Jennifer Margulis whines that it is hateful to demand proof


Poor Jennifer Margulis!

It’s getting tougher and tougher to be a homebirth blogger. It’s fine if you restrict the comments on your blog to only those who know as little about science, statistics and childbirth as you do. You can dazzle those people with any nonsense that you care to fabricate. But when you are hawking your book, you have to interact with the rest of the world. And the people in the rest of the world are so mean, so hateful, so lacking in basic decency that they have the unmitigated gall to demand … actual evidence.

What’s a homebirth blogger to do when confronted with evidence that doesn’t support her position? Standard operating procedure in the homebirth community, which Margulis faithfully followed, is to offer a stupid excuse, and she outdid herself by offering one of the stupidest. When confronted on her recent post (When Obstetricians Hate Homebirth Midwives, Birth Becomes Less Safe for Everyone) with the recent statistics from Oregon that planned homebirth with a licensed midwife has a death rate 9X higher than term hospital birth, Margulis responded with this gem:

Amy, Oregon has some of the safest best homebirth stats in the country IF YOU DON’T COUNT PORTLAND…

Having made a complete fool of herself, and completely incapable of rebutting my claims, Margulis has retreated to a pity party on her Facebook page:

I’m used to be flamed and hated, but some of these comments are so nasty and personal that I think they go too far. I need advice from more experienced bloggers: do I allow the hate comments to continue (that’s what I’m leaning towards) or do I turn the comments off?

What’s “hateful” about the comments? Apparently it’s “hateful” to demand that someone support her factual assertions with actual facts. Apparently it’s “hateful” to question a journalist with a PhD in literature on whether she has the qualifications to write about obstetrics, science and statistics. Apparently, for homebirth advocates, just like for junior high school girls, it is “hateful” to dare to disagree.

Here’s a little unsolicited advice for Margulis:

In the world of grown ups, it is not hateful to disagree with someone or to demand proof for their assertions. If you want to put yourself out there as a defender of the safety of homebirth, you damn well better be prepared to support your positions with actual facts. And if you can’t support your position (and you can’t), instead of whining, start questioning your beliefs.

Exactly how many babies have to die preventable deaths at homebirth, Jennifer Margulis, before you manage to wrap your head around the fact that you are wrong? Ten? A hundred? A thousand? Or is it more important to you to hold on to cherished beliefs than to care whether babies live or die?

Addendum (3/30/13): Apparently whining isn’t enough to prevent those “hateful” people from insisting that if you publish a book, you ought to be able to defend your claims.

Henceforth Margulis intends to employ the professional homebirth advocate’s most important tool, the ability to make dissent disappear by deleting or banning it.

“Any future comments on this thread that do not show respect towards myself and other commenters will be deleted, and the commenter will be blocked from commenting on this blog in the future.”

Why do professional homebirth advocates reflexively reach for the delete button, and, if available, the ban button, when confronted with dissent? I suspect there are three reasons:

1. It is vital for their advocacy (and I suspect for their fragile self-esteem) to create a space that doesn’t simply reinforce their beliefs, but makes it look like no one believes anything else. Dissent simply cannot be tolerated.

2. They are incapable of addressing the criticism.

Most professional homebirth advocates are aware at a certain level that they don’t have science on their side. They readily vomit up bibliography salad, but they don’t analyze (or, in many cases even read) the citations they offer.

Margulis could have acknowledged her mistakes and corrected them, but that would have required two things she apparently cannot tolerate: actual research into the topic she’s babbling about and intellectual honesty.

3. They are afraid of letting their readers think for themselves.

If they had even a fraction of confidence in their own claims and/or a modicum of respect for the fact that their readers are intellectually capable of drawing their own conclusions, they wouldn’t merely let dissent stand, they would welcome it. By defending their claims against those launched by critics, they could strengthen their case that homebirth is safe. But they are exquisitely aware that they lack the knowledge base and the intellectual ability to defend the safety of homebirth. Most importantly, they are well aware that the dissenters are often right and they are wrong.

93 Responses to “Jennifer Margulis whines that it is hateful to demand proof”

  1. The Computer Ate My Nym
    April 1, 2013 at 11:54 am #

    I’d just been thinking, “Got to give Jennifer Margulis one thing: She’s allowing contrary views on her blog a lot more than the average NCBer.” Or…maybe not.

  2. yentavegan
    March 31, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

    I believe that Jennifer Margulis is an intelligent thoughtful person and she will now take the time to read the Hurt by Homebirth blog. I believe Ms. Margulis will have an epiphany like I did. I am so thankful for this blog by Dr, Amy because I have had my long held smug beliefs challenged by cold hard facts.

  3. March 31, 2013 at 10:19 am #

    There are a bunch of hateful comments to that post, some of them by you.

    I agree with you about home births, but your technique here is dishonest:

    1. Start with a critique of the thesis based in evidence.
    2. Express yourself in the nastiest way possible, replete with references to “little bodies” and “ignorance” and “stupidity.”
    3. Wait for accurate description of such comments as “hateful.”
    4. Ignore your and your fellow-travellers’ rhetoric, and attribute complaints about the hateful tone of the comments to fear of the evidence.

    Again, I agree with you about the evidence. I am not concern trolling. You may be right to attack her in this very angry way. Doing so, however, gives her an opening to attack you as emotional (“hateful”) and make your response the topic of discussion. Your counter, “Hey, I was just talking about the evidence, so therefore calling my comments hateful is calling the evidence hateful” is totally unpersuasive.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      March 31, 2013 at 10:29 am #

      Attacking dissent as hateful is the tactic of junior high school cliques and totalitarian rulers. The appropriate response to criticism is to defend your claims, not to whine that anyone who criticizes you is hateful.

      Stop for a moment and consider the stakes here: Babies are dying preventable deaths so that a bunch of lay birth junkies can entertain themselves by attending births and getting paid for it. Those pretend midwives have been hiding their appalling death rates and people like Jennifer Margulis have been adiding and abetting them and are continuing to do so.

      It is not hateful to point out that the data REALLY shows that homebirth leads to preventable perinatal deaths. It is, however, hateful to hide that information from American women which is what Margulis and her fellow homebirth advocates are attempting to do.

      • Karen in SC
        March 31, 2013 at 10:43 am #

        Homebirth advocates can’t handle any dissent, just like they can’t handle OBs and hospital staff doing their jobs in a professional manner! It all fits together, it IS all about them and their feelings. They FEEL it must be safe, so it is! They FEEL that OBs and hospitals are bad, so they are!

        It’s all crap and, ironically enough, NCBers ignore actual crap (mec, poopy pools).

    • Karen in SC
      March 31, 2013 at 10:36 am #

      What’s wrong about being emotional about the tragic preventable death of babies and the subsequent abandoning of the bereaved families? Please answer, I want to know how, if you agree with the evidence, why YOU aren’t emotional about these facts?

    • fiftyfifty1
      March 31, 2013 at 11:57 am #

      I still don’t get it. I went over and read the entire thread. Which comments are hateful? Hateful would be something like “You’re a bitch” or “I hope your baby dies”. Hateful is not when someone calls your work “shoddy” or “unethical”, or says your ideas are “stupid” or “ignorant”. Here’s the difference: when someone says your work is shoddy or unethical or stupid or ignorant, all you have to do to prove them wrong is *present some evidence*. This should be easy to do if your journalism has actually been strong, or your research ethical or your ideas well thought out and informed.

      • Amazed
        March 31, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

        Hey, the Queen of Hateful here! Don’t you know that I coined the term “homebirthing bitch”? Mind you, by that I don’t mean homebirthing mothers. A homebirthing mother is a mother who simply gives birth to her own children. Her baby, her body, her choice. I don’t agree with it but the choice is not mine to make. A homebirthing bitch, on the other hand, is someone who basically screames over the roofs, “I don’t care that this lovely midife killed/damaged someone else’s baby because she provided me with stellar care. I don’t care to find out what really happened because the only truth is the midwife’s truth and I know, know , KNOW that she’s being persecuted because she provided me with stellar care. All other mothers and babies be damned, my experience is all that the police and court should take into account because that’s all that matters. Now, where should I donate?”

        I don’t care being respectful to homebirthing bitches who are disrespectful to everyone else but their little community and their beloved midwife-babykiller.

        This said, I didn’t see any clone of mine writing in those comments. They were all more respectful than this article deserved. Really, citing unnamed doctors as sources? I vote for them being fictional characters. The author does have a degree in literature, after all.

      • Box of Salt
        March 31, 2013 at 6:12 pm #

        fiftyfifty: “Which comments are hateful?”

        I don’t doubt there were some. I had read comments earlier during the day which were not there when I made the post above. The one I recall best I did not consider offensive but that’s open to interpretation.

        In any case, the full comment I quoted last night (and I haven’t gone to check today) suggests she had cleaned up a bit.

    • fiftyfifty1
      March 31, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

      Also, please do tell what is the correct response to the little bodies? Ignoring them?

    • auntbea
      March 31, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

      I do cringe when comments here or elsewhere include calling someone stupid or pathetic or crazy. In addition to being rude, it’s distracting and entirely unnecessary (stupid, pathetic and crazy speak perfectly eloquently for themselves).

      However. It is a problem, and supremely disingenuous, when the ONLY rebuttal you can muster to statements of fact (no matter how they are presented) is claim that those challenging you are being disrespectful. What, pray tell, would respectful disagreement look like? Agreement?

      • fiftyfifty1
        March 31, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

        I don’t have any problem with calling an argument stupid or pathetic. And if someone keeps making stupid, pathetic arguments, eventually I do have to wonder if they themselves aren’t stupid and pathetic. But I don’t like it when stupid and/or pathetic people get called “crazy”. That is insulting to people with mental illness.

  4. guest
    March 31, 2013 at 5:54 am #

    After reading this I wandered over to the website for the board that regulates Oregon DEMs and just read the first couple of disciplinary actions. I only got as far as this … . It reminded me of the previous post on stitching up lacerations and it made me feel just miserable for the woman involved. According to the board’s notice, the first pregnancy involved a very bad repair. Then, in the waterbirth tub at the same birth center with her next pregnancy, the client “felt the baby bulging from her bottom, between her vagina and anus, seemingly attempting to create a third opening.” The account gets even worse after that.

    • fiftyfifty1
      March 31, 2013 at 8:05 am #

      Holy buckets! Midwife leaves without repairing the epis she herself cut? Then hours later a different midwife attempts to repair it with INTERRUPTED SUTURES? Then the next birth they have her get *back in the tub* after cutting an epis? Am I understanding that right? The mother loses nearly 2 liters of blood from the cut tissue and passes out before being transferred and is left with a permanently non-functioning anal sphincter. Holy shit! How can this be tolerated?! They nearly killed this mother.

      • March 31, 2013 at 11:31 am #

        They nearly killed this mother.

        And certainly maimed her, and, it seems, put an end to her childbearing, and got fined $5000 and suspended for a year!

        The idea that she went back a second time when they made such a mess of things the first amazes me.

        But everyone “deserves” a vaginal birth!

    • Ash
      May 30, 2014 at 11:55 am #

      Reading this account makes me sick. What a (preventable) tragedy.

  5. Box of Salt
    March 31, 2013 at 2:33 am #

    From Margulis’s latest comment under her original post this evening (crossposted under the March 28th post)

    Jennifer Margulis March 30, 2013 at 8:28 pm
    “Any future comments on this thread that do not show respect towards myself and other commenters will be deleted, and the commenter will be blocked from commenting on this blog in the future.”

    • March 31, 2013 at 7:49 am #

      Interesting concept, respect. And another example of words being slippery things. Not sure whether this is one of those words where assuming Am.English and Brit.English are the same is a problem. When used to mean something like treating everyone and their ideas, no matter how ludicrous, with courtesy and politness, it would be hard to argue that we do NOT owe each other a degree of respect. When used in the sense of a kind of deference to nonsense, then I would argue that respect is worse than useless and should be earned not demanded. To say that I have absolutely no respect for those who defend the indefensible dishonestly or foolishly is an understatement. Contempt may not always be constructive in the way some would like, but it is certainly justified and understandable

      So, here’s to MEEEN, AKA intellectual consistency and honesty..

  6. yentavegan
    March 30, 2013 at 10:58 pm #

    Women who have had successful homebirths feel superior if they are white, college educated and privileged. Perhaps home birth is their only way to feel as though they have paid their dues and they have earned the privledges our racist patriarchal society has bestowed upon them.

    • March 31, 2013 at 8:15 am #

      I’d argue it is the difference between feeling, and being. I can understand people feeling superior if things go easily for them, and I am sure it is a lovely feeling. I don’t get why ten seconds thought doesn’t convince them that the feeling of superiority does not have much basis in reality. No-one would want to deprive them of the feeling, but attempting to turn it into a fact based on their approach and care that every woman could emulate if they tried hard enough IS more than a bit of a problem

  7. Victoria
    March 30, 2013 at 11:29 am #

    ” Hypocrisy and moral outrage are useful drillbits in the toolkit of oppression.”

    This is from an essay I read today. It is about feminism and this sentence stood out as representative of the NCB movement. Dr Amy and others here have done an excellent job pointing out the anti feminist nature of said movement.


  8. Kalacirya
    March 30, 2013 at 10:32 am #

    But, but, but, I have a binder with 1000 pages of proof. I’m not going to scan them in for you or anything, that would take too long!

    • Chi-Town_MotorCity
      March 30, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

      That must be a huge binder.

      • KarenJJ
        March 31, 2013 at 7:06 am #

        That must be why it’s taking her so long to go through it and tell us her evidence.

  9. Neonpantsuit
    March 30, 2013 at 12:42 am #

    Hi! Longtime lurker here, just dipping a toe in. 🙂
    I love how you’re not afraid to call bullshit on people when they make ridiculous comments. I’d love to see a response from her in answer to why Portland shouldn’t be included in the stats. Lol good lord. The mental gymnastics it takes to attempt to justify these ideologies must be exhausting. Wouldn’t it just be easier to take a good hard look at your beliefs and consider their merit when faced with cold hard facts, than to just blindly follow them and have a tantrum when someone disagrees? It’s like when you catch someone in a lie, and they would rather make up more lies than just admit to the first one. It’s almost painful to watch. Her reaction strikes me as very familiar, a la TFB, perhaps?
    Thank you for your blog, Dr.Amy. It’s like a cool,refreshing glass of water in a desert of misinformation, and you can bet I’ll still be lurking as long as you’re writing. 🙂

    • Sue
      March 30, 2013 at 4:56 am #

      “a cool,refreshing glass of water in a desert of misinformation”

      Nice line, Neo!

  10. Aunti Po Dean
    March 29, 2013 at 11:46 pm #

    but Dr Amy your (sic) so hateful babies die in hospital too!

    • auntbea
      March 30, 2013 at 2:45 pm #

      You made a fundamental error in your poe. Can you see what it is?

      • Bombshellrisa
        March 30, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

        did she leave something out about vitriol or spewing?

      • Aunti Po Dean
        March 30, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

        Do tell, there are none so blind as cannot see

        • Aunti Po Dean
          March 30, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

          Wait I called her Dr didn’t I oops

          • Box of Salt
            March 30, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

            You just forgot the quotation marks around it.

          • auntbea
            March 30, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

            You win our prize! A bottle of evening primrose oil and some peppermints to chew!

          • Susan
            March 30, 2013 at 7:10 pm #

            But it’s ok if you say “Dr”… lol

          • KarenJJ
            March 31, 2013 at 7:04 am #

            I’ve been making hot cross buns and can blow my cinnamon breath!

          • auntbea
            March 31, 2013 at 7:36 am #

            I don’t think that counts. I think you have to actually hit the hemorrhaging mom in the face with tiny pieces of candy shrapnel.

  11. Bomb
    March 29, 2013 at 11:33 pm #


    • Sarah
      March 31, 2013 at 5:17 am #

      Um you spelt it wrong- it’s MEEEEEEEEEEEN!

  12. mollyb
    March 29, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

    I read a lot of political blogs and such. One of my favorites, Andrew Sullivan’s The Dish, is built upon a mutual back-and-forth between Sullivan and authors/bloggers he agrees or disagrees with. He can be very cutting towards them and them towards him. But I never get the sense anyone is taking it personally. It’s all part of the public exchange of ideas and the spirit of debate that hones all of our critical thinking. If Sullivan tears into a political blogger for some post or another, the blogger doesn’t get hysterical and respond that Sullivan’s a “hater” or a “bully” or a “psycho”. No one packs up their blog and flounces home. As a feminist, it kills me that these women, instead of standing up for their beliefs and defending themselves like the mature, confident thinkers they think they are, whine and sob and play the victim. Have some backbone. I love that you, Dr. Amy, when challenged by another blogger, respond with maturity and professionalism and critical thinking. I know most of these NCB bloggers are clowns, I just wish they’d cut out the poor widdle titty-baby act.

    • Bomb
      March 29, 2013 at 11:34 pm #

      This. It is embarassing.

    • Chi-Town_MotorCity
      March 30, 2013 at 3:24 pm #

      mollyb wrote: “As a feminist, it kills me that these women, instead of standing up for their beliefs and defending themselves like the mature, confident thinkers they think they are, whine and sob and play the victim. Have some backbone.”

      -That right there. Awesome.

  13. MLE
    March 29, 2013 at 9:57 pm #

    What exactly does she think is wrong in Portland? Should they put a bird on the midwives? I need to hear this justification fleshed out. Please come back Jennifer!

    • areawomanpdx
      March 30, 2013 at 12:33 am #

      Well, her husband is on the piss-poor excuse for a direct entry midwifery board in Oregon. I wonder if he’s been sharing confidential information regarding the location of all of the homebirth disasters that get reported?

    • Susan
      March 30, 2013 at 1:20 am #

      Didn’t she say something about a birth center with some bad midwives in Portland?

      • areawomanpdx
        March 30, 2013 at 2:20 am #

        Yes, Andaluz Waterbirth Center has had some pretty terrible outcomes, according to the final orders posted on the OBDEM website. However, they are certainly not the only ones. The state is bursting with incompetent “midwives.”

        • Bombshellrisa
          March 30, 2013 at 11:45 am #

          And WA state takes some of that blame too, as there are midwives that practice in both states since they live so close to the border (Sherry Dress, Tamara Roloff, ect) who have had some heartbreaking outcomes.

    • Petanque
      March 30, 2013 at 5:17 am #

      Hopefully one day we’ll hear “She’s making jewellery now..” (ie no longer pretending to be a midwife) 😉

      • Chi-Town_MotorCity
        March 30, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

        Pétanque: Please tell me that was a “Portlandia” reference 🙂

        • Petanque
          March 30, 2013 at 6:28 pm #

          Yep, unfortunately I have that song in my head now though. “She’s got her life on track…”

      • Bombshellrisa
        March 30, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

        I can just hear that now….
        “Hey, have you heard from Missy Cheyney lately?”
        “Sure, she’s retired from being a semi-midwife and is now putting a bird on everything and pickling things”.

    • Renee Martin
      March 30, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

      She thinks that because almost half of the filed complaints* are from Andaluz MWs, that she can just dismiss these.

      It’s nonsense:

      1) Andaluz is the biggest non hospital owned BC in the state, in the most populated, (and only) large city. They do more OOH births per year than most other LDEMs combined.

      2) The Andaluz MWs in the complaints are all different, except one MW with 2. Thats 6 or so MWs, most of which are no longer at Andaluz.

      3) Most important- If Andaluz is so bad (and they *are* awful) WHY ARE THEY STILL OPEN? WHY are ALL their MWs are STILL OUT THERE! WHY hasn’t Margulis NAMED them, and warned HB Moms to stay away?

      It’s not as if this BC closed and every MW ever associated w it stopped practicing. If that happened, I could at least understand wanting to take their stats out (not that it brings the dead babies back….). But they are only part of the problem!

      4) The unskilled “MWs” and their practices that Margulis thinks are so dangerous they should be disregarded (!!!) at Andaluz, are standard in Oregon. These LDEMs are no different than the majority of their colleagues. No one in the HB community is trying to close them down, and they all still do births, so obviously they aren’t considered out of the norm here.

      * Filed complaints are not the same as the recent data from Vital stats. Most people hurt never bother to complain, and while the complaints have some of the deaths, not all are included.

      • MLE
        March 30, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

        She can’t come to grips with the fact that the conditions in Oregon breed these types of outcomes.

      • Susan
        March 30, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

        Could it be that because Oregon has one of the highest rates of homebirth that enough babies are being born at home for the statistics to finally be meaningful? I always wondered if homebirth would continue to appear so safe if it became common in the US. It’s telling that Rooks focused on intrapartum deaths. They aren’t at all unheard of at homebirth but they are exceedingly rare in hospitals. They are even more rare if you only include mothers who are low enough risk to be considered for a homebirth. These are the babies who would almost surely be alive had they been born in a hospital.

        • Renee Martin
          March 30, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

          4.5% of births were OOH, so yes, there are enough. 120 or so of these were in a BC owned and operated by the hospital.

          Most telling is that all of the deaths we know of, save one with anomalies, was one that was preventable. I haven’t heard of every single death, but the ones known are horrific in their obvious negligence.

      • Guest
        April 1, 2013 at 11:33 am # the negative experiences recorded here are eye opening

        • The Bofa on the Sofa
          April 1, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

          I have to admit, I nearly lost it when I got to the part about the midwives referring to the book during labor (I was envisioning “Midwifery for Dummies”). Seriously, that would be riotously funny if it weren’t so bloody scary.

  14. auntbea
    March 29, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

    I just went to her Business of Baby FB page and found this gem: “We already have a supervaccine proven to be the most beneficial way to protect
    against gastroenteritis in small children, develop the immune system,
    protect against SIDS, and help babies grow and thrive: breastfeeding. Is
    the fact that no one can make any money off it the reason why the CDC
    is doing next to nothing to promote it?”

    Is there some other CDC that I don’t know about?

    • Box of Salt
      March 30, 2013 at 12:57 am #

      Apparently, Margulis doesn’t visit the CDC website:

      auntbea (or anyone else who does Facebook), would you be willing to go back the Business of Baby page with that link?

      And I thought babies developed their immune system via sticking everything in their mouths. . . .

      • March 30, 2013 at 7:41 pm #

        I totally love the CDC website. It’s one of the most searchable sites around.

        I’d think that almost any internet user could type “breast feeding” & “CDC” and click on the links.

        Almost any…

    • mollyb
      March 30, 2013 at 8:41 pm #

      I’m surprised her list of breastfeeding benefits is so muted. She actually stuck to the handful of mostly provable benefits. No prevents eczema, obesity, allergies, colic, makes babies smarter, causes a better bond, etc, etc. Have the days of breastmilk-as-panacea passed even for the most zealous?

    • WhatPaleBlueDot
      March 30, 2013 at 10:30 pm #

      Plenty of people seem to be making money off breastfeeding from what I’ve seen.

    • ccccat
      April 2, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

      “Is the fact that no one can make any money off it the reason why the CDC
      is doing next to nothing to promote it?”

      So apparently pumps, covers, nursing bras, lanolin, and leak pads are free? I wish someone had told me that. I spent a large amount of money breastfeeding. Probably not as much as formula but there is definitely money being made.

  15. Mary Herrington, RN, IBCLC
    March 29, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

    So fed up with it all. I cannot begin to convey my feelings in a brief comment on this blog. I have experienced 2 homebirths. The first was in London with a Royal College of Midwifery midwife attending and a high level of care and prenatal risk assessment. The second, I am almost embarrassed to say, was with a local lay midwife here in Texas. At the time, due to review of the BMJ study and others, I believed that I was not putting my baby in harms way by having him at home, especially with my twice tested pelvis and prior easy deliveries. Obviously, my feelings since have changed as I have become aware of the data available on homebirth outcomes. I have been following this blog for years. The homebirth advocacy community has blood on its hands and I am sickened by the denial of statistics and science in the name of some delusional “Trust Birth” dogma. Sick. And. Tired.

    As an IBCLC, I find some of the posts that dis Lactavists tiresome, but I get the overall message and mission of this blog. I get that Dr Tuteur is sick and tired of these lay homebirth morons swindling mothers and families and touting safety and trust, etc when the evidence is so compelling that US lay midwifery has horrible outcomes.

    As an RN with 5 yrs L&D experience, I chose homebirth for my 3rd delivery. I reviewed the literature available at the time. I saw an OB throughout my pregnancy and would have transferred immediately at any moment a complication arose. I did believe I was making a rational, safe choice in my birth location. FWIW, I have never been a woo type person. I am sick that the British Medical Journal published the Johnson and Davis study and because of that study I was tilted toward a 2nd homebirth here in the states with a terribly incompetent provider. Then to discover this blog and the revelations that they didn’t actually compare the correct control group in the Johnson study- ????
    Many of you regulars with think me a fool for ever having had a homebirth. Dr Tuteur will think me a fool for working as an IBCLC and assisting mothers with breastfeeding as a career choice. Doesn’t matter.
    I can no longer lurk here and read about the recent Oregon stats and the lunatic HB advocates and their responses.
    Dr Tuteur, I support your mission and this blogs purpose to educate the public about the dangers of US lay midwifery.

    • KumquatWriter
      March 29, 2013 at 8:41 pm #

      Brava, and welcome! Your post was excellent. I’m sure no one here would think you a fool.

    • AmyM
      March 29, 2013 at 8:50 pm #

      Yes, I don’t think anyone would think you were a fool—you didn’t have all the information. As for breastfeeding, I think most people here, including Dr.Amy support breastfeeding, as long as a mother can do it and wants to do it.

      Speaking for myself, what I don’t like about the lactivist cause is the myths, lies and misconceptions that some of the extremists spread in order to guilt and shame women into breastfeeding. I think breastfeeding support, aimed at those who want it is very important and that encouraging breastfeeding is a good thing….but there are hurdles in this country that are a much greater deterrent to breastfeeding (like little to no paid leave for many American workers), than any amount of formula ads could be. I think the lactivist movement needs to be realistic about American society, and stop with the shame game and focus on positive support for those who want it. I realize I have gone off on a tangent here, but I am trying to explain how (I) feel and I believe others here feel similarly. You can do some great work as an IBCLC, I am sure.

      • Charlotte
        March 29, 2013 at 10:35 pm #

        I agree. I had one level-headed lactation consultant who gave wonderful, sensible advice and was judgement-free about formula. She encouraged me to use it if the baby wasn’t gaining weight on breast milk alone, while still being there to answer questions and solve breast feeding problems when asked. If every lactation consultant was like her, no one would ever complain about them. However, I did run into quite a few bad ones as well. They’re the ones that give them a bad name.

    • Susan
      March 29, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

      As a fellow RN I am glad to see your post. I think breastfeeding moms need assistance and being an IBCLC is great! We just don’t need to demonize formula feeding moms to help other moms breastfeed. I had a homebirth too but before I was a RN. I think it’s great that you are speaking up!

      • Mary Herrington, RN, IBCLC
        March 29, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

        thanks! When I walk into a mother’s hospital room I do all I can to assist the mother in “her breastfeeding goals” whatever they may be. Demonizing formula feeding moms is not in my practice goals! (especially since 2 of my own kids consumed large quantities of formula, gasp!!)

        • notahomebirthlactivist
          April 2, 2013 at 4:14 am #

          I am with you. I have liked some of the blog posts on breastfeeding but particularly disliked a few too. however I really love this blog because it is saying things that need to be saod and adding some sanity and balance to the “birth conversations.” For a long time before I found this blog I actually thought that epidurals were extremely harmful and caused csections. I believed that hospitals were doing all theae unnecessary csections and needed to lower their rates. Every birth book and blog recommended to me was a natural birth one and I took the words of these supposed experts as facts.

          • notahomebirthlactivist
            April 2, 2013 at 4:16 am #

            And I’m typing this on my phone so apologies for the strange spelling mistakes.

    • CanDoc
      March 29, 2013 at 10:08 pm #

      Mary, I’m glad you’re here! Beliefs about many things, from breastfeeding to attachment parenting to circumcision, vary widely amongst readers of this blog, and that’s okay. But all of us feel like you do: Women are being lied to. The truth is out there. And women deserve to know it. Thanks for posting.

    • Charlotte
      March 29, 2013 at 10:30 pm #

      I don’t think most homebirthers are fools, especially not now that’s becoming more mainstream and every blogger, author, and news outlet is saying it is completely safe. Someone new to pregnancy and birth has no way to know these seeming experts are charlatans and they get duped. That’s why this blog is so important – it is one of the only sources of truthful info on homebirth out there.

    • mollyb
      March 29, 2013 at 11:08 pm #

      I don’t think anyone here is anti-breastfeeding, even Dr. Amy herself breastfed her four kids. I think most people here are against pseudoscience and putting unfair and unkind pressure on women based on that junk science. Breastfeeding is a wonderful way to feed a baby if it works out for that mother, baby and family. I had some great lactation counselors (and some poor ones) with my older, sickly daughter. The best one I ever had gave me a printed list of steps to take while trying to get her to nurse (pumping, finger-feeding, etc) and the #1 step was “You are a good mother”. When you’re having trouble nursing, you can feel like a really shitty mom. Her kindness with me meant so much even if my little girl never did get the hang of the boob. Keep up the good work!

    • JC
      March 29, 2013 at 11:09 pm #

      I agree that no one here is going to judge you for having a homebirth. I think many others, like me, found Dr. Amy’s blog while researching homebirths. I am so glad I did find it. I had two wonderful hospital births and thought that they were so easy that I might as well have a homebirth. Once I read some of the stories of babies lost at homebirths, I knew I could never do it. But I can easily see how it could have gone the other way for me. I was pretty convinced that I could have a wonderful homebirth. I actually wanted to discount things I had read so I could go ahead with it. But the longer I stuck around on this site, I could no longer even consider it.

      And don’t feel bad about being an IBCLC. I had some great ones at the hospital. And even though breastfeeding did not work out for me in the long run with my first two, I am grateful for their help. I agree with some other commenters, that being open to all mom’s wishes/experiences/desires regarding breastfeeding is the key. If a mom says “I really want to formula feed” or “I gave breastfeeding try but it’s not working or is too painful, I’m done” or “I really want to breastfeed, please help me” then I think her decision needs to be respected. I know moms on both side of this issue and I respect them all. I think LCs not listening to moms or ignoring supply issues or pain is what many commenters get upset about. But I think the world needs more level-headed LCs, so keep up the good work!

    • quadrophenic
      March 29, 2013 at 11:37 pm #

      As others have said, no hatred towards lactation consultants here! It’s just the crazy lactivists that bug me. I had a terrible time breastfeeding but still appreciate the help the IBCLCs at my hospital gave me. Honestly they’re the ones who told me to supplement when I’d been following the lactivist advice and my baby lost too much weight. I hate to think that you’d feel unwelcome because of it. Just like there’s a huge difference between CNMs and undertrained lay midwives, there’s a huge difference between militant lactivists and professional IBCLCs who support without judgment.

      • Renee Martin
        March 30, 2013 at 11:51 am #

        IBCLC not = lactivist

        BF professionals that help moms that want to BF are a great, and necessary, resource.

        I can’t speak for everyone, but I do think the consensus here is that assisting women that want to BF, BF, is great! While pushing BF when a mom doesn’t want it, shaming FF moms, and spreading misinformation about the magic of BF, is harmful to everyone.

    • Bomb
      March 29, 2013 at 11:38 pm #

      I have never felt judged for having a homebirth, nor have I seen any judgement thrown at IBCLC’s that are not dogmatic.

    • Sue
      March 30, 2013 at 4:54 am #

      Thank you for your honesty and insight, Mary. Anyone who re-thinks what they previously did in the light of new evidence or knowledge cannot be considered foolish.

    • EB
      March 30, 2013 at 10:53 am #

      Home birthing seems so lovely — and is sold so beautifully by its proponents. Who wouldn’t want to bring a baby into the world in her own home, be tucked into your own bed with a snuggly baby and a nice cup of tea? There’s nothing wrong about falling for it. But once you really read you understand that there’s an 8 times greater possibility of you or your baby dying, that there is nothing heroic or noble about choosing the pain of childbirth (which is really freaking bad), and then there’s the whole fish net for the pool thing which is never in the cute pictures. I believe we need to find ways to make hospital delivery wards much more conducive to a relaxed, homey birth, but I also think we need to help women get over the birth thing and focus on the parenting thing, which is a lot harder and lasts a lot longer.

    • anonomom_LLLL_IBCLC
      March 30, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

      I could have written this, but I had my third birth in a birth center with a CNM. Still not as safe as a hospital. Probably would have done a home birth if DH hadnt put his foot down.

      OT: I feel IBCLC work is sacred — especially when we help mothers with low supply or the hard decision to quit bf, as we may be the only ones who can give the mom the understanding and compassion she needs to cope with everyone else’s disapproval. I have even seen a woman who hated bf do it under pressure from the baby’s father. I told her to tell him that he could feed the baby from his nipples with an SNS and hormone supplements if he wanted the baby to be breastfed. Sheesh.

    • PrecipMom
      March 31, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

      I have had 3 home births, and the BMJ piece was very compelling to me too. It seems so reasonable on the surface and you never want to think that anyone could actually lie to that degree with someone else’s baby’s life in the balance. It took years for me to detox from the NCB dogma, this blog was extraordinarily helpful in that task.

      You are very welcome here. You are far from the only person here to discover that the wool was pulled over her eyes. And I <3 IBCLCs. I've spent about 6 (probably more) years of my life nursing my kids because of a wonderful lactation consultant who helped me troubleshoot my 2nd baby's latch.*passes the cookies*

  16. jetplane
    March 29, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

    Why hasn’t the Oregonian picked up this story. What a lack of journalism. You can bet that my local paper would publish any data if the local CRNs were killing off their patients 5+ times more than the Anesthesiogists…

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      March 29, 2013 at 8:16 pm #

      That’s a very good question. It is certainly news.

    • April 18, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

      probably the same reason that they ignored Kermit Gosnell for 20 years while he butchered women and children.

  17. thankfulmom
    March 29, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

    Why does she think OB’s hate home birth midwives?

    Since hb’s are a small percentage, I can’t imagine they are worried about losing a patient. Is it because they transfer to the hospital after things go sideways and the OB’s malpractice insurance pays out for an injured baby (when the OB wasn’t the one responsible for letting things go wrong)?

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      March 29, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

      No one hates anyone. These people cannot abide disagreement and insist that anyone who doesn’t agree with them “hates” them.

      • Susan
        March 29, 2013 at 9:02 pm #

        I think the reason she feels hated is projection. I doubt OB’s would feel warm fuzzies upon reading her conspiracy theories about them.

      • Kalacirya
        March 30, 2013 at 10:39 am #

        It’s really something, how they bandy about the words: hate, haters, trolls, flaming, trolling. These words have meaning, and none of them mean “someone who harshly disagrees with me.” These women have 1 real, harmless troll for every 100 critics, and it’s just so shameful how they try to warp discourse. Banning those that post critical ideas, deleting critical comments, going back and cleaning up their own remarks to make themselves look better, outright lying about things that have happened in the past, and the list goes on. These women are not journalists, they are not researchers, they’re narcissistic buffoons who want an eager, censored audience to fellate their egos for whatever poor ideas they come up with.

        • Renee Martin
          March 30, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

          They are holding a conference here called “Human Rights in Birth”, because they think they are persecuted.


          • Squillo
            March 30, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

            I assume the right to safe, effective pain relief in childbirth is paramount among their concerns.

          • Bombshellrisa
            March 30, 2013 at 3:12 pm #

            And access to MRCS, right?

      • Squillo
        March 30, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

        It’s quite telling that they insist on shifting every debate from fact-based argument to emotional territory.

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