Step 1: ignore homebirth deaths

OOPS sign with clipping path

Hi, folks! It’s Ima Frawde, CPM. It’s time for some honest talk about homebirth deaths.

No, silly, not how to prevent them! How to hide them.

I admit it; it’s been a very bad year for homebirth midwifery. Licensed Oregon homebirth midwives have a death rate at planned homebirth of 9X term hospital birth. Colorado homebirth midwives have a perinatal death rate 2.5X higher than hospital births (including premature births!). Australian homebirth midwives have a death rate 5X higher than term hospital birth. Even our vaunted friends, the midwives of the Netherlands, are facing scrutiny because their low risk death rate (home and hospital) is nearly 3X higher than high risk birth attended by obstetricians.

What’s a midwife committed to making 100% of her income peddling quackery to do?

Don’t worry, I have a 5 step plan for hiding addressing homebirth deaths.

Step 1: Ignore the homebirth deaths.

Use the homebirth midwives of Oregon and Colorado as your guide. Collect your statistics, analyze them on the off chance that they might show that homebirth is safe (in which case we’ll publish them). Then ignore them. If you ignore them and act like it’s no big deal that lots of babies are dying preventable deaths at homebirth, our supporters will too.

Step 2: Stop collecting statistics.

Let’s follow the example of homebirth midwives in North Carolina, Maryland and a variety of other states by refusing to collect mortality statistics. Very clever, huh? If we refuse to count the homebirth deaths, no one else can, either.

Step 3: Pretend that some deaths can and should be dropped from the statistics.

Congenital anomalies? That’s not our fault; remove them from the homebirth statistics, but keep them in the hospital comparison group. Intrapartum deaths? Hide them in the stillbirth rate.

Step 4: Baffle them with bullshit.

Invoke quantum midwifery and pretend that the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle means that no one can truly “know” how many babies died because, like Schrodinger’s Cat, they can be dead and alive at the same time. Invoke chaos theory because it sounds cool.

Step 5: Pretend that this is a human rights issue.

Sure a bunch of babies are dead who didn’t have to die. But it’s my right to make money a woman’s right to “choose” that’s at stake here. Lie, and insist that any attempt to reduce homebirth deaths is an effort to outlaw homebirth midwifery. Glorify those midwives who have presided over homebirth deaths (especially those who have presided over lots of deaths) and insist that any attempt to hold them accountable makes them into martyrs.

There’s actually one more step, but it’s a secret among us midwives:

Step 6: Rely on the ignorance and gullibility of homebirth advocates.

Let’s face it, you can tell those nitwits mamas anything and they’ll believe it. As we know, anyone who actually thinks trusting birth is an effective strategy is willing to accept whatever nonsense we dish out. Fortunately!

And if a bunch of babies die in the process,  remember: just like you can’t make an omelet without cracking some eggs, you can’t protect “normal birth” without killing some babies. S#it happens; get over it.


This piece is satire.