expert who might hurt your pwecious little feelings?

    • yugaya

      ” I practiced prior to the birth while defecating”

      That is taking it to a whole new level I guess.

  • RN BSN, nat birth mom/trainer

    What a “novel” way to build your OB business, openly trashing your perceived competition in terms far less than professional. Not every woman wants a bully for their OB care. Whatever your reward is for “enlightening” the world, rest assured, there’s still room for you to grow professionally. You’ve been on this soapbox for a number of years, and I can imagine, you don’t like being challenged. Fortunately for you, most who disagree don’t bother. It’s like beating your head against the wall, or like “Julius”, who 3 weeks ago said “Thank you Dr. Amy, I now feel so well educated that I am now going to go and smash my face in with a frying pan.”

    You will wish I was a brief as her. I should have just said “ditto Julius Cesarean.” I might be reaching for my fry pan when this is done.

    Looks like you’ve got it down pat how to attract people who like to follow bullies rather than face them or avoid them. What you fail to admit, though certainly you understand, is that approach drives the very intelligent, free-thinkers (which includes people in your own “profession”), whether the multi-degree Ivy League grads or the self-learned, away further away from traditional OB care, even if it means traveling miles to another provider or birth center, or seeking the best home birth attendent they can find. Sadly, it drives some to DYI births as well.

    I teach natural childbirth in a community around an Ivy League university. Within this area is a natural birth center attached to the OB wing of a hospital. The purpose in the OB director’s own words is to attract back some 30% of expectant mothers in the community that have been choosing home birth or long distance travel to give birth in a natural-birth friendly setting. From a business perspective, I believe this hospital admin has gotten it right about how to encourage natural birth seekers to give birth at their hospital.

    Since the opening of this CNM-manned birth center, I have had a dramatic increase in clientelle to my classes who plan to give birth at there. This hospital is becoming a magnet for those seeking the best of both worlds. My students include multi-degree professionals, MDs, nurse practitioners, professors, clergy of various religions, college and grad students of various majors, all self-motivated learners who seek evidence-based methods for natural birth. They are rich, poor, and everything in between. They represent a variety of ethnic backgrounds, ages and levels of formal education. I do not seek them. They seek me or my peers who teach natural birth classes.

    You demonstrate that you have quite a lot of knowledge about human anatomy and how the body works in labor, as well as a gift of communicating via the web. Too bad your purpose is to use that knowledge to trash alternative health care providers when you could be making obstetrical care more attractive encouraging your peers to understand this natural birth seeking crowd, and by empowering all women to achieve the birth of their choice, whether they want a lot of medical and nursing management, or they want the freedom to let their bodies do what they were designed to do.

    A majority of interventions are unnecessary when a healthy woman is truly prepared for natural birth. Cesarean rates should be 10% or less. But if women are not encouraged (or required) to take a good class on healthy pregnancy and birth, no wonder there are so many complications, many of which could be prevented if the woman knew what to expect and how to handle the unexpected with natural techniques.

    The OB should be the lifeguard standing by to intercede if there is a true emergency. Otherwise, wait patiently to catch the baby and sign the birth certificate or let the CNMs do it if you prefer the excitement of complications and surgical births. Routinely using technology, inducing labor and pushing epidurals across the board instead of trying natural measures first to improve labor is irresponsible and leads to unnecessary interventions, and their associated risks even with those considered high risk women.

    Few OBs even address good nutrition in pregnancy to grow a baby. They only take note if the scale goes up or down too much, or if a glucose test comes back bad, not even giving accurate written instructions how to prepare for it.

    Do you know what it feels like to be a patient stuck in a bed, hooked up to monitors and observed primarily via a monitor at the nurse’s station or from another room? Aside from a vitals check or vag. exam, your only connection with your nurse is via the monitor and the call light. This is our wonderful technology in the US. A doctor or a nurse relies more on machines than personal observation to assess the situation. How impersonal can it get? The monitor becomes the basis for determining someone’s status, whether it be a woman in labor or a man or woman who had open heart surgery.

    There is no substitute for personal care and common sense combined with education. A woman is cut open because a, b, c, or all of the above; you have plenty of acceptable, justifiable reasons for nearly any cesarean if you need it. But really, how many times is the cesarean done for convenience and because it is an acceptable choice amongst peers, or because it will expedite the birth so the bed will be available for the next woman. If the woman was admitted too early, not encouraged or allowed to change positions, to eat, drink and stay energized, blah, blah, blah, or if she’s simply stressed out or upset, rather than give her more time, the intervention routine kicks in.

    Don’t get me wrong. I am in favor of any and all necessary interventions all the way up to cesareans when something truly detrimental occurs or will occur without such an intervention. But admit it. The current US OB model is way off kilter, and cesarean births which aren’t far from 50% of all births in some areas, are not only operative risks, but they can limit how many births a woman can safely have in the future, they often interfere with bonding and long-term breastfeeding, and they add recuperation time from major surgery on top of recent pregnancy, birth and sleepless nights parenting a new baby.

    For those who will have a cesarean or repeat cesarean, our US OBs need to get on board with the gentle cesarean concept, including delayed cord clamping for a healthier baby and a better bonding and nursing experience for the new mother.

    You have the potential to make a difference in a much more positive way if you would understand and stop the childish psychology in your approach to what appears to be a desire to make childbirth in the US safer. That technique drives many women in the opposite direction. You create fear of US medicine rather than confidence for the many women who are looking for evidence based natural birth with someone they can trust as their provider.

    Wouldn’t it be healthy to take off your armor and enjoy the diversity of expectant parents we have in the US, availing yourself to those who truly need a medically managed birth, but not spending hour after hour online fighting the competition on a whimpy website as does Dr. “Quackwatch” Barrett? You two are clone-like in your fervor to squash anything alternative to what you get rewarded somehow or by someone to promote.

    Not to burst your bubble, but I think you have far less low-information followers of you than you think. It seldom is worth the time to argue a point with a bully, though. It’s never too late to change, but I think the more close-minded a person is, the harder it is to ponder any one else’s opinion or outright findings. There’s a lot of that in medicine from what I see. Too many doctors want their own unique niche, but if and when they find it, they get knocked off the top of the pillar they just reached.

    I leave you with this study my son told me about: and yes, it’s on your favorite site, wiki! But that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Did_the_monkey_banana_and_water_spray_experiment_ever_take_place

    You don’t have to be one of these monkeys. Please stop treating fellow humans like monkeys. There are plenty of ladders to climb and bananas to eat. And other forms of climbing and other things to eat for that matter.

    What has made this nation great is the freedom to explore, test and offer new ideas that will enhance the quality of life for many. But there is value in holding fast to what universally works. Not everything in nature is bad, nor everything manmade.

    Please lighten up, enjoy life, enjoy your grandchildren, and give yourself time to grow spiritually and other ways that this obsession is a substitute or a mask for. Skepticism is healthy; we should prove all things as best we can, and drop ideas that are clearly erroneous.

    But encourage people to fish instead of shoving fish down their throats. After all, some don’t like fish, and some are allergic. Obstetrics is clearly not a one size fits all business. Honor every human’s freedom of choice in healthcare.

    Think about your future and the legacy you leave behind some day. These posts will fall to the bottom of the list some day and be overtaken by other websites. Do you really plan to be remembered as the bulldog of obstetrics? What really matters for you in life? And for eternity? Or at least the next generation after you are gone. Go for that. Transfer at least some of this pertinacity into the most positive, rewarding and beautiful things you can. You certainly have helped many a woman through a difficult birth, and those women have you to thank for your expertise. And for the women who have had natural births under your care, bravo!

    As we get older, we need to be mindful of being open to change, especially starting with ourselves! Life is too short… I hope I remember I wrote this to you, and never waste any time doing it again because yes, life is too short! One must evaluate whether it is best to try to influence many in a small way or few in a great way. Whether to go after the one lost sheep or to just stick with the herd. [I apologize for any errors; I have another life besides this!]

    • Bombshellrisa

      So a cervix IS a sphincter?

      • KarenJJ

        Yes, that was a convincing argument that told me she can’t refute Dr Amy’s information, but she’ll get a good character attack in anyway because she doesn’t like it.

      • Jain Hayles

        As has been stated many times in this thread, it was a metaphor. Allow me to help you. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/metaphor

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      What an incredibly common and pedestrian way to deal with criticism: whine that there is a giant conspiracy.

      Surely you can do better than that.

      • RN BSN, nat birth mom/trainer

        Amy, It was providence that I accidentally left this page to look up something before posting. Your snide remark about conspiracy was like a red herring, and I saw why I reacted so strongly to your fiery exposé about Ina May in the first place.

        A quick google search identifies that many people think you for a shill. I have dealt with shills, shills that were in bed with doctors, their characters and strategies so complex that they impersonated comrads and adversaries of themselves to trick gullible people.

        Just because you are a doctor doesn’t mean you can’t be a shill, perhaps for ACOG. I don’t know if you are or your aren’t, but your venomous attack style really makes it hard to believe you are a doctor, a mother, or a woman. I stand by my original premise that your writings are very unprofessional, and further, unbecoming of a medical doctor. What an embarrassment to the fine doctors out there. I don’t even understand why a supposedly Harvard educated OB who is so bent on correcting misinformation would find it necessary to quote someone else to state what the cervix is, and then not provide a link to that reference.

        This is that link that nailed it for me, not that you need any more tips: http://consciouslifenews.com/paid-internet-shill-shadowy-groups-manipulate-internet-opinion-debate/1147073/comment-page-3/ ,

        I’m out of here.I can not recommend anyone come to this site for sound advice. This place is too toxic and tightly reigned for my taste.

        Good bye, good-hearted ladies like KarenJJ, best to you all. Have happy, healthy births and enjoy parenthood. And do your homework– test everything and train your children to be critical thinkers also. I said I wouldn’t be here long. I wish I realized what Amy was about sooner. Somebody invent a shill blocker, please!

        • Amazed

          She did provide the link, lady. Put your natural mind into unnatural thinking mode and find it.

          When I see someone representing themselves as natural birth trainer, I shake my head. What thieves you are! If it’s so natural, why do women need your help? What form does it take? Ah yes, relieving women of their redundant money.

          Good luck. Keep stealing.

          • Rebecca Grove-Foster

            we need natural birth trainers because there are people like the righteously rude Dr. Amy making women feel like idiots. The information may not be right, but no one wants to be spoken to (at?) as the Dr. is speaking to people here. We need trainers because we have been told since the early 1900’s that natural isn’t as good as medicated. We need to get back to that mind set.

          • Jain Hayles

            Hahahahahaha! You’re being ironic, right? “Lady”.

        • Amy Tuteur, MD

          We get it. You got tired of arguing with people who know a hell of a lot more than you and who don’t gullibly believe everything on the internet.

          Thanks for the visit. We haven’t seen a good flounce in awhile.

          • Rebecca Grove-Foster

            thank goodness we don’t ALL gullibly believe everything on the internet!

          • Jain Hayles

            All three of my home births took place way before the internet existed. I was not gullible or misinformed, I can assure you. Laboring women “know a hell of a lot more than you” do, despite your degree from Harvard (I’m skeptical), and your superior and nasty attitude. Perhaps you left your practice for other reasons than to raise your family? Perhaps it wasn’t your own decision?

          • attitude devant

            Jain, honey, any particular reason you’re commenting so avidly on a post that’s almost a year old? You’re beginning to make me wonder if you’ve gone off your meds.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            You are currently gullible and misinformed, not to mention arrogant in your ignorance. You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

          • Jain Hayles

            Also, I do believe YOU’RE the one who took the flouncing, and got owned, “lady”.

        • KarenJJ

          Whether or not she is a shill, a 16yo boy or an 89yo with an odd fetish for blogging, you should still be able to read the information yourself and decide, based purely on the information provided, whether she is correct or not. If you don’t want to believe her, then speak to another obgyn – one that you trust. If you can’t trust any of them, then that should also be a red flag. There’s a lot of good people in the world, obgyn’s included.

          We have a doctor that posts here, also another good hearted person, who has looked at the basis of the brewer diet and does a fantastic explanation of how the methodology behind it and how the premise was extrapolated from starving people with a very protein poor diet but that the mechanism behind pre-eclampsia is not the same and a high protein diet does nothing to prevent it. A lot of what you posted is out of date at best.

          Thanks for the conversation and I hope you do keep reading.

      • Rebecca Grove-Foster

        holy crap lady! you are unbelievable!

    • “whether they want a lot of medical and nursing management, or they want the freedom to let their bodies do what they were designed to do.”

      What a passive aggressive way to put down mothers who CHOOSE to have an epidural. I know a lot of women who had epidurals that wanted (and succeeded) to have the freedom to let their bodies to do what they were designed to do. They just did so without pain.

      “Cesarean rates should be 10% or less.”

      Please provide a study to back up that claim. Look at American women… our obesity rate is for women is 35%, it’s more and more common for a woman to have her first child over the age of 35, our teen pregnancy rate is sky high, rates for twins and higher order multiples has dramatically increased in the last 20 years, we have a higher population of women with diabetes than the rest of the developed world and same goes with herpes. Netherlands c-section rate is 14% and their women are significantly healthier than ours. How on earth is our c-section rate supposed to be lower than that??

      “Few OBs even address good nutrition in pregnancy to grow a baby.”

      Agreed. But before we start bashing OBs for this, perhaps we should consider WHY. Most OBs have appointments stacked one on top of the next. If only OBs could limit their clientele and accept only women who are low risk, mark an hour off to speak to them at each appointment, etc that would be ideal, yes? Yes it would be. But then we’d have a pretty high amount of women who would be turned away from receiving OB care at ALL during pregnancy. Supply and demand. We keep supplying the pregnant women, OBs have to make time to see us all. How would you suggest we remedy the situation?

      • KarenJJ

        In my experience, if you are a healthy weight, aren’t gaining weight rapidly, aren’t anemic and pass the glucose test for GD, they don’t go into nutrition much. Why would they? Your diet isn’t causing any issues and beyond that it’s not really any of their business what grown adults are eating, surely?

        I was anemic, therefore told to up my iron intake and discussed good iron sources with my ob. That was the only discussion we had about nutrition apart from being asked if I was taking folate supplements. I don’t really want to discuss nutrition at length with my doctors. I’ve always been a healthy weight and eaten well from a wide range of food. I love food but don’t really give a rat’s about nutrients.. My friend who drinks a kale smoothie for breakfast every morning, she likes discussing nutrition with her doctors and getting a pat on the back from doing it well. But what is the point of that, really?

        • RN BSN, nat birth mom/trainer

          If you knew how many women do not eat well in pregnancy, I think you would respond differently. Inadequate and poor quality food, and dehydration contribute to premature labor and birth as well as poor placental health, hemmorhage and healing after birth. Additionally, it can lead to small baby, anemia in the baby and other deficiencies such as zinc deficiency among other things. Details of this would be best addressed by Dr. Amy.

          Most people think the baby just takes what it needs from the mother like a parasite, but according to the late Dr. Tom Brewer and others, that isn’t the case. Further, in the last trimester, the mother needs to eat ample proteins to build the baby’s nervous system and brain as well as well as help the baby finish putting on weight and fat needed after birth. If a baby’s weight is coming from the mother’s stored fat being broken down due to lack of quality an sufficient caloric intake, I would hate to think of the toxins released and possibly reaching the baby as that fat breaks down.

          Although some people dismiss the legacy of Dr. Brewer, he worked with thousands of women and eliminated maternal and neonatal deaths due to toxemia (the seizure disorder of pregnancy.) He emphasized an intake of a minimum of 80 grams protein a day via 1 qt of dairy, 2 eggs (40 gm) and meats, poultry, nuts, etc. for the other 40+ gm) plus ample water, salt to taste, a variety of healthy fruits and vegetables, and whole grains daily.

          This diet was affordable for most of the women he worked with, and was supported on studies from many different generations.

          There may be other causes of toxemia; that’s what you find when you research it. But doesn’t it make sense to eat well for your baby? Those of us who have breastfed know how easy it is to lose weight if we don’t eat well. We are still building our babies, and the source is primarily protein, water, fat and lactose, and a lot of other quality things that can’t be duplicated artificially. It’s common sense to be careful how you eat in pregnancy, especially when the baby is growing the most in the last trimester. That is the worse time to cut back because of your own weight gain.

          Incidentally, I was found to have toxemia when I was admitted to give birth with my second child. The first pregnancy, I religiously followed the Brewer diet, but the second, I winged it. The day my labor started, I didn’t eat much, and I do believe I could have prevented this disease which is more commonly seen in primagravidas. And one of our moms carrying twins was thin and ate very poorly. Her babies came early at 27 weeks gestation, about 5 weeks after she started taking our classes. I thank God she was finally eating better the two weeks before they were born, they were each about 2lb 8-12 oz.at birth and fortunately grew healthy and strong.

          • Jain Hayles

            “Details of this would be best addressed by Dr. Amy.” Uh, I think not…

      • RN BSN, nat birth mom/trainer

        I’ve got to keep this brief; for in hours I must get back to the real world, But you grossly misrepresented what I said, mischaracterizing me by cutting out the beginning of that thought. If you are interested in where that standard of 10% comes from, I have been generous, for Dr. Roberto Caldeyro-Barcia, world- re-knowned pioneer of perineonatology, deeply disturbed that at that time, the fetal monitor was being used on 50-75% of laboring women said himself that it was intended for the 5% of pregnant women are truly high risk, not for widespread use on low-risk laboring women. One reference can be found in Robert S. Mendelsohn, MD, “Male Practice: How Doctors Manipulate Women.” 1981, p 160, though I don’t have that book to provide any other details, nor do I have the time to track another reference down, especially one in English.

        He released findings of one of his studies in 1978 of 300 women where he noted women who had freedom to move about during labor and pushing had shorter, less painful labor (25% faster dilation with multigravidas and 36% with primagravidas) and fewer complications than those women who labored in bed and gave birth in the supine position.

        Although obesity, diabetes and twin and triplet births often make births high risk, there are things that can be done to reduce risk. In the first place, obesity and diabetes are often preventable. The rise in twin and triplet births is due to technology but not every multiple pregnancy is reason for a cesarean. Dr. Robert Bradley, an OB from Denver CO and natural childbirth enthusiast, had similar standards an apparent success as Dr. Barcia in that he had about 6% of his patients who needed medical interventions in order to have a safe birth. Of those 6% though, not all these women had cesarean births. They were amongst all those who needed closer monitoring and/or other interventions for a safe birth. Dr. Bradley, did not refuse to offer care to high risk mothers, either, as some might think. (source: Husband-coached Childbirth by Dr. Robert Bradley).

        • Amazed

          Haha, 1981? This is the year I was BORN, lady. Newsflash: science develop and neither c-sections nor the birthing women are what they were in the glorious times of my birth year.

          WHO retracted a similar recommendation, stating that the most important thing was that ultimately, all women who need c-sections get them. But don’t let that deter you. Keep singing paeans to a stuy that is decades old.

          Dould Dani did not mispresented what you say. It’s just that you talked bulshit from the high throne you built for yourself so you can look down on other women and think yourself a professional. Just like Ina May.

          • Jain Hayles

            C-sections are performed unnecessarily ALL THE TIME. Fetal monitors are subject to an RNs or MDs reading of it. Oh, no!!! Your baby will DIE unless we cut you open!!! Of course, this has NOTHING to do with all the unnecessary “interventions” (why does a normal labor require any “intervention” at all?) we hit you up with as soon as you arrived at the hospital! And that Pitocen we gave you to “bring on” contractions (and completely mess up the natural rhythm of birth)? No connection…Talk about ignorance! “Lady”.

          • attitude devant

            “normal” labor requires no interventions. But many labors are NOT “normal.”

          • Bombshellrisa

            It’s hard to be mistaken when a fetal heart rate drops very low.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            Ok, I’ve asked this before and I don’t really expect an answer from you, but here goes: Let’s assume that you’re right and some c-sections are unnecessary. Which ones are they? Which abnormalities on fetal monitor can be ignored (you can say “all of them” if you really think fetal monitoring unhelpful, but the next question will be whether a fetus with a HR of 90 and no variability is doing fine or not)? Which prolonged labors can be safely continued? Do you disagree with the results and conclusions of the term breech trial? If so, why? In short, how do you know when a labor has gone from “normal” to abnormal and in need of intervention?

          • Jain Hayles

            Are you actually claiming that none of the C-sections performed ARE necessary? The unnecessary ones? How about the ones deemed “necessary” after a woman has been given Pitocen to induce labor (routine n hospital now)? In only the last year, three young women I know have had “emergency” C-sections after being induced. Could it possibly be because the natural rhythm of a woman’s labor has been interfered with? No, of course not! How silly of me.Midwives are very capable of monitoring a baby’s heart rate sans a fetal monitor. I trust in my midwife to determine when and whether or not a prolonged labor, or any other suspected problem, should be continued. If I were having a breech birth, I would birth at a hospital. However, my midwife successfully delivered a breech baby. That was the mother’s decision.
            I do believe that I’ve answered all of your questions.

          • JH

            So are you actually claiming that homebirth deaths are necessary? Can you tell me which are the “unnecessary ones?” Ooh wait a minute, I know the answer to that one. ALL OF THEM.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            I’m trying to elucidate your position re c-sections and which c-sections are unnecessary. Are you saying that a c-section that occurs after pitocin is given is always unnecessary? Or that pitocin is likely to lead to conditions that might require a c-section?

            How do midwives monitor fetal HR? What evidence is there that their method is safe and effective, at least as safe and effective as standard monitoring?

            Do you then agree that the standard of care for a breech position should be a c-section, subject, of course, to the mother agreeing to have a c-section?

          • yugaya

            The fact that perceived and documented potential risk in childbirth was avoided by a c-section does not mean that there was no risk at all and that a c-section was unnecessary. Unless of course you think that c-sections that are recommended to avoid things uterine rupture ought to be done only when they are “truly necessary” and when the rupture has already occurred,

          • yugaya

            Fetal monitoring records are also a verifiable source of information. A lay midwife can “hear” with her doppler just about anything, and write into her pretty little chart just about anything too.

        • 1981? Aside from that being outdated, it is also lacking. Percentage of high risk moms was what? How many started off low risk but became high risk vs those who were high risk from the start? How many were wanted pregnancies? Were any mothers drug addicts? How many of them could afford a healthy diet and prenatal vitamins or other needed supplements? Women become pregnant every day in America, women who are unhealthy and wouldn’t change a thing about their diet even if a doctor spent hours explaining to them why it’s so important. Women who do drugs or smoke or drink excessively. Etc etc etc.

          Obesity and diabetes are preventable, yes. But what about women who go into pregnancy obese or diabetic already? They have a greater chance of having a c-section. And no not every woman pregnant with multiples will have a c-section but it he rate for such pregnancies has risen substantially since 1981

          • Jain Hayles

            Any responsible midwife, whether certified, or not, would not recommend a home birth for high risk women. Newsflash!!! We see our midwives throughout our pregnancies, and the “appointments” last more than 10 minutes. Also,they make sure you have all the necessary blood tests, etc., and emphasize the importance of one’s diet during pregnancy.

            “How many were wanted pregnancies with mothers who took reasonable care of themselves during the pregnancy? Were any mothers drug addicts? How many of them could afford food for a healthy diet and prenatal vitamins or other needed supplements?”

            “Are we talking rural, suburb or are we talking INNER CITY hospital?” (emphasis mine)

            Bigoted much?

            “…um, yeah. OK…” Exactly.

          • Jain Hayles

            Also, my midwives spent a day and a half with me during my (first) home birth. They stayed overnight. Have you ever seen that in a hospital? “…um, yeah. OK…”

          • AllieFoyle

            Has she ever seen doctors stay overnight in a hospital? Um yeah, I think she probably has. It’s a thing that doctors do, routinely.

          • attitude devant

            I stay overnight with my patients in the hospital all the time. If they’re in labor that’s where I need to be.

          • Guestll

            Yes. But I’m just wondering why you would need midwives to stay with you overnight?

          • Bombshellrisa

            So you can feed them the food you got for them, their assistants, the student midwives and the doula and birth photographer. Besides, you know midwives like that let labor drag on and on and pushing can last for 6+ hours

          • MaineJen

            They’re called L+D nurses. They will stay with you as long as you need them. During my last labor my nurses applied counterpressure to my back and held a barf bucket in front of me while I leaned over a birth ball. For hours. So…yeah. OK.

          • Amazed

            I truly hope I’ll never see that in a hospital! Did you really just advertised a healthcare provider who’s exhausted herself going without sleep for AT LEAST day and a half as superior care?

            Yay.

            I’ll take the hospital, thank you very much. At least with doctors, REAL midwives, and nurses there is a chance that they won’t be too tired to make adequate decisions.

          • Bombshellrisa

            I used to do that all the time with home births and sometimes at the birth center. At the hospital there is always someone there who can deliver-I had a hospitalist with my baby’s birth four months ago.

          • Elizabeth A

            The doctor who delivered my son stayed past the end of her shift to see me through, so did the nursing team. The doctors who delivered my daughter were in the hospital overnight – I distinctly recall the attending sending someone to wake up the resident. I was admitted at 11:30 or so, They did my surgery at 1 a.m., and came to check on me at 7.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            Yet they do it all the time, hence the high homebirth neonatal mortality rates.

          • High risk home birth happens all the time. And no, home birth midwives also do not make sure all the necessary screening measures are taken. In the home birth community there is so much fear mongering about ultrasounds, GBS testing, GD testing, etc.

            Sure, go ahead. Try to say I’m a bigot b/c you don’t know how else to respond. Nice. So typical.

          • To clarify my comment as I don’t like to be made out to be things I am not – a bigot in this case – I would think that the chances of having a higher rate of women with no (or little) prenatal care would be in or around a downtown area of a big city, due to higher rates of homeless people and/or shelters in large metropolitan areas, as opposed to a suburb or rural area. I could be wrong.

          • Elizabeth A

            You know what I don’t get? What’s the point of a routine pre-natal appointment being more than 10 minutes long?

            I can see going longer on some appointments, particularly the first one, but in the usual course of business? I was working during both my pregnancies, and I had a kid at home during the second one, and life was hectic. As long as everything looked good – which could, indeed, be evaluated in just a few minutes – why would I need to stay longer? If I’m really not ill (a la “you’re pregnant, not ill”) there are things I need to be doing, and “bonding with my birth attendant” was actually not on the list.

          • Young CC Prof

            Yup, definitely. My first appointment WAS long, as I’d never seen that doctor before and we had a lot to discuss. Most of them? Pee in a cup, blood pressure, weight, any problems? OK!

          • yugaya

            So Ina May Gaskin in your own words is an irresponsible midwife because she recommended herself to have a high risk premature homebirth? Yes or no will suffice.

      • yugaya

        “”Cesarean rates should be 10% or less.”

        Check out the countries in the world that have that c-section rate, and lemme know rnbsnnatbirthmom if you would be happy to witness one of your daughters live there and give birth there.

    • KarenJJ

      “Skepticism is healthy; we should prove all things as best we can, and drop ideas that are clearly erroneous.”

      Great start. Keep at it. What do you believe is erroneous? What are you skeptical about? What changes are you open to?

      • RN BSN, nat birth mom/trainer

        Thank-you, Karen, I’ve addressed examples that address your questions this elsewhere here. I would ask the same of Dr. Amy, of whom I know little. I am glad to have heard she apparently had natural births herself, and that she chose to set her career aside to raise her family. She exemplifies two things I have dearly treasured in my own life, though not always possible for those who also aspire to do.

    • fiftyfifty1

      “Not to burst your bubble, but I think you have far less low-information followers of you than you think”
      Is this a convoluted way of saying that those of us who comment here on a regular basis tend to be intelligent and well educated?

      • KarenJJ

        Presumably the person writing this comment is teaching low information women about childbirth. Here she finds information that contradicts what she is teaching. Will she look into the information she is teaching and adjust it if she confirms that it is wrong, or will she ignore what ‘mean’ people say even if it is correct and teach poor information regardless?

        • Bombshellrisa

          Well, she did put profession in quotes. You have to wonder with people like that.

        • Lizzie Dee

          “Low information” is quite a nice euphemism, isn’t it? But for what? Not necessarily dumb, but certainly for ignorant (In its nicest, most literal meaning of ill-informed.) I started to wonder how you COULD get to be “low information” about childbirth, as two minutes thought ought to tell you it is complicated, and conversation with other women ought to tell you it isn’t always blissful, then I realise how much things have changed in my lifetime. Some good, some bad. The good is that personal knowledge of disasters is less common – because safety has improved so much. The bad is NCB fairy tales have taken the place of proper information, and as their version is much more appealing than reality it is quite popular even with sensible women.

          This poster is probably right that low information women are not going to find their way here, and those who like the pretty version would not be persuaded anyway – though some clearly are and back away from the woo. NCB dominates the internet in the most terrifying way, though, and it is that that needs to be challenged. Low information isn’t hard to correct, most women make sensible decisions. Misinformation is lethal and bad for your health!

          • KarenJJ

            I took the ‘low information’ at face value and I would consider myself a ‘low information’ person when it comes to childbirth and biology. But then again I did find myself here, so I suspect you are right and that she is using it as a euphanism. It’s not being low on information but being full of wishful thinking and short on critical thinking.

          • Lizzie Dee

            When it comes to biology, I m comically “low information”. I am not going to argue in favour of scientific illiteracy, but is a good knowledge always an assett? Isn’t there a truism that says doctors make terrible patients? I find it very irritating when NCB types imply they can argue on equal terms with doctors on an assumption of being informed but even if your knowledge is deep and reliable being objective about oneself isn’t always possible.

          • RN BSN, nat birth mom/trainer

            The NCB community is a broad one, and to characterize the lot as misinformed and who bought into fairy tales is way too broad a generalization. I have no idea what kind of fairy tales you mean. There are a lot of doctors, nurses and other professionals that support natural birth. Have they all bought into fairy tales and lies about birth too?

            There are a lot of extroverted women (not that being extroverted is a bad thing) who want to let the world know that natural childbirth is possible and that it worked for them. Because too many women think it is unbearable or impossible for them without even knowing why, or how the body is designed to work in childbirth.

            There’s plenty of misinformation and scare tactics used in the medical profession too. And brainwashing– just look at any drug commercial on TV with the happy music and smiling slo-mo people, as they whisper the federally required script with the side effects and warnings of these drugs.

            Informed consent rarely covers much. I had an endoscopy and days later I couldn’t eat anything due to the air they pumped into me causing gastroparesis. No one said air would be pumped into me, and no one warned me I might experience pain and temporary paralysis of my stomach. It felt like a heart attack. The ease of endoscopy certainly was a fairy tale to me. When I filled out an evaluation a few weeks later, you better believe I mentioned what happened, and that I should have been warned. I had to google several different ways to find out about it and assure myself I wasn’t having a heart attack for the symptoms can be identical, and one person did have a heart attack, after the procedure, not recognizing that it was a real heart attack.

            Knowing that pregnancy and birth are complicated is the beginning of knowledge that is not enough to have the healthiest birth possible. Learning why, and how to avoid things to promote healthy pregnancy and birth and being an active, knowledge-seeking participant has statistically been proven to make labors shorter and easier for a majority of women.

            It takes time, motivation and commitment, and we can not get a better understanding of it by simply listening to our friends’ descriptions of their births and their techniques, of which some would be potentially harmful. I think that’s one of Dr. Amy’s points. Misinformation hurts the birth community and can affect neonatal outcomes, whatever the source.

            No matter the source, I don’t think scaring, even if it is with truth, is the universal way to convert people to safer births. For some, that drives them further away from trusting others.

            I don’t go to any doctor who seems hostile and bitter, or condescending, even if he/she is said to be the best in their field. That representation of doctors can taint people’s trust of other doctors, not just the unfriendly one they met.

        • RN BSN, nat birth mom/trainer

          fiftyfifty1, KarenJJ now has a better understanding of where I’m coming, than when her reply above was posted, and if you all look at what I first wrote and later wrote to answer some questions, I think your perception of me and the direction of my original post will be clearer.

          *Only a few parents seem “low information”. They reluctantly come to the classes because their partner wants to (be it the mom or sometimes the dad), but they get up to speed in no time.*

          I was almost shocked to learn that Dr. Amy had natural childbirths because of how she railed against a CPM who doesn’t describe the cervix accurately. This harsh approach is not terribly effective in discouraging people from having home births, even if they find out Ina May doesn’t know the cervix isn’t a sphincter. My concern is that someone who doesn’t trust MDs and doesn’t trust midwives (and perhaps not differntiating between CPMs and CNMs) may opt for a DYI birth.

          I think a more positive approach such as utilizing hospital-based natural birth centers will at least woo back some women to what should be a safer setting to give birth.

          Although I do not like this post of Dr. Amy’s because of her condescending manner of making her point, I never defended the gross mis-concept this midwife apparently made. This is the first time I’ve seen that material and I didn’t see a reference, though there are references to the correct information she provided.

          (I am not suggesting this account of Ina May is untrue, but references that can be checked are appreciated.) If you read elsewhere, you will see that I came here in search of the truth in regard to another perhaps widely spread mis-concept about the cervix which is promoted by some doulas online. But rather than mock and ridicule them, I pointed out why the study they mentioned is totally unrelated to the technique they were discussing and suggested they check the references before repeating someone else’s great “discovery.” Poorly referenced info and outright misconceptions hurt a lot more people than the one who posts it.

          In some ways, I think Dr. Amy and I are two sides of the same coin. We have very different approaches, but the same desire to make sure people are not led astray by poor, unsubstantiated information about birth that seems at times to spread like wildfire.

      • Bombshellrisa

        I saw she used all her letters and titles, but I can’t help thinking that a “natural childbirth trainer” sounds like a cult leader and less like an educator. How does one “train” someone in “natural childbirth” (other than use scare tactics about interventions and paint hospital staff as hostile and uneducated)?

        • RN BSN, nat birth mom/trainer

          Geez, just trying to let you know a little about me with a limited space to fit it in. I didn’t learn about natural birth from the back of a cereal box or from a cult leader. (My sad attempt at trying to be funny.)

          Educator wouldn’t fit in the box with the other stuff; teacher sounds too “adult to child” to me. But we (my husband and I) teach, train and educate and any of those titles are appropriate.Ah, yes, the training element of our course is very important. And of course it’s based on scare tactics about interventions and paint hospital staff as hostile and uneducated!

          Just messing with you!

          I think you are thinking of brainwashing. That we don’t do either; in fact we do some anti-brainwashing when needed. We use the analogy getting ready for birth to training for a mile run or swim. It takes about the same amount of energy, and ideally 3 mo. of prep with relaxation and labor rehearsals in order to relax and breath through each strong contraction. Wouldn’t you call that training?

          Sure, scaring is used by some instructors, as well as many a doctor. Believe me, we’ve heard all kinds of nonsense that doctors have said to our students, especially when it comes to why a doctor doesn’t do delayed cord clamping.

          Our aim is to provide evidence based methods to increase the chances of a safe, successful, healthy natural birth while being realistic and truthful.

      • RN BSN, nat birth mom/trainer

        You’ve got it, I am awkwardly inferring that that the active participants are not low information, but also that there probably isn’t a big following here of a presumed silent majority. I have no doubt most women are not interested in natural birth, but most of them are not aware that there is a debate about it. There is a misconception that natural birth = vaginal birth. I did a survey a few years ago, and that’s one thing I learned from it.

        I am unsure what Dr. Amy thinks of natural birth; from this post, I mostly see antagonism regarding CPMs. But they are not the only means to a natural (drug-free) birth, though depending on where one lives, it can be hard to find a supportive OB or to find CNMs outside of a natural birth center who attend births.

        There are so many other pregnancy and baby websites that are helping women in a less hostile atmosphere, whereas this site by it’s name infers there will be topics that lend themselves to heated discussions.

        Actually the only thing that got me here was a search looking for information about a supposed study proving a connection between “open throat” and an opening cervix. There was no direct reference in the two posts I saw about it, and the way it was presented seemed sketchy to me, so I did finally track down the inference and advised that the poster check & provide sources before reiterating something like that. The so-called “study” (smear tests) showed a connection in PMS where estrogen affects female vocal cords due to a similar response of swelling as the cervix does, affecting the quality of female vocalists. Talk about convoluted, from that someone left out about the pms, estrogen and swelling, and without a clear citation of the source. Yes, misconceptions and unscholarly info goes around…

        I don’t know any of your pregnancy/birth stories, but we all have them, and they often profoundly shape our perspectives on birth. I get it if your labor was extremely painful or if you were glad to have an epidural or a cesarean, whether you tried natural birth first or not. A few of my students who had unusual circumstances agreed, it was time for some help– pitocin, induction, vacuum, epidurals, episiotomy, cesareans. They owned those decisions too, and did not feel they were pressured or had been treated condescendingly by their providers.

        I would not expect too many US women in the hospital setting would make it through all their labor without pain meds and epidurals simply because so few take even a crash course on birth. A good class to learn how to let their natural endorphins to do the job, along with strategies to handle back labor and other common variations can get most determined, supported women through their labors without pain meds.

        Beyond that, going past due dates, etc., there are several things you can try to correct a problem such as turning a breech baby using an ipod, or to getting labor going without drugs. If they don’t work, then you know you did the best you could.

        I am always surprised when a mom handles labor so well that she doesn’t realize she should be at the hospital already. Not everyone’s labors are terrible or unbearable, even those with long labors. We have had moms go to the a birth center or hospital who were well hydrated, afebrile, allowed to eat lightly and to move about as desired who have had labors a total of 36 or more hours, others who’ve chosen to push 4 or more hours, all the while, the baby doing fine but taking it’s sweet old time. If by then, it’s obvious the baby isn’t budging and she has said she’s exhausted, she knows she gave it her all and agrees she is ready for a cesarean.

        We have noticed that very few of our moms are experiencing back labor from posterior babies since we’ve put a lot of emphasis on tailor sitting and sitting on birth balls in the last trimester to encourage anterior presentation. We’ve had 3 instances of back labor not from posterior babies, but rather compound presentation with a hand, or hand being the presenting part, but the moms were able to push the babies out without any mechanical assistance.

        The most incredible birth I’ve ever attended was with a multigravida who wanted a VBAC. Her water broke early and after 26 hours of no progress, she had an epidural so she could get some rest. About 12 hours later with no dilation yet and very irregular contractions, she agreed to have a very small drip of pitocin. By the next morning, 42 hours since her water had broken, she had dilated to 5 cm. 49 hours after her water had broken, with 30 minutes of pushing, she pushed her healthy, alert baby out. Her doctors had watched her and the baby closely and interacted with her in a most caring and encouraging way.

        On the other hand, weird things you can’t change happen, like when a baby turns breech in labor, after admission to the hospital.

        For planned cesareans and for cesarean contingency plans, moms should look into “the gentle cesarean” approach adapted by some of Great Britain’s OBs, also called the “natural” cesarean. You have options for that. One mom, a relative, said her 2nd cesarean was much better knowing she had options, the same we teach in our classes, that helped with bonding and breastfeeding. It is unfortunate that so few women know to ask about these things.

        No woman should have to go into labor in fear of the unknown or without being heard and supported for the birth she wants to have, short of a true emergency. Far too many women just hop on the bed for the car wash approach to birth not knowing what questions to ask or what other options their are.

        Perhaps more gratifying than hearing how happy our new parents are, is hearing what their birth team says about how our students handled their births. Many of these providers are trying to reduce the cesarean rate, and evidence-based classes like ours are making a difference.

        Reducing the cesarean rate is not just about reducing indiscriminate use of technology with births. A big part of it is that most women and her birth supports need to learn and practice principles for natural labor and birth, using techniques that really work.

        That is, unless they simply sign up for a birth where no pain medication or equipment is available, like throwing someone in the water to learn how to swim. Like one mom at another forum wisely said, “labor is hard work your body is made to do. You learn to ride with them like riding waves;” you turn into yourself; you give in and let your body do the work.

        • KarenJJ

          “but also that there probably isn’t a big following here of a presumed silent majority. ”

          Why not? I don’t know whether there is or isn’t, but presumably Dr Amy gets some statistics on the hits received here and has some information as to how many people are visitting her site. I get that not everyone likes the site and fair enough.

          As for the rest, take a read around the site, including the comments. Some of us can be pretty blunt, but the comments are often fascinating here. You’ll find some opposition to some of your beliefs, but i find that reading opposing viewpoints is an interesting exercise.

          • Sticks and Stones

            The presumed silent majority exist. And obviously choose not to comment because it’s pointless to argue with brick walls. Many mothers that I know think of the Skeptical OB as a an entertaining soapbox. Interesting to read, not worth commenting.

    • KarenJJ

      “Do you really plan to be remembered as the bulldog of obstetrics? What really matters for you in life? And for eternity? ”

      Do you really plan to be remembered as the bulldog of natural childbirth? What really matters for you in life? And for eternity?

      Putting your words back to you – would you like to be remembered for empowering women with accurate information about childbirth, or would you like to be remembered for lying to women about childbirth?

      • RN BSN, nat birth mom/trainer

        Exactly! That is my point, Karen JJ. It’s already happening, having co-taught over a hundred couples who have thanked my husband and me profusely for what they’ve learned and how it’s helped them with their births, including those who have had epidurals and cesareans. They in turn are happy to share their experience with our classes and recommend us to their friends and family. Giving birth naturally is on the verge of extinction without the experienced helping others.

        Teaching NCB was my dream since I was a college nursing student, but not fulfilled until a few years ago. Like Dr. Amy, I stayed home to raise my children, rather than to continue a career in nursing. It’s a hard and unpopular choice where I live, but interestingly something I can say we have in common.

        I look forward to helping my own daughters-in-law, and maybe some day, granddaughters with their childbirth education if I live long enough.

        If anyone does remember me as a bulldog, I’d be both surprised, and flattered. I think rather they would say I stand by my principles. Admonishing is one of my least exercised “gifts.” It does not come easy for me, worse than changing the stinkiest diaper or cleaning up buckets of vomit.

        It is so much easier to just turn the other way and hope someone else will do it. No worries, though, as long as people don’t directly ask me questions, I will not have reason to hang around here much longer. I am not looking for converts to natural birth, or abolishing hospital births. Technology has it’s place. But it should not replace that which is not broken. Common, people, get more birth centers in or near your hospitals if you want to really make a difference. Until then, for most women, the only options are hospital or home. And FYI, I never had my home birth and have yet to attend one.

        • KarenJJ

          Many people on this site have had natural births, including Dr Amy. We’re a mixed bunch here but in general I’d say that we’re not concerned with what others choose to do, but the information they are basing their decisions on.

          I did a hypnobirthing course with a midwife near where I live. I found it to be a positive and encouraging experience. I was very much against medical interventions due to my trust issues with the medical system (long story, medical neglect problems) and with issues in childbirth with a family member who put in a complaint against her obgyn for falsifying records (back in the 70s).

          I was anaemic and was told I’d need to have an IV cannula inserted when I got to hospital. Something that had me worried at the time because I was a firm believer in the cascade of interventions. I didn’t know that being anaemic was a risk factor and that if I did lose a lot of blood that I’d need a transfusion earlier then other people (my obgyn explained that part to me) and also that veins can collapse and make it incredibly difficult to insert a cannula and IV.

          The midwife that ran the course didn’t know that cannulas can be very difficult to insert during a hemorrhage either and said that it should be very quick for them to get an IV in and I could try to negotiate about having one because sometimes these things can be negotiated on. BUT crucially she also told me to trust my medical providers, that they have their reasons and to believe that they have my best interests at heart. She told me not to do anything silly and not to take unnecessary risks with myself or my baby.

          This last part of what she said was probably the most important thing I got from the course. It helped enormously with my anxiety about hospitals and medical procedures and I feel very positive about my experiences giving birth. I was not the only person on the course with anxieties and trust issues with doctors and hospitals.

          I think childbirth educators could do a lot for mums by building a bridge to hospitals and the medical system by giving women more confidence in the medical system, by encouraging women to speak up and negotiate with their medical team and by helping women move past anxieties they may have (not encourage them with more fear-mongering about bad hospital experiences – which I’ve seen quite a lot of too).

          “Natural childbirth” is not as childbirth is practiced in nature (no waterbirths, no perimeum massge etc etc). That ship has sailed a long time ago. Helping women have a positive experience, helping them adjust to the idea that things can happen in childbirth that are unexpected and possibly scary (one emergency c-section here and one baby that needed oxygen for 24 hours post birth) and to ask questions but also trust the knowledge and experience of their medical team are things that could also be prioritised in educating new parents.

          I’m sure you incorporate a lot of this in your practise but I have heard of childbirth education classes that can set women up for very negative hospital experiences by giving women unrealistic expectations, creating adversarial relationships between women and their caregivers and causing women to refuse interventions that could have facilitated a vaginal birth or caused women to suffer extreme pain unecessarily. I know not all women have extreme pain from contractions – mine weren’t very painful – but some women do and I think it should be acknowledged that all women are different and pain relief is a great option for someone that is feeling out of control, miserable and exhausted.

          There is some great information on this site. I’d encourage you to have a read and ask questions and think critically of Dr Amy’s information and of your own information and look beyond the ‘natural’ and see if there is anything that could help you to improve outcomes and experiences for all women and babies.

          • RN BSN, nat birth mom/trainer

            Karen, you are an effective communicator and have answered some questions I had in mind, like what Dr. Amy’s stance on natural birth is, and what her ultimate intent is. Making sure people make birth decisions based on sound information is exactly what I’m all about– that is how to empower them.

            I’m glad you had a good birth experience overall, and took the time to share your story, making it clear that this is not a site hostile to the concept of natural birth.

            I think I have been characterized by some as someone who comes from the crowd that simply says, if it works, do it. My whole life, “how” and “why” have been my most favorite questions. How does this work, why is that bad (or good?)

            And yes, by natural, I don’t mean giving birth in a brook or in a museum (yes– someone volunteered to do this a few years ago, but I don’t know if it really happened.) Many women prefer to give birth in a tub, but some try it and hate it. I never tried it; at the time, I felt that was too unnatural for me, as I am not an aquatic mammal, and it wasn’t an option at my hospital anyway. 🙂

            My husband and I feel that our classes are taught in a balanced way, respecting the need for interventions at times, but realistically preparing our students for both natural birth and the unexpected, without trying to scare them. I have had formal training and am certified to teach. This method does sometimes get a bad rap because

            1. Some instructors add too much to the curriculum of their own biases and bents, causing fear and defensiveness.

            2. Some students themselves are very radical, untrusting and idealistic, or angry and antagonistic due to some prior experience or bias (and you wish they took someone else’s classes!) In our classes, we tell everyone they must stay calm and practice good communications skills with the birth staff or find someone else if they are unhappy with whom they’ve chosen for the birth if they feel their OB or midwife is not supportive or understanding.

            We have never had to tell an individual, “you better switch to someone else.” They figure that out themselves, and it’s not up to us; it’s their birth.

            One home birth was definitely sub-par. (with an overbooked CPM.) Mom and baby are healthy, but she decided her next baby will be at a hospital. We didn’t have any opinion about the midwife; we didn’t know anything about her until after this birth. I try to promote using CNMs and natural-birth friendly OBs if the opportunity arises.

          • Susan

            I am curious if you are teaching Bradley? Just guessing it is likely because you use the term “natural childbirth” and you teach with your husband. I used to teach Bradley. Interestingly, before I was a RN. I think you will find that many if not most of the regulars here have some experience in “natural” birth. My personal experiences, all three unmedicated, one at home, were all good. Unmedicated, not at home though, probably what I would chose if I were young enough and wanted to have another. But, it’s a big BUT, I just can’t teach “natural” birth classes anymore. I could maybe if I didn’t have to imply it is better to help people succeed at it. But if you teach that epidurals are safe, that pain isn’t necessarily going to make your birth better or make you bond with your baby better, that you can still breastfeed and have a good birth experience even if you have meds… well, maybe people will come to that class but I doubt many. That’s my big issue, is the blame and guilt around birth and the need to feel that your way is the right way. There’s also a cult like feeling to the natural birth world that scares me. Of course, most of all, preventable perinatal loss because a woman has bought into an ideology bothers me. It’s just a fascinating subject.
            I didn’t like the way you told Dr. Amy what to care about and write about. I am SO glad someone is writing about these issues. She gets critics all the time who tell her of all the issues they think she should spend her time writing about. To me she’s an articulate voice shining a light on an issue that very few others are writing about. She’s provocative and sometimes more so than I would be. However, she doesn’t insist everyone agree with her, she’s intellectually honest and the site’s just fascinating. It’s her time to spend how she wishes. It’s self serving for midwives and ncb people to post here telling her that she should write about other things.

          • Rebecca Grove-Foster

            the problem is: I have NO desire after reading this to explore the site more! why would I when I’m being essentially called an idiot!

          • Rebecca Grove-Foster

            it is Dr. Amy’s tone that offends so very much.

        • yugaya

          “I look forward to helping my own daughters-in-law, and maybe some day,
          granddaughters with their childbirth education if I live long enough.”

          I hope you don’t kill any of them in the process because you are obviously willing to forgo advising them to deliver their babies as safely as possible.

    • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

      After all that, you cite wikipedia/wiki.answers as a reference?! LOL

    • Stacy21629

      “What a “novel” way to build your OB business,”
      Yea…you obviously have no idea what you’re talking about.

  • Julius Cesarean

    Thank you Dr. Amy, I now feel so well educated that I am now going to go and smash my face in with a frying pan.

    • Rebecca Grove-Foster

      *snerk*

  • Margaret Jowitt

    I’m quite surprised the esteemed ob is so ignorant about sphincters, has she not heard of smooth muscle sphincters? I’m also surprised that her kind are so keen on induction before the 90%+ component of cervical tissue has been absorbed. If the vagina could not be a sphincter of sorts how does she account for vaginisimus? I rather think this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

    “Sphincters can be further classified into functional and anatomical sphincters:

    Anatomical sphincters have a localised and often circular muscle thickening to facilitate their action as a sphincter.

    Functional sphincters do not have this localised muscle thickening and achieve their sphincteric action through muscle contraction around (extrinsic) or within (intrinsic) the structure.

    Sphincters can also be voluntarily or involuntarily controlled:

    Voluntary sphincters are supplied by somatic nerves.

    Involuntary sphincters are stimulated by autonomic nerves.”

    • Dr Kitty

      Would you care to actually use English that makes sense, or at least doing more than copying and pasting from Wiki to support your assertions?

      “If the vagina could not be a sphincter of sorts how does she account for vaginisimus?”

      Vaginismus is pathological spasm of pelvic floor muscles, it is not a demonstration of the action of a physiological sphincter. Pelvic floor muscles rhythmically contract during orgasm too- it still doesn’t make them sphincters.

      Your anatomical knowledge appears lacking if you think “cervix” and “vagina” are synonymous. Ina May says that the cervix is a sphincter, not the vagina.

      The cervix is not a sphincter, unless we change the current definition of sphincter, which I’m not prepared to do because a hippy who let her premature baby die rather than seek appropriate medical care says so.

      • Rachel L

        Maybe we should all have a go at Juju Sundin too, because she employs the metaphor of a coffee plunger?

      • Jain Hayles

        Where did you get that she let her premature baby die? From Wiki? How dare you, nasty biyatch?

        A cervix may not be a sphincter, but it seems that you are, what with all the shite coming out of your mouth.

        – A Hippie

        Peace and love!!!

        p.s. Does anyone else find the name “Dr KITTY” funny?

        • Guestll

          Ina May wrote about it herself in the first edition of Spiritual Midwifery. Peace out, Jain!

          – A Deadhead

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            You beat me to it! i was just about to say the same thing. Dr. Kitty is awesome by the way!

  • brandt

    the sphincter law worked wonders for us. the point of it is to just relax and have your baby. i am truly sorry for all the negativity that many people on this post feel towards women’s bodies and their ability to birth without incident in most cases. i am also sorry that you haven’t learned the true power of your vagina. your poor men must feel like they are throwing hotdogs down hallways.

    • Anj Fabian

      “the true power of your vagina”

      ..and now I’m thinking some cheesy Saturday morning cartoon a la He-man “by the power of grayskull!”.

      • Rebecca Grove-Foster

        BY THE POWER OF MY VAGINA! is blinking RIGHT.

    • MaineJen

      Wow, the hotdog-hallway analogy. The sign of a TRUE feminist critical thinker.

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