The mind blowing ignorance and stupidity of homebirth midwives

Portrait of Clown

The Oregon homebirth midwifery statistics, described by Judith Rooks, CNM MPH as “the most complete, accurate data of any US state on outcomes of births planned to occur in the mother’s home or an out-of-hospital birth center,” show that planned homebirth with a licensed homebirth midwife has a mortality rate 800% higher than hospital birth at term. The Colorado statistics, which the licensed homebirth midwives have been desperately trying to hide, shows that planned homebirth with a licensed midwife has a perinatal mortality rate more than 300% higher than all births, including those that are premature. Six years in a row, the CDC statistics have shown that planned homebirth with a non-nurse midwife has a mortality rate 3-7.7X higher than hospital birth. And that number actually undercounts the carnage because babies who were transferred and died in the hospital aren’t included in the homebirth group.

Why is the death rate so appallingly high?

Because licensed American homebirth midwives have absolutely no idea what they are doing or even what they are talking about.

Consider this flourish of homebirth midwifery stupidity, What Makes Birth “Safe”? by Maryn Leister, CPM. I really appreciate the ironic use of scare quotes indicating that apparently even Maryn knows that homebirth at her hands isn’t actually safe; it’s “safe.” I wish I could reprint it all, because it is difficult to believe that anyone could stuff so much mind blowing nonsense into one blog post, so I strongly encourage everyone to read the entire piece. Unfortunately, I can only offer you excerpts.

Maryn starts with the typical brainlessness that passes as “wisdom” among homebirth advocates. In answer to the question what makes birth “safe,” she declares:

To me, it’s a trick question. Because nothing makes birth safer than it already is. In its truest form, of course. The delicate dance of mom and baby, to complete a sequence that is normal and physiological. It’s already “safe”; at least, as safe as anything else that our bodies are programmed to do. Eating, sleeping, eliminating. We don’t question that these processes are “safe” for the average person. They just are. We don’t ask “what” makes them what they are.

So homebirth in nature, with its inherent neonatal mortality rate of 7% and maternal mortality rate of 1%, is “safe” and it can’t get “safer.” But it is not safe (minus the scare quotes), and it only seems safe because modern American obstetrics lowered the neonatal mortality rate by 90% and the maternal mortality rate by 99%, saving the lives of nearly 200,000 babies and 40,000 women each and every year.

Not only is Maryn’s philosophy idiotic, it is ugly, including a large dollop of social Darwinism:

The problem is the thought that birth NEEDS to be made any safer than it already is. But it’s actually not “safe” that many people are after; it’s birth being infallible.

How is this possible? How can we erase the possibility of death from birth? We cannot. They are two sides of the same coin, but this is an uncomfortable subject and not addressed by those that think other humans or special machines can save every baby and every mama. That is not real, and that is not life, unfortunately. There is an element of risk in everything we do in life; whether it’s crossing the street, or driving our car. Birth is no different.

Some babies die and they’re meant to die. That’s why it’s okay that Maryn and the homebirth midwives who advance this philosophy apparently have no obligation to save them. Saving those babies and mothers would require Maryn and her fellow clowns to actually learn something and they don’t care to be bothered with knowledge. In fact, they don’t care to be bothered with standards at all. It’s not just Maryn and her colleagues who think so; the organization that represents them, the Midwives Alliance of North America has enshrined the “no standards” policy in their statement of values and ethics:

A. We value our right to practice the art of midwifery, an ancient vocation of women.

B. We value multiple routes of midwifery education and the essential importance of apprenticeship training.

C. We value the wisdom of midwifery, an expertise that incorporates theoretical and embodied knowledge, clinical skills, deep listening, intuitive judgment, spiritual awareness and personal experience…

It is hardly a coincidence that MANA gives pride of place to freedom of the midwife, and not safety of the mother and baby. In the entire document, they mention safety only once, only vaguely and only in connection with what homebirth midwives “value,” not in connection with any ethical obligation to patients:

We value the physical, psychosocial and spiritual health, well-being and safety of every mother and baby.

Back to Maryn and her nitwittery:

And as far as the WHO is “safe”; well, I don’t think it’s any of our business to determine this for ANY woman. There is no way to quantify risk …

Well, sure, for those who don’t know basic arithmetic there is no way to quantify risk, but people who can add, subtract, multiply and divide have no trouble doing so. In fact, not only is it the business of every healthcare provider to do so, they are REQUIRED to do, because they are required to obtain informed consent. That means that they are responsible for knowing exactly what the best estimates of risk are for any set of circumstances, and for accurately transmitting that information to women. No one can make an informed decision about homebirth if they don’t have information.

Maryn ends and she began, in a wave of blistering stupidity:

Walking with women is the TRUE job of a midwife. And this walk is done differently from midwife to midwife. Ideally, all midwives would be educated, compassionate, up on current research …

Wrong again, Maryn. It’s not the ideal. It’s REQUIRED.

It’s hardly surprising that babies, too many babies, are dying preventable deaths at the hands of these midwifery clowns. It is time to abolish the CPM credential and require anyone who wishes to call herself a midwife to meet that same educational and training standards (including a 4 year university degree in midwifery and extensive in hospital training) required of midwives in ALL other industrialized countries.

Of course, Maryn and her fellow clowns would no longer be able to call themselves midwives and would no longer be able to make money by offering their services. Don’t worry, though, I have a solution for Maryn and her compatriots. If all it takes to make homebirth safe is to pretend that it’s “safe,” all they need to do to make money is pretend that they are making “money.” That way homebirth midwives can make all the “money” that they want, while well educated, well trained healthcare providers can care for babies and mothers and keep them safe.

  • grandma

    how can a midwife answer a question , “what do you do if something goes wrong?” with this answer. “Nothing ever goes wrong, she is a baby making machine” Her cockiness told me right there she thought she was ” goddess of homebirth”, and above all a real foolish young woman living in a fancy world. This made me so upset I could not sleep nights with this sick feeling of what was going to be. it was to become a heartache I will not ever forget. To this day I wish she and her doula partner were in jail. But as you said,
    the child was born in the hospital not breathing and it counts as a hospital death. How sad for all of us, she cm still is out doing her thing. she not only caused a child from living but almost caused the babies mom to leave us, too.

  • Ashley Wilson

    “It’s already “safe”; at least, as safe as anything else that our bodies are programmed to do. Eating, sleeping, eliminating. ”

    Um… what about the risk of choking? We take plenty of caution when we eat, but it has become so standard in our lives we just don’t think of it as weird. Don’t talk while we eat (good table manners as well), chew completely, start with mush and work your way up. And if something happens (like you start to choke) hopefully you have someone around who can help you. Isn’t the Heimlich Maneuver a medical intervention. So by their logic, if you see someone choking, you should just let them asphyxiate. Some people were just not meant to eat?

  • Amy Tuteur, MD

    OT: ACOG’s latest press release and the response of a “public health scholar”

    • JC

      Shouldn’t you be required to complete your degree before granting yourself such a title? I finished a master’s degree in English/Creative Writing in a year and a half and graduated with honors. But I certainly did not call myself an English Creative Writing Scholar or an English teacher (even though I taught classes as a TA). I still refuse to give myself some pompous title to make myself look/feel better about my life. Also, not to be harsh, but if you are dropping classes because you can’t handle them and are in over your head, you might want to hold off on bragging until you have completed your degree.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Fortunately, she isn’t fooling anyone, as the followup comments show.

        • JC

          True. Fortunately, her reputation precedes her.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Who the heck runs around presenting themselves as a “scholar” anyway?

        When I was in school, I called myself a student. After I got myself a PhD, I called myself a scientist (although I am technically still a scholar – we are always learning). We talk a lot about “scholarly activities” but no one I know says they are a “scholar.”

        Fluff, fluff, fluff

        • Who the heck runs around presenting themselves as a “scholar” anyway?

          People involved in scholarly pursuits? Like the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake? I wouldn’t describe myself as a scholar as a kind of job description, but I am conscious that some forms of research that word is accurate enough. It is just a word, fairly old fashioned and out of favour as a concept.

          Which is not, of course quite how Gina is using it. I rather suspect her idea of research is asking people she knows will give her the answer she wants. Certainly, in her circles she is likely to find people who would rather wait, being entirely clueless as to why that might not be such a great idea.

          Gina is an irritant – a pseudo-expert, bolstering her own ego. That the President of ACOG can publish this is far more worrying.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            People involved in scholarly pursuits? Like the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake?

            As I said, that applies to me, and to a large number of people I know. Yet, no one uses it. It’s idiotic.

          • auntbea

            I use it, but only to refer to others. As in “work by other scholars has found…”. I also refuse to refer to myself as expert, even for the subjects I am supposedly an expert on.

          • Eddie

            It’s about humility. Heaven help us from those who lack it, whether on our side of an issue or the other.

  • Disgusted

    “It’s already “safe”; at least, as safe as anything else that our bodies
    are programmed to do. Eating, sleeping, eliminating. We don’t question
    that these processes are “safe” for the average person. They just are.
    We don’t ask “what” makes them what they are.”

    ….but we do. This is what biology, medicine, anatomy are for. This is why we teach kids from a young age to chew their food in small bites and chew thoroughly so as not to choke. This is why we learn the Heimlich maneuver (I saved my child’s life with it once.) This is why we remove pillows from a baby’s crib so they don’t smother and put them down on their back to reduce the risk of SIDS. This is why people have baby monitors. This is why when our child has severe diarrhea or constipation we take him or her to the doctor. Do they not do any of these things? Do they seriously just throw their hands up in the air and says “shit happens or not!” when it comes to all the dangers of sleeping, eating, eliminating?

    • Eddie

      Exactly this. People die doing eating, sleeping, and eliminating on a regular basis, and we do change our behavior to reduce the risk of this happening. But somehow, with birth …

      I think a lot of this nonsense comes from anti-scientific thinking. If statistics come out that prove medicine helps, well, that’s just people who are part of the conspiracy. I’ve run into people who quite deliberately reject the kind of critical thinking that is required for science, because they “just know.” And I regularly hear things advertised on the radio that make me ask, “Who would ever use this? They are purposefully advertising ignorance!” Such as the medicine to prevent a cold that was created by a school teacher who just got tired of catching colds. Apparently, all the scientists and drug companies were just going about it wrong, and this school teacher was the first person to really decide to do something about this problem. And with that logic, people give their money for this placebo.

  • Kalacirya

    OT:

    They’re screening the Ina May documentary in my area, should I go?

    “”Birth Story” w/ filmmakers Sara Lamm & Mary Wigmore (via Skype)

    The story of counterculture heroine Ina May Gaskin and her spirited friends, who taught themselves midwifery from the ground up and created a model of care for women and babies that changed a generation’s approach to childbirth. Co-sponsored by Birthnet, The Pregnancy Project, Local Care Midwifery LLC, and HeartSpace”

    • I would!

    • T.

      It depends if you really need to be seriously pissed off. If you do, by al means go.

      Even if a rewiev would be interesting…

    • Something From Nothing

      I went. I posted about it on the guest post from last week on feminism. I thought the film was horrific and the gullible crowd made me cringe. Then having the midwives there try to convince me that Ina may and I share the same ideology about birth was laughable. Check it out. Maybe you will have more courage to speak out than I did.

    • PrecipMom

      Depends on how much you want to bang your head against a wall or like feeling like everyone is telling you about the naked emperor’s fabulous clothing.

  • Yesacsection

    Scientists do more work to ensure the ethical treatment of mammals through a program called IACUC (Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee) than midwives are required to do with human life. Any plans to work on mammals require a plan of how they are to be used and managed humanely–something midwives clearly do not do with those that are,”Not meant to live.” I cannot believe our federal government is not prosecuting these criminals and their leadership…PETA’s lobby would have shut down any such operation on any other mammal.

  • Bombshellrisa

    Maryn’s version of the incident that she ultimately surrendered her license over

    http://newsle.com/article/0/50499539/

  • Natalie

    My good friend had her baby yesterday!!
    She had been reading too much Ina May Gaskin and was convinced she was NOT going to be induced, and was NOT going to have any medical intervention. Luckily, it was a hospital birth. At 41.5 weeks I started talking to her husband pretty seriously (and as gently as possible) about the risks of post-dates (he’s a med student too, and he likes graphs). Luckily she finally went into labor the afternoon before her induction at 42 &1.
    At 7cm she was paralyzed with pain and got the epidural. She pushed for four hours. Meconium in fluid. Baby got stuck at +2, so they did a vacuum assist. Happy outcome: healthy (but sore) mom and a healthy baby boy!
    He had an elevated WBC with a left shift so he’s getting some antibiotics and being observed for a couple days. I was holding him today and thinking how different the outcome would be had she been at home. Things that are so easily and swiftly addressed and treated in a hospital can easily be deadly for an otherwise perfect baby if at home.
    The sad part- she was too embarrassed and ashamed to tell me about the epidural because that damn woman Ina May Gaskin had convinced her “natural birth isn’t that bad, and real, powerful women can handle it”. She felt like a failure. So Infuriating!

    • Becky05

      The sad thing is that there’s evidence that things might have been better (less risk of meconium and infection and labor dystocia) if she’d been induced a week before that. I’m glad that she and baby are doing well, now.

      • Natalie

        Oh I know… all of us were trying to gently encourage her to be induced when she hit 40 weeks. Unfortunately she was afraid of the “cascade of intervention”
        she thought if she got pitocin she would need an epidural and if she got an epidural labor would stall and she would end up with a C-section.
        I’m so glad everyone is healthy

    • “real, powerful women can handle it”

      The rock that NCB is built on. All the guff about “better for the baby”, the superiority of all things natural, and at bottom it is all about some mad version of a pissing contest. Of course women can handle it. So?

      You grit your teeth through hours of unnecessary pain, and that makes you powerful? (The implications of “real women” are too silly to even contemplate.)

      The main offence of NCB is that it fosters a dangerous complacency about birth that costs lives. After that, it greatly increases the sum of human misery by brainwashing women into pursuing some ideal of birth far from the reality and setting up a perception of winners and losers. I can understand an innocent sense of pride and delight in an easy birth, and the glow of accomplishment that goes with it. I can understand the sense of triumph that might come from getting through a more difficult birth, as a kind of personal goal. But it IS a personal goal, not an objective marker of worth. My first, to my surprise, was a disaster. Don’t anybody bother telling me that means I am less than some idiot who trusts birth, because I am not foolish enough to buy it. No woman fails at birth. Nature (and sometimes human nature) fails women.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        I want to know, is my wife unreal? Or non-powerful?

        And even if she is either, why does it matter?

      • theadequatemother

        I wonder…it used to also be that “real men” stoically handled the pain of battle induced injuries. Did it take the horrendous toll of WWI and millions of witnessed experiences of pain with and without morphine to break that stupid idea?

        How much witnessed pain and suffering in childbirth with break this idea for women?

    • Skye Belle Matilda Brand

      Fuck that shit! The more drugs the better for childbirth!
      My first birth started out as a natural birth but ended up being an emergency ceasarean.

      Baby #2 was a planned ceasarean & I copped a lot of stick over the decision. Luckily I’m strong & powerful enough to tell people to mind their own business before I stick my steel toe boot up their vagina.

  • Charlotte

    Have none of these women ever looked at their family tree before their own generation? Death from pregnancy and childbirth complications (not to mention vaccine-preventable diseases) was absolutely rampant in my family all the way up through the 1960s. So many missing children, so many orphans, so many mothers gone. It’s heartbreaking.

    • T.

      Yes, when you read about all the children one after the other with the same name, and then you learn it is because they gave the name of the deceased sibling… My great-grandmother was the seventh Luigia. Six died before her.

  • Lori

    Two things, first, lol, at “ideally” being educated, and second, thanks in advance for the twisted nightmares I’m sure to have involving that clown pic.

  • Sue

    The stupidity of that woman’s comments makes me want to use my full day’s complement of !!!!!!!!!!!

  • Sue

    And THIS: “That is not real, and that is not life, unfortunately. There is an element of risk in everything we do in life; whether it’s crossing the street, or driving our car. Birth is no different.” Can she not see that cars are not “natural”?

    • Mrs. W

      Or that one looks both ways before crossing the street and wears seat belts when driving from point a to b.

      • An Actual Attorney

        Yes, crossing the street has risks. But not as many as childbirth. I was thinking that I cross a street about 20 times on an average day. Nationally, if I’ve got the stats right, roughly 1 baby dies in every 2000 births. It takes me 100 days to cross the street 2000 times. If I was looking at getting killed every 3.5 months, I wouldn’t cross the effin street.

    • BCMom

      And that is why we stop and look both ways – to mitigate risk.

  • Sue

    “Eating, sleeping, eliminating. We don’t question that these processes are “safe” for the average person. They just are. We don’t ask “what” makes them what they are.”

    What a load of nonsense! Eating never goes wrong? Sleeping never goes wrong? Nobody gets constipation or diarrhoea?

    SHE might not ask “what” makes them what they are, but some of us study how the body actually works, and “understand” “what” makes them what they are (and why they sometimes go wrong).

    • Meagan

      Well no… I think that’s kind of her point. Maybe not so much with the constipation/diarrhea… But say choking to death. It happens. It would be ridiculous to medicalize chewing, or eat only milkshakes etc to avoid death by choking, because eating is already “safe.” Thats what she’s arguing, I think.

      And, you know, if giving birth were as easy and “safe” as eating a hamburger maybe she’d have a point.

      • Becky05

        “And, you know, if giving birth were as easy and “safe” as eating a hamburger maybe she’d have a point.”

        Exactly. None of these activities come anywhere close to the natural mortality rate in birth. They just aren’t comparable.

      • Box of Salt

        “It would be ridiculous to medicalize chewing”

        Maybe she’d have a point if there was no such thing as the Heimlich maneuver.

    • fiftyfifty1

      Yep, I have had patients with life threatening difficulties in all 3: swallowing (choking on food after a stroke is very common), sleeping (sleep apnea can lead to fatal heart problems) and elimination (bowel obstruction due to severe constipation). I *routinely* ask my elderly patients about difficulties with swallowing. I screen for sleep apnea risk factors at every physical for both adults and children. I treat constipation before it starts by prescribing a laxative whenever I prescribe a constipating medication. Perhaps I am guilty of “medicalizing” these natural processes. Well so be it, because it can save lives.

  • Bombshellrisa

    More Maryn nitwittery “We believe that YOU are the expert, and we respect your mama wisdom and the wise ways of physiological birth, mothering and the “Motherbaby” unit”
    You can’t make this stuff up (I still prefer my term “motherbabyplacenta” better)

    • Amazed

      Then why the hell are they collecting money from their mama experts?

      As to the idiots who cheered her, I can only hope they are more of hypocrites and less of messed up idiots. I hope they won’t really lay their own children’s lives at the stake for the sake of having only natural safety. It’s easy to speak about natural selection when you’re sure it’s something that only happens to others ’cause you’re so superior, you know.

    • fiftyfifty1

      But don’t forget to capitalize the “M”! Cause we wouldn’t want to forget that Mama is the star of this show!

  • An Actual Attorney

    Here’s my favorite recent nitwittery find: http://www.trilliumbirthservices.com/fertility.htm

    My favorite part:

    “Planning to Conceive Via Donor Insemination?

    For women who using donor insemination to achieve a pregnancy, I can offer several unique services:

    In-depth counseling and planning regarding all aspects of the conception and donor insemination process, including physical, legal, financial, emotional, and social factors.

    Education about ways to precisely time insemination to get the best results possible within the fewest cycles.

    Sensitive care friendly to the needs of women and their partners.

    In-depth chart review and free email and phone consultations as you progress through your cycles.

    Appropriate care for women who would otherwise not need help from a reproductive endocrinologist — keeping the process of pregnancy low-tech and low-intervention.

    Insemination services in your home or my office.

    Access to some laboratory services for sperm preparation.

    Fees for all services are designed to be affordable. Insurance reimbursement may be available for some services.”

    Gah!!!! Bad medicine, violation of federal law re sperm donation, ant the unauthorized practice of law!

    • Bombshellrisa

      I just became unhungry VERY VERY fast. Thank you.

      • An Actual Attorney

        She could add weight loss to her list of services!

    • ‘Nother Lawyer

      “all aspects of the conception and donor insemination process, including physical, legal”

      Oh, so she’s a lay attorney too? Donor sperm cases are *really* easy to mess up. I spend a lot of of my time trying to fix things after the fact.

      • An Actual Attorney

        Gee, what damage can she do?– I mean nothing could go wrong when you have a known donor who the state will count as a parent, in a jurisdiction that constitutionally forbids same sex marriage.

  • Mrs. W

    At first I thought my previous comments on Maryn’s post were deleted, but, apparently the same silliness is also posted at http://www.indiebirth.com/what-makes-birth-safe/#disqus_thread . It’s apparent that these women do not know what they do not know….

  • Aunti Po Dean

    Speaking of mind blowing ignorance here are a few gems from MDC given in response to the thread discussing the Oregon OOH death rates

    “I agree that having access to hospital equipment and staff is a good thing, but it’s important to remember that there are some hospitals where the technology is being applied inappropriately, raising the risk of certain types of emergencies, so some of those babies and mothers who are “saved” because they were in a hospital were only in danger in the first place because of the practices used in their hospital. Also, hospital birth often comes with a higher risk of infection, drug mixups, etc… So, depending on the available hospital, available midwives, the logistics of transferring to hospital, and the mother’s particular circumstances (for example drug allergies), OOH birth can offer protection against a variety of potential problems.”

    “There’s a great movie to watch called “The Business of Being Born” that even shows that midwives are better than hospitals and doctors. There are more C-sections than at home births and the U.S. infant death rate is higher than a large portion of the industrial and developed world. The reason is because of all the drugs they use to “speed up” birthing when in all actuality they simply slow things and make it so there are complications where mothers have no choice other than to give birth by C-section. No offense meant to any doctors, but I’m planning on having my kids at home with a midwife. ^^ And I look forward to it. This movie even showed that, yes birth is painful, but not nearly as painful as what it is in hospitals because you can get up and move around and be comfortable and without all the drugs. So I can definitely agree with any midwife here or mother that has had a wonderful experience with a midwife on here about the name of that supposed study.” “And this is a 1 year review analysis not really a study- to be clear about that you cannot tell if this is a fluke high or what occurs all the time.”

    “Not to mention, that study was probably funded by hospitals which means the researchers are going to conclude in favor of the hospitals.” “Keep in mind though, there are some midwives that are inexperienced or have not received the right training. But if you do your research and look for those who do have the experience and have received the proper training, you’ll be more than likely to have a good experience.”

    “Personally, I don’t need studies of any kind to tell *me* that vaginal birth is the normal, preferable birth route. If it wasn’t, we’d have an exit out our abdomens.”

    “Oh, good…well, then I will read with more interest when her study is published! I’ve never seen info presented like this before so it has my suspicions up. ”
    Bingo!
    Speaking of mind blowing ignorance here are a few gems from MDC given in response to the thread discussing the Oregon OOH death rates

    “I agree that having access to hospital equipment and staff is a good thing, but it’s important to remember that there are some hospitals where the technology is being applied inappropriately, raising the risk of certain types of emergencies, so some of those babies and mothers who are “saved” because they were in a hospital were only in danger in the first place because of the practices used in their hospital. Also, hospital birth often comes with a higher risk of infection, drug mixups, etc… So, depending on the available hospital, available midwives, the logistics of transferring to hospital, and the mother’s particular circumstances (for example drug allergies), OOH birth can offer protection against a variety of potential problems.”

    “There’s a great movie to watch called “The Business of Being Born” that even shows that midwives are better than hospitals and doctors. There are more C-sections than at home births and the U.S. infant death rate is higher than a large portion of the industrial and developed world. The reason is because of all the drugs they use to “speed up” birthing when in all actuality they simply slow things and make it so there are complications where mothers have no choice other than to give birth by C-section. No offense meant to any doctors, but I’m planning on having my kids at home with a midwife. ^^ And I look forward to it. This movie even showed that, yes birth is painful, but not nearly as painful as what it is in hospitals because you can get up and move around and be comfortable and without all the drugs. So I can definitely agree with any midwife here or mother that has had a wonderful experience with a midwife on here about the name of that supposed study.” “And this is a 1 year review analysis not really a study- to be clear about that you cannot tell if this is a fluke high or what occurs all the time.”

    “Not to mention, that study was probably funded by hospitals which means the researchers are going to conclude in favor of the hospitals.” “Keep in mind though, there are some midwives that are inexperienced or have not received the right training. But if you do your research and look for those who do have the experience and have received the proper training, you’ll be more than likely to have a good experience.”

    “Personally, I don’t need studies of any kind to tell *me* that vaginal birth is the normal, preferable birth route. If it wasn’t, we’d have an exit out our abdomens.”

    “Oh, good…well, then I will read with more interest when her study is published! I’ve never seen info presented like this before so it has my suspicions up. ”
    Bingo!

    • Bombshellrisa

      This was on the Facebook page to support Oregon midwife Marcene Rebeck. Remember the barista/Jazzercise instructor/midwife? http://www.facebook.com/missionformarcene?ref=stream

      Attention all researchers! We would love some help finding articles/studies on the following topics. Any info you find can be sent as a comment to this post, message on this page, or emailed to helpformarcene@yahoo.com. Thanks!!
      1. The value of leaving the umbilical cord attached after birth
      2. Going “floppy” is not an automatic medical emergency
      a.The Apgar score can go down at 5 min as long as it’s up by 10 min
      3. How quickly is a baby supposed to nurse – what is the outside range of getting on the nipple which is still acceptable?
      4. Are all babies born “with a rooting reflex”?
      5. What are the possible sources of septic infection in a neonate, absent an open wound?
      6. What is the range of time from initial infection to death? (what’s the fastest it could happen, what’s the longest it could happen)
      7. If there is no obvious site of infection (no pneumonia, no UTI, etc), and a baby is septic, what could be the source?
      a. Could it be that a baby being repeatedly intubated was exposed to bacteria which developed into sepsis?
      b. If the intubation caused the septic infection, could the baby have died within 24 hrs of the intubation?

      • #2 and 2a are painful.

        “floppy” usually indicates serious hypoxia. An Apgar score that drops between 1 and 5 minutes is alarming and indicates a problem.

        I believe that an infant with an Apgar score below __ (let’s say 3) at any point should be taken to a hospital to be properly assessed.

        The obvious answers to the questions of infection/sepsis are GBS and chorio. They are obviously attempting to claim the infection was hospital acquired. So how did the baby become ill enough to need hospital care, eh?

        • auntbea

          I’m envisioning a roving band of doctors, armed with laryngoscopes, cackling with glee when they find a fresh baby throat to intubate!

      • areawomanpdx

        Looks like she’s trying to find a way to blame her incompetence on the hospital. Not shocking at all.

      • PrecipMom

        I think that is quite possibly the scariest thing I have ever read.

      • theadequatemother

        That is sickening. 7b is patently false. In adults micro aspiration can occur around the endotracheal tube and cause ventilator assisted pneumonia. It almost meet happens prior to three days tho. I think VAP is more uncommon in infants but I’m not completely sure as my adult icu education was a lot better than my pedi icu.

      • Stunned

        Hol-ee shit. That’s all I’ve got. If this “midwife” is supposed to be some kind of medical professional, shouldn’t she be able to answer these questions?

        • Susan

          I thought just that. Will this facebook page end up in the trial? And will Jodi Arias trial be over in time for them to cover her trial?

          • An Actual Attorney

            I’m so glad that she isn’t my client. First meeting — stay the hell off Facebook!! It all comes back to bite you.

      • Becky05

        This makes me really sad. 🙁

      • Susan

        With facebook friends like this defending her she doesn’t need enemies.

        • Disgusted

          Seriously: “I was just informed by Marcene’s attorney that
          she does not want any supporters at the hearing, Jan.7, with signs,
          etc. There is an issue with the family of the baby that died telling the
          DA that they were offended by her supporters…”
          I bet they were. I’d be arrested for assault if I were prosecuting the woman who killed my baby and was faced with a bunch of nutjobs holding up signs supporting her.

    • Aunti Po Dean

      oops sorry, oops sorry @@!! Discus I’D fix it but we don’t have an edit button anymore

    • Bombshellrisa

      “There are more C-sections than at home births ” I hope so, I know midwives take clients that they should risk out, but I really hope that they are not attempting to do C-sections.
      As for the person who is “looking forward to having her kids at home with a midwife”, how many people want to bet she has not experienced labor yet?

    • areawomanpdx

      Good f*cking grief.

    • Sue

      Home birth protects you if you have drug allergies!! Ahahahahahaha!!

      • Bombshellrisa

        Unless you are allergic to blue or black cohosh or whatever other herbal things midwives carry with them.

  • Laura

    I read the neatest words on this blog! My new favorite one, “nitwittery” is simply phenomenal in its entertainment value. Thanks Dr. A! And of course, the expose on “nitwittery” in this blog post is disturbing to say the least. Sometimes I try to find humor where I can because the idea that these people are allowed to handle life and death situations is truly frightening.

    • An Actual Attorney

      It occurs to me, they don’t practice midwifery. It’s nitwifery!

      • Karen in SC

        Excellent!!

  • Bethany Barry

    “The delicate dance of mom and baby”? Lady, if that was dancing, then I’m moving to that town from Footloose (before that good for nothing Kevin Bacon came along and upset the applecart, of course).

    • Charlotte

      I hate the flowery language they use to obscure the real issues. Make it seem mystical and untouchable and maybe nobody will question it.

    • araikwao

      “Delicate” is the last word I’d use to describe childbirth! And “dance”?!! Also pretty far-fetched…

      • Natalie

        Agreed. Only woman who could say that with a straight face is a woman who’s never given birth.

  • Lisa the Raptor

    I’m still of the mindset that a masters degree is a more appropriate level of education to be delivering human babies.

    • Renee Martin

      I agree. WHY should moms and babies have anything less than the best?

      • Lisa the Raptor

        We have the very best, most educated midwife. Why go backwards? CNMs delivered all three of mine. Great providers.

    • Meagan

      Yep. And my US hospital employed midwife had exactly that. So it’s not like the track doesn’t exist here. I think one of problematic things (and something Amy has blogged about a lot) is that you need a certain level of education just to understand why the education is even important. I don’t think the lady is really malicious… She’s just ignorant enough to not comprehend the level of difference in danger between, not just CPM vs hospital birth, but a birth with every care and precaution vs squatting in the woods. Either that, or she’s putting on a really good show of it in the name of her agenda.

      • Bombshellrisa

        She decided not to be licensed after an investigation of her doing an HBAC. No details, but if she has investigated, I would assume that it was due to an adverse outcome of some kind. She is not practicing some benign ignorance.

        • Meagan

          Good show then. She sounds so blissfully unaware of what she’s actually saying.

          • Bombshellrisa

            http://www.indiebirth.com/birthhowyouwant/#_

            This is a petition Maryn wanted people to sign. Notice that she asks people to please contribute to her legal fund through paypal. For the love of all that is good, can we PLEASE get these women to stop using the word MAMA all the time?

  • As a veterinarian, every time I hear “perfectly designed to give birth” I cringe. It doesn’t take many generations to change a species. Look at bulldogs – we have to do a c-section almost all the time due to the small changes in the head/pelvis ratio. I already have clients that don’t want to vaccinate their pets and refuse vital medications such as heartworm preventive (opting for “all natural” remedies). How long before the NCB movement starts killing animals? Animal death does not compare to the death of a human, obviously. I’m just making the point that Dr. Google has “educated” people in all walks of medicine.

    P.S. No worries, I don’t put hats on puppies or kittens.

    • Rochester mama

      Just spit water through my nose with your p.s.

    • Lena

      I often get the impression that animal health and safety issues generate a lot more outrage than human ones, so if animals do start getting affected by this in large enough numbers, it just might be enough to get people questioning the “natural is best” philosophy regarding birth.

    • Bethany Barry

      My parents filled their empty nest with a pair of pembroke welsh corgis who were the only two surviving members of a 17 puppy litter. The mother died mid-labor. Conception of “double litters” isn’t exclusively a problem for domesticated dog breeds (or exclusively a problem dogs, for that matter), and I’m sure it results in the demise of many wild dogs, wolves, and coyote. Nature doesn’t have a will, a conscience, or reason.

      That said, the bulldog problem wasn’t created by nature. We made that mess. But you don’t hear many people saying we should only breed and own wolves and dingos :). Natural isn’t necessarily practical or safe to have around the house.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        Hyenas. Enough said about nature’s ability to make a mess.

    • Bomb

      In my time working in animal shelters and vet hospitals we did tons of sections on regular boring house cats (not even the fancy weird kinds) and they don’t seem appreciably different than their ancestors at all.

      And how about the raw food advocates that think pugs are totally able to consume raw meaty bones with the same ease as wolves. Sure wild wolves that die of “old age” (at advanced ages of 8 or 9) do so because their teeth are worn down and shattered into nubs, coupled with all the lovely parasites burdening their systems, but it is natural! The “nature” perfectly designed wolves and dogs to eat raw meat without intestinal perforation, shattered teeth, parasites etc. That is why most house dogs live 2-5 years and most wolves live into their teens.

      (I will admit I bought the natural fallacy and fed my dogs raw for a while, until they all got sick and one had to have half her teeth pulled)

      • Bomb

        Oops, the last sentence was supposed to have a /sarcasm after it. Just to be clear to random readers- house dogs obviously have significantly longer avg lifespans than wild dogs and wolves!

    • Amazed

      P.S. No worries, I don’t put hats on puppies or kittens.

      I did. Since my baby brother had some pictures with a hat and I had seen many other infants with hats, I decided it was the way to keep babies warm, so I took my dolls’ hats and placed it over the cat’s babies’ heads (after following the cat for a good few hours all around my grandparents’ house and gardens because when it isn’t an inside pet and you don’t take it to a vet, kittens might be hard to find.

      Anyone surprised that a doll’s hat could fit the kitten and not the kitten’s head?

      At least I was trying to make them safe. Which, in my own estimation, places me higher than Maryn Someone, CPM.

    • Lisa from NY

      If the owners’ children get worms from their dogs, will they want to let nature run its course?

      • Eddie

        I’m sure they’ll use the same “natural” (ineffective but at least mostly harmless) cures on their kids that they use on the pets.

    • Petanque

      Another veterinarian here, I’m amazed sometimes at the similarities between NCB advocates and dog breeders (apologies to any ethical breeders here of course!). “If it dies, it dies”, or “I just want to stick with the basics” (ie no really helpful veterinary care) chill my heart every time I hear them.

      • Eddie

        Do you think this is because of a strange belief in “what is natural” or a hard-hearted business interest in saving money over all else?

    • Squillo

      One of the first surgeries I assisted on during my days as a vet
      assistant was an emergency section on a small-breed dog who had been
      laboring, as far as the owner could tell, for two days and had become
      non-responsive. Mama dog survived, but none of the pups, which were
      huge–probably why she couldn’t deliver them vaginally–did.

      I also saw feline distemper kill kittens and Parvo kill puppies. I saw ruptured tumors and untreated meningitis.

      As far as I can tell, bodies–human or other species–are only “perfectly designed” to do one thing: die.

  • AllieFoyle

    “A. We value our right to practice the art of midwifery, an ancient vocation of women.”

    +

    “And as far as the WHO is “safe”; well, I don’t think it’s any of our business to determine this for ANY woman. There is no way to quantify risk …”

    =

    Our desire to do midwife-y stuff outweighs the health and well-being of individual women and babies

  • Captain Obvious

    So is it safe or does it have risks that no one can prevent? She is talking in circles. It is safe as any bodily function but not every birth will go perfectly, huh? She does know about the huge decrease in neonatal and maternal mortality over the history of time, doesn’t she? She trusts women have researched all what they need to know in order to make a wise decision? How many times do women say, “had I only known…”? What century is she living in? So frustrating.

    • AllieFoyle

      Duh. It’s safe enough for her and that’s all you need to know. If we want to preserve the ancient art of midwifery we’ll just have to accept a little risk.

      • Amy M

        When I read about this kind of idiocy, first I get angry and want to inform women who are being taken in by this crap. Then, when they prove to be hardheaded and unrealistic, I want to throw my hands up and say “Well, those are their babies they are risking, not mine, and they are still a tiny minority, so they aren’t influencing most people.” And then I remember that some of their ideals are creeping into mainstream medicine, and I fear for my family and friends that are childbearing, hoping they won’t get stuck with a woo-hcp.

        My sister is due soon with her first. She is having an assessment tomorrow to get an idea of baby’s size. I suspect they will tell her she can schedule an induction or a Csection at 39wk, (which is about 1wk away). If so, she may jump on the chance to get a Csection, since she has never been interested in giving birth vaginally. I’m not sure if she ever asked her OB about a MRCS. Anyway, I hope she gets what she wants, which is as painless a birth as possible of a healthy baby (and she stays healthy too).

        • AllieFoyle

          I hope so too!

    • Lisa from NY

      Do you get homebirth transfers?

  • WordSpinner

    I really, really wonder how well “midwives” like this would get along with actual historical midwives. I really doubt a midwife from the middle ages or the Renaissance would deny that birth is dangerous.

    The more I think about it, the more I think it is obstetricians and CNMs who have taken up the mantle of midwives–they’re there to make birth as safe as possible and deal with the repercussions when it isn’t.

    • Bomb

      My guess is that historical midwives would be OBs today. They were trying to help women and babies through a terribly dangerous time using the most advanced medicine they had available. But who knows, maybe they had nutty midwives back then. Maybe they thought all intervention was bad and it was “God’s will” whether you got through it. When I read accounts I really don’t get the romantic ‘ain’t nature grand’ vibe from them though.

      • Sue

        Agreed. And what is the point of having a MW at all if they don;t want to influence the natural “safety” – save your money and take your chances.

      • mollyb

        I agree. Historical midwives represented the best available care for women and babies at that time, just like an OB does today.

        • AmyP

          Right–nobody was paying a midwife 200 years ago for an “experience.” They wanted to not die.

          • They wanted to not die

            Which, of course, was not a given – and still isn’t if you avoid modern medicine. They also wanted a living child – also not a given.

            One of the other projects of 70s feminism was to uncover the hidden histories and writings of women. I came across quite a few of these some years ago when I was researching 17th century pamphlets. I have asked before – but anyone know of any diary or journal that contained an account of an empowering birth? As opposed to the prayers, the fears, the sheer courage of women who had no option but natural? The matter of fact realistic acceptance of the perils to me is much more impressive than the modern day pretence that it is all sunshine and roses.

      • Sue

        Interesting historical story: in ancient China, female doctors were only tolerated if they worked with women, as obstetrics was beneath the dignity of male doctors.

        • T.

          Same in Europe not so long ago. My great-grandmother was a midwife because doctors didn’t bother with birth. Save if you were very rich, of course

      • Lilly de Lure

        Definitely not from what I’ve read too. It makes sense though – if you’ve watched helplessly (and a lot of the time even the most skilled of historical midwives would have been helpless, and experienced enough to know it) as your patients succumbed to toxeamia, major degree placenta previa, transverse lie, placental abruption or any one of the other lethal little tricks mother nature likes to play on labouring mothers and their babies, a level of cynicism about the benevolent nature of said mother is probably inevitable.

    • Meagan

      Anyone else read Terry Pratchett? In spite of the general light tone of most of his writing, I’ll always be haunted by the scene where Granny Weatherwax steps in to an emergency birth to make the choice to save the life of the mother over the baby or possibly neither. Even though it’s fantasy, parody, and not meant to be remotely factual, this is always what I think of when I think of historical midwives.

      • April_S.

        Do doctors still face that “save the mother or the baby” choice? How would I make certain that my doctor would choose me?

        • Dr Kitty

          Tell them to. Preferably in writing.
          Seriously, rather than “I want dim lights” this is the stuff that should be in a birth plan.

          “In the unlikely event that a decision has to be made between prioritising my life or the baby’s, then I request you to prioritise…..”

          If you don’t need it, great, if you do then your doctor knows your wishes.

          • Anaesthetist

            its one thats not entirely theoretical, Ive never thank goodness been there but have spoken to anaesthetists who have had a cant intubate/cant safely oxygenate situation in the context of fetal distress and an emergency section and have had to make the choice to wake the mother up as the GA anaesthetic cannot be safely carried out with their current technique, despite the fact the section is emergent. Bottom line for us is that the mother is our patient and we cant ignore a real risk of harm to her in pursuit of saving the baby. Its rare, its tragic and none of us ever wants to make the call of delaying a section if the babys life is at risk but our priority would be to preserve the life of the mother

          • Dr Kitty

            I was thinking that particularly if you DID want the medical team to prioritise the baby, you should make that clear.

        • CanDoc

          Most current ethical frameworks value life of the mother over life of the fetus (since fetus not on outside does not quite meet criteria for personhood yet.) BUT this is a choice faced rarely, and usually not in the setting of an emergency. The only modern situation I can think of would be in early pregnancy when women with certain cardiac diseases (dilated aortic root in Marfan’s syndrome, cyanotic heart disease) may be advised to terminate due to high (>15%) chance of cardiac death related to pregnancy.

        • I’m glad you brought this up. Most women don’t take the time to think about these kinds of scenarios in advance. I just blogged about this in the context of surrogate pregnancies. http://fertilitylawmatters.com/more-on-new-hampshire-surrogacy-law/.

    • Josephine

      Pretty sure historical midwives would see hospitals and all the amazing medical advances and then proceed to slap homebirth midwives upside the head, repeatedly.

    • Jo

      Justina Siegemund and the Art of Midwifery

      If you can get hold of this it’s a fascinating read.

  • Bombshellrisa

    “Long story short, we chose the unlicensed midwife; without too much “knowledge”, just the inner knowing that she would respect our wishes and believed that I could do it. She was, in many ways, the midwife that I always hold myself up to this many years later.” That is her standard? How nice of her to illustrate how ridiculous the CPM credential is.

    http://www.truenorthmidwifery.com/from-a-mothers-perspective-the-horrors-of-midwifery-licensing/

    • Sue

      Translation: “We chose the unlicensed birth hobbyist, without too much “knowledge”, because we knew she wasn’t smart or knowledgeable enough to challenge our fixed ideology.”

    • Eddie

      Wow….. just….. wow. Licensing makes a midwife indebted to the state, so she must serve the state instead of the mother? Why do we license anybody then? Geez. Never thought of it that way. Don’t want everyone caring for me to be serving the state instead of me.

      Anyway, what deliberate, non-scientific, fact-ignoring nonsense. Yes, that illustrates perfectly how ridiculous the CPM credential is.

      • Squillo

        Being unlicensed leaves her free to serve her true client: herself.

        If I were considering her as my midwife, my second question (right after, “when was the last time you placed an IV in a hemorrhaging woman/intubated a distressed neonate/resolved a shoulder dystocia that didn’t repsond to the Gaskin Maneuver?”) would be: “what is my recourse if I feel you have harmed me or my baby?”

  • Bombshellrisa

    “After 3 years, I saw very clearly that my birth philosophy and my role in women’s lives no longer fit into the “licensed midwife” model. In my opinion, this model (in Arizona) uses outdated research evidence to create rules and regulations that determine where women are “allowed” to birth and with whom. Ironically, these regulations do not ensure safety nor do they protect women or babies. So, after 3 years of acting as a “Licensed midwife”, I decided to not try and play in a system I did not believe in any longer. I surrendered my license after a 2 year struggle with the State over attending a VBAC woman at home. We moved to Minnesota in January 2013 so that I could begin serving women as my heart has led me to…as an unlicensed, traditional midwife. I serve women, and their families, and no one else” From this woman’s bio-no license, no malpractice insurance, no accountability and no desire to have any of those things.

    http://www.truenorthmidwifery.com/services/

    • Renee Martin

      There are a bunch of MWs like this. On one hand, I think its better because at least they don’t pretend to be HCPs and their beliefs are out in the open. On the other hand, they are dangerous. I don’t think they are worse than the LDEM/CPMs, and even more accountable because at least they can be prosecuted for practicing w o a license.

      I personally think they should not be allowed to call themselves MW, or charge for MWery services, and prosecuted when they do. If they want to be “traditional birth attendants” and give the families an informed consent statement that they aren’t HCPs, thats fine w me. There is no way to protect everyone, but we can keep moms from mistakenly thinking they are getting highly trained professionals.

      • Bombshellrisa

        I tend to agree with you. Notice how her wording about fees never tells you how much she collects, but she says she does free pregnancy/birth photography? Birth photography is a money maker, it’s not rare in this area to charge $1000 for an on location shoot. So technically she wouldn’t be charging for the care or birth (in her mind), just the photography. It would be a way to get around charging for services as a midwife, and still absolving herself if something goes wrong.

    • Sue

      ” I decided to not try and play in a system I did not believe in any longer. I surrendered my license after a 2 year struggle with the State over attending a VBAC woman at home. ”

      NOW we get it. She didn’t voluntarily decide “not to play” at all – she stuffed up, got caught, and ran away.

      • Susan

        She decided not to play like the kid who throws the game board because he doesn’t like the rules. The rules don’t apply to you unless you are winning.

        • Sue

          Sound familiar, LB?

  • Elle

    “Ancient vocation” my foot. Sometimes there is a REASON why certain “ancient” practices fall into obscurity. Should we have a certification for witch doctors too? Leeches? Foot-binding?

    • T.

      Leeches are actually used to reduce swelling from blood, I think. They are safe if they are breed for that reason, and quite effective. But again, not because of humor imbalances…

      • auntbea

        My SIL just went a retreat to become a yoga teacher. She was treated to a full library of books on natural healing that argued that different yoga poses heal by…balancing the humors.

        • T.

          And just when you think things couldn’t go any worse… <.<

          Tell me your SIL didn't believe it, please.

          • auntbea

            Nope. She did give it the old college try, though.

        • Petanque

          Yikes auntbea, I just misread that as “balancing the tumors”!

          • auntbea

            I’m sure they think it does that too.

      • We use maggots (sterile, specially bred) to clean wounds too. They eat necrotic flesh –the rotten stuff– while leaving healthy flesh alone. They’re really good for burns and deep, infected wounds.

        • T.

          Yeah, some ancient things are good, but most were rubbish. I am not against using what science can prove to work. Even if it is creepy ;P

          • Most of them were rubbish. Or they somewhat better than nothing, but not nearly as good as what we have now. For example, a poultice of honey and spiderwebs was used on infected wounds. Both of those have anti-microbial properties, but they’re not nearly as good as, say, a course of IV antibiotics and modern debriding techniques.

            But yeah, I completely agree that ancient methods, appropriately tested, are great. Even when they are super creepy 🙂 Ancient untested methods on the other hand … *shudder*.

    • Sue

      I don’t get the valuing of “ancient” in health care. Humans have brains and curiosity – it is “natural” to develop evidence and discover new things. We don;t idealise paleolithic transport or communication methods – so why get stuck in the past with health care. For goodness’ sake – we have electron microscopy, MRI and spentrophotometry – we can actually see how the body works. Why close our eyes and pretend we can’t, while simultaenously blogging on the internet about it?

      • An Actual Attorney

        If you want an ancient profession, become a hooker. At least it’s honest and arguably provides some benefit.

        • Lisa the Raptor

          And lucrative.

          • lucinde

            And STDs are as safe as life gets.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        In my more philosophical times, I wax on about how amazing it is to have imaging ability. Imagine…we can actually see inside the body without having to cut it open! It is taken for granted these days, but we need to appreciate how incredible that is.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    It’s already “safe”; at least, as safe as anything else that our bodies are programmed to do.

    How can anyone say this with a straight face? Or hear it without falling down laughing?

    I don’t know if it is just me, but the first thing that popped in my head is, “What’s the mortality rate for pooping?”

    That’s something that my body is programmed to do, and by any measure, it is a lot safer than giving birth.

    Peeing is even more common, so even safer.

    This is a joke.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      I don’t know if it is just me, but the first thing that popped in my head is, “What’s the mortality rate for pooping?”

      Sadly enough, non-zero. Actually diarrhea kills a fair number of people. Constipation is usually safe but obstruction can be deadly.

      Sorry to spoil the joke.

      • Are you nuts

        But the point is… if you had dangerous diarrhea or constipation, the right decision is to seek medical help. It sounds like this woman would be content for you to croak rather than seek a medical intervention.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          I don’t even know that.

          Yes, you can die from pooping, but I never said anything otherwise.

          OTOH, the dangers of pooping, even if you have diarrhea, are far less than that of childbirth. It’s not even close. That someone could somehow consider childbirth as safe as pooping is idiotic, but that is what she has claimed.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            Yeah, I don’t know that anyone’s even ever calculated rate of death from each bowel movement, but it’s got to be miniscule. Lifetime risk on the other hand is not insignificant. 1.5 million people, mostly children, die of diarrheal illness each year per the WHO.

            Bodily functions are not to be taken for granted. But pregnancy and delivery are especially dangerous. Again, per WHO, there are about 4 million neonatal deaths per year and about 600K maternal deaths.

            Most of these deaths are preventable. Not by “letting nature take its course” but by intervening and stopping the “natural” progression that leads to death.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            To a first approximation, the average life span is 25000 days. Averaging 1 poop a day, that’s 25000 poops a lifetime. About 60 million people die each year, so 1.5/60 = 2.5% or so, so the chance of having died per poop is around 1/million. Assuming that the poop problem is untreated.

            Maternal mortality at 11/100K means childbirth is 100 times more risky than taking a poop. Neonatal mortality at .5/thousand (low risk) is 5000 times more dangerous.

            Of course, UNTREATED childbirth has a maternal mortality rate of more like 1%, which makes it far, far more risky than taking a poop.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym

          Well, cholera and rotovirus are perfectly natural…And some people were just meant to die. Improves the fitness of the race if people so weak that they can die of cholera do so. (/bitter sarcasm)

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        What joke?

        Why not answer the question?

        How dangerous is pooping?

        • auntbea

          I recall being told in my college anatomy class that some substantial number of heart attacks occur while people are straining on the pot. I have no idea if that is true.

          • BeatlesFan

            The first thing I thought upon reading that was, “eliminating is safe? Tell that to Elvis!”

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I was thinking Elvis, too.

          • An Actual Attorney

            That’s how Catherine the Great died. Not the horse story. (I was a student of Russian history before I found an Actual Profession).

          • theadequatemother

            Can we say, “confounders?” One of the consequences of feeling vagal is abdo cramping and feeling like you need to take a crap – I’ve looked after people who were found on the toilet with strokes, heart attacks and arrhythmias. But the disease caused the feeling of imminent defecation not the other way around…:-)

          • auntbea

            Seriously? Oh God! Now I have to classify “needing to poop” as a sign of imminent death?

          • Susan

            S***’s as safe as life gets!

          • anonomom_LLLL_IBCLC

            I had a vasovagal response after pooping, and in the process of losing consciousness hit my head on the wall. Luckily I did not crack my head open. And I trusted poop; after all it had never let me down before! (10 minutes after, I was whisked to the hospital by paramedics where I received sweet, sweet modern medicine). 🙂

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      Most of the dangers associated with peeing are associated with NOT peeing, but…urinary tract infections, stones, peeing on the third rail…there’s just not much that the body is “programmed” to do that’s really safe.

    • Are you nuts

      Yes! I thought the same thing. I hope for her sake that when she “eliminates,” it doesn’t take up to 24 hours and involve several hours of pushing, and the stripping of membranes and tearing of tissues!!

      • Guest

        GAH!

      • If it did people would start requiring epidurals to take a crap and then there would be the NDM, or natural defecation movement.

        • SympatheticDad

          Let us assume that there is a 1% (0.01) probability that you will die every time you poop. Let us further assume that this probability of death-by-poop is a purely independent event: a previous poop will not make you any more likely (or less likely) to die from a subsequent poop. The probability of at least one independent event p happening over any number of events n can be expressed as:

          1 – (1 – p)^n

          Let us assume that you poop once a day. As discussed above, the probability that you will die on any given day is a mere 1%. The probability that you will die from pooping in a month (30 days), is 27%. The probability that you will die from pooping in a year is 97.32%.

          Safe as houses!

  • Maryn is a menace to society.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      And she’s an indictment of homebirth midwifery. First, because she exemplifies what many homebirth midwives actually believe and second, they continue to believe it because it is express policy of MANA that there are and ought to be no standards for homebirth midwives.

      The CPM was created to fool laypeople into believing that there are standards, while letting homebirth “midwives” do whatever they want without regard to the deaths and injuries that result.

      • Bombshellrisa

        Exactly. While Maryn is a CPM, she chooses to practice without a license arguing that a license limits the practice of midwifery. I seriously doubt that, unless you are taking on clients who shouldn’t be in your care.

  • Squillo

    The complacency and arrogance on display in the midwife’s post is absolutely stunning. She’s basically saying that because birth will never been 100% safe for all women and babies, there’s no need to try to make it safer for individual women and babies.

    It’s is just another way of patting women on the head and saying, “No need to worry your pretty little head about safety.”

    • I don’t have a creative name

      Of course. The ones who needed medical steps taken to ensure safety are the ones who weren’t meant to live, anyway.

      • Natalie

        This always gets me.. because if this were the case:
        My daughter would have died shortly after birth.
        My husband would have died at age 21 from lymphoma.
        I would have died shortly after birth from pneumonia.
        My brother would have died at age 12 from his renal injuries in a car accident.
        My sister would have died at age 2 from a bowel obstruction.
        None of that would even matter though.. because my mother would have died in childbirth with my brother (her first) since none of us could be born vaginally, but likely would have died before that in a bicycle accident in college.
        My dad would have died at age 14 from appendicitis.
        My grandparents and great-grandparents DID lose children to leukemia, influenza, pneumonia, etc. How did they feel about those “natural” things? Would you have told my great-grandmother her six year old just “wasn’t meant to live”?!

        This logic (or lack thereof) blows my mind. How many of us would actually still be alive without medical intervention?

        • Natalie

          Now I’m curious, do any of you have super awesome genetics and luck that you would still be alive without modern medicine?

          • Dr Kitty

            Not me.
            My maternal grandfather was born several weeks early( I’m going to guess about 35 weeks) in 1898 and spent his early weeks in a cotton wool lined shoebox being fed with an eye dropper, which is what a NICU looked like then.

            My maternal grandmother nearly died from malaria.

            My mother nearly died from hepatitis A as a child, then would have died in labour with me without the CS.

            I have a wonky spine and pelvis and have more metal in me than the Bionic Woman.

          • Not I! I was born with the cord wrapped around my neck and very blue. I got sick enough, with a high enough fever, to have a fever seizure while still an infant. And I probably would have died of pneumonia at 15, if those other things hadn’t killed me first.

            My little sister was born face-up. I dunno if my mom could have made it through the labor without an epidural or not and I’m glad I don’t have to find out.

            Overall we seem to have pretty good genetics for childbirth in my family. None of my blood-related female relatives have had caesarians that I know of, nor nearly died of other complications, which suggests some sort of genetic luck.

          • DaisyGrrl

            Nope. I had severe diarrhea as an infant and would have died had I not been born where/when I was born. My maternal grandmother lost her brother to diarrhea so it scared the crap out of my mother when I got so sick.

            Had I survived that, the bronchitis at age four could have done me in.

            Assuming I had survived childhood, appendicitis might have got me about 10 years ago. Instead I was discharged from hospital the next day thanks to the wonders of laparoscopy!

          • LukesCook

            In a sense every one of us has super awesome genetics. Every person alive today is the heir of a line of descent unbroken for 3.8 billion years. And yet we are still so fragile. Neither by evolution nor design does nature guarantee survival or good health. My mother would have hemorrhaged to death from a retained portion of placenta after my birth, and I would have been her only descendent, had I survived the various illnesses I suffered as both child and adult. My daughter did die, modern medicine notwithstanding. I would have died of cancer within a year or two after her birth, probably without having any more children. And a 3.8 million year long winning streak would have been over. Good genes only mean you’re in it, not that you’ll win it.

    • Imagine going to a doctor and saying “Doctor, I’m worried about possible complications or death from this procedure I have scheduled.”

      and they respond “Oh, yes. People are injured and die from that from time to time. It’s a risk you’ll have to face.”.

      You: “Is there a way to make this safer? Lower the risks? Is there an alternative to this?”.

      Doctor: “Some people go to great lengths to reduce the risks of the procedure, but we think those things aren’t necessary and introduce the possibility of additional complications. Plus they interfere with the experience of the procedure, which we think is of utmost importance.”.

      You: “So there is a safer option?”

      Doctor: “Not safer, because of all those these very scary complications. Here, let me tell you about them.”.[Doctor plays up the complications of the alternative, while ignoring the risks of the original.] “So you see, the original procedure is the better option – and natural, and you’ll have a far superior experience.”.

      • auntbea

        Remember, if you don’t feel it leaving your body, it’s only an “appendectomy.”

        • Bombshellrisa

          Or would that be “un-appendectomy”?

          • anonomom_LLLL_IBCLC

            I will forever mourn my appendix, which was ripped from my body by a heartless surgeon who had the nerve to make money off saving my life.