Would you hire this midwife?

Gaskin quote

Would you hire this midwife?

Don’t let the head suddenly explode from the mother’s puss. Coach the mother about how much and how hard to push. Support the mother’s taint with your hand during rushes. It helps the mother to relax around her puss if you massage her there using a liberal amount of baby oil to lubricate the skin. Sometimes touching her very gently on or around her button (clitoris) will enable her to relax even more. I keep both hands there and busy all the time while crowning … doing whatever seems most necessary.


Sometimes I see that a husband is afraid to touch his wife’s tits because of the midwife’s presence, so I touch them, get in there and squeeze them, talk about how nice they are, and make him welcome.


I might want to have a cunt one day and a twat the next. On the third day I might decide that pussy is my favorite word.

Would you hire this midwife?

Her quotes make her sound immature, foul mouthed, and sexually inappropriate.

Plenty of women have hired her. Her name is …

Ina May Gaskin.

The quotes come from Spiritual Midwifery, 3rd and 4th Editions

425 Responses to “Would you hire this midwife?”

  1. Francois Gerland
    July 11, 2017 at 9:08 am #

    I’d like to add that some of my previous posts may sound like if I was against hospitals and doctors. It is not the case and I know that many of them are doing the best they can in very stressful conditions. I simply would love to see tolerance towards people who choose natural birth and non conventional midwives. The fact that this means less money for hospitals and big-pharma should not allow them to make freedom seekers feel guilty of any wrong doing.

    • Empress of the Iguana People
      July 11, 2017 at 9:52 am #

      Our non conventional midwives are barely more competent than asking the bus driver to deliver your baby.

      • StephanieJR
        July 11, 2017 at 12:34 pm #

        At least the bus driver could take you to the hospital.

        • sdsures
          March 10, 2018 at 9:30 pm #

          You are probably safer in his bus than you would be in a car driven by your (likely worried and anxious) spouse.

    • Roadstergal
      July 11, 2017 at 9:59 am #

      “I simply would love to see tolerance towards people who choose natural birth ”

      Dude, there’s nothing wrong with ‘natural’ birth at all. I have two friends who had easy labors with no complications and little pain, and they had between them three easy intervention-free births in the hospital. I had another friend who had easy labors, but didn’t care for the pain; aside from the epidural, she had two easy intervention-free births in the hospital. When everything goes swimmingly, _nobody_ wants to do anything other than be happy about it.

      Despite what the fevered imaginations of lay midwives tell you, women don’t have interventions unless there’s an indication for them.

      Most OBs in the hospital are women, many with children of their own. They support ‘natural’ to the point where it is often difficult for a woman who wants to have an elective prelabor C-section to have one. To the point were a (female, with kids) pediatrician friend of mine recently had to go to the hospital where a friend of hers had been laboring for over 24 hours to advocate for her to have a C-section.

  2. Francois Gerland
    July 10, 2017 at 1:25 pm #

    Ina May Gaskin’s C-section statistics over 40 years: 1.7%
    American hospital C-section statistics: 32% not including routine episiotomy and so on… Oh yes, I know who I would trust for my child’s birth… And if the price of an intact body and a peaceful birth was “gentle stimulation” I would accept it with no hesitation… Of course I live in France where obstetric violence is the norm and home birth nearly considered as criminal by the establishment, but where puritanism is long gone (thank God)… You may remove this post as you did for my previous one… It’s OK we’ve got lots of you this side of the Atlantic telling us what’s good or bad for us and we trust them less and less.

    • Empress of the Iguana People
      July 10, 2017 at 1:47 pm #

      Color me unimpressed. Ina May cannot perform c-sections. In theory, she should only have low risk mothers. Your midwives in France are *far* better taught than Ina May. For God’s sake, your midwives in World War 1 were better educated. Gentle stimulation? No fucking thank you. I do not have any interest in anyone giving me “gentle stimulation” of THAT type but my husband, and even he would’ve gotten kicked at that point. And although I had my children vaginally without an episiotomy, I still didn’t end up with an “intact” body, because their giant heads ripped through my perineum. No amount of rubbing my clitoris or my nipples would’ve helped with that.

      • Francois Gerland
        July 10, 2017 at 6:26 pm #

        I understand and respect your point of view. You’ve had the birth you wanted and I wish for every mother to have the birth they want, not just what’s imposed to them by an establishment who thinks they know it all and traumatise women by the thousands. Ina Mey Gaskin is the heroin of countless women and midwives all over the world and she will remain so no matter how many attacks she receives from a profession which is dishonoring itself every day.

        • Empress of the Iguana People
          July 10, 2017 at 7:39 pm #

          Heroine, not heroin. Heroin is a highly addictive drug based on opium.
          All I wanted from my chidren’s births was to have healthy children and reasonably healthy me. That’s all. Good thing too, because despite having a fabulous bp all through 9 months of pregnancy and the first 4 hours of labor, my blood pressure skyrocketted to some very scary places.
          Focusing on a birth is like focusing on a wedding, only with a lot more you cannot anticipate and the life of an utterly helpless person in the balance. Sure some women plan out these things years in advance, getting more and more grandiose, until real life simply cannot compete. I, on the other hand, wanted my Demodocus and our minibards, anything more was just additional filigree. Nice but unessential.

          • Francois Gerland
            July 11, 2017 at 3:34 am #

            Thanks for the spelling correction 😉

        • Roadstergal
          July 11, 2017 at 2:49 am #

          “Ina Mey [sic] Gaskin is the heroin of countless women ”

          Sometimes, Freudian slips have unintentional accuracy.

          • Francois Gerland
            July 11, 2017 at 3:57 am #

            Oooops, sorry for my spelling mistakes, they were neither Freudian nor Intentional… 🙂

        • The Bofa on the Sofa
          July 11, 2017 at 12:32 pm #

          although I had my children vaginally without an episiotomy, I still didn’t end up with an “intact” body, because their giant heads ripped through my perineum.

          You’ve had the birth you wanted

          You think she wanted her peineum ripped?

          What planet are you from?

          • Empress of the Iguana People
            July 11, 2017 at 3:54 pm #

            Definitly not my kink.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      July 11, 2017 at 12:19 am #

      No one removed your post. Check that you have Disqus set to display posts chronologically instead of by popularity.

      • Francois Gerland
        July 11, 2017 at 3:45 am #

        I did but it’s possible I made a mistake… No idea what happened, it was there and then it was no more… Thanks

    • Roadstergal
      July 11, 2017 at 2:48 am #

      “Intact body” except for tears and other longer-term damage due to her being more focused on sexual assault than the best interests of the mom. What are her long-term stats on fistula, prolapse, incontinence, etc? If she keeps track of any of that, I’ll eat my phone. She’s not interested in women who aren’t in labor.

      “Peaceful birth” Is that what it’s called when the baby dies or is permanently neurologically damaged during delivery at the Farm?

      But of course, it’s rather a key part of this whole comment that you’re speaking on behalf of someone else. You wouldn’t be sexually assaulted; that woman over there would be, so no skin off of your back. You wouldn’t have to deal with the long-term consequences of poor care, because your continence would be unaffected.

      “Remove this post” Do you mean your post on an entirely different thread? Which is still very much there?


      • Francois Gerland
        July 11, 2017 at 3:44 am #

        Yes my previous post was removed but it’s no big deal… I can see that our opinions can’t be reconciled and it’s OK. The only thing for me is that parents should be left free to choose which birth and which midwife they want and not told by this mighty system what’s good or bad for them. Some of people will keep criticizing Ina Mey and others will trust her more than ever and it’s fine with me. I also understand that the horrendous statistics of hospital obstetric violence are no problem for many and it’s also OK for me. Let them choose as responsible adults what they want for themselves and their children.

        • Sarah
          July 11, 2017 at 4:32 am #

          You won’t get much disagreement on the free to choose point here, though. Nearly all of us believe very strongly that women should be able to give birth in the setting of their choice, and accompanied by the person/s of their choosing. That’s not incompatible with slagging off Ina May for being a fuckwit.

          And seriously, do you not think that some women might experience having their breasts grabbed or clitoris rubbed by their care provider as obstetric violence?

          • Francois Gerland
            July 11, 2017 at 8:59 am #

            I have never heard of any “grabbing” or “rubbing” in Ina May’s procedures, not even in the short extracts mentioned in this post clearly aimed at discrediting this amazing woman I’ve had the privilege to meet. I am always shocked when I see how much harm can be caused by an evil-intentioned person who takes small sentences out of their context and makes them enormous just to serve their discrediting goals.

          • momofone
            July 11, 2017 at 9:44 am #

            There is no context in which it would be appropriate for her, or any medical professional, to touch a laboring woman in a sexual way.

          • Sarah
            July 11, 2017 at 11:12 am #

            The quotation in the article literally talks about rubbing the birthing woman’s clitoris. It’s a direct quote. How could that possibly be taken out of context, or are you saying it’s fake? The same with the line about squeezing breasts.

          • Roadstergal
            July 11, 2017 at 2:06 pm #

            Oh, tell us the context, please. Let us know the context in which kneading a laboring woman’s breasts and fondling her clitoris is acceptable medical process. This is a context that applies to all birthing attendants, I’m sure?

        • Roadstergal
          July 11, 2017 at 9:29 am #

          You need to have a good talk with whoever told you that ‘passive-aggressive’ was a good writing style on you, and explain that they were very wrong. It makes you sound even more mansplainy and bitchy than you actually are, which is saying something.

          Women should indeed be free to choose what they want in terms of health care. Implicit in that, and critical to the discussion, is that they need to have accurate data on risks and benefits of all options.

          Also, implicit in choosing is not having your health care provider grab your tits and fondle your clit. I would say that’s not even appropriate with permission, and it’s certainly way out of bounds without – I might even refer to that as ‘obstetric violence’. If your health care provider uses a dildo on you to stimulate you to orgasm, you might want to rethink your professional relationship with them.

          • Francois Gerland
            July 11, 2017 at 9:41 am #

            Never experienced any of that stuff… Roadstergal, I’ll leave it here… What I call agressive is when a midwife is taken to jail for having delivered a baby at home, when a doctor loses his job for refusing to inject poisonous vaccine to a child, when I’m told I must follow this or that procedures because it brings more money to big-pharma… I didn’t mean to aggress anyone here but this discussion follows a post which is a blatant aggression against Ina May Gaskin. Have a wonderful day.

          • Roadstergal
            July 11, 2017 at 9:51 am #

            Ah, the anti-vaxxer and chemophobic conspiracy theorist finally comes out.

            If you’ve “Never experienced any of that stuff” (ie sexual assault by a health care provider), maybe you should consider that aspect of the situation before recommending it for women.

          • Empress of the Iguana People
            July 11, 2017 at 10:51 am #

            Oh look! an anti-vaxxer! Now there’s proof. Scientific consensus that high must mean corruption, right?

          • Azuran
            July 11, 2017 at 11:07 am #

            of course you are an anti vaxxer. Now everything makes sense

          • Francois Gerland
            July 11, 2017 at 11:11 am #

            I am an anti OBLIGATION not an anti vaxxer. Read, understand and then criticize if you wish…

          • Empress of the Iguana People
            July 11, 2017 at 11:17 am #

            “…when a doctor loses his job for refusing to inject poisonous vaccine to a child…”
            You called it poison. How does this make you not an anti-vaxxer. Vaccines are not poisonous.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD
            July 11, 2017 at 12:02 pm #

            If you are deluded enough to believe that vaccines are poisons, in the face of the mountain of evidence that they have saved millions of lives, you are an antivaxxer, not to mention an ignorant fool.

          • Francois Gerland
            July 11, 2017 at 12:09 pm #

            Hello Amy, I won’t start an argument about vaccines here, it’s been enough back and forward about Ina May. By the way, I did find my “deleted” comment on another discussion you had started on your favorite target, Ina May Gaskin. Sorry about the confusion.
            The ignorant fool.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD
            July 11, 2017 at 12:11 pm #

            There’s nothing to discuss. Vaccines are safe, effective and one of the greatest public health triumphs of all time; antivaxxers are ignorant clowns. That’s all that needs to be said.

          • Francois Gerland
            July 11, 2017 at 12:29 pm #

            Congratulation doctor, you’ve learnt your lesson very well, you’re sooo convincing! Didn’t work with me but it does and will keep on doing for many people for a long time. After all, the billions are on your side…

          • Amy Tuteur, MD
            July 11, 2017 at 12:05 pm #

            No, you are an alternative health clown making money peddling “alchemical hypnotherapy”:


          • Francois Gerland
            July 11, 2017 at 12:22 pm #

            Thanks for the compliment. I now completely understand who I’ve been dealing with. It’s been an instructive mistake. So long Mrs “I know everything!”

          • momofone
            July 11, 2017 at 12:37 pm #

            It seems the flounce is difficult to stick.

          • Francois Gerland
            July 11, 2017 at 12:43 pm #

            You’re right, Momofone, I couldn’t stay quiet in front of such aggressions. But thanks for the reminder… ;-))

          • Sarah
            July 11, 2017 at 12:46 pm #


          • Roadstergal
            July 11, 2017 at 2:03 pm #

            Alchemical Hypnotherapy! It’s straight out of bad Harry Potter fanfiction. Come on, man, you can do better. Stick a ‘quantum’ or two in there, and talk about ‘resonances.’

          • Amy Tuteur, MD
            July 11, 2017 at 2:09 pm #

            I didn’t say I know everything; I said you are an ignorant clown. Surely you can tell the difference.

          • Azuran
            July 11, 2017 at 12:29 pm #

            You said: ‘inject poisonous vaccine’
            Only an anti-vaxxer use those words.

          • Azuran
            July 11, 2017 at 11:09 am #

            Also, she is not going to jail for assisting a homebirth. She is going to jail because she directly caused the death of a baby by willingly lying to the mom, hiding critical information from her, ignoring clear indication of foetal distress and then trying to cover her tracks by altering medical record and witness tampering.

          • July 11, 2017 at 12:31 pm #

            You mean practicing medicine without a license isn’t a crime in France? That’s messed up, dude.

          • Nick Sanders
            July 11, 2017 at 4:26 pm #

            when a doctor loses his job for refusing to inject poisonous vaccine to a child

            Well, since that’s never happened in the history of ever, I don’t see why you are concerned about it.

            but this discussion follows a post which is a blatant aggression against Ina May Gaskin.

            And? When someone is a sexual abuser and killer of women and children, they deserve to be called out. The world is not some magical place where if we just ignore problems and never say a mean word, problems disappear all by themselves.

          • Dr Kitty
            July 11, 2017 at 5:31 pm #

            Sorry, are you trying to insinuate Wakefield “lost his job” for being anti- vaccination?

            I think you’ll find he was actually removed from the medical register by the GMC (i.e stripped of his licence and prevented from practising medicine in the U.K.) for bringing the entire profession into disrepute through gross violations of professional ethics.

            This was after a prolonged series of hearing at which he was able to present substantial evidence in his defence. It was not a summary hearing without representation or oppprtunity to robustly defend himself.

            If you’re referring to the Hungarian midwife delivering a baby at home, she did so knowing her actions were clearly illegal according to local laws, having previously been warned not to attend homebirths after overseeing a death, and she proceeded to flout said laws knowing that a custodial sentence was likely.

            The world’s tiniest violin is here, playing a sad song for them.

          • MaineJen
            July 11, 2017 at 8:03 pm #

            “poisonous vaccine” aaaaaaaand your credibility’s gone.

          • Nick Sanders
            July 11, 2017 at 9:47 pm #

            What credibility?

      • Francois Gerland
        July 11, 2017 at 3:52 am #

        Thanks for your reply. I don’t want to offend your convictions but having seen so many mothers traumatised by their hospital birth, I would do anything to avoid that. Birth should be a family event and hospitals are here to deal with emergencies. Birth is not a disease but this is what the medical system has made of it. You won’t change your mind about this, neither will I.

        • Sarah
          July 11, 2017 at 4:34 am #

          Birth should be a family event? Not your call. You can have an opinion on that when you’re doing it. Otherwise, you need to stay in your lane.

          Birth should be a family event if this is what the individual woman chooses. Full stop.

          • momofone
            July 11, 2017 at 8:37 am #

            I was about to say exactly this. I gave birth by c-section 10 years ago, and like Azuran, everyone I wanted in the room was there–my husband, my OB, the assisting OB, a nurse anesthetist, the pediatrician, and some awesome nurses. It was beautiful and life-affirming and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. It was most certainly a medical procedure, though; the family part came afterward and had nothing to do with who was present at his birth. When you give birth, Francois, you can have anyone present you choose, but until then, you may want to lay off the proclamations about what birth is “meant to be.”

          • Francois Gerland
            July 11, 2017 at 8:47 am #

            Same reply as I did to Sarah, I totally agree with you. When I say “family event” I mean that the birth belongs to the family, not that no-one else should be there. Ultimately, what I mean is that the parents and especially the mother are the ones who should choose the circumstances they want, no-one else and definitely not me!

          • Francois Gerland
            July 11, 2017 at 8:45 am #

            Sarah, I totally agree, this is what I meant to write. Full stop. 😉

          • Sarah
            July 11, 2017 at 11:08 am #


        • Azuran
          July 11, 2017 at 8:23 am #

          Gave birth in a hospital 4 months ago. My SO and mom where in the room with me. my grandmother was also in the hospital. Everyone I wanted to see was allowed to visit at any time I wanted.
          I was not made to feel like I was sick even for one second. Everyone saw this as a happy moment. Everyone asked me what I wanted and provided it.
          The only thing that I found traumatic was birth itself. And everyone in the hospital did everything they could to help me and make it easier.
          Birth itself is hard and often traumatic, and if you actually look around, you’ll find countless people who had homebirth and came out physically and mentally traumatized from it.
          As for me, I found my attempt at VB so horrible, I wouldn’t have other kids if I was told I couldn’t have a repeat c-section.

          • Francois Gerland
            July 11, 2017 at 8:51 am #

            Thanks for sharing. Very few statistics exist on home birth vs hospital birth. Only in Holland where home birth is highly encouraged and considered safer than hospital birth when there are no identified risk. Also, in Holland, if parents prefer a hospital birth, they can choose which is what everyone should be able to do.

          • Azuran
            July 11, 2017 at 9:01 am #

            It’s the same thing where I live. We have a very well integrated home birth system with real midwives. Which only 1-2% of women are actually interested in.

            Most people, when they talk about homebirth here, are referring to homebirth in the USA with CPM, which are extremely uneducated midwives. Like Ina May. She is absolutely nothing like a midwife in Holland.

          • Roadstergal
            July 11, 2017 at 9:25 am #

            Holland is an interesting case study, as there are indeed useful statistics available. You are familiar with the data comparing outcomes with low-risk women under midwife care vs high-risk women under OB care in the Netherlands?

        • Roadstergal
          July 11, 2017 at 9:24 am #

          You won’t change your mind? Why not? If I’m presented with convincing data, I change my mind. I changed my mind on breastfeeding based on data in the last few years! What kind of toddler mindset do you have to have to never change your mind, no matter what the data is?

      • Sarah
        July 11, 2017 at 4:39 am #

        Indeed. He is dancing rather close to mansplaining here.

        If he wants to have a strong preference for clitoral stimulation rather than a section in his imaginary birth, that’s his business. It’s when he regales us with his inventions and assumptions as though they have any relevance to anyone else that the line starts to be crossed. Me me me, I I I. This is something that will never affect me, but still my opinions is so importants that everyone needs to hear about them!

        • Roadstergal
          July 11, 2017 at 2:13 pm #

          It’s very telling that he simply ignores every birth story of every woman on this site. He really just seems to get off on the idea of a woman fondling another woman to orgasm during a ‘natural’ birth, practical considerations and the diverse needs and wants of actual mothers be damned.

          • Sarah
            July 11, 2017 at 2:25 pm #

            Indeed. He’d be much better at being women then we are, no doubt.

    • Empress of the Iguana People
      July 11, 2017 at 8:03 am #

      Queen Caroline, wife of George II of England, died of an umbilical hernia years after the all natural birth of her last child.

      • Francois Gerland
        July 11, 2017 at 9:11 am #

        Come on, let’s be serious here… Many women and children have died during or after their hospital birth. There is no perfect solution. Home birth midwives and hospital obstetricians are all doing their best and it doesn’t always give the expected results.

        • Roadstergal
          July 11, 2017 at 9:23 am #

          “Babies die in hospitals, too!”

          Here’s an idea, Francois. Find some statistics comparing death rates for _equal-risk_ women at home vs hospital in the modern day. Or midwives vs OBs. Give us some data.

          • Francois Gerland
            July 11, 2017 at 9:29 am #

            The only country where credible statistics may exist on this topic is probably Holland where home-birth is considered safer for low-risk women. There may be some in the UK where home-birth is progressing but I don’t have them…

          • Roadstergal
            July 11, 2017 at 9:31 am #

            There is fairly recent data comparing outcomes in the Netherlands with midwife vs OB care, home and hospital. Look it up and get back to us.

          • Francois Gerland
            July 11, 2017 at 9:57 am #

            “Conclusions This study shows that planning a home birth does not increase the risks of perinatal mortality and severe perinatal morbidity among low-risk women, provided the maternity care system facilitates this choice through the availability of well- trained midwives and through a good transportation and referral system.”

          • Roadstergal
            July 11, 2017 at 10:05 am #

            Hey, you found a paper! Good job.

            Now, here’s a much bigger and more recent study. As in, tens of thousands of births rather than a few hundred, so the statistical power is better.

            And more importantly, rather than just comparing home vs hospital overall, it compared midwife-led vs OB-led births at home vs hospital (as you should well know, in the Netherlands, low-risk women see a midwife, full stop – you have to be high-risk to see an OB, so hospital births are a combination of low-risk women under midwife care and high-risk women under OB care). Take a read, we’ll wait.

          • Young CC Prof
            July 11, 2017 at 1:25 pm #

            American home birth involves poorly trained midwives, in many cases no easy way to transfer, and no proper referral system. Prenatal care is inconsistent, tests that might give a reason to transfer are not always done, and when something does go wrong, it often ends with a woman simply showing up in the ER with no records at all.

            Outcomes of home birth in the USA are far worse than in the UK or Netherlands.

          • Roadstergal
            July 11, 2017 at 1:59 pm #

            I linked you to the most recent data below. High-quality data covering tens of thousands of births in a country where home birth and midwife-led births are mainstream, and midwives are far better trained and integrated into the system than Gaskin.

            You’ve commented many times since then. And yet, no comment on that data?

            BTW, three of my co-workers are Dutch; two of them had the mandated midwife-led births that their low-risk pregnancies dictated in their country, and at home. They don’t speak of them with the fondness that you seem to think they deserve.

        • Empress of the Iguana People
          July 11, 2017 at 9:47 am #

          Yes, women and children do die in the hospital. AT A MUCH LOWER RATE.

          • Francois Gerland
            July 11, 2017 at 9:57 am #

            False… simply false… sorry!

          • Roadstergal
            July 11, 2017 at 10:00 am #

            Well, if you say it with no data at hand, we can’t help but believe it.
            Yes, that is sarcasm. Give us data. One measly piece of data. You’re so sure, you must have some great statistics – show us _something_.

          • momofone
            July 11, 2017 at 10:20 am #

            Then back up your claims.

          • Empress of the Iguana People
            July 11, 2017 at 10:53 am #

            You are neither sorry nor correct.

        • Azuran
          July 11, 2017 at 9:50 am #

          The point is that, although yes, some women and babies still die in the hospital:
          First: That number is FAR LOWER than what it was when everyone gave birth at home
          Second: OBs and medical professionnal are constantly trying to improve their methods and reduce the mortality rate even more.

        • Nick Sanders
          July 11, 2017 at 4:18 pm #

          Home birth midwives are not doing their best. If they were, they’d have real medical training instead of a nearly unregulated “apprenticing” system. As Dr. Tuteur has repeatedly pointed out, they are hobbyists pretending to be medical professionals, and that is completely unacceptable.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            July 11, 2017 at 7:39 pm #

            He’ll, they themselves claim to be hobbyists, for Pete’s sake!

        • MaineJen
          July 11, 2017 at 7:00 pm #

          But they don’t die *because* they were in the hospital.

          Women and babies who die at homebirth die, often, because they were *not* in the hospital.

    • Azuran
      July 11, 2017 at 8:57 am #

      You don’t understand medical statistic. a 32% c-section rate does not mean that everyone has a 32% chances of having a c-section.
      Ina may and hospital (theoretically, at least) dont have the same population of women. Ina may and other CPM are ‘supposed’ to only take care of low risk women. Low risk women don’t have a 32% c-section rate in hospital either.
      This 32% includes all the very medically needed c-section (Like my coworker who had a transverse baby with placenta previa covering her cervix. Meaning she had absolutely 0% chance of delivering this baby vaginally) All the medically recommended c-section like breech or other malpresentation. All the repeat c-section for people like me, who do not, under any circumstances, want to try a VBAC. All the maternal request c-section. And all the high risk women who end up needing emergency c-section.

      Ina may also has a much higher death rate than hospital birth.
      Women do indeed have the right to birth where they want. No one wants to force women to birth in hospital. But having the real information is needed in order to make your choice: Both you and your baby are more likely to die at home birth.
      If a slightly lower chance of c-section is worth this risk, go for it. But don’t try to hide the statistic or outright lie about them. You are trading a lower rate of intervention for a higher rate of death.

      • Francois Gerland
        July 11, 2017 at 9:24 am #

        You must be right Azuran, I don’t understand medical statistics… So when I read that some private clinics in Venezuela have a 90% c-section rate, it surely means that they have 3 times more high-risk women than in the US or France, the money they make with a c-section has obviously nothing to do with this rate… When I hear a French obstetrician proudly declare that in his clinic, all births happen from Monday to Friday at administrative time, it surely means that safety is his first concern… No you are right, I don’t understand medical statistics, I hope I never will. By the way, yours are false, Ina May’s death statistics are not higher than hospital ones and I don’t call you a lier… You simply made a mistake; 😉

        • Roadstergal
          July 11, 2017 at 9:36 am #

          “When I hear a French obstetrician proudly declare that in his clinic, all birth happen from Monday to Friday at administrative time, it surely means that safety is his first concern… ”

          And there is no reason you think this might be the case?

          No reason to think that when a woman has been laboring for over a day, when it is becoming more and more clear that this is not going to be an easy and straightforward birth, that late night/weekend in the hospital – when coverage of nurses, anesthesiologists, perinatologists, anyone else you might need at a rough birth is lower – might not be the best and safest time for everything to go tits-up?

          No reason to think that a woman herself might want to weigh in on how long she’s been laboring, how much pain and exhaustion she’s experiencing, even on her own practical concerns of having a support person there and awake, of care for her other children at home, eg?

          Ah, Francois-land is indeed a paradise of 2am Sunday deliveries and sexual assault.

          • Francois Gerland
            July 11, 2017 at 9:47 am #

            Definitely, we both see each-other’s world as sinister and horrible… No big deal, there is room for everyone on this planet. I’ll stop here as I don’t want to take over this blog…

          • Roadstergal
            July 11, 2017 at 9:53 am #

            There is no room on this planet for men or midwives who think that touching my tits and my clitoris without my consent is acceptable behavior.

        • Azuran
          July 11, 2017 at 9:54 am #

          Hey, if venezuelan women WANT to have a c-section, they absolutely should get it.

          Whoever told you that all births happened during business hours is either lying, or is working in a hospital that is closed during the night and transfers all is patients who are not finished labouring.

          Please, do provide the statistic of Ina May that proves she has a lower rate of mortality for EQUAL RISK women.

          • Francois Gerland
            July 11, 2017 at 10:02 am #

            Sorry Azuran, I think it should be you who show statistics proving the opposite! All I hear in this forum is screams of horror because a midwife would touch a tit… Here is what I have on the farm’s statistics: http://thefarmmidwives.org/preliminary-statistics/

          • momofone
            July 11, 2017 at 10:20 am #

            You made the claim; you provide the evidence.

          • Francois Gerland
            July 11, 2017 at 10:42 am #

            Sorry Momofone, I’ve had enough of the aggressive tone of some of you here, I’m leaving this forum, wishing you all safe and happy births, wherever you choose to have them.

          • momofone
            July 11, 2017 at 10:44 am #

            I hate to hear that. I also find it telling that you were in no hurry to leave before being pushed to support your own claims. It isn’t “aggressive” to say that when you make a claim you support it; it’s how it works.

          • Francois Gerland
            July 11, 2017 at 10:49 am #

            Momofone, you haven’t been aggressive but I realise I’m wasting my time and probably yours here, so yes, I’ll “stick the flounce”, thanks Heidi!

          • Heidi_storage
            July 11, 2017 at 10:46 am #

            Just make sure to stick the flounce.

          • MaineJen
            July 11, 2017 at 6:57 pm #

            “Aggressive tone” = “You’re not validating my misogynist views.”

          • Heidi_storage
            July 11, 2017 at 10:45 am #

            Entirely appropriate screams. Health care providers have no business getting sexual with their patients, nor ought they be referring to patients’ body parts using colloquial terms.

          • Empress of the Iguana People
            July 11, 2017 at 10:48 am #

            It wasn’t just touching her breast, it’s fondling to encourage a husband to fondle them while the woman is in labor. If a woman *wants* that, fine, but I doubt that’s common.

          • Azuran
            July 11, 2017 at 11:03 am #

            I see they don’t have neonatal mortality statistic for the last 37 years.
            She also says she had a few stillbirth and other babies who were too premature. She claims that they didn’t die because of the birth. But really, how can you be so sure? What was she even doing delivering premature babies? it is very likely that at least a few of them could have lived if they had been born in a hospital.
            As for stillbirth. Also very likely that a few of them could have been saved with better pre-natal care, or more monitoring during labour.

          • Roadstergal
            July 11, 2017 at 2:25 pm #

            Interesting. I note you didn’t agree with Azuran that women who want C-sections should be allowed to have them. You come across as not a fan of women having proper informed consent and choice. They should be touched sexually without consent during labor, and not be allowed to avoid labor if they so desire.

            Is this a fetish?

          • Francois Gerland
            July 11, 2017 at 3:11 pm #

            Sorry Roadstergal, I’ve left this forum, I’ve heard too much of this kind of crap my side of the Atlantic I will not reply anymore.

          • Box of Salt
            July 11, 2017 at 3:26 pm #

            You left five hours ago, remember?

          • Francois Gerland
            July 11, 2017 at 10:05 am #

            Venezuelan women are told by some doctors (not all!) that if a baby that big comes out of a hole that small, they will never attract another man in their life… And yes, they go for c-section as horrible as it may sound…

          • momofone
            July 11, 2017 at 10:22 am #

            Do you think Venezuelan women are so gullible that they buy that?

            That said, c-section sounds great to me compared to the alternative.

          • Francois Gerland
            July 11, 2017 at 10:43 am #


          • Azuran
            July 11, 2017 at 10:47 am #

            Glad to see you agree that venezuelan woman who want’s c-section should have them.

          • Azuran
            July 11, 2017 at 10:37 am #

            Look, if doctors are lying to women, in order to have them go for c-section to make more money, then 100% of the people on this blog would agree with you that it is unacceptable.

            However, first, a woman has the right to value the function of her vagina. We have the right to want to have sexual pleasure and painless intercourse.
            I am extremely happy that thanks to my c-section, my vagina is intact and I can have painless sex. As well as not having urinary or fecal incontinence.
            I personally do not think that women who decide to go for the c-section is horrible. I had a c-section. It was MUCH better than all that time I spent trying to push out my baby.
            Actually, the only think I didn’t like about my care is that the possibility of a maternal request c-section was NEVER talked about. Vaginal birth is seen as the default and no other options are discussed unless you have a medical need. No one ever mentioned the possibility of just having a c-section. Because yes, some women would prefer to just skip the VB and go straight to the c-section. And they absolutely have that right. All women should be asked. If someone had asked me, I probably would have chosen the c-section, and it should have been my right to do so.
            And yes, keeping my sexual and urinary function intact is one of the MAIN reason why I am never going to try a VBAC.

            So, really, what is the real truth behind that 90%? Maybe it’s bad doctor, which we all think is unacceptable. Maybe they are the only hospital who provide maternal request c-section. Maybe they have super top notch technology and take care of only super high risk cases.

    • MaineJen
      July 11, 2017 at 6:55 pm #

      Ina May is/was a member of a cult, living rurally and off the grid. She could not do c sections on her bus. I shudder to think how bad the situation must have gotten for that 1.7% of women that she did end up transferring out.

    • sdsures
      March 10, 2018 at 9:35 pm #

      Dude, Ina May is not qualified to perform cesareans, so OF COURSE HER CESAREAN RATES ARE LOWER than any hospital rates (which you don’t actually *bother* to provide, so your hospital-related statistics are 100%worthless)!

      She’d rather her patients and babies die. She let her OWN baby DIE rather than get help when in fetal distress.

      I’d love to see an accurate (because I’m sure she would fabricate it) list of her annual hospital transfer rates, and what outcomes her patients had after transfer. But I will not be holding my breath.

  3. sdsures
    January 27, 2017 at 10:12 am #

    This makes me so angry I could eat nails.

  4. Stacey Noel
    September 26, 2016 at 1:56 pm #

    Don’t knock it until you have tried it.

    • Charybdis
      September 26, 2016 at 2:33 pm #

      Knock what, exactly? OOH birth, being sexually fondled by your midwife during labor and delivery or both? And what would your response be if a male or female medical person (doctor, nurse, CNM) did the same thing to someone in labor? Rubbed your clitoris without permission/consent, then grabbed and tweaked your breasts?

    • Sarah
      September 26, 2016 at 3:36 pm #

      What, being touched up by Ina May Gaskin? Thanks, but I’d rather eat my own tits.

  5. XanaduFrog
    July 18, 2015 at 7:27 pm #

    I’m still shellshocked thinking about how I would feel about a midwife invitingly squeezing my tits, massaging my taint, and rubbing my button.

    I loved my two hospital births, which involved wonderfully caring and respectful nurses who did not feel the need to employ any of those techniques. And I’ll leave it there.

    • momofone
      July 18, 2015 at 7:51 pm #

      Or a midwife inviting someone else–including my husband–to do the same. I’ll be the one issuing those invitations, thanks!

  6. Trixie
    July 18, 2015 at 3:10 pm #

    For anyone who doubts whether these quotes are accurate, it’s actually possible to search the 4th edition in Google books and find the quotes for yourself.

    • Ash
      August 5, 2015 at 8:42 pm #

      The first quote can also be located in Google Books in the older version of Spiritual Midwifery (black and white cover), if you do a word search for “explode”

      • Trixie
        August 6, 2015 at 8:33 am #

        Thanks! I was having trouble finding it.

  7. elle
    March 6, 2015 at 12:38 am #

    I honestly cant believe some of the responses on here. For people to actually believe that people who “buy into the farm ideology” mist be brainwashed makes me gag. Ina may gaskins is a huge positive influence on the home birth movement. This woman has dedicated her life to empowering women and their bodies and their babies and is EXTREMELY SUCCESSFUL. Just because you would be uncomfortable with something doesn’t mean anyone who isn’t must be brainwashed. Everyone has different opinions about everything. Just because the topic is sexuality doesn’t make it any different. Not to mention peoples theory of birth rape and impossible achievement of informed consent due to a power dynamic is extremely flawed. Her language may sound a bit crude but that doesn’t make her a rapist. In midwifery there is no power dynamic like obgyns vs patients. Midwives dont see themselves as the superior. The woman’s body is the superior. It knows what to do. We are the consumer and we make all the ultimate decisions. Midwives are just your team. We are equals. We are working together to allow the female body and the baby to safely and beautifully enter the world as nature intended. They are just there for safety purposes and they know this. This isn’t a you need me and cant do it without me kind of relationship like in the medical field. Plus this stuff isn’t necessarily sexual. Its birth its just working naturally with the body when the woman is comfortable. And orgasm and sensual touching is scientifically proven to be a positive tool in this instance. Its not a sexual relationship its a trusting friendship that happens to be intimate due to the nature of the act of birth and where babies come from.

    • March 6, 2015 at 1:32 am #

      Ina May Gaskin lost one of her own babies to homebirth and still promotes it as safe. Think about that.

      Ina May Gaskin promotes sexual touching without the consent of the pregnant/laboring woman. That is flat-out sexual assault. Think about that.

      The woman’s body knows what to do except when it doesn’t. Pregnancy has about a 1% death rate without modern medicine (that is one out of every hundred pregnancies ends in the death of the woman). Why are you writing off the millions upon millions upon billions of women across history who have died or been permanently maimed by giving birth? Not to mention labor even when it’s going great is still full of pain, poop, vomit, screaming, tears, blood, and other less-than-fun things. Why do you feel the need to pretend labor and childbirth is mystical or always safe, when we know it isn’t? The entry of a new human being into the world is pretty amazing, but it’s not inherently safe. Doctors would like to make it safer, and they do. Ina May Gaskin pretends nothing will go wrong, and her insouciance kills women and babies who didn’t need to die. Why do you support her?

      • Rosalind Dalefield
        July 18, 2015 at 5:19 pm #

        ‘Why are you writing off the millions upon millions upon billions of women across history who have died or been permanently maimed by giving birth?’
        THIS. You won’t get an answer to this excellent question, but the reality is, the home-birthers and anti-medicine folks are deeply into eugenics and take the attitude that if a woman cannot give birth easily and safely, then the gene pool is better off with her and/or her baby. This is a disgusting attitude.

    • Nick Sanders
      March 6, 2015 at 1:52 am #

      “In midwifery there is no power dynamic like obgyns vs patients. Midwives dont see themselves as the superior.”

      Go read the reports coming out of the UK and The Netherlands, referenced in some of the most recent posts on this blog, and then say that again with a straight face.

    • Rosalind Dalefield
      July 18, 2015 at 5:16 pm #

      What absolute rubbish. There can be an oppressive power dynamic between a midwife and the woman in labour, and OBGYNs can treat the woman with respect as an equal. I have personal experience of this. During my first labour the midwife bullied me, lied to me, and even hit me. During my subsequent three labours, the (male) OBGYNs treated me with total respect and didn’t intervene any more than absolutely necessary.
      Also, please provide references from the peer-reviewed scientific literature for this extraordinary claim of yours: ‘orgasm and sensual touching is scientifically proven to be a positive tool in this instance’, otherwise admit that you made it up.

      • sdsures
        January 27, 2017 at 10:13 am #

        The midwife HIT you???

        • Rosalind Dalefield
          January 27, 2017 at 4:50 pm #


          • sdsures
            January 28, 2017 at 4:33 pm #


    • disqus_DyKswkJSY3
      August 15, 2015 at 8:33 pm #

      “This isn’t a you need me and cant do it without me kind of relationship like in the medical field. Plus this stuff isn’t necessarily sexual.”

      Aahhh, yes it is. In just that little excerpt alone (above), she’s pushy, domineering and controlling. It’s herdelivery. She wants the woman to do what she instructs them and annoyed when the laboring woman moves her leg or is somehow non-compliant with her program.

      Not sexual? Overtly sexual! She engages in erotic conduct as if she’s getting satisfaction herself!

  8. Diana
    December 3, 2013 at 5:25 am #

    Birth is an intimate moment, a family moment, which goes smoothly when the woman is relaxed. Ina May understands this and makes it happen. She is very professional and the fact that she says the things like they are does not make her less qualified to attend a birthing. She treats birth as the intense moment it is, she does not attempt “rape” or anything like this. I’m sure she talks with her clients about all the options for a better birthing and does not do anything they may disapprove of.

    Someone who has never attended a peaceful home birth where the woman is completely focused on what she is feeling and is conscious to the fact that she is about to give life, will never understand how birth is not an sickness and that it should not be treated like so.
    I would be honored to have Ina May Gaskin as my midwife. She treats women as people, not as sick body parts.

    • PrimaryCareDoc
      December 3, 2013 at 7:39 am #

      You’re sure she talks with all of them about how she is going to touch and rub their clitoris and squeeze and play with their breasts during birth?

      I wonder how an informed consent conversation about that goes.

    • Captain Obvious
      December 3, 2013 at 8:38 am #

      Now reread that post with the healthcare professional being a male OB/GYN. Do you have the same conclusion?

    • Guest
      April 25, 2014 at 4:45 pm #

      “she does not attempt “rape” or anything like this. I’m sure she talks with her clients about all the options for a better birthing and does not do anything they may disapprove of.”

      So she’s “birth grooming”? You know, like how molestors groom their victims, saying soothingly “Doesn’t this feel good? Your body likes it. Trust me. Trust your body.”

      And in so doing, the victim mistrusts her own brain – which is also part of her body.

    • Rosalind Dalefield
      July 18, 2015 at 5:19 pm #

      Touching the woman’s clitoris or rubbing her breasts without consent is sexual assault no matter who does it.

  9. Deborah
    July 25, 2013 at 10:05 pm #

    Did someone say birth rape?

  10. June 20, 2013 at 5:55 am #

    I think that everything is possible if it fits.

  11. Dr Kitty
    June 14, 2013 at 4:59 pm #

    Let’s see.
    My OB gave me a WEEKS warning that he *might* have to do a VE at my 38 week appointment, and only if he had to. As it happened, he didn’t have to because my cervix was obviously long and closed on the ultrasound.
    Since I had a Pre labour planned CS, that meant I had exactly ZERO vaginal examinations after 7 weeks of pregnancy (we thought it was ectopic so I had a couple at th the start) and nobody touched my breasts either.

    I had a catheter, but it was inserted after I had a spinal and removed (by a midwife) 24 hours later, completely painlessly, and I didn’t find it uncomfortable in the least, but then again I’m used to them.

    Remind me again why CS and hospital births are violating?

    • July 29, 2013 at 11:28 am #

      I’m glad you had a good experience at a hospital. I did not. I think that violation of women is pretty common in just about every setting because it is so hard to sue anyone for violations.

      • sdsures
        January 27, 2017 at 10:20 am #

        I have vaginismus, and have only ever been able to have a Pap smear done when I’m under a general anesthetic. The OB team working with me was aware of this, and when I consented to (pre-op) trying to get a virgin speculum inserted when I was still awake, I had a panic attack – full on screaming and crying. They immediately stopped what they were doing and passed me a box of Kleenex. They waited to talk to me until I was able to stop crying and burying my face in my husband’s shirt. That’s how traumatized I was after having tried to get the smear done while awake.

        The OB was a male and his nurses were female. My husband stayed in the room with me the whole time. The entire staff handled the situation with professionalism and great sensitivity. That’s how you deal properly with a traumatized patient in an OB-GYN department.

  12. Jack
    June 14, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    After reading this blog post…it makes sense why this lady would be a pioneer for home birth. She has to isolate her victims. A hospital or birthing center would never allow this type of behavior.
    “Isolation, gratification, justification…”

    • sdsures
      January 27, 2017 at 10:20 am #

      Or allow reports of what Gaskin does to her patients to go public.

  13. schnitzelbank
    June 14, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

    Bow-chica-wow-wow! Thanks, I’ll stick to my impersonal, sterile, medicalized birth.
    Can we make a table? On one side, hospital birth. On the other, homebirth with IMG and co. Let’s take 10 things:
    Accurate fetal heart monitoring, pain relief, modern medicine??1 vs 0
    Access to immediate emergency care? 1 vs 0
    Certified medical professionals? 1 vs 0
    Protocols for fetal/maternal care? 1 vs 0
    Accessibility and accountability? 1 vs 0
    Access to immediate NICU care? 1 vs 0
    Consistent monitoring of newborn health? 1 vs 0
    Respectful, accurate language? 1 vs 0
    Choice to birth in a plastic wading pool, mop bucket, or fetid river? 0 vs 1
    Having some old lady try to get you off, while you’re in labor? 0 vs 1

    Hospital 8
    IMG NCB 2

  14. SeattleMama
    June 14, 2013 at 12:14 am #

    I am disturbed. Very disturbed. Not by her language, but by her actions (rubbing a patient’s breasts and clitoris).

  15. Seattle Hannah
    June 13, 2013 at 10:57 pm #

    I read bits and pieces of this book, and what amazed me is the frequency in which they got high while in labor and before. Pot and psychedelics mostly. No one should say IMG promotes unmedicated childbirth.

    • KarenJJ
      June 14, 2013 at 12:57 am #

      I guess that babies are “peaceful” when they are born..

  16. Monica
    June 13, 2013 at 8:57 pm #

    Could you imagine if a doctor said this stuff? Or did this stuff? Talk about birth rape.

  17. KumquatWriter
    June 13, 2013 at 11:58 am #

    In response to people saying, “yeah, but IMG made it know.this is how she works, and some people are into that…”

    The inherent power balance (IMG not just a celebrity but also presiding over life and death in that moment!) means that consent is sketchy at best under ideal circumstances. The following quote is actually from an article about incest but is certainly relevant:

    “Because although consent is always problematic (do we really consent to work or are we obliged to do so?), it is even more problematic in conditions of extreme power imbalances. This is why most employers forbid sex between management and employees, most schools forbid sex between professors and their students, and most families do not encourage sex between parents and children, even “adult” children.”

    (rest of article: http://chronicle.com/blogs/brainstorm/should-incest-be-legal/30098)

  18. Laura
    June 13, 2013 at 10:58 am #

    Have any of IMG’s former clients spoken out about uncomfortable childbirth experiences with her? If she really touches women’s breasts and genitals while using crude language during childbirth, surely some former clients have complained about it. Any reports that anyone knows of? Or is IMG all (crude and disgusting) talk?

    • Anj Fabian
      June 13, 2013 at 11:15 am #

      If someone lived at the Farm, they likely would have been subjected to a lot of indoctrination including that the idea that Ina May’s authority was not to be questioned.

      If someone chose to birth at the Farm, they already have bought into most of the ideology. After the birth, they’d likely have the Farm’s narrative of their birth reinforced repeatedly.

      It seems likely to me that women likely have experienced similar actions, but they would have to be aware of those actions, perceive them as invasive and transgressive. Even then, it would be the word of a laboring woman against every other witness at the birth. Unless one of those witnesses was her support person, it’s unlikely there would be any corroboration.

      As for physical evidence – birth is a physically traumatic event.

      • Laura
        June 13, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

        But certainly some women come to their “senses” and decompress from the brainwashing to later see how uncomfortable certain things made them feel. I am also sure there have been witnesses during the births – like husbands! – that have later realized that how their birth was handled was a bit “icky.” Curious about this population of people…..

        • Busbus
          May 6, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

          I’m sure there are people who were unhappy with their birth experience at the farm. (The woman Ina May Gaskin derides as a “princess” because she needed to be transferred for pain relief comes to mind – I can only shudder at a provider who talks about a patient in such a judgemental and callous way, and I don’t want to know what IMG said TO that woman. Empowering it was likely not.)

          However, someone who is sufficiently in the woo to go to the farm is not very likely to open up about that. They would be shunned by the entire NCB community and derided and attacked for criticising their idol.

    • sdsures
      January 27, 2017 at 10:21 am #

      They’re probably conditioned never to report.

  19. The Computer Ate My Nym
    June 13, 2013 at 10:07 am #

    Could someone please explain to me how Gaskin manages to pass this off as “feminism”? Biological essentialism, sexual harassment, limiting women’s role to childbirth…how is that remotely feminist?

    • Lizzie Dee
      June 13, 2013 at 10:48 am #

      Because it is empowering, silly! No need to worry about the kind of achievements generally recognised if you can Queen it with this one. And it’s only sexual harrassment when men do it. Reclaiming your own body, or being nurtured/supprted by a another woman is QUITE different. (Unholy alliance between 60s liberation and 70s Rad Fem)

      Turns my stomach, as does all this creepy closeness. I’m happier with professional distance.

      PS I think it is fine for women to feel thrilled at their achievement – that IS natural – it is using it to belittle others that turns me nasty. Me, I am impervious but not everyone is. and I am feminist enough to hate to see women put down or conned.

      • dworkin fan
        June 13, 2013 at 7:08 pm #

        Hey I am a radfem just wanted to say I am disappointed in the ones that support things like NCB that is anti science. There is a recent resurgence and I just ask that we all not be labeled as man hating hippies. I am also a rationalist and skeptic. Thanks.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa
          June 14, 2013 at 11:26 am #

          I’m glad you are “disappointed” in them. So when you hear them saying things like that, do you call them on it?

  20. Amy H
    June 13, 2013 at 10:01 am #

    Should we all use the N-word as well to take away the power that has?

  21. 'Nother Lawyer
    June 13, 2013 at 8:27 am #

    This is absolutely repulsive and, in many states, criminal.

  22. MumaD
    June 13, 2013 at 6:04 am #

    “Don’t let the head suddenly explode from the mother’s puss” – or twat or cunt apparently. How can anyone take this woman seriously?

    • sdsures
      January 27, 2017 at 10:22 am #

      IMG’s knowledge of anatomy is really whacked-out.

  23. Expat in Germany
    June 13, 2013 at 3:38 am #

    Hospitals try to civilize birth and Ina May spiritualizes and sexualizes it. I’m firmly in the civilization camp and think that the marketing of the spiritual and sexual version of birth is tantamount to fraud in many cases. Of course, a thousand people will respond that their birth experience was truly spiritual and/or sexual (in a bdsm sort of way) and if that is what you are after, go to the birth center by all means, but don’t try to tell me that it is safer and that all of your birth preparation made a difference in whether or not you ended up with a cesarean. I don’t buy it.

  24. Expat in Germany
    June 13, 2013 at 2:55 am #

    Ina May took what is an extremely embarrassing, animalistic bodily display (pooping and screaming and needing help from a room full of people?) and romanticized and spiritualized it. Now I see that she sexualized it in a really crass way too. I see it as an example of stupidly confusing distinct things. The feelings of love that a baby brings to a community are beautiful, but the goo and poop and pain are not. Perhaps Ina Maye thinks she is doing her client a favor by making her sexier and therefore more powerful instead of what she is – a powerless animal at the mercy of cruel nature. All of this birthy stuff is about sex appeal at the end of the day. Do men really find fat women in kiddie pools that much of a turn on? I doubt it. It isn’t about what the men think, it is what the woman thinks of herself. Its all about self delusion. I am hawt and oh so powerful. If your only claim to social power is your body, I feel sorry for you. I’m conflicted about whether I should begrudge a person this. I think not.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      June 13, 2013 at 9:09 am #

      Ina May is a cult leader just like her husband. He restricted her to “woman’s work” and she made a cult out of that where she is the high priestess. What is amazing to me is that so many fools follow her.

      • Expat in Germany
        June 13, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

        I don’t find it surprising. Say, you are poor and don’t have indoor plumbing and you would feel embarrassed about it unless you call yourself a hippie and take on the cultural trappings thereof. Telling people something that is scary and embarrassing is wonderful and beautiful is a very effective coping strategy for a difficult situation. Freedom’s just another word for nothin left to lose.. Ina May did this with the terrifying series of childbirths which she was forced to attend on a caravan from cali to kentucky. I know that they were not forced to run away from society and into the woods, but when you are young and idealistic and don’t know any better… let’s just say, I know some former cult members. The crazy thing is that once they were no longer running and had access to hospitals, she continued to trust in dumb luck when there was no need to. Conscious delusion is a good coping strategy, but it is important to keep objective reality somewhere accessible. Smart people join cults all of the time. Feeling like a member of a community is one of the strongest human needs.

        • Expat in Germany
          June 13, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

          It wasn’t crazy of her to cling to the power that midwifery gave her over her subjects. Immoral, yes. People get addicted to power.

    • me
      June 13, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

      I agree with you, except the notion that childbirth is “embarrassing”. Animalistic? Sure. We are animals, afterall ;). Goo, poop, pain? Check, check, check. But the notion that we should be embarrassed? I just don’t agree with that. Childbirth is a bodily function that is no more or less embarrassing than any other. Honestly I think I find farting at inopportune moments more embarrassing than I found childbirth, lol. But maybe it’s just me and the way I was raised.

      Now, don’t get me wrong, romanticizing and spiritualizing it is not necessary (and what IMG does here is just… beyond words), but I don’t think it needs to be embarrassing either. It’s a normal bodily function that everyone (std disclaimer) does and is nothing to be embarrassed/ashamed of. I guess I look at it the same way as pooping in a public toilet – yeah, I’d prefer to wait til I get home, but you gotta go when you gotta go, everyone does it, and it’s really not that big a deal. What’s to be embarrassed about?

      • Expat in Germany
        June 13, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

        of course, we shouldn’t feel embarrassed about it, It is just that the individual elements which make up the whole are usually pretty embarrassing. It is a grab bag, for sure.

        • me
          June 14, 2013 at 11:13 am #

          You’re right, as is Eddie. I guess I read it as “should be” rather than “some people are”. Sorry…. my own misinterpretation 🙂

      • Eddie
        June 13, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

        It’s not that it should be embarrassing. It’s that many find it embarrassing. I agree with you. Bodily functions are natural, every animal has them, and they are nothing to be embarrassed about. But that doesn’t stop people from being embarrassed. 🙂

        • The Bofa on the Sofa
          June 13, 2013 at 7:07 pm #

          I, OTOH, have no shame.

          And apparently my kids have inherited that. I had a guy over looking at the carpet the other day, and my 4 year old changes out of his swim trunks right in front of the guy, standing full naked. Never even batted an eye. Nor did I, of course.

          • Eddie
            June 13, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

            Americans, as a group, are comparatively ashamed of and just uncomfortable about the human body when compared to much of the rest of the world. When I was at a government lab completing my research for my dissertation, there were people from all over the world there. A German friend of mine went to the small pool at the lab. To change, he wrapped a towel around himself, in front of everyone, and under the towel changed into his swimming trunks.

            The lady running the pool freaked out and made a HUGE deal about it. He was genuinely puzzled, at a loss, completely befuddled. He asked what the problem was, as everything was covered. She explained that he was naked under the towel. None of us could figure out how being naked under a towel was different from being naked under clothes. We Americans rolled our eyes, as we’d encountered that sort of person before at least once. Our European friends were far more “deer in the headlights” confused by her reaction.

            Like you, I have no shame. I’ve known and hung out with nudists; it’s a total non-issue for me. Bodily functions are just … bodily functions. No big deal. Bodily fluids and emissions are natural. I don’t seek them out, but I don’t freak out about them either.

            Most (American?) men seem to be freaked out by or just uncomfortable about anything having to do with women’s bodily functions, especially. Probably one reason that there are so few men who comment here on a regular basis, and it’s something I find disappointing about men, as a group.

            It is probably not an accident that we both have much less bodily shame than the average American guy, and we are active here.

    • dworkin fan
      June 13, 2013 at 7:11 pm #

      I think yes people ppl take her bullshit as a gospel and die bc of it.

      • Expat in Germany
        June 14, 2013 at 9:47 am #

        ah, I see. From a Dworkin perspective, sexualizing the woman diminishes her and makes her less powerful. That also has some truth. The big problem is that these things are being done to her and not by her. The kiddie pool is analagous to a tight dress and hooker heels. Ina May is the pimp.

  25. MomAnd Midwife
    June 13, 2013 at 1:16 am #

    In NO WAY offering an excuse for her behavior, there is some wisdom to the touch of a lover during labor. Breast stimulation releases oxytocin, as does orgasm, which also releases endorphins. Certainly not for many women to choose, of course.
    Many of my local NCB community colleagues agree that Ina May describes being WAY too “hands-in” with the multitude of vag exams she describes in her texts.
    Please know that all of us don’t buy into her dogma ~

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      June 13, 2013 at 7:56 am #

      And what do you do to combat it? When you hear others wax on about her, do you shoot them down? Or do you just stay silent and let them?

      • Captain Obvious
        June 13, 2013 at 8:34 am #

        Jerry Sandusky – like mentality. I see it happening, but I won’t say anything or report it.

        • Anj Fabian
          June 13, 2013 at 9:36 am #

          Criticize the boss lady?
          Call a thought leader of the home birth movement out in public?

          You wouldn’t just be ostracized. You’d be figuratively tarred and feathered and ridden out of the Farm on a rail.

          TBH, I think that Ina May and the Farm’s birth center is key to keeping the Farm viable. Once that vanishes, I expect the Farm to follow – give it a decade.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            June 13, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

            But MomAndMidwife is not on the Farm, is she? She is just one of those self-claimed non-crazy midwives.

            I have said it before, instead of getting all defensive, I would think that the non-crazy midwives would actually agree with Dr Amy, and join in with her to rid out the whackos. Yet, they tend not to…

  26. Esther
    June 12, 2013 at 11:49 pm #

    Somewhat OT (to Ina May, that is), but y’all might be interested in the gem from Kathryn Dettwyler, the anthropologist of “the natural age of weaning is 2.5-7 years” fame and a real b*tch online (She’s been known to tell a woman on facebook she shouldn’t have had children if she wasn’t planning to BF them, among other things). I was poking around that goldmine of Sanctimomminess, the The Alpha Parent’s Facebook page, and not surprisingly, KD is a fan. In response to a blogpost of Alpha Parent’s, she wrote the following screed:

    people understand that “in nature,” without intervention, sometimes
    mothers and babies die, who could have been saved if they’d had access
    to modern medical care. They also understand that Western medicine has
    gone way beyond “medically necessary” interventions to the point that
    modern ob/gyn/labor&delivery care
    now causes as much – if not more — damage than it does good. One of
    the problems with a rational evaluation of the topic is that it’s easy
    to say “A child’s life was saved by intervention” and place some sort of
    value on that. It’s not so easy to place a value on the hundreds of
    thousands [millions?] of children whose lives were permanently harmed by
    unnecessary c-sections, unnecessary separation from mother, unnecessary
    interventions such as routine fetal heart monitoring, epidurals, early
    cord cutting, suctioning, hatting, swaddling, vigorous scrubbing baths,
    immediate eye drops, immediate circumcision, formula supplementation,
    etc. etc. etc. How does one begin to do the math? If we harm 10,000
    children to various degrees, is that worth it to save the life of one
    child? What if we harm 100,000 children through our interventions, but
    save the life of one child? There is no way to compare the outcomes.
    But there is no shame is asking medical professionals to rethink how
    they approach childbirth, to dial back the interventions and use them
    only when medically necessary or when proven to be helpful, rather than
    harmful. “Evidence-based medicine” that relies on current research
    tells us that all of the interventions mentioned above (routine fetal
    heart monitoring, epidurals, early cord cutting, etc.) do NOT lead to
    improved outcomes in terms of maternal-child health. On the contrary,
    they are harmful. Yet they too often remain part of “traditional
    Western childbirth practice” – even against the mother’s wishes.”

    Someone needs a lesson in evidence-based practice, I think…

    • suchende
      June 12, 2013 at 11:53 pm #

      “What if we harm 100,000 children through our interventions, but save the life of one child?”

      What if we used real data instead of pulling bullshit numbers out of our ass?

      • Anj Fabian
        June 13, 2013 at 4:22 am #

        Apparently anthropology is not a rigorous field.

        • t.
          June 13, 2013 at 5:10 am #

          Anthropology is ridden by ideologies. People try to do honest anthropology often find themselves criticized not to follow the various ideologies, sadly enough.

          • KarenJJ
            June 13, 2013 at 6:09 am #

            Melissa Cheyney?

    • Esther
      June 13, 2013 at 12:07 am #

      I missed it the first reading, but she even mentions swaddling and hatting among the harmful practices done to poor innocent newborns. Comedy gold, I tell you!

      • rh1985
        June 13, 2013 at 12:40 am #

        But baby hats are so CUTE. How could something so CUTE be harmful? 🙁

        • Elizabeth A
          June 13, 2013 at 10:03 am #

          Have you seen the Finnish baby boxes? Those hats have little *bear ears* on them! You can’t hurt a baby with bear ears!

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            June 13, 2013 at 10:12 am #

            You can’t hurt a baby with bear ears!

            Well, if the ears are attached to a real bear…

          • rh1985
            June 14, 2013 at 11:15 pm #

            Bears are natural though. how about a bear assisted birth?

          • Eddie
            June 14, 2013 at 11:24 pm #

            I apologize in advance for the horrible image, but my first thing after reading that was, “A bear-assisted C-Section doesn’t seem like a wise idea.”

          • rh1985
            June 13, 2013 at 9:09 pm #

            oh got a link? that sounds adorable! I already have some hats for the baby I’m trying to have – I have the cutest unisex one with little owl ears and an owl face….

          • Elizabeth A
            June 13, 2013 at 10:03 pm #

            Complete baby box contents are here:


          • rh1985
            June 13, 2013 at 10:52 pm #

            that is a cute hat! If I get pregnant, i will have to see if I can find a similar hat to buy here in the US.

      • GiddyUpGo123
        June 13, 2013 at 12:55 am #

        “unnecessary c-sections, unnecessary separation from mother, unnecessary interventions such as routine fetal heart monitoring, epidurals, early cord cutting, suctioning, hatting, swaddling, vigorous scrubbing baths, immediate eye drops, immediate circumcision, formula supplementation, etc. etc. etc.”

        As far as I know (and please correct me if I’m wrong!) none of those things have ever been shown to cause actual harm of any kind, let alone the massive “permanent” harm she’s implying. Her whole statement is so beyond obnoxious; imagine saying this to someone who lost a child because she didn’t have access to those “harmful” interventions: “Well sure your ONE child died, but think of all the babies who weren’t hatted, swaddled or vigorously scrubbed after birth! Wasn’t it worth it??”

        • AmyM
          June 13, 2013 at 7:51 am #

          Who vigorously scrubs a newborn? I know they rub them with towels, but that is not the same as soap-infused Brillo pads that she is implying. I would like her to expand on the harm done by hatting and swaddling. What kinds of errant behaviors should I be on the lookout for in my children? What diseases are they more susceptible to now? Should I get them therapy? When it will be obvious that they aren’t normal and need help?….Oh god. Is THAT why one of them tripped head first into a chain-link fence yesterday?!!! It must have been the hat!! If only I’d left his misshapen head bare after birth, let him get chilly in the dark January days in Mass….maybe his head would be…thicker? More resistant to bumps and bruises?

          • BeatlesFan
            June 13, 2013 at 7:54 am #

            I couldn’t keep a hat on DD’s head to save my life while in the hospital- her head wasn’t particularly large, but the hats flew right off as soon as she moved around at all. Clearly, she knew better than I and will now blame me for forcibly hatting her when she doesn’t get a full scholarship to Stanford.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            June 13, 2013 at 10:05 am #

            Yes, but what will you do if she does get a full scholarship to Stanford?

          • BeatlesFan
            June 13, 2013 at 10:25 am #

            Brag. 🙂 And spend her college fund on a beach house in Hawaii.

          • Laural
            June 13, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

            When I was in the newborn nursery we did scrub them with (soft) brushes. Especially the ones with lots of hair… I’d even use a really fine toothed comb to get out all of the ‘bits’- of birth stuff. And (horrors) I used soap and a washcloth and I took pride in getting every nook and cranny and I took pride in getting the temperature just right- the babies would get so serene when I rinsed their heads- I always thought it reminded them of where they just were- I’d talk and coo to those sweet babies and they’d be so clean. Good thing my address isn’t on this thing or I’d get hate mail, lol. But, seriously, best. job. ever.

          • sleuther
            June 13, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

            When I had my 2nd daughter at the hospital, my husband & I skipped most of the “classes”… I remember one nurse asked, “Did you go to the newborn bathing class?” and my husband piped up, “No – you clean a newborn with a stiff wire brush and kerosene, right?”

            Said nurse did not ‘get’ his sense of humor…. we had to explain that it was just a joke…. (oops.)

          • ngozi
            September 18, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

            You have me crying tears of laughter…

        • Elizabeth A
          June 13, 2013 at 10:04 am #

          really, it’s hysterically funny that she mentions immediate circumcision and baby hats in the same sentence.

          • auntbea
            June 13, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

            Not having a boy, is there even really such a thing as *immediate* circumcision? As in, “Yep, he’s breathing, let’s cut him?” Don’t they usually wait at least a few days?

          • Elizabeth A
            June 13, 2013 at 2:45 pm #

            Having had a boy, they want to do it before you leave the hospital, but not right after birth. They were VERY clear that it was our say whether it was done at all. They won’t do a circumcision on an infant who isn’t stable and doing well.

            There are plenty of NICU parents who initially plan to circ, but forget about it after the first few days, and then, when the doctors bring it up, decide to pass because their baby has already been through so much and they (the parents) just can’t take any more.

    • deafgimp
      June 13, 2013 at 2:13 am #

      She is aware that Neanderthals started weaning at 7 months, just like modern mothers do, right? Nah, I’m sure she’s dismissing that tidbit of knowledge.

      • Anj Fabian
        June 13, 2013 at 4:21 am #

        That was an n=1 and more interesting because of the novel technique used.

        Yes, Dr. Dettwyler would toss that data out because it doesn’t support her beliefs.

      • Lindsay Beyerstein
        June 13, 2013 at 11:24 am #

        How do we know when Neanderthals weaned their babies? Bone isotope analysis of babies who died in infancy?

      • R
        June 14, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

        That was ONE baby. And most children are introduced to solids between 6 and 9 months – that is the start of “weaning”, but that doesn’t mean that all babies immediately stop breastfeeding.

        The information is more about the fact that it was something that happened to that child (and thus in the realm of possibility for other neanderthal children) rather than something that always happened for all neanderthal children. You also realize that modern humans are not purely descended from Neanderthals, but that modern *homo sapiens* are likely born of interbreeding of the other genus *homo* species, right?

    • Dr Kitty
      June 13, 2013 at 2:57 am #

      I don’t think she understands that concepts like QALYS are used to drive practice, and that what they do is EXACTLY that, work out what damage is done, and weighs it up against harms done to drive practice.

      Epic fail Ms Dettwyler.

    • Lizzie Dee
      June 13, 2013 at 5:23 am #

      All of that is just…so…DUMB. Where are all these babies that have been harmed?

      Now as the mother of that one baby saved, (sadly not soon enough) I would say that it there were any hard, real evidence that 100 – maybe even 10 – babies had been harmed to save mine, I might concede that there was a problem. But the idea that mine should be sacrificed so that mothers could have a nicer birth experience to write about on MDC…Get real.

      As for not having children if you are not going to buy into this twaddle, I think I might be persuaded that women who can make a lifelong tragedy out of a hat should maybe consider getting a kitten instead.

    • ol
      June 13, 2013 at 6:02 am #

      If someone denies science or put his ideas and groupthinking above science
      then he can’t use scientific methods to analyse the reality. It even
      doesn’t come to mind. These are different ways of thinking, different

    • lucy logan
      June 13, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

      this woman is a crappy anthropologist.

    • NatalieRW
      June 13, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

      Someone obviously didn’t take her biostats in getting her anthropology degree. There ARE tests for that!! and modern medicine uses them. All the time.
      Depending on the research design you can use: odds ratio, relative risk, attributable risk, absolute risk reduction, number needed to treat and number needed to harm.
      Look at all those ways we can scientifically evaluate the risks and benefits of medical care. Amazing.

      On a side note, anyone against GBS testing or antibiotic eye ointment infuriates me. These women need to tour a NICU.

  27. Jessica
    June 12, 2013 at 11:13 pm #

    Even UCers think she’s nuts: http://pregnancy.itags.org/q_pregnancy-birth_76896.html

    • Lindsay Beyerstein
      June 12, 2013 at 11:19 pm #

      If I thought my only two options were delivery alone under my front porch or delivering with a wacko trying to pimp my boobs, UC might seem like the better choice.

    • Sin embargo
      June 13, 2013 at 12:04 am #

      Comments in the thread:

      I have yet to read one story that the WOMAN birthing says she felt the urge to do such and such. IMO Ina May gets them all high and doped up and then procedes to direct the birth in a manner that SHE would want a birth to happen. I read the caption under one picture and the mom was saying her best friend who her and the father wanted there was kicked out by Ina May and at first was resistant but saw how Ina May needed him gone in order to establish the mood.

      She almost makes birth perverted. I hate to say that but the lack of general respect for the moma and the birth and labour and the husband and anyone they want there and the constant crass language and the taking it upon herself to direct anything sexual (whether verbally or physically) makes it feel dirty and misused. I come away feeling violated on many levels and I’m sober and only reading it!

      Not a fan of Ina May at all. I wonder if any women have ever felt ‘birth raped’ by her, but wouldn’t feel free coming out with it because she is such a pioneer?

      I’ve often wondered about why the mom’s don’t say anything. Then it dawns on me…almost all of them are high and/or drunk and have very few clear thoughts. It’s all about the trip and how psychedelic it was and how in tune with Ina they were. It’s very cult like. I wonder how much of it wasn’t ran in a cult type fashion. Especially in the early days…she documents that they were malnourished and had a rough go in the beginning hygeine/food/water wise. A malnourished brain high on drugs is going to be very easily influenced! That’s how a lot of groups “break in” new recruits. I know a lot of her birth stories are from the beginning, heck there are some that take place in the bus on the way to their final destination! Ina May and Stephen both have an odd amount of love and adoration (for those who don’t know…for awhile Stephen was married to more than one person before he had a revelation that it wasn’t “ok” for their group). A lot of the stories show a warped thinking pattern that really makes me think that things weren’t always as kosher as Ina May makes them out to be.

      • ratiomom
        June 13, 2013 at 4:45 am #

        Am I to understand that she administers psychedelic drugs/alcohol to women in labor?! WTF? Are these the same people who make huge dramas about their babies being exposed to homeopathic amounts of opiates from epidurals??

        • KarenJJ
          June 13, 2013 at 4:51 am #

          I’m taking that claim with a grain of salt. Surely the type of crunchy mum that goes to the Farm is not getting off her face while she delivers. That does seem pretty odd…

          • AmyP
            June 13, 2013 at 9:06 am #

            But would the use of “herbal” remedies during labor to relax the mother surprise us that much? These are old hippies we’re talking about.

          • KumquatWriter
            June 13, 2013 at 11:25 am #

            New hippies aren’t afraid of drugs either.

          • staceyjw
            June 13, 2013 at 11:59 am #

            In the beginning there were drugs- this is about those stories. Maybe it changed over the years, but psychedelics were vital there. It would not surprise me a bit to know they are smoking pot and doing mushrooms while in labor, they are natural after all…. LOTS of the NCBers NOW do this stuff, I am sure it was even more common back then, when the Farm first opened.

          • Busbus
            March 2, 2015 at 11:10 am #

            Labor under the influence of psychedelic drugs sounds like a recipe for the perfect horror trip to me… Yikes.

        • Eddie
          June 13, 2013 at 10:30 am #

          I had exactly the same reaction.

          In the opposite direction, Elvis really looked down on those who used illegal drugs, even as he was totally addicted to prescription drugs, because his were “legal.” It’s funny the ways people have of rationalizing why their use makes perfect sense while others’ use is criminal.

        • Jessica
          June 13, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

          The way I understood it is that these were birth stories from the early days of The Farm, when drug use was quite rampant (and apparently the people had inadequate food and so were quite ravenous, if not starving).

          What sort of amazes me is that the modern-day NCBers who rave about IMG and the birth stories don’t connect the dots that the ecstatic, spiritual births she describes aren’t the result of an intervention free birth, but quite possibly the result of psychedelic drugs and near-starvation. Geez, you do enough drugs and eating dirt could be a euphoric and spiritual experience….

      • Lisa Cybergirl
        June 18, 2013 at 4:12 am #

        I’ve often wondered about why the mom’s don’t say anything. Then it dawns on me…almost all of them are high and/or drunk and have very few clear thoughts
        Sounds a lot like date rape…

  28. Lindsay Beyerstein
    June 12, 2013 at 10:06 pm #

    Funny story. Last week, I was looking for a 60 Minutes documentary on immigration called “All-American Canal,” when I googled it, the first hit was a Daily Beast story about orgasmic birth. It’s not on the front page of the search results anymore, which gives me faith in Google’s self-correcting algorithms. Either that or the NSA noticed and was like, “What the hell?”

  29. rh1985
    June 12, 2013 at 9:45 pm #

    So creepy and gross.

  30. theadequatemother
    June 12, 2013 at 9:26 pm #

    Saskatchewan will no longer allow HBACS:


    • Lena
      June 12, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

      Heard about that on NGM’s facebook. Lots of freaking out, with NGM disappointingly and bizarrely stating that maybe she’d feel differently about HBACs if she had ever witnessed a uterine rupture, but probably not because she’s seen so many dystocias and she was fine with those.

      I guess it’s impossible to completely eradicate the fuckery in NCB land. No matter how reasonable a person is, eventually the crazy will show.

      • theadequatemother
        June 12, 2013 at 9:42 pm #

        She also has said she would be fine with her daughter (who had cs with her first I believe) having an HBAC.

        • Antigonos CNM
          June 13, 2013 at 1:02 am #

          I think NGM’s daughter is too intelligent to do so. She apparently never considered homebirth with her first, despite Mom’s obvious desire for her to do so.

          NGM is an intelligent woman and far better educated than the average CPM. However, she has some fairly serious personal issues in her life, and I think she is definitely unstable. A history of depression, which she admits to [I think it is more a bipolar problem], chronic health problems, after being married and having children she has been in a long term lesbian relationship with a partner who now insists on being recognized as a male…NGM is definitely not a well-balanced individual. At times her posts seem extremely sensible and rational, at other times she seems off the wall. I think that on some level she is aware of this: she has stopped attending homebirths as a midwife and works as a doula.

          • Dr Kitty
            June 13, 2013 at 3:03 am #

            Hey, let’s not bring her sexuality or the fact that her partner is Trans into it. Who she loves is not a sign of emotional imbalance.

          • KarenJJ
            June 13, 2013 at 6:19 am #

            No of course not. But if I put on an arm chair psychologist hat – what happens if a young women is not heterosexual and yet wants a family, especially a large family? I could imagine a career as a lay midwife as being an outlet for sexual tension while being married to a man. Of course not all lay midwives are like this, and not all male obgyns/midwives are in that career for any sexual reasons. Unfortunately the lack of regulation of lay midwifery means that if a patient is sexually abused means the patient has no means of reporting or preventing others suffering the same.

          • Lizzie Dee
            June 13, 2013 at 9:19 am #

            Who she loves is not necessarily a sign of emotional imbalance – but, as with Ina May, being very frank with strangers about sexual matters outside the boring norm can get you looked at a bit funny. I don’t much mind what anyone does, but I would rather they didn’t SHARE.

            Your tolerance and understanding does you credit and you are of course right.

          • Eddie
            June 13, 2013 at 10:45 am #

            One thing I respect about this blog and its commenters is that it is not, in fact, an echo chamber, and that people call each other out regularly. I respect your integrity.

            My understanding (maybe incorrect) was that the allegation was not that she had a “bad” sexual identity, but that she had an unstable one. Of course, maybe she’s bi. I have no idea and don’t really care either way. I have no opinion about NGM, almost never having read her blog.

            I wonder, sometimes, how much less unhappy and/or disturbed many trans individuals would be if our culture were not so judgemental of them. I can only imagine how difficult it would be to be in that position.

          • KumquatWriter
            June 13, 2013 at 11:38 am #


          • slandy09
            June 13, 2013 at 9:41 am #

            If I remember correctly, she said in a blog post that she had helped her daughter look for a HCP for the pregnancy, even interviewing some home birth midwives, and she was disgusted with the home birth midwives. I don’t think she even attends home births as a doula anymore.

            I also remember how angry she was at the “arm chair quarterbacks” during her daughter’s labor and eventual c-section.

      • fiftyfifty1
        June 12, 2013 at 9:56 pm #

        NGM has never been reasonable. Just less totally batshit crazy than most.

      • mamaellie
        June 12, 2013 at 11:16 pm #

        Yeah I’ve been on her blog recently and found myself completely offended, vowing never to return.

      • LovleAnjel
        June 13, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

        So the fact that uterine ruptures are more common with VBACs, and that they kill women and babies, means nothing because she hasn’t personally seen someone die from one? WTF?

        • Lena
          June 14, 2013 at 11:07 am #

          Pretty much. She’s puzzled by midwives who’ve stopped attending HBACs after witnessing a rupture,and wonders if she’d feel the same but probably not because she’s seen so many dystocias without a problem. I’m not exaggerating at all–that’s really what she said.

          • Guestll
            June 14, 2013 at 11:18 am #

            SD is no joke, but someone who is trained to manage SD can usually (not always) resolve it. UR, OTOH — nothing you can do at home but transfer and hope for the best.
            I like Barb, but she’s dead wrong about HBAC.

  31. Lena
    June 12, 2013 at 8:41 pm #

    So a cervical check is rape but having your “tits” (really?!) grabbed and your “button” (my eye is twitching) rubbed by your midwife is totally a natural part of the birth process.

    Makes sense.

  32. Lynnie
    June 12, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

    That does NOT sound like the hands off and all natural approach these natural birth sheeple seem to say they want. They protest the occasional cervix check and allow themselves to be fondled in this manner??? There is a difference between an exam and assault, and what this describes is most definitely assault in my mind.

  33. niblet
    June 12, 2013 at 7:58 pm #

    i was under the spell Spiritual Midwifery’s “woo” for quite some time….I also recall one laboring mother’s birth story, and how she worried the other mothers would think she was a “paddy ass” for fearing the pain in birth. She was encouraged with such uplifting remarks as “I’ve seen you working in the fields.” Yes, because picking cabbages is SO SIMILAR to childbirth. I think IMG is a birth bully.

  34. ratiomom
    June 12, 2013 at 7:53 pm #

    Just imagine a male OB uttering those words in any setting… he`d never work again. It`s so outrageous that I suspect there is something else than a conventional patient-provider relationship going on.

    Perhaps women who give birth with IMG know in advance what they are getting into? Remember rule 34 people!

    That would make this the equivalent of a `happy-end` massage during birth. Still extremely unprofessional, though

  35. Comrade X
    June 12, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

    1) Sexually assaulting people is abhorrent.

    2) Sexually assaulting people who are especially vulnerable (like, say, in extreme pain and frightened and in the midst of a potentially dangerous medical situation) is about as low as you can get.

    3) There is one person in this world who has the right to invite my husband to touch my breasts. One. That person is me.

    4) I have no problem with non-technical terms for parts of the human anatomy. I love my tits and respect my awesome thundercunt of power. I also expect medical professionals to use the clearest and most emotionally-neutral language that they can when explaining technical matters to me. I do not expect to have them impose their politico-linguistic preferences on me based on their current mood or whim.

    5) Wtf is a “taint”? Seriously? That’s got to be one of the most offensive words for the vulva/vagina that I’ve ever heard. May I suggest that if you think of female genitalia as a “taint” (of any sort), perhaps assisting women in childbirth is not your vocation in life.

    • auntbea
      June 12, 2013 at 6:32 pm #

      It’s the perineum. So called because it “taint” the vagina and it “taint” the anus.

      • Comrade X
        June 12, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

        Aaaaaaaaaah! I stand corrected then.

        • Staceyjw
          June 13, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

          It IS used to describe the vulva/vagina.

          And “thundercunt” WINS the day.

      • KumquatWriter
        June 12, 2013 at 11:30 pm #

        e.g. “My c/s left my taint untainted.”

    • Snuffly
      June 12, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

      I thought she was just using the term taint for the general area. It’s also the term for the bit of a pair of trousers where the two inner leg seams join – ie in the crotch area.

  36. auntbea
    June 12, 2013 at 6:30 pm #

    Well, I guess if this is how she feels about vaginas, it is not
    surprising she believes that the process of birth is perfect. We don’t
    ever like to believe that the organs, I mean people, we are infatuated
    with have flaws.

  37. Spamamander
    June 12, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

    Immediately recognized the quotes. Thank Dog I only read my copy of Spiritual Midwifery for ideas about the experience during a pagan-y phase and had enough sense to know I wanted to have my baby in the hospital. And that my CNM was 100% supportive when I wanted the epidural after 14 hours of labor.

  38. Susan
    June 12, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

    When I read those quotes I remembered reading them in Spiritual Midwifery. I think I have shared that the first two pregnancy books a friend gave me were Spiritual Midwifery and Immaculate Deception. What a set up!
    I can just see Ina May feeling victimized that you dare to hold her to the same standards she would hold a doctor to. She has a special and unique sensitivity to birth that makes it “ok” that she massages “buttons” and shows husbands how to massage breasts. She really “loves” women and that makes it ok. And as others have said, child predators claim that their “love” for children is just misunderstood.
    She’ll be calling up Human Right in Childbirth to campaign for a woman’s right to a midwife who will massage sexually in birth. It’s her RIGHT to have the kind of care she wants! It’s all, obviously, about the midwife’s rights to give whatever care or attend any birth in any style she wants. It’s as if a children’s rights campaign was run by predators advocating the rights of children to be molested.

  39. Chelsea Frost
    June 12, 2013 at 5:51 pm #

    That is sexual assault, plain and simple. Nasty, gross and the epitome of unprofessional.

    • Lindsay Beyerstein
      June 12, 2013 at 9:37 pm #

      It’s not sexual assault if the patient knows that this is part of Ina May’s treatment in advance and consents to this kind of intervention. Blurring the boundaries between sex and health care is a terrible idea, but it’s not assault in and of itself.

      • Eddie
        June 12, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

        I agree with you. But still, for a health professional, wouldn’t this kind of conduct cause their license to be revoked?

        • Lindsay Beyerstein
          June 12, 2013 at 10:02 pm #

          Absolutely! Because these are self-regulating professions with compassion, common sense, and standards, unlike fringe midwives.

          Just to clarify: I’m not saying that what Ina May is doing is okay in any way, shape or form. It’s dangerous to be doing these things even to nominally consenting patients because of the inherent power imbalance, the vulnerability of the laboring woman, and so on. I just want to differentiate between sexual assault and other inappropriate kinds of touching under the guise of health care. Consent makes all the difference.

          I bet Ina May has touched women without their consent because she obviously doesn’t give a damn and because her style of practice lends itself to running roughshod over women’s wishes and boundaries. So, she probably is guilty of assault in some cases. Sadly, it’s unlikely that these abuses will ever come to the attention of other midwives or the law because she’s running, well, a cult.

          • Jenny Splitter
            June 12, 2013 at 10:46 pm #

            I agree with you — everyone is saying that this is assault, and if it happened without consent then it certainly is, but it’s also possible that she lets women know that she’s not afraid to “sensually massage” them during birth and they’re totally fine with it.

          • Petanque
            June 13, 2013 at 4:26 am #

            Are they really objectively “fine with it”, or are they absorbed into the brainwashing woo? If they weren’t fine, how could they say “no”?

          • Jenny Splitter
            June 13, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

            Right, who knows, although I feel like you might get a sense of what’s up early on but then perhaps at that point you can’t do anything about it. Maybe that’s why Naomi Wolf didn’t give birth there, though she does like to celebrate her vagina.

          • Squillo
            June 13, 2013 at 10:14 am #

            Possibly. It also matters a great deal when she says this. If it’s when they’re already at the Farm, miles from any other help, about to give birth (i.e., totally at the mercy of a charismatic cult leader), the idea of consent becomes a bit problematic.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        June 13, 2013 at 8:06 am #

        If the manner in which it is offered is given under false pretenses, especially by a person in power, it is still assault.

      • Chelsea Frost
        June 13, 2013 at 5:59 pm #

        By that logic, a boyfriend can’t rape his girlfriend if she’s consented to sex with him in the past.

        • Lindsay Beyerstein
          June 13, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

          How do you figure that? If a patient reads Spiritual Midwifery and goes to IMG and says, “I understand that you perform clitoral stimulation during labor, I would like to be your patient and I would like you to do that for me,” that’s consent. A patient can revoke her consent at any time, and if the caregiver doesn’t respect her wishes, it’s assault.

          Sane people realize that it’s a very bad idea to offer quasi-sexual stimulation to women in labor even if they consent in advance because they may not feel comfortable saying no, or may not be able to say no if they change their minds. The risk of accidentally touching someone against her will is too high to make this an ethical treatment.

          Even so, if IMG performs this kind of massage on a patient who affirmatively consented in advance, and who continues to consent during the procedure, it’s not sexual assault. It’s weird, it’s inappropriate. It might even count as cheating in some relationships. (If you’re in a monogamous relationship, why is it more okay to get a hand job from a midwife than from a masseur?) But as long as the woman is okay with what IMG’s doing to her, it’s not rape.

          • Chelsea Frost
            June 13, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

            The whole consent thing is “how I figure that”. Nowhere in the quote above does IMG mention consent. And you cannot just assume that every woman who goes to IMG is informed about all IMG’s practices.

          • Lindsay Beyerstein
            June 13, 2013 at 6:46 pm #

            But how do you figure this is like saying that a woman can’t be raped by her boyfriend because they’ve had sex before?

            I don’t assume that all IMG’s patients are fully informed. I agree that it’s sexual assault if she just springs this kind of touching on an unsuspecting woman in labor. If a woman has delivered with her before and accepted this kind of touching, IMG would still have an obligation to check in and make sure she’s okay with it the second time around.

            As I said in my earlier comment, I don’t doubt that IMG has assaulted women in labor before. I just don’t think that it’s automatically rape for IMG to touch her patients in this way if they consent to it. I can’t turn around on the internet without someone quoting chapter and verse from Spiritual Midwifery, so I assume there are lots of women who know what Ina May is offering and seek it out.

          • Chelsea Frost
            June 13, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

            And frankly, KumquatWriter posted a pretty good response below. The power differential is a determinant in whether its sexual assault.

  40. Its_nothing_personal
    June 12, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

    I’d like to preface this comment with “Ew. No thank you.”

    BUT… There are a lot of ways that woman choose to give birth. If Ina’s method (whether popular/socially acceptable or not) helps empower a woman in what could otherwise be a very scary or horrible experience then more power to her. I can only hope that the expectant mother that signs up for this kind of treatment fully understands and is totally on board before getting groped on the big day.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      June 12, 2013 at 5:24 pm #


      This is completely inappropriate.

      As others have said, imagine this coming from a male OB. It would warrant criminal charges.

      The language here is absolutely sexual predatory. This woman has crossed way over the line of professional ethics.

      • auntbea
        June 12, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

        I’m pretty sure these comments from a male OB would produce an outcry, and a visit from the professional ethics people, but I am fairly sure it would not warrant criminal charges unless the woman says she didn’t consent.

        • thepixiechick
          June 12, 2013 at 10:40 pm #

          Criminal charges may not be laid without the patient’s co-operation, but they would be reported to the licensing board, suspended, investigated and almost certainly deregistered.

      • quadrophenic
        June 12, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

        A male OB would lose his license. Does she even have a license to lose?

        • KarenJJ
          June 13, 2013 at 5:16 am #

          No wonder she had to make up her own qualification. She can’t get kicked off.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      June 12, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

      The problem with predators is that they tend to be in socially powerful positions. For a homebirth advocate, it’s difficult to think of anyone more powerful in that community than Ina May Gaskin.

      Think about what the women who lose babies have to face from the homebirth community when they suggest that homebirth is dangerous. Can you imagine the treatment they would receive if they made an accusation against Ina May Gaskin?

      Probably the most appalling thing about these appalling quotes is how many homebirth advocates have known about them all along but given Ina May a pass. It basically doesn’t matter what she does; they will never acknowledge her wrongdoing.

      • Jenny Splitter
        June 12, 2013 at 10:48 pm #

        Maybe she’s all talk? Has anyone given birth at the Farm and complained about it publicly? There must be someone.

        • Karen in SC
          June 13, 2013 at 7:39 am #

          An article from 1985 Mother Earth Review is out of date but gives insight into the cult thinking.


          • Jenny Splitter
            June 13, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

            I’ve read a few things about the Farm (thank you though, that was interesting!) so I’m familiar and I guess what i’m saying is that some women might be totally okay with this.

            There are all these comments about her use of the words cunt and twat and all that. Not to point out the obvious but the vulgarity of the words isn’t the problem. I mean, if she said vajayjay or whatever, that would still be just as unprofessional.

    • Bombshellrisa
      June 12, 2013 at 9:59 pm #

      How does a healthcare provider empower someone by massaging their genitals and encouraging their birth partner to do the same? This is not the same thing as the women who pack vibrators hoping that arousal and orgasms will make labor more tolerable and move things along faster.

  41. June 12, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

    That is just so disturbing on so many levels.

  42. Dr Kitty
    June 12, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

    Top tip for IMG about professionalism in OB, it doesn’t actually matter what name you feel like giving your own genitalia that day.
    You use proper, respectful, correct language with your patients, and save the slang terms for your own bedroom.

    Occasionally I will use a slang term if my patients don’t understand the correct anatomical term, but in that case I’ll use terms that I would feel comfortable saying in front of a small child or elderly person.

    I say things like “any trouble with the waterworks, or with the periods, private parts or in the bedroom” as an opening gambit, and try to keep it at that level.

    Using the kind of language IMG chooses is not only immature and unprofessional. I think actually detrimental to establishing rapport because it crosses boundaries most people have about how they expect care providers to refer to their bodies.

    It is actually passive-aggressive ” I like using these words, so you better get used to it. Why, got a PROBLEM with these words? Huh? Do ya?”

  43. Anaesthetist
    June 12, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    Anaesthetist here, returning from the wilds but unable to remember my password

    OK, Im not shocked by the language at all – you get such language used by patients, – as students we did several sessions on desensitizing ourselves to it, and having some knowledge of terms, slang and euphemisms (just like having some knowledge of drug related terms) which could aid communication. So that if Mrs X came in talking about her taint or Miss Y complained she had a problem with her flower you wouldnt raise an eyebrow. Because sometimes patients dont have a ‘polite’ or medical term for something, or know the difference between vulva and vagina, and dont intend to insult but are just using the terms they are comfortable with.
    And last thing you would want to do is prevent someone seeking help for their problem because they felt stupid or patronized or the doctor looked at them askance while they tried to explain something.

    The point is – I know such terms, I can hear them with equanimity and without a change in expression in a medical setting – thats professionalism. But I would never mirror them back to a patient or question them about their symptoms using such terms, that would be utterly unprofessional. And I cant understand fetishising (cant spell that and really dont want to google!) or relishing the use of such words in any medical context in the way IMG seems to.

    And as for the touching, massage etc she describes – sorry, its assault

    Deeply creepy, and I would not want this person providing any type of personal care or medical services

  44. Jenny Splitter
    June 12, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

    Oh Jesus.

  45. Captain Obvious
    June 12, 2013 at 4:02 pm #

    I am in shock. I did not expect this was about Ina May. Any legitimate health care provider would lose their license or at least get probation and sensitivity training for sexual harassment. How unprofessional. She needs a chaperone when she examines clients.

    • Dr Kitty
      June 12, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

      A state appointed chaperone, not another “midwife” from the Farm.

      I really don’t think she has any insight into the boundaries that are being crossed here, I have suspicions she isn’t the only one in that place with the same lack of regard for boundaries.

  46. AmyP
    June 12, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

    I once had a male ultrasound tech conclude a transvaginal exam with a hug. I felt REALLY weird about that but didn’t have the presence of mind to explain that it was inappropriate because I was so shocked.

    This one is off the charts.

  47. Awesomemom
    June 12, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

    Every day I read this blog I am more and more grateful for the professional OBs that did such an awesome job caring for me and my children. I want to write them all letters and say “Thank you for not sexually molesting me.”

  48. Ducky
    June 12, 2013 at 3:34 pm #

    Wow. Yup. Nope.

  49. Ripley_rules
    June 12, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

    I think Ina May likes to deliver babies in order fulfill certain repressed desires….Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That…..

    • Wren
      June 12, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

      Well, nothing is wrong with the desires. Much is wrong with the method she’s using to fulfill them.

    • June 12, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

      Yes there is something wrong with that.

  50. AmyP
    June 12, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

    I hope rubber gloves are used (and disposed of) after the perineal massage, but I suspect I may be asking too much.

    I was totally faked out by this post, assuming that the quotes were from some internet-trained wacko 23-year-old CPM with dreadlocks and 40 births under her belt, rather than coming directly from the Birth Goddess herself.

  51. LibrarianSarah
    June 12, 2013 at 2:48 pm #

    If ANYONE grabbed my breast without my consent they would be getting slapped hard.

  52. Amy Tuteur, MD
    June 12, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

    Someone should start the website “Ina May Said What??!!”

    • I don't have a creative name
      June 12, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

      Sounds like you just found another use for your time. 😀

      • violinwidow
        June 12, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

        Instead of learning to knit?

    • areawomanpdx
      June 12, 2013 at 2:45 pm #

      Whoever does it, make sure the Sphincter Law is on there. I’m sure Edition 3 of her book is a gold mine, before they whitewashed it for the BOBB masses.

      • thankfulmom
        June 12, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

        Did she (or the editor) clean up the language in more recent editions?

        • Gypsy Mama
          June 12, 2013 at 10:26 pm #

          … I think this language is from the most recent edition…

  53. mamaellie
    June 12, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

    If this happened to me during labor I would absolutely feel violated. If someone were to violate one of my daughters in this way or speak about her body this way I would be out for blood.

  54. Isilzha
    June 12, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

    She obviously has a sexual fetish for birth.

    • PrecipMom
      June 12, 2013 at 5:50 pm #

      She isn’t necessarily the only one. I watched the documentary on Agnes Gereb, and that woman looked like a sexual predator in the birth videos I saw. It was as if she was feeding off of the pregnant women. One of the most disturbing things I’ve ever seen.

    • Antigonos CNM
      June 13, 2013 at 1:16 am #

      She’s not the only one. Decades ago I was definitely taken aback to read Sheila Kissinger’s paean to the ecstasy of pushing a baby out through “the ring of fire” and said to myself “This woman is a serious masochist”. And, in quiet hours in L&D I’ve had conversations with male OBs who remark on how they’ve coped with pregnant patients who verbally [and occasionally, physically] attempted to seduce them no matter how neutral they try to be and how to diffuse potentially explosive situations with husbands as well. In a heightened emotional state, even shaking hands can be misinterpreted. Contrariwise, we have all heard stories of inappropriate behavior initiated by male doctors [and the eternal debate over the propriety of “male midwives” who are supposed to be less asexual than male doctors somehow] Pregnancy and birth are sexual issues.

  55. I don't have a creative name
    June 12, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

    Most cults have an unhealthy obsession with/view on sex. Many times this involves pedophilia, other times it’s situations where all female members are expected to service the leader in any way he likes, or various other weird, creepy things. It’s not surprising that the wife of a cult leader sexualizes birth to this extreme, playing with breasts and clitorises, and referring to them by crude names. God only knows what weird crap really goes on at the Farm.

    • Captain Obvious
      June 12, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

      David Koresh, Waco Texas

  56. gentry
    June 12, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

    So, she’s an elderly porn star in her free time….she’s sexy and she knows it. So very disturbing and unprofessional on so, so many levels. But, that’s right, she’s not a professional….

  57. The Bofa on the Sofa
    June 12, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

    As I think about it, I am reminded of the old psychiatrists, who used to think that the cure for women’s demons was that they needed an orgasm. Note that you will see vibrators among the old medical instruments.

    Nowadays, that is considered highly unethical. Unless, of course, you are a midwife…

    • Karen in SC
      June 12, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

      There is a play about this long-ago treatment, “In the Next Room.” I saw it last year with some friends. It was quite funny and an interesting look at being a woman back then.

      You should have seen the size of the doctor’s vibrator LOL!

    • Eddie
      June 12, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

      Wasn’t Kellogg (of the cereal magnate family) a proponent of these kinds of treatments?

      • Pappy
        June 12, 2013 at 7:31 pm #

        Hello friends! TheHappyPappy back here, and I’ve changed my name again just to confuse you!

        No, actually I finally sorted out my disqus/google/whatever it is account and I ended up with a new handle as a result.

        Anyway, since you mentioned Kellog, I have to plug the movie The Road to Wellville. It’s a really funny comedy which includes both a performance from “Dr. Kellog” AND a doctor who masturbates female patients to cure their mental problems. Really, it’s one of my favorite movies of all time and I’m endlessly disappointed that no one has heard of it.

        I just checked and it’s on YouTube! Yay! I’m making popcorn!

        • Eddie
          June 12, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

          I wanted to mention that movie but couldn’t remember the name. All I could remember is that that guy who played O’Brien on Star Trek:TNG was in it. (Colm Meaney) Yes, that’s a very funny movie and loosely based on real events. Anthony Hopkins as Dr Kellogg. The cereal company was founded by his brother, I think.

          Here’s a review of the movie that gives some historical background by way of compare/contrast to the movie: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/jul/29/road-to-wellville-reel-history

          For anyone that has free time and wants to see 100-year-old woo, I recommend reading Dr Kellogg’s book at Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/19924 A quote relevant to this blog is:

          We have sufficient evidence of this in
          the fact that among barbarian women, who are generally less perverted physically than civilized women, childbirth is regarded with very little apprehension, since it occasions little pain or inconvenience. The same is true of many women among the lower laboring classes. In short, while it is true that more or less suffering must always accompany the parturient act, yet the excessive pain usually attendant upon the process is the result of causes which can in many cases be removed by proper management beforehand and at the time of confinement.

  58. amazonmom
    June 12, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

    Oh my. What on earth makes Ina May think that is ok?

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      June 12, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

      The more interesting question is why anyone would think Ina May is okay?

      • Antigonos CNM
        June 13, 2013 at 1:20 am #

        I note, sadly, that At Your Cervix, who’s just completed her CNM, was at a Frontier Nursing School conference and her group all went on pilgrimage to The Farm. That the FNS should think this appropriate for midwifery professionals is disturbing to me, as they were really the pioneers in the profession in the States.

  59. Jessica
    June 12, 2013 at 1:49 pm #

    This is just disgusting – and not in a prudish sense, but because it’s a gross violation of a laboring woman’s bodily integrity. I’m shuddering just thinking about it.

  60. Bystander
    June 12, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    That is a sex offender in word and deed. Please tell me she’s not still practicing.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      June 12, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

      Agree. That is a sexual offender.

  61. Amy
    June 12, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

    Clutching my pearls! Good Heavens.

    • Squillo
      June 12, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

      Hey, just be glad Ina May didn’t use that phrase in her book.

  62. Squillo
    June 12, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

    Amy, do you have page numbers for the quotes? My library carries the 4th edition and I’d like to make a copy of the relevant bits.

    • schnitzelbank
      June 12, 2013 at 10:19 pm #

      Even the phrase “relevant bits” is making me raise my eyebrows.

  63. Meredith Watson
    June 12, 2013 at 1:35 pm #


  64. HolyWowBatman
    June 12, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

    I feel violated just reading this…and I hate that this is in”spiritual” midwifery. These attitudes and actions are neither spiritual nor midwifery

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      June 12, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

      Jeez, _I_ feel violated, and I’m a friggin guy.

      • Zornorph
        June 12, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

        Yeah, that totally creeped me out as well. I wouldn’t let that woman anywhere near my baby.

    • LynnetteHafkenIBCLC
      June 12, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

      More like Carnal Midwifery.

      • Pappy
        June 12, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

        Coming next year to a health food store near you!

  65. The Bofa on the Sofa
    June 12, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

    BTW, I think the “My Midwife Said What?” meter has exploded.

    • Karen in SC
      June 12, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

      Put it on the “My OB Said What?” then reveal who really said it….

      • Jocelyn
        June 12, 2013 at 1:32 pm #

        I really want to put it on the mothering.com forums, with a slightly changed title – something like, “Should I hire this midwife?” and then see what they all say.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa
          June 12, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

          That would be a good idea, but then you’d have to actually visit mdc. It’s not worth it.

          • LibrarianSarah
            June 12, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

            Never mind that your post would be scrubbed out of existence in no time flat making it an epic waste of your time.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa
          June 12, 2013 at 1:34 pm #

          Actually, Jocelyn, say that it was an OB who said it, and then say, whoops, not an OB…

      • Squillo
        June 12, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

        That is a great idea. Too late now, though.

        • Karen in SC
          June 12, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

          why is it too late? do you think that a lot of NCBers read this blog?

          • Squillo
            June 12, 2013 at 3:05 pm #


  66. The Bofa on the Sofa
    June 12, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

    Remember, the doctors are the ones who commit “birth rape” because they do things like check a cervix.

    I always defend doctors on the grounds that they are professionals, and separate anatomy and bodily function from their sexual connotations.

    Apparently, Ina May can’t. She is absolutely a predator to be feared.

    • Eddie
      June 12, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

      Puzzled attempt at sarcasm: Maybe if they were gentle and loving in the process, not all “medical” and rough, it would be different?

    • Antigonos CNM
      June 13, 2013 at 1:23 am #

      Re doctors who commit “birth rape” with PV exams: is it still rape if the examiner is a female OB? I think the whole fantasy of “birth rape” is directed against men, not OBs as such.

  67. NatalieRW
    June 12, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

    “puss” “taint” “cunt” “button” “tits” “twat”
    That language alone makes her sound less mature and more foul mouthed than an 8th grader.
    The actions– wow. Any real professional would lose their license. Remember the comments a while back debating the inappropriate THOUGHTS a physician may have doing a gynecological exam?
    And women think this is a more respectful, trusting alternative?

    • Captain Obvious
      June 12, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

      I thought Dr Fischbein had issues with his proposed “consensual relationship” with his active patient. Ina is a predator, molesting multiple patients. Police should be involved.

      • NatalieRW
        June 13, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

        yup. In our clinical rotations orientation we had a full hour of lecture dedicated to zero sexual relations with patients. Period. Then they gave us examples.

        There’s currently a physician in JAIL for having a consensual, adult relationship with a patient. It’s not ethical, plain and simple.

      • Eddie
        June 13, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

        I’ve known people who had “consensual” relations with their therapists. There’s a special place in hell for those people. As so many others have pointed out and as you say, these people are predators taking advantage of a power relationship.

  68. Charlotte
    June 12, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    Doctors who do this get stripped of their licenses and sent to jail. I don’t see why a midwife should be allowed to get away with it.

    • staceyjw
      June 13, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

      because no one complains.
      Sad but true.

  69. Karen in SC
    June 12, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

    You really can’t make this stuff up! Dr. Amy is right, the NCB world is like a huge fountain with three fonts: idiocy, untruths and tragedies.

  70. Jocelyn
    June 12, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

    This is so bizarre and disgusting I don’t even know what to say. This is sexually violating. I wonder if Ina May’s followers know that she advocates molestation during labor?

    • BeatlesFan
      June 12, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

      Since they seem to regard her books as their bible, I assume they do… but I’m sure when she does it, it isn’t molestation, it’s her “assisting” or something. You know, totally different from those birth-raping c-sections.

  71. Guesteleh
    June 12, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

    I’m convinced that NCB followers include a large percentage of women who have a history of sexual abuse. So now you’re placing your care in the hands of a woman who doesn’t respect boundaries and has no understanding of PTSD triggers and probably doesn’t give a shit anyway because it’s not about the woman it’s her self-aggrandizement as a sexual nature earth mother goddess or whatever the fuck. And Ina May is being held up by mainstream media outlets as some kind of birth guru. This is horrifying.

  72. GiddyUpGo123
    June 12, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

    Oh. My. God. Can you say “birth rape??”

  73. staceyjw
    June 12, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

    HOLY SHIT, how totally inappropriate for a MW.

    But NOT inappropriate from a CULT MEMBER, following her husband.

  74. Ethan's mom
    June 12, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

    I think I just smurfed in my mouth!

  75. Guesteleh
    June 12, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

    Wow, great punchline! I was truly shocked when I saw Ina May’s name at the end.

  76. Yammy
    June 12, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

    Bizarro world: Birth trauma in a hospital is referred to as “birth rape”…yet here we have a prominent midwife, highly regarded in homebirth circles, who is OK with sexually assaulting you during one of the most stressful times of your life. /boggle

    • Momma M
      June 12, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

      Is she asking for explicit consent to touch the clitoris? Would a doula stop her if not? Doubtful.

      • Antigonos CNM
        June 13, 2013 at 1:29 am #

        What clitoral massage has to do with facilitating birth or relieving pain from contractions I cannot imagine. The much-loved [by “traditional” midwives] techniques of “ironing” the perineum, or using hot packs to relax it, or oils to lubricate it, have all been shown to [1] not significantly lower laceration rates, and [2] can actually increase bleeding and/or complicate healing [baby — or any other — oil in the stitched area can result in abcesses and infections]

  77. lucy logan
    June 12, 2013 at 11:51 am #


  78. yentavegan
    June 12, 2013 at 11:47 am #

    Too gross for words. It is not just the foul language, it is the inappropriate touching.

  79. KumquatWriter
    June 12, 2013 at 11:32 am #

    Ugh, recognized the author from the pictured quote. You forgot to add buttbones tho.

  80. slandy09
    June 12, 2013 at 11:30 am #

    Oh hay-ull no!

    #1 If anyone (including my husband) tried to touch me like that while I was in labor, I’d kill them.

    #2 Of all people, a supposed professional should NOT be using vulgarities to describe female body parts.

    #3 This woman should be arrested. She is sexually abusing women in labor.

    Ew ew ew!

    • slandy09
      June 12, 2013 at 11:32 am #

      And to think, my SIL LIKES this book. Ugh!!!!

  81. Wren
    June 12, 2013 at 11:28 am #

    Wow. This isn’t birth rape?

    And am I the only one who finds “taint” to be the worst word for this ever? I’d prefer any other word to taint.

    • staceyjw
      June 12, 2013 at 12:21 pm #

      Yes, totally disgusting. It is the type of word I would expect from Howard Stern or another foul mouthed shock jock or comedian (not comedienne!). Never from a MW.

      Even if the sexual touching was requested (which I doubt), you don’t use such foul language.

  82. Florence
    June 12, 2013 at 11:28 am #

    Sex is normal, sex is natural, there is nothing to be ashamed of. Now this being said, a midwife touching your clitoris in a clear and direct sexual manner…that is just beyong bizarre. What is up with hazing the husband to feel his wife breast….if he doesn’t feel like it why making him do it…? if a couple desire to engage in a sexual intercourse during labor that is their own prerogative , but the midwife has no role in this, it isn’t her place… And to anyone who would argue it is… We a then talking about a fetish.

    • Florence
      June 12, 2013 at 11:31 am #

      And the potty mouth doesn’t offend me, what is offensive is that it comes from a care provider while talking about women under her care,that is offensive!

      • KumquatWriter
        June 12, 2013 at 11:34 am #

        THIS. I don’t mind the vulgarities – among friends or lovers, onstage or onscreen. But from my healthcare provider? WRONG.

        • staceyjw
          June 12, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

          Thats the issue here- she doesn’t see herself as a HCP, but as a “spiritual guide”, or what the hell ever. She is a CULT leaders WIFE, so I am in no way shocked.
          To go and promote this for HCPs is beyond disgusting.

          I wonder how many women felt raped by her? But couldn’t say anything because of the cult or the fact that she is famous for MWery?

          TOTAL exploitation, and exactly what these so called MWs claim OBs do with the pushy paternalism. But NO WAY would my OB ever say this stuff in a professional manner, or probably at all, at least to a patient.

          (and I could care less about vulgarities among friends, lovers, etc. Just not HCPs)

          • Dr Kitty
            June 12, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

            I probably don’t read the right stuff, but I haven’t. One across many glowing testimonials from IMG’s own patients.
            Maybe this is why.

          • Antigonos CNM
            June 13, 2013 at 1:31 am #

            I expect that a goodly number of her patients felt uncomfortable, but rationalized that THEY had a problem, not Ina May.

          • Amy H
            June 13, 2013 at 8:23 am #

            The emperor has no clothes – but who could bring themselves to say it. So it’s easier to go along with the crowd.

            “Regular” sexual assault (pardon the expression, but what we’re talking about who goes beyond the pale) is unlikely to be reported. Try going to the police and explaining, your midwife did what?

  83. MaineJen
    June 12, 2013 at 11:26 am #

    …That is *disgusting.* That woman creeps me out. That is a serious violation of a woman who is in a vulnerable state (labor).

  84. Squillo
    June 12, 2013 at 11:18 am #

    I wonder why my oral surgeon doesn’t practice this kind of “spiritual dentistry” with his root canal patients?

    • GuestB
      June 12, 2013 at 11:19 am #

      There’s not enough dirty words in dentistry to make it work.

      • Squillo
        June 12, 2013 at 11:21 am #

        And I guess it would be hard to reach a woman’s button. He could still grab her tits, though. Or just have the dental assistant do it. But she’s not my type.

        • KumquatWriter
          June 12, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

          I would like to make a reference to Deep Throat here. It seems appropriate.

          • Squillo
            June 12, 2013 at 9:22 pm #

            Please don’t ruin oral sex for the rest of us.

    • Lindsay Beyerstein
      June 12, 2013 at 9:52 pm #

      I had a dentist of the Ina May school. I came in for my first visit, and as soon as he had his hands in my mouth he started asking rhetorical questions like “Why does unprotected sex with a random attractive individual feel so much better than monogamy?” At least he only touched my teeth, and only in dentist-appropriate ways, but I was totally grossed out and never went back.

      • Squillo
        June 12, 2013 at 10:23 pm #


        I actually find someone putting his or her hands in my mouth squickier than having a pelvic exam, so that would have sent me screaming for the door.

      • realityycheque
        June 12, 2013 at 11:37 pm #

        WOW… what a weirdo! That is extremely inappropriate.

  85. I don't have a creative name
    June 12, 2013 at 11:15 am #

    If some wrinkled old broad with dog mange on her head who bore a terrifying resemblance to Skeletor was fondling my boobs and saying how nice they were, she’d be getting a roundhouse kick in the face. Just… yuck.

    And I can’t believe these idiot women WANT to be talked to in that way. The professional detachment I’ve heard from my OB’s has helped with some of the difficulty in allowing others into such personal moments and areas. “We need to find out why you’re bleeding during this pregnancy, so I’m going to take a look inside. Okay, so I see your cervix and….” Compared to, “I’m going to shove my hand up your twat and feel around your cunt.” She is just disgusting and unprofessional. And don’t forget heartless and soulless, as she thought it would be better to let her 32 weeker struggle to death alone, rather than get him medical help that, in the 70’s, would’ve given him a decent shot at life. The fact that anyone looks to her for ANYTHING dealing with birth and pregnancy just boggles the mind.

    • Captain Obvious
      June 12, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

      On call the other night, a woman came into L&D at 32 weeks with PPROM. And a previous cesarean to boot. I stabilized her and transferred her to the major medical center. That baby will survive. I would like Ina May to comment on this.

      • Antigonos CNM
        June 13, 2013 at 1:34 am #

        “What a burden of guilt you will have to carry all your life for not letting nature take its course”. Obviously.

  86. Jenna
    June 12, 2013 at 11:04 am #

    Is there some way on this blog for others to post the wacky stuff they come across? There is a Facebook page called “I Love My Large Family” (which I do!) that has a lot of woo supporters. https://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#!/largefamilies/posts/10151634132731904

  87. Gretta
    June 12, 2013 at 11:03 am #

    Uhm….. Wait a second….. What is birth rape again?! ?!

  88. Jenna
    June 12, 2013 at 11:00 am #

    Well done, Dr. Amy! The quotes were horrifying but the kicker, which you wisely saved for last, was who said them! I mean, I knew she was nuts but I had no idea…

  89. carovee
    June 12, 2013 at 10:52 am #

    so I touch them, get in there and squeeze them, talk about how nice they are, and make him welcome.

    I don’t even… what is this? Is the husband supposed to be feeling up his wife during labor? Why is she talking about how nice they are? If my CNM had done any of this I would be meeting with the head of Obstetrics.

    • Ibanezsrx
      June 12, 2013 at 11:04 am #

      Reading this was all kinds of cringe. The wording shows obvious immaturity which is annoying.

      But seriously, isn’t that behavior a felony?

    • areawomanpdx
      June 12, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

      Ya, what if the woman doesn’t want her husband to feel welcome to grab her breasts during labor? Apparently Ina May doesn’t care!

    • Captain Obvious
      June 12, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

      All it takes is for one woman or one husband to file a complaint. Others will follow. Catholic priests, Jerry Sandusky, Ina May.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        June 12, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

        Yabut, who is going to do that? The only people who use the services of folks like Ina May are those who steeped in the lunacy. And, like any good abuser, she’ll convince them that they are the ones in the wrong if they find it inappropriate.

      • LIsa from NY
        June 13, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

        If the woman posts it on an NCB blog, it will be deleted.

        If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there…

  90. Victoria
    June 12, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    I found it very difficult to communicate or advocate for myself while in labour. If someone had done this to me while I was in that state I would not have been able to defend myself and the effects of that would have been long lasting and far reaching in very very negative ways. A woman who did not have sexual assault/rape in her past would likely feel violated and a woman with sexual assault/rape in her past would feel re-traumatised. How can anyone think this woman is worth listening to?

    • Lisa Herrman
      June 12, 2013 at 11:02 am #

      I fully agree. The CNM I had was little more than a hack (thank God she doesn’t practice anymore) and with the suffering I went through at her suggestion I think I would have been unable to defend myself either. I really bought into what she said. This was in the hospital, mind you, but I was moronically set on natural childbirth. Her OB backup came in to see me after the birth and said he never would have let me go like she did. 13 years later I wonder still if the outcome would have been different for my son if I had gone for section.

  91. Lisa Herrman
    June 12, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    Glah! Pass the brain bleach. OT: have you guys already seen this one:


    • Jocelyn
      June 12, 2013 at 11:27 am #

      “The mistake that we made was that we underestimated the diseases and we totally over-estimated the adverse reactions.” – What a great quote from the father. I think this sums up the anti-vax movement in a nutshell.

      • KarenJJ
        June 12, 2013 at 8:47 pm #

        Yeah that sounds about right. I’m on a forum with people with auto-inflammatory diseases. Collectively we show some pretty amazing adverse reactions to vaccinations as they can cause a flare in auto-inflammatory symptoms (and it is something that my immunologists discussed with me). That said, even with the flare in symptoms, vaccination is still recommended as the diseases can cause enough long term issues without adding some of these serious illnesses into the mix.

  92. OttawaAlison
    June 12, 2013 at 10:44 am #

    Holy macaroni – I felt very uncomfortable just reading that. Reason 89643 I would never give birth on ‘The Farm’. I honestly thought it was a 28 year old birth junkie writing that.

  93. Squillo
    June 12, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    Now change it around and make it a male OB. See how venerated he would be in natural birth circles.

  94. Durango
    June 12, 2013 at 10:27 am #

    If either my midwife or my OB had intentionally touched my clitoris or breasts I would have felt violated. This woman has no boundaries. Yet another reason why she is no professional.

  95. melisaholloman
    June 12, 2013 at 10:27 am #

    Words escape me….

    • melisaholloman
      June 12, 2013 at 10:34 am #

      Birth rape, maybe?

      • CourtneyTX
        June 12, 2013 at 11:18 am #

        That is what my thought was. Talk about birth rape!

        She goes there, she makes it sexual and weird.

  96. Laura
    June 12, 2013 at 10:26 am #

    NOOOOOOO!!!!!! I would not hire this sexual predator masquerading as a “health care professional.” You mentioned this was written in the 3rd and 4th editions. Are these same quotes in the most current edition? Has anyone in her own community of midwives called her out on these quotes? Has she ever publicly responded to appropriate criticism of these practices she apparently engages in? Wow – talk about boundary crossing. You can help a mom to relax without fondling her genitals when she is vulnerable and trusting. Ew -just too disgusting for words.

    • Karen in SC
      June 12, 2013 at 10:40 am #

      Amazon lists the 4th edition (2002) for sale – just did a search.

      • Laura
        June 12, 2013 at 10:51 am #

        So, the 4th edition is the latest then? Ugh….

      • Amy H
        June 13, 2013 at 8:16 am #

        Yeah, me too… Added a whole new element of bravery though to view inside the book and click “Surprise me!”

        • Amy H
          June 13, 2013 at 8:17 am #

          Oh my lands, it brought up THE SAME PAGE. pp. 7-8 where she explains why it’s ok to use those words.

  97. Eskimo
    June 12, 2013 at 10:12 am #

    50 Shades of Cray.

    • attitude devant
      June 12, 2013 at 10:14 am #

      Eskimo, FTW!!!!

    • Captain Obvious
      June 13, 2013 at 8:40 am #

      Anybody know how to contact the writers for Law and Order SVU? “Ripped from the headlines”. I see this topic making for a good episode. I see this potential episode to be an eye opener for her followers.

  98. Are you nuts
    June 12, 2013 at 10:02 am #

    I’m sitting here in my office by myself, blushing. Now I’m laughing because I’m trying to picture what my husband would do if some crazy old bat started grabbing at my bare chest.

  99. quadrophenic
    June 12, 2013 at 10:00 am #

    Eww eww eww. I interned at the sexual assault unit at the DA’s office in law school. Combine these words with a male OB and they would throw the book at him. Yet it’s somehow ok for some mangy high school educated hippy to say it?

  100. Adelaide GP
    June 12, 2013 at 9:58 am #

    Maybe it’s the foreplay to the “orgasmic birth ” experience? But honestly, Boundary violation doesn’t even come close to describing that disturbing advice. What a creep.

  101. LynnetteHafkenIBCLC
    June 12, 2013 at 9:50 am #

    Wow. Can you imagine if other HCPs talked like this?

    Urologist: wipe your wang and then piss into this cup.
    Gastroenterologist: please stick your ass in the air and spread those cheeks; I need to finger your asshole for a bit.
    ER doctor: have you been puking your guts out or experiencing explosive liquid shits?

    I could go on, but I’d better not.

    • auntbea
      June 12, 2013 at 9:54 am #

      This made me laugh because I am apparently a nine-year-old boy.

    • PoopDoc
      June 12, 2013 at 11:17 am #

      I have used words like pee, poop, barf to my patients. Kids don’t always know the terms like urine, bowel movement, vomit… I’ve been known to say “I need to look at your butt”. But using the more vulgar terminology? Never.

      • LynnetteHafkenIBCLC
        June 12, 2013 at 11:36 am #

        I know some LCs will take their cue from the mother and use “boobs” if the mother refers to her breasts that way. I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that though. A professional needs to act professional.

      • lucy logan
        June 12, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

        this made me laugh though.

      • Gene
        June 12, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

        Same here. “Does it hurt when you go pee pee?” or a much better question to a six year old than asking, “Do you experience dysuria?”

        But to an adult woman? That is just all kinds of inappropriate!

  102. June 12, 2013 at 9:48 am #

    Say what? I read the book (why, just why???) and only now did I understand that it doesn’t make sense in the birth setting. She’s crossing boundaries here… And, to asnwer your question, no I wouldn’t.

  103. Nicole
    June 12, 2013 at 9:47 am #

    And, yet, a hospital/OB-GYN birth is often termed: “birth rape” by many a birth extremist. It sounds like Ina May Gaskin is now, even more so, every bit the disrespectful control freak narcissist that I’ve always thought her to be. Bringing Woodstock and free love to her exploitative birth farm. Disgusting.

  104. ArmyChick
    June 12, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    I think I am at a loss for words. And I thought I had heard it all from the NCB crowd…

  105. Karen
    June 12, 2013 at 9:42 am #

    If male OB did any of that, or said any of that, or a hospital based, registered midwife, or nurse, there would be an outcry! Hell to the no, would I hire a midwife like that, if it was the last midwife on earth….

  106. KarenJJ
    June 12, 2013 at 9:40 am #

    “doing whatever seems most necessary”?

    Umm.. none of that is necessary..

  107. attitude devant
    June 12, 2013 at 9:35 am #

    Holy expletive. My mouth is permanently hanging open.

    • Captain Obvious
      June 12, 2013 at 8:19 pm #

      I have not read Ina’s books. I cannot believe this is actually in her books. I cannot believe this has not been posted sooner than this. I cannot believe followers have read this and are okay with this. I cannot that Ina has not been reported for this and charged and sanctioned for this.

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