Homebirth killed my baby; I’m still in favor of it


I wish I were making this up:

From Mama’s Milkies Facebook page:

Fan Share: Hi ! Love your page! I actually did have a midwife at my homebirth and sadly my baby died. He was born still. We couldn’t find his heartbeat and then just didn’t get him out fast enough (had to transfer to hospital and have a csec) it was an attempted vbac. Even after that situation, I am still for home birth. (just not for me) If one of my daughters decided to have a HB I would be all for it…

Demonstrating yet again how common homebirth death is, Tyann chimes in:

I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. My first daughter,Paityn, was stillborn, at home, with a midwife at 40+3. I had my 2nd in a hospital due to preeclampsia but was planned at home and my 3rd at home.

Exactly how many of their own babies have to die before these nitwits figure out the obvious? Homebirth kills babies who didn’t have to die.

As I’ve written in the past (Homebirth and human sacrifice):

“Birth,” like any goddess demands worship. Her power must be acknowledged and her essential goodness must be constantly praised through birth “affirmations.” “Birth” also demands constant evidence of belief. What could possibly be more demonstrative of true faith than the willingness to sacrifice your newborn child?

Unlike the God of the Old Testament in the story of Abraham and Isaac, “Birth” apparently does want and need human sacrifice.

Babies die all the time at homebirth, and the biggest risk factors lead to the greatest number of deaths. As with any religion, believers must then deny that the deity had anything to do with it. Yes, they trusted “Birth” and the baby died, but that was just an incredible coincidence.

It’s easiest to figure out who are the truest believers. They are women who lost babies at homebirth but still trust “Birth.” To demonstrate their continued faith, they immediately being planning for the next homebirth.

It turns out that sacrificing your baby on the altar of “Birth” isn’t the highest form of devotion. That honor is reserved for deliberately placing your next child on the same altar and trusting that the goddess who killed your last baby won’t kill this one, too.

182 Responses to “Homebirth killed my baby; I’m still in favor of it”

  1. Donna
    January 8, 2014 at 10:44 pm #

    My baby died due to an infection. And, I didn’t even have a home birth. I labored at home after my water broke. I am not sure if he would have lived if I had been at a hospital, but I will have to live with the uncertainty and the guilt for the rest of my life.

    • Young CC Prof
      January 8, 2014 at 11:50 pm #

      I am so sorry for your loss.

  2. Audrey Yarper
    October 21, 2013 at 8:00 pm #

    So we should all trust obgyn’s right? Because they never make mistakes, like decapitating babies as they try to oh so professionally pull them out of the mothers body??? Oops I guess they do. I’ve never heard of a midwife doing that.
    Guess what else still born babies are born all the time at hospitasl and babies, (often born to low risk mothers) die all the time, often BECAUSE of obstetrics interventions not despite them. These are babies that would be alive still if they’d been born at home. And how do you explain the FACT that all of the 49 countries who have lower infant/maternal mortality then us have higher rates of home births and use the midwifery model of care as the standard. The countries with the lowest rates of infant and maternal mortality have the most home-births. HMMMMMM. Science bites doesn’t it.
    By the way, a great book by another skeptical OBGYN is called “Born in the USA” only he’s skeptical of medicalized birth because he’s a clinical scientist as well, unlike our author here and he’s realized that home birth is safer than hospital birth according to peer-reviewed large scale studies. He sites all of these studies in his book and tears to pieces the few studies that obgyn’s use to pretend that home-birth is unsafe. They are incredibly flawed and biased and just plain untrue.


    • Poogles
      December 1, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

      “And how do you explain the FACT that all of the 49 countries who have
      lower infant/maternal mortality then us have higher rates of home births
      and use the midwifery model of care as the standard. The countries
      with the lowest rates of infant and maternal mortality have the most

      You need to look at perinatal mortality, NOT infant mortality. Infant mortality includes all deaths up to 1 year of age (such as accidents, illnesses etc) and so tells us nothing about the care provided to women and fetuses/babies during pregnancy and birth. The US does quite well on perinatal mortality.

      “By the way, a great book by another skeptical OBGYN is called “Born in the USA””

      He is not, and has never been, an OBGYN. His areas of study were neonatalogy and epidemiology, not Obstetrics.

      If you can’t even get these 2 simple, easily-found facts right, how can you be so sure your other “facts” are right?

      “These are babies that would be alive still if they’d been born at home.”


      • olivia
        July 6, 2014 at 4:56 pm #

        Look at our maternal mortality rate. It is safer for women to give birth in 49 other countries besides the U.S. I think its safe to say that obstetrics can use some MAJOR improvements

        • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa
          July 6, 2014 at 5:10 pm #

          And why do you think our maternal mortality rate is so high, olivia?

          (Hint: actually, the answer is pretty well known, and the solution is NOT hombirth or midwives)

  3. Well Informed Mommy
    July 20, 2013 at 7:32 am #

    Hospital Birth Killed My Baby

    • I don't have a creative name
      July 20, 2013 at 4:08 pm #

      Your story is so sad. Your daughter died of a massive infection, if I understand right, and needed more interventions than she got. That may have very well been a failure on the part of the doctor and something that could’ve been prevented. What I don’t understand is how that translates to you now advocating that people receive even fewer interventions.

  4. Well Informed Mommy
    July 20, 2013 at 7:27 am #

    Sadly another one-sided article by you. So I must repeat…

    “My daughter died in the hospital due to doctors error. I never expected that to happen! I always thought that if I was in the hospital with all the “life saving equipment” then everything would turn out ok. Obviously not – that was a sad education on my part. After that I went on to have 3 boys at home. They are happy, healthy and alive. If I felt that I needed medical assistance I would still go to the hospital. But that would be an EMERGENCY. Regular childbirth in and of itself is not an emergency. Constant medical intervention is not as safe as most of us assume it is. These medical interventions can cost our children’s lives as much as doing nothing when we should. If you started investigating unnecessary hospital deaths and writing articles about that, you’d be in for a rude awakening. There are many hospital deaths that occur that if the parent had chosen another birth alternative their babies would be alive today. I personally know of several and I’m just one person. Start asking others… Your articles are ALWAYS very one sided. It would give you a lot more credibility if you really did your homework and reported both sides.”

    Perhaps you are honestly and greatly concerned about the lives of precious babies, but I wonder because it appears that you are unconcerned with actually reporting childbirth abuses and deaths on the “medical” side of the fence. That doesn’t help parents with all the facts. It seems the articles you write are done to promote fear, anger, and your own opinions. I have never seen an article written by you that shows the dangers of hospital birth – and I am aware of many from personal experience and people I know. It would probably anger your fellow “medical professionals” to tell us that though. I guess that would be a money thing (sigh). I think parents ought to know anyway.

    • Elizabeth A
      July 20, 2013 at 7:53 am #

      You are sort of paging through old entries – what do you expect the lady to read in under half an hour?

      Would you mind telling us what happened to your daughter?

      • Well Informed Mommy
        July 20, 2013 at 8:20 am #

        I found these pages through a google search actually on a different topic. Of course this grabbed my attention! I have seen skeptical ob’s articles before on many different occasions and have never seen anything criticizing the medical field. I haven’t found any.

        After a medical exam my water broke. It was a small leak. My doctor refused to check me even thought I said I was concerned and felt something was wrong. He insisted I was just hot and sweaty. 4 weeks later, I went into labor. I was monitored and nothing was detected. Until right before she died, there was no indication of anything wrong. Even with all the medical equipment available to me and my daughter, my daughter died in the hospital due to a Strep B infection. This was according to the autopsy report. I realize that doctors cannot save every child, however, having them at home does not mean your child will die either. I know of many different people and situations that are much more negligent even than my own.
        This does not change the fact that babies die born in hospitals and babies live born at home and vice versa. I have done a lot of research and there are deaths at home. I am not disputing that, but there are enough births that result in death in hospitals by doctors error or not, that it is simplistic and unfair to say that parents who have their children at home are negligent and don’t care about their babies. Every women that I know (having home birth) has done their homework and is very well informed before choosing homebirth option. I know many more women who haven’t done any research and have their babies in the hospital. That isn’t to say no one does research before having their baby in the hospital, but I know NO MOMS at all that haven’t done lots of research before having a home birth.

        • Elizabeth A
          July 20, 2013 at 9:18 am #

          I’m going to have to ask for help here, as I’m headed outof town. I’m thinking of baby Emily, that couple in the uk who lost their son to infection, and “they killed my patient, then they lied about it.”

        • AmyP
          July 20, 2013 at 9:38 am #

          I’m sorry your daughter died.

          I defer to the doctors here, but it sounds like what could have saved here was more hospital care–more monitoring, maybe an induction, maybe even a c-section. I can see how more medical care could have saved her, but it’s hard for me to picture how exactly having a home birth would have produced a better outcome.

        • Amy Tuteur, MD
          July 20, 2013 at 9:39 am #

          I’m sorry about the loss of your daughter. When did this happen: before or after routine screening for Group B Strep. How exactly was a doctor at fault for her death? If she died in the hospital of GBS, why do you think she would have lived at home?

        • suchende
          July 20, 2013 at 10:23 am #

          Negligence is calculated by the risk level. Lots of people die in car accidents; it’s not negligent to strap your kid into a car and drive.

          > Every women that I know (having home birth) has done their homework and is very well informed before choosing homebirth option.

          Every woman I know who is having a homebirth who made this claim was overestimating the quality of her “research” and “homework.” Reading alone is not “research,” it’s consumption. If you don’t have the educational background to understand what you’ve read, whether the conclusions were valid, whether the study was reputable or crap, you haven’t done “research.”

          It’s arrogant and stupid to think what homebirth moms pass off as “research” actually is.

          • Well Informed Mommy
            July 20, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

            How do you know the kind of research that I have done? It is “arrogant and stupid” (your words) to assume that I have not done my research. Yes, I have read. But I also (in your own words) “have the educational background to understand what I have read”. My daughter died 15 years ago next month and I have dedicated my life to learning about this issue. I am way more educated then I was then both scholastically and through non academic channels. It was important to me. I have counseled women who have had their babies die for many years. Both in the hospital and not. I have done my own research based on my counseling and others. Although I really doubt that it wouldn’t matter to you either way. Sadly, people sometimes believe what they want to. When a situation is sad, it makes people so angry they are not able to really see a situation clearly.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            July 20, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

            How do you know the kind of research that I have done?

            All we know about you is what you say. If people are questioning your lack of knowledge, it is because things you have said have indicated such.

            You can tell us about how you are “informed” all you want, but if what you say is steeped in ignorance, your assertions will be greeted as kindly as the “I have a 4.0 gpa in biology so I know what I am talking about” claim that was accompanied by a lack of critical thinking.

            IOW, “by your fruits, we shall know you.” Don’t tell us you are informed. Show us.

          • Bombshellrisa
            July 20, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

            Have we ever had someone post here who thought that homebirth could be/might be/was more dangerous and went ahead with it because they had “done their research”? Everyone who has answered back believes it’s safe, or that they would have been safer attempting the homebirth as opposed to the hospital birth because of how “inattentive” doctors are. Of course midwives “listen more”, they have smaller practices, see less patients and are supposed to be taking only low risk patients. A lot of them are paid to be cheerleaders and best friends to some truly mislead women and they HAVE to validated every feeling that woman has, it’s what they are being paid to do.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            July 20, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

            We have the occasional “I know the relative rate is worse, but the absolute rate is low so I don’t care” poster. Of course, as soon as I point out that this argument also justifies drunk driving (even moreso, since it is a lot safer, on an absolute basis, than childbirth), they are long gone.

          • suchende
            July 20, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

            “I know the relative rate is worse, but the absolute rate is low so I don’t care”

            That’s actually a pretty strong argument. You’ll probably be fine and your baby probably won’t die. Absent risk factors, a previous healthy pregnancy/delivery and with proper prenatal care, I wouldn’t even try to talk my sister out of a homebirth.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            July 20, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

            Would you not talk her out of driving drunk?

            A woman giving birth, in a hospital, is 50 times more likely to die than is a person driving drunk. The baby is 10 times more likely to die than the drunk driver is to even get a ticket or have an accident.

            It’s a terrible argument.

          • suchende
            July 20, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

            I don’t drive personally, because over the course of my lifetime, I don’t like the risk level relative to the benefit. But that’s my choice. If my sister should decide, after looking at the risk rates and her mitigating circumstances, she still wants to homebirth, I would recognize that the absolute risk is still pretty low and not try to talk her into or out of anything. My issue with homebirth is the misrepresentation of the very real risks.

            I also wouldn’t try to talk her out of buying a motorcycle.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            July 20, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

            You didn’t answer my question. If your sister was going to drive drunk, would you let her?

            The absolute risk of anything happening to her is much, much lower than the risk of childbirth.

          • suchende
            July 20, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

            I wouldn’t let my sister drive drunk, but it’s a bad analogy. Not only does it put her and her fetus at risk, it puts the lives of other people and property as well as her own liberty at risk.

            Let’s say she were an avid BASE jumper, and continued the activity into her pregnancy. Obviously I would rather she not take the unnecessary risk, since everyone knows BASE jumping is dangerous. The difference between BASE jumping and homebirth is there aren’t BASE jumping activists, midwives and doulas trying to convince hobbyists that it’s safe/safer than alternatives. But if she understands the relative and absolute risks and chooses to proceed, that’s her call. She’ll probably be fine.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            July 20, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

            I wouldn’t let my sister drive drunk, but it’s a bad analogy. Not only
            does it put her and her fetus at risk, it puts the lives of other people
            and property as well as her own liberty at risk.

            The ABSOLUTE risk to her if she drives drunk is 50 times less than that in childbirth. The ABSOLUTE risk that she gets in an accident (including single car accidents where no one else is involved) if she drives drunk is about 20 times less than her baby dying in childbirth.
            If you count the fetus as “others” then childbirth is far, far riskier to others than drunk driving. Increase that risk by threefold? That’s reckless.

          • suchende
            July 20, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

            And you’re what, 30-some times more likely to die from driving versus traveling the same trip in a plane? But I am not gonna talk my sister out of a cross-country road trip either.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            July 20, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

            So to be consistent, you won’t worry about stopping her if she decides to drive drunk, right?

          • suchende
            July 20, 2013 at 11:54 pm #

            It’s not any better of an analogy this time, Bofa.

          • Well Informed Mommy
            July 20, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

            People are questioning “lack of knowledge” because they just disagree. Those who agree, don’t shoot the messenger. I know you won’t like this answer, but it doesn’t matter what I say or prove to you or tell you the degrees I have or my GPA. You won’t believe me if it disagrees with your evaluation of truth. You could tell me anything too, but really, it’s all empty words when you don’t know the source. Why do you feel the need to tell me how educated you are? To prove that automatically makes you right? No one here is having the “ahaaa” moment and raising you up on a pedestal of iconic knowledge just because you say you have it. I mean no hostility. I honestly appreciate alternate opinions because it forces us all to think about our choices. But thankfully, we still live in a society where we have the right to choose. I hope and pray, none of us wants a socialistic/communistic culture because any one of us could be on the side the majority doesn’t agree with, (example Jewish race).

          • Amy Tuteur, MD
            July 20, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

            In other words, you cannot defend your claims.

            I notice that you have been unable to explain why your daughter’s death was the fault of the doctor or the hospital or how homebirth would have saved her.

          • suchende
            July 20, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

            It’s true that it’s easier to take someone seriously when they have credentials to back them up. But you can overcome a lack of credentials with knowledge. You’ve demonstrated neither.

            The problem isn’t that I disagree, the problem is you aren’t making any cogent points whatsoever. When it comes to evidence and facts, the ones you have presented are frankly great arguments for hospital birth, namely the fact that an amniotic fluid leak and lack of effective GBS treatment can be deadly.

          • Box of Salt
            July 20, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

            W I Mommy, you’ve missed the point here. As you said, “it doesn’t matter what I say or prove to you or tell you the degrees I have or my GPA.” What matters here is if you can present a clear, well-presented argument, and include links to data if you can.

            You complain of empty words – why don’t you add some substance to yours?

          • Amazed
            July 20, 2013 at 3:06 pm #

            Try us. With actual information. We are not here to argue philosophy, although you seem to be here for that purpose. Information, please, not “the bunch of you won’t believe poor little me anyway so why should I bother anyway’?

          • suchende
            July 20, 2013 at 12:38 pm #

            You said:

            “Every women that I know (having home birth) has done their homework and is very well informed before choosing homebirth option.”

            I have no idea what formal education YOU have gotten. I do know what homebirth moms call research. And when they say they’re “well-informed” and “educated” they are displaying both ignorance and stupidity. If you call them “very well informed” I seriously question that YOU are very well-informed, but feel free to explain why i am wrong.

            I also seriously question the reasoning skills of someone who lost their child due to insufficient interventions, and thinks a reasonable answer to that problem is homebirth.

          • Well Informed Mommy
            July 20, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

            Hostility, just because someone disagrees with you does not win your case over. Using angry and fighting words to defend your point of view does not “prove” your credibility. It appears quite uneducated to stoop to name calling just to make your viewpoint seem more believable.

            Because like I said before “people sometimes believe what they want to” regardless of research, statistics, education… I doubt no matter how I “proved” my credentials, you wouldn’t believe me anyway. I have a sibling that gets her way by yelling louder and longer than those around her and tries to prove her points in this same manner. The rest of us shake our heads sadly, because being aggressive and “forcing” her opinions just falls on deaf ears. No one listens anymore to the ranting and raving. After many years of experience I have learned that you do your best to share and those who desire knowledge go after it. I have observed that those who yell the loudest are the least heard.

          • suchende
            July 20, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

            So far, your points can be summarized as:

            1) Dr. A should change the focus of this blog to include medical mistakes

            2) You can be educated and well-informed and still have a homebirth (in the face of tremendous evidence that it’s more dangerous)

            I’m not being hostile, or loud, or stubborn. These are objectively ignorant and stupid points. If you want to make a cogent point, we’re all here to listen.

          • Karen in SC
            July 20, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

            Here’s a well written, yet nice, blog (written by a loss mom). It contains the same information that Dr. Amy has shared in numerous blog posts.


          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            July 20, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

            Oh, how quaint. Out of arguments, so you turn into a tone troll.

            Thank you for your concern.

          • Bombshellrisa
            July 20, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

            Nobody is yelling or forcing. She was merely wondering what kind of formal education led you to where you are now. There are plenty of examples of those who have had extensive formal educations (Dr Fishbein, Dr Biter, Cara Muhlhahn CNM) and still do not understand the risks involved with home birth and insist interventions are unsafe.

          • Lizzie Dee
            July 20, 2013 at 6:54 pm #

            Ii has little to do with proving your credentials and more to do with explaining your argument. Nightmare Disqus makes it very difficult to follow this discussion, but as far as I understand it your argument is that as babies die in hospitals, home birth is safer, with a secondary argument that here, we focus on the disasters at home and ignore those in hospital. Your position then seems to be that as you have done your research, you are now better informed than the rest of us.

            The outrage and anger here is generally provoked by avoidable deaths – and personally I would not dispute that they can ALSO happen in hospitals, but are much less likely to. The research necessary to prove this either way is not actually all that easy to do. You mentioned in one post that you have counselled women who have lost babies. How many of those tragedies were caused – actually, demonstrably and definitely by interventions? It is my view, based on very superficial and inadequate research, that it is more likely that they were caused by the same things that cause homebirth deaths – an over-optimistic assumption that birth is safe, and interventions are left too late. Your qualifications and the extent of your research is irrelevant unless you can quote statistically significant examples of babies who died in the hospital that would have survived at home. Can you?

            It is understandable that losing your first child in that way colours your attitude. You have my sympathy for such an awful thing. Your attitude is understandable; your reasoning isn’t, simply on the basis of asserting you have researched this.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD
            July 20, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

            It’s easy to tell what kind of research you have done since you appear to have no idea what you are talking about. You are simply parrotting what you read on homebirth websites, which, of course, is crap.

        • Amazed
          July 20, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

          I am sorry about your daughter’s death. That’s something no one should go through. Still, your posts don’t make sense.

          “I know NO MOMS at all that haven’t done lots of research before having a home birth.”

          Or think they did research. Just like you – your daughter needed more interventions and your answer was to have your boys farther away from those same interventions if they happened to need them.

          Forgive me for not being overly impressed with your reasoning and doubting just how valid is the nickname you proudly chose for yourself.

  5. Dr Steven Roth
    July 15, 2013 at 4:34 am #

    Hi, came across your webpage while searching out info on HDN for a lecture to med students. I left the US in 2007 and now practice in New Zealand. The midwifery and home births system here is a disaster! I’ve never seen so many post-partum hemorrhages, retained placentas and massive vaginal lacerations. And yes, full-term intrapartum deaths. The bottomline is that home birth is about selfishness. What the mother wants irregardless of the facts, like safety. She wants to tell all her friends how great it was to have her family there and give birth in her own bed, etc. But to put your unborn childs health at risk is pure selfishness. A safe birth is only successful in hindsight-whether home or hospital. Who has that ability to see into the future?

  6. Sue
    July 14, 2013 at 7:45 am #

    Not sure if this has been posted – Oz HB featuring – you guessed it – LB and JF


  7. areawomanpdx
    July 13, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

    LOL. I wonder where you got linked that resulted in all these parachuting morons? Like we’ve never encountered these arguments before.

    1. One sided reporting? You know, just because there are two sides to an argument doesn’t mean the answer lies somewhere in the middle (and thus necessitates “balanced” reporting). It is possible for one side to simply be WRONG. Which is, of course, the case regarding NCB guano psychosis. Additionally, try going to any NCB-promoting website and presenting scientific evidence to back up your claims. You are guaranteed to be deleted post haste.

    2. “According to you, no babies have ever died in the hospital for unforseen reasons…” Thank you for showcasing your inability to formulate a logical argument and lack of reading comprehension, and providing us with a textbook example of the strawman fallacy. Babies die in the hospital because they have congenital defects or because they are born prematurely. Full term healthy babies don’t generally die in the hospital. But somehow, these are the babies that die in homebirth.

    3. “Have you compared numbers?” Read around the site a little, and you will see that RATES have been compared ad naseum. Of course, if you look at absolute numbers, more babies die in the hospital. However, 99.5% of babies are BORN in the hospital. The problem is that a much higher percentage of babies die at homebirth. The latest numbers from Oregon, one of the only states that records planned homebirths vs. planned hospital births, shows that planned homebirth results in death EIGHT TO TEN TIMES more often. And Oregon isn’t the only state to show this. The numbers from Colorado are just as bad. And the numbers nation wide show that babies die in homebirth three times more often. The problem there is that babies who are transferred too late due to the incompetence of a homebirth midwife or merely being too far away and then die in the hospital (most certainly as a result of the homebirth) are counted as hospital deaths and therefore the number is far too low.

  8. EllenL
    July 12, 2013 at 6:11 am #

    For those who don’t like studies and statistics, I have some
    reading for you. It’s a blog “ Little Birdie, Little Bunny,” the story of a
    young, idealistic mom-to-be who decided the perfect end to her perfect
    pregnancy would be a homebirth with a midwife. The blog begins here:


    After I read Erin’s blog, I was ready to read – and believe
    – the very clear data about the dangers of homebirth.

    • cccat
      July 12, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

      Ugh. That was really painful to read. That poor family. She was “only 3 minutes from the hospital” and it sounds like the hospital staff moved as fast as humanly possible, but it wasn’t enough.

      • Anj Fabian
        July 13, 2013 at 6:57 pm #

        The midwife moved fast too, no hemming or hawing.

  9. Megs
    July 12, 2013 at 12:19 am #

    How one sided is this. Seriously. How many un-necessary interventions resulting in death are happening in the hospital right this minute. Does that mean people shouldn’t birth in hospitals either. What about failed inductions, rupturing uterus due to citotec inductions, babies going into distress due to pitocin/epidural combinations, Preemie babies being cut out of women because dr’s think they know better than nature…

    • Bombshellrisa
      July 12, 2013 at 12:51 am #


    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      July 12, 2013 at 1:07 am #

      Why don’t you tell us since you seem to think you know. Be sure to provide documentation from the scientific literature. I’m not holding my breath because I could turn awfully blue before you get back to me on this.

      • Cellist
        July 12, 2013 at 1:15 am #

        Dr Amy when will you learn?

        True believers don’t need pesky documented scientific evidence!!!
        (I just wish I had realised this prior to devoting years of my life to studying statistics 🙁 )

        • Amy Tuteur, MD
          July 12, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

          That paper is also crap, which is why no one ever cites it except homebirth advocates who don’t understand its limitations.

          Looks like you struck out Megs. Care to try again?

        • Amy Tuteur, MD
          July 12, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

          The paper is crap as the authors have been forced to acknowledge because of my criticism.

          First of all, the authors did not disclose that Ken Johnson was the Director of Research for MANA; Betty Anne Daviss, his wife, is a homebirth midwife.

          Second, the authors ACTUALLY showed that homebirth with a CPM in 2000 had a mortality rate 3X higher than comparable risk hospital birth in 2000. They simply left out the hospital death rate in 2000 and tried to fool women by comparing homebirth to a bunch of out of date studies extending back to 1969.

          Looks like they fooled you.

      • Megs
        July 12, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

        We’re not going to find a million different studies because why would doctors want to pay for studies supporting the safety of homebirth, that won’t make them more money!! There is a time and a place for hospital birth and OB’s. Thank goodness we have them if we need them. In low-risk pregnancies where regulated and certified midwives attend, homebirths are as safe as hospital births. Not everyone SHOULD birth at home. What I WOULD have a problem with is people birthing without proper prenatal care and screening with lay midwives practicing on their own.

        • Amy Tuteur, MD
          July 12, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

          In other words, you could find even ONE study that corroborates your claim. That’s because your claim isn’t true. You read it on natural childbirth websites for lay people and you are so gullible that you believed it.

    • KarenJJ
      July 12, 2013 at 5:35 am #

      “How many un-necessary interventions resulting in death are happening in the hospital right this minute.”

      We’re waiting. How many are there?

      • theadequatemother
        July 12, 2013 at 8:56 am #

        Well, there are two randomized controlled trials of early vs late epidurals involving 10s of thousands of women. One from the US and one from china. So….if epidurals cause a need for pitocin, fetal distress and cs we should have seen something from those studies. The primary outcome was length of labor which was either no different or surprisingly shorter in the epi group. Pitocin cs etc were the same. Neonatal outcomes were the same.

        There are also lg series of studies looking at labor augmentation and induction. So we know the rates of adverse events. Of course this commenter won’t come back with the data because it wouldn’t support their ideological position of “interventions bad.”

    • Isilzha
      July 12, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

      LOL…you think “nature” cares one bit about your survival (much less your health and happiness)? Nature is cruel and brutal. I’m thrilled I live in a time when there are many interventions that can prevent or treat some of the horrible things that nature can do. Nature would have me dying of cervical cancer in a few years; I’m so very glad we have scientists and doctors who DO know better than nature!

  10. Angie
    July 12, 2013 at 12:11 am #

    So, according to you no babies have ever died in a hospital for unforeseen reasons? Maybe you should get your facts straight before you start writing articles and posting them on the Internet. I’m surprised anyone would even listen to you.

    • Cellist
      July 12, 2013 at 1:01 am #

      You’re right – we shouldn’t listen to the Harvard Educated Obstetrician. We should listen to a complete random in a comment instead.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      July 12, 2013 at 1:09 am #

      Thanks for demonstrating your utter cluelessness. A 4th grader could recognize your comment as startlingly ignorant.


    • Squillo
      July 12, 2013 at 11:35 am #

      Actually, the point is that when babies die in hospitals, it’s usually for unforeseen or unpreventable reasons. When they die at homebirth, it’s frequently for reasons that could have been foreseen and prevented.

      And even with malpractice and unnecessary interventions, OBs in hospital manage to lose fewer healthy babies (hint: rate is the salient issue here) than homebirth midwives.

  11. mispig
    July 12, 2013 at 12:09 am #

    You make it sound like babies don’t die at hospital births……. Have you compared numbers…. that’s pretty bold to go and say “home birth” kills babies… I would guess that the percentage of baby deaths in a hospital birth are much greater than homebirth deaths… I’ve had 5 babies (including twins) all at home, and if I can help it I will NEVER give birth in a hospital. <3

  12. G. Rivera
    July 11, 2013 at 6:41 pm #

    I am really glad I found this site. Thanks for it!

  13. Ripley_rules
    July 11, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

    This is somewhat OT but just as appalling. Corruption in some parts of the Third World has even spread to maternity wards:


    The people who created this policy are criminals who have absolutely no regard for the lives of women and children. Those poor Zimbabwean mothers, I can completely understand why they would chose to place their lives and babies at risk rather than impoverish their families.

    • Ainsley Nicholson
      July 12, 2013 at 8:25 pm #

      This is just chilling.

  14. Frequent Guest
    July 11, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

    This post could not be more timely–an acquaintance of mine nearly lost her baby, and possibly her own life, in a birth center birth-gone-awry yesterday. I don’t have much info, only what was on her Facebook, but sounds like a placental abruption and emergency section after a transfer to the hospital. The baby had to be resuscitated and is still in the NICU; the parents haven’t even been permitted to hold him yet.

    I am so sad for them, but so angry at their stupid choice to risk their baby’s life for woo. If I didn’t think it would be incredibly insensitive, I would send her a link to this blog right now.

    • BeatlesFan
      July 11, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

      I hope the baby doesn’t suffer any long-term ill effects, and I hope the parents have learned their lesson for the next time (if there is one).

      • Frequent Guest
        July 12, 2013 at 7:52 pm #

        I hope so also. This is her third child. First-hospital, induction, epidural; second-waterbirth with woo-midwives in the same birth center; third, this tragedy.

    • Box of Salt
      July 11, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

      Best wishes for their whole family.

    • EllenL
      July 12, 2013 at 5:44 am #

      Someone needs to tell Declercq.
      There will be more outcomes like this – and worse – if freestanding birth centers spread.

    • PrecipMom
      July 12, 2013 at 7:38 am #

      Be gentle with her. The best thing you can give her right now is compassion, because she may be under pressure to defend OOH birth even this early. Well meaning people can be tricked and manipulated if they have a vulnerable spot and are targeted. It happens all the time, but seldom with such potentially devastating consequences. Reaffirming how scary this was, is she ok, it’s really common to have PTSD after something so traumatizing, etc all make it more likely that she has enough strength to go against the hive mind and stand with her own experience. I didn’t have the c-section but I did have a baby in the NICU and was unable to hold her for a day and it was as if someone and ripped my heart straight out of my chest.

      I will keep them in my thoughts, and please let us know how things turn out for them.

      • Frequent Guest
        July 12, 2013 at 7:50 pm #

        Don’t worry, I would never say something so harsh to her, especially not in the aftermath of something so traumatic (for all). I am not that close to her, she is a friend-of-a-friend who lives in another state, I only see her life updates on Facebook.

        UPDATE to the situation: The mom and baby are recovering. She got to hold him twice yesterday and was able to feed him some breastmilk through a feeding tube. They think he will be strong enough to nurse/bottle feed in a few days. Thanks for the good thoughts!

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      July 12, 2013 at 10:06 am #

      I’ve been on record as noting that I really don’t understand the appeal of homebirth. I know other comments say they can see why it is appealing to give birth in the comfort of your own home, etc, but I’ve never quite understood that.

      But even given that, can someone tell me the great benefits of a “Birth center”? It’s not even “in the comfort of your own home.” Isn’t it basically doing a homebirth in someone else’s home!

      The only advantage I can see is that someone else has to clean up the mess, but then that is an admission that the mess is a downside of HB.

      Unless we are talking about these “birth centers” that are connected to hospitals, in which case, how is it any different from a birth center IN a hospital (I know the OB ward at our hospital was called the “Birthing Unit”.

      I just don’t get it.

      • Karen in SC
        July 12, 2013 at 10:12 am #

        I’m reminded of a Big Bang Theory, where Sheldon said, “I informed you thusly.”

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

          When was thusly?

      • EllenL
        July 12, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

        If you tell your friends and relatives you’re planning to give birth at home, they may think you’re nuts and try to talk you out of it.

        If you say you’re going to a “birth center” that conveys legitimacy – even safety. It sounds like a professional place.

        In reality, the freestanding centers aren’t much better than a homebirth, but most people don’t know that.

        And “transfer” can mean “disaster in the making” but people don’t realize that, either.

      • Sue
        July 15, 2013 at 11:24 pm #

        The best solution for people who don’t want a hospitally environment and are low-risk is a ”birth center” within a hospital. Nice decoration, midwife-led, big bath and shower, just down the corridor from labor ward and operating theaters, with emergency bell that brings resuscitation team running.

        Oh, and also guidelines, audit and clinical governance.

  15. July 11, 2013 at 4:26 am #

    It really is not an easy thing to accept. If I could be a lot more for other things.

  16. Lisa Miller
    July 10, 2013 at 10:55 pm #

    I’m gobsmacked…..If I lost my baby with one of my providers, believe me I’d fire his/her butt in a second. I;d change hospitals even, but I’d never see home birth as the answer. These women know more than anyone how much medical intervention (c-sections for a stillbirth , Pre-e). If you use it for one thing then why not for the damn purpose of saving your poor baby. Shit. Sorry. I’m cussing like a sailor today and I don’t know why but I mean it.

  17. yentavegan
    July 10, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

    Worship of the birth process is Idolatry. Excellent d’var Torah, Dr. Amy!

    • MichelleJo
      July 10, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

      Hey, you’re going to make everyone else feel left out with comments like these!

      • Kerlyssa
        July 10, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

        Yeah, it’s too bad there isn’t a split second process that would answer your question as to the meaning of an unfamiliar term, at the click of a button.

        • MichelleJo
          July 11, 2013 at 5:09 pm #

          Actually, I was sticking up for the majority (I assume) of fellow SOBers who wouldn’t understand it. I myself speak a perfect Hebrew and understood her comment and Dr Amy’s reply. But nobody meant bad and a little fun sometimes is… fun!

        • Sue
          July 15, 2013 at 11:28 pm #

          ” it’s too bad there isn’t a split second process that would answer your question as to the meaning of an unfamiliar term”

          Actually, there is one: Google. Todah rabah = thank you very much. Easier than looking up a medical term, no?

          • LibrarianSarah
            July 15, 2013 at 11:49 pm #

            I might not be the best with this kind of thing but I am 90% sure that Kerlyssa was being sarcastic.

    • WhatPaleBlueDot
      July 10, 2013 at 6:06 pm #


      • Zornorph
        July 10, 2013 at 8:39 pm #

        I just had an 80’s flashback to Jacko the blonde Australian Energizer battery spokesman.

        • KarenJJ
          July 11, 2013 at 9:42 am #

          Aussie, Aussie, Aussie…

          • wookie130
            July 11, 2013 at 10:17 am #

            Ooten Gleeten Glotten Globen.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      July 10, 2013 at 11:00 pm #

      Todah rabah.

    • Cellist
      July 12, 2013 at 12:32 am #

      ‘When there is a possibility of danger, do not depend upon a miracle.’

  18. Amazed
    July 10, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

    Partly OT: what happens when you have a bad homebirth story (no lasting consequences, thankfully), see the new studies, look at yourself and say with certainty that had this data been available, you wouldn’t have made a choice to homebirth but you still support it for low-risk women in UK and Canada fashion? Although you’ll never homebirth again?

    You get shooed off the homebirth forum on MDC, of course! Right now, a member tried to discuss the new study regarding the APGAR scores and she was politely told off by a mod, a permanent lack of analyzing ability and comprehension sufferer by the name of Identity Crisis Mama for not being supportive enough! It goes against the guidelines! Of course, the PLAAAC sufferer wants to have this discussion in the general forum, well hid by the eyes of the mothers who are making this decision right now because only supportive peope and posts are acceptable.

    What a bunch of fucking bitches. For someone who trumpets their ability to make an informed choice they sure don’t believe in their ability to defend this choice when confronted with evidence. And babies and mothers pay the price. Liz P comes to mind.

    • I don't have a creative name
      July 10, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

      They’re kind of like Muslim extremists. You speak against their god (in this case, nay-cher), and they WILL shut you up.

      • Zornorph
        July 10, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

        Nay, don’t bring Cher into it! What did she do?

    • PrecipMom
      July 11, 2013 at 9:22 am #

      I’m still annoyed at the argument that it’s wrong to scare the poor first time moms with the fact that they are at increased risk in home birth. “The truth is in poor taste. Don’t be such a killjoy! The Farm proves everyone is safe!”

      • Amazed
        July 12, 2013 at 4:54 am #

        “The truth is in poor taste.”

        Loved this line.


  19. Stacey
    July 10, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

    I feel for the first mom. I would be willing to bet that with she (and so many others like her) has her entire circle of friends tied up with the NCB/HB crowd, and does not want to be alone. If she keeps on supporting HB, they will bring her meals, help her, love her, and basically do the things you should for a mom with loss. The instant she blames the HB, ALL that will disappear, and she could even be scorned and harassed.

    These people tend to hang out together, IRL and online, so if that’s your whole support network, it’s hard to lose it on top of everything else. If shes on MMs, she is probably active in that community. Sure, its very likely they were complicit in the tragedy in the first place, as is HB itself, but this is a tough thing to admit. Having to find new friends after a loss is just too much for most people and I can understand that.

    She DID say she wouldn’t have another HB, but is for it for others- common things people say so they do not upset the sensitive HBers. And boy are the HBers sensitive! Merely *thinking* that HB is a bad idea will get you ostracized, even if you never bring it up to them.

    • PrecipMom
      July 10, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

      She also is urging people that “The only thing I would say is cover ALL corners. And don’t think it can’t happen to you! Also, transfer at the first sign of distress and be pre-registered at a hospital just in case.”

      We don’t know how this mom ends up. We have no idea how far post loss she is. We just know that she reached out claiming support for home birth while also telling people to transfer at the very first sign, that bad things can happen to you.

      • stacey
        July 10, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

        Thats about as much as she can do without losing her support. I hope she is doing ok.

    • Amazed
      July 10, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

      The worst thing is, you’re probably right. SHE lost her baby and the HBers are the sensitive ones? These strong empowered women? What a farce!

      I’d rather live in my quite ugly reality than in their rosy little world where the moment something goes south, the person who was harmed should take care of the zealots’ feelings.

      • PrecipMom
        July 11, 2013 at 9:30 am #

        In some places, this rises to the level of an almost cult and the person with a poor birth outcome is seen almost as transgressive because their experience contradicts the lie. So, the pressure on them is intense to almost “atone” for their transgressive loss by claiming fault on themselves for doing something wrong (so many claim to have known that something was off and disregarded it, therefore people can rationalize that if you just Listen To Your Intuition, you and your baby will be safe) or it was their baby’s innocent “fault” for just not being meant to live. There is significant grooming that can happen here during one of the most crushing experiences anyone can experience, and what I see is that she’s still willing to be transgressive enough to say “transfer early, bad things can happen.”

        I just hope that this mom has enough supportive people who aren’t invested in home birth who can help her process this loss. My heart just goes out to her so much. This could have been so many of us who chose home birth without really understanding the risks of what we were choosing. I hope that she is able to find a place of peace.

        • Amazed
          July 12, 2013 at 4:56 am #

          Isn’t it stunning how different people are? You read this story and think “It could have been me.” Other homebirthing mothers read it and think “It could have never been me because I am smarter, I did my research better, I was sooo clever to choose a different midwife”and so on.

          • PrecipMom
            July 12, 2013 at 7:46 am #

            Well, remember who you are talking about here, too. This is a culture predicated on the ability to convincingly train out a normal response to pain. Response to painful stimuli is one of the basic human responses. If you are trained and training yourself to dissociate from physical pain, it’s not a far step to go to dissociating from emotional pain.

            The best thing that can be done, at least from my perspective in terms of the best thing that could have been done for me, is to gently try to hold mom into the feelings of being terrified, the feelings of wondering what went wrong, because there is a tendency to go straight from “big bad thing happened” … to “in conclusion” with no description of the lived experience. I think this is why so many times we see descriptions of mom doing all of this skin to skin, breastfeeding, and nothing about her feelings. She has to dissociate or the cognitive dissonance is too high, and she has to do the things that categorize her as a “good mom” within her cultural framework.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            July 12, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

            Maybe they use the Colonel Flagg (MASH) approach?

            “I’ve trained myself not to laugh or smile. I watched a hundred hours of the Three Stooges; every time I felt like smiling or laughing, I jabbed myself in the stomach with a cattle prod.”

  20. expat in germany
    July 10, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    Given the insurance situation in the US, I have to wonder what fraction of moms choose homebirth simply to avoid financial ruin. I know that it is primarily the well off types who pay extra to go to the birth center, but what about the ones who take a gamble that paying for a bargain basement midwife will save them a few grand out of pocket and if all hell breaks loose, it would’ve happened regardless and they would’ve been financially ruined either way. If your husband is cheering you on to save money and you can find a club of likeminded folks in the same situation to pat you on the back, I’m seeing this not so much as a matter of choice. The wooey and antiestablishment stuff is just icing on a crappy financial situation cake.

    • Isramommy
      July 10, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

      I have a friend in the US who really didn’t want to have a natural childbirth but went that way to avoid having to pay $1, 000 for an epidural which wasn’t covered by her health plan. She just couldn’t afford the expense. I was horrified that she was forced into that situation.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        July 10, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

        Epidurals are optional.

        • MaineJen
          July 10, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

          If anyone else but a laboring mother were in that kind of pain, pain relief would be expected and given immediately. Try telling someone with a kidney stone “Well, pain relief is optional, you know.”

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            July 10, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

            Whoops, my bad. I read it as she was being forced to get the epidural

          • realityycheque
            July 10, 2013 at 9:32 pm #

            Just to let you know, since I only discovered this the other day. If you accidentally rate something up or down, you can remove it by clicking the rating button a second time.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            July 11, 2013 at 8:01 am #

            That’s only if you are logged in, right? (of course, you can only vote down if you are logged in in the first place)

          • realityycheque
            July 11, 2013 at 8:04 am #

            Nope, just tested it on another browser without logging in. You can’t vote a comment down as a guest, but if you accidentally up vote one you can still undo it.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            July 11, 2013 at 8:00 am #

            As I think about it, there is still an issue. While it is indeed dumb that the insurance company refuses to pay for the epidural, that is not a reason why she had to UC. She didn’t get an epidural with an out of hospital birth, either. Thus, the insurance refusal to cover an epidural is not a reason to not use the hospital.

        • Courtney84
          July 10, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

          Would you expect your insurance to pay for your pain medication if you had cancer, a chronic condition, or an acute injury? Pain management is technically always “optional”, but I think most Americans consider it inhumane not to treat pain.

      • Starling
        July 11, 2013 at 5:27 am #

        My sister did the same with her first. She said that she thought she was going to die, but she simply couldn’t afford to pay for pain medicine.

    • Therese
      July 10, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

      It’s probably pretty rare since the income limits for pregnancy medicaid are really high. It would be more likely to be a motivating factor for UC, since many people have insurance that would make their payment for the birth be similar to what they’d end up paying a homebirth midwife (around $3-4000)

    • Bombshellrisa
      July 10, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

      Medicaid pays for home and birth center birth in my state, but even people with insurance who buy a plan usually are cost motivated to use CPMs. A lot of it is due to the prenatal part, there aren’t as many tests if you use a CPM (no nonstress tests, no blood work, no pap test).

    • pj
      July 10, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

      My understanding is that Medicaid covers a higher income threshold for pregnancy than it usually does. I’m not sure what that income threshold is though. I will say that we have really good insurance and I was still a bit taken back by the copay we have to pay for pregnancy/birth, which in my mind is quite a bit of money (though a lot less than midwife fees for a home birth, obviously). I am used to a public healthcare system and not having to pay anything at all.

      • areawomanpdx
        July 11, 2013 at 4:32 am #

        In Oregon, it’s 185% of the federal poverty level, which is $43,567/year for a family of four.This would cover everything without a copay.

      • VL
        July 11, 2013 at 11:03 am #

        We are in the US and with our insurance we had no copay. The only thing we paid for was about $200 to the OB to harvest the umbilical cord blood for storage.

    • Certified Hamster Midwife
      July 10, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

      It’s interesting to me that the popularity of homebirth has coincided with unemployment and underemployment in the USA.

      • suchende
        July 10, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

        Also, the rise of intensive parenting.

        • AmyP
          July 10, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

          And the rise of DIY–Etsy, Pinterest, etc.

          • Bombshellrisa
            July 10, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

            Ever noticed how many “my home birth set up”, red tent and staying healthy “naturally” boards are on Pinterest? I have a friend who is trying to get everyone into “oil pulling” right now. I have no idea what they think it’s supposed to do. You take a teaspoon or two of sesame oil and hold it in your mouth every morning and it’s supposed to pull toxins from your body.

          • Dr Kitty
            July 10, 2013 at 4:59 pm #

            Do these people not understand that they have these things called “kidneys” and “a liver” that do a perfectly adequate job of pulling toxins out of your body already?

          • Bombshellrisa
            July 10, 2013 at 5:21 pm #

            They think there are things they can do to be “cleaner and healthier”. I would never waste my sesame oil this way.

          • Squillo
            July 10, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

            Silly. The body only works perfectly when it’s birthin’ or fightin’ off pathogens. For cleansing, it needs help from yer friendly neighborhood nacheral foods store.

          • Bombshellrisa
            July 11, 2013 at 12:48 am #

            Or listen to your chiropractor. They are DOCTORS for goodness sake, real doctors, not those book learning types who go to medical school and are in cahoots with BIG PHARMA.

          • Tim
            July 11, 2013 at 10:26 pm #

            Kidneys and Livers only do their job properly when your spine is perfectly aligned, everybody knows that.

          • AmyP
            July 11, 2013 at 12:00 am #

            They should try cupping instead.


          • Bombshellrisa
            July 11, 2013 at 12:47 am #

            They get that done too! I think the aftermath looks like large hickeys.

          • Allie P
            July 11, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

            So I used this “natural exfoliating shaving cream” mix I found on pinterest — I mean, shaving cream, what’s the harm, right?

            OMG — let’s talk about hives the size of my thumbnail for a week all over my legs. As I was complaining to my husband he looked at me like I was the world’s biggest fool and said “you shaved your legs with a mixture of SALT AND LEMON JUICE? Someone totally trolled you.”

            I then felt like an idiot. I don’t know why that had not occurred to me.

          • Bombshellrisa
            July 11, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

            Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! My knees buckled a little when I read this!

            I am not sure if my friend had it wrong, but this is what I have learned about oil pulling. It’s not for the evil toxins, it’s to “stop growth of malignant tumors” and all sorts of other ailments. The admonition to clean the sink afterwards because “the spittle contains harmful bacteria and toxic bodily waste” just is too much.


    • AmyP
      July 10, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

      The cost issue is most likely to make a difference for higher-income but uninsured families (i.e. not privately insured but not poor enough for Medicaid). This category does exist, for instance among the self-employed. I once heard a caller on a personal finance radio program (the Dave Ramsey show) explain that they had done a home birth in order to put an extra $12k toward their debt repayment program. That caller was most likely in that category of high income, no health insurance.

      Bear in mind that homebirth midwives want cold, hard cash in advance, so a homebirth is not an attractive choice for families with cash-flow problems (which, like it or not, describes most US families at nearly all income levels). US hospitals, unlike midwives, will set up payment plans after services are rendered.

      That said, I suspect that finances may genuinely be a driver for UC, which does genuinely make more financial sense–as long as you and your baby are the lucky ones.

      • Jessica
        July 10, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

        Hell, our household income is well above median for our area, and I was insured, but between my co-pays and my portion of the deductible (my employer paid 2/3 of it), I still had to pay nearly $4k OOP for my prenatal care with an OB and my hospital delivery (I was in the hospital for 46 hours and my son for just over 24 – induction, vaginal delivery, epidural, rooming in). We saved very aggressively in the eleven months between getting married and having the baby, in part b/c I do not have short term disability and could not get it and it was unclear whether I would get paid maternity leave. Fortunately, I did, (worked out six weeks at 100%, and then I took two weeks unpaid) and they paid all my benefits when I was on leave. Otherwise those savings would have gone to pay bills and I would have had to pay the hospital bills over time.

        I would never, ever, choose a UC/homebirth/birth center, and certainly not due to finances, but I can understand how the money might appeal to someone already NCB inclined.

        • Amy M
          July 10, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

          We have excellent medical coverage through my employer, which was even better at the time I was pregnant, and pay/paid co-pays. I stayed in the hospital for 4wk on bedrest, and then was there for 3 days when the babies were actually born. I don’t even want to know how much that actually cost…clearly if insurance or Medicaid or some other institution didn’t pick it up, we’d be destitute. And my babies didn’t even go to NICU….the costs of that must be staggering….of course, if someone homebirths and that baby needs NICU, that baby dies.

    • me
      July 10, 2013 at 2:27 pm #

      Have a family member in that situation. No insurance and not much money was the main reason for picking the birth center. Didn’t want to apply for Medicaid. She wasn’t really into the “woo”, but I know she did hear it from other family members and I think that it started to affect her. Anyway, at 41w6d she finally went into labor. In the end she was transferred to the hospital for failure to progress. So now they have to pay twice! At least the baby was fine.

      • Jocelyn
        July 10, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

        Speaking of paying twice, I’ve heard of several home birth stories where the midwife didn’t even show up in time to deliver the baby, and the midwife refused to refund them any of their money. Awful.

    • Charlotte
      July 10, 2013 at 10:33 pm #

      I’ve come across several of these situations online. The family didn’t have insurance and couldn’t afford the $13,000 hospital bill, but could cough up $2,000-$3,000 for a home birth midwife. One in particular was especially tragic, because the mom begged her husband to let her see an OB because she was developing preeclampsia, but he refused. She ended up in the hospital with an emergency c-section anyway, but it was awful how much she had to suffer physically and emotionally to get to that point and how little power she had.

  21. OttawaAlison
    July 10, 2013 at 11:33 am #

    I’m 35 and have a infertile husband. I was beyond devastated having had a miscarriage recently as was my husband (note I’m ardently pro-choice, but this was a very wanted pregnancy). We do have an almost 7 year old daughter as well.

    If I know I’m carrying a healthy baby, I’d do anything in my power to ensure I can reduce the risks, to facilitate the likelihood of the child being born healthy for a number if reasons –

    * I’m getting older, it will get harder and harder for me to get pregnant.
    * I would be devastated losing a healthy baby.
    * The impact it would have on my husband and daughter.

    You can dismiss me as a bitter infertile, but these needless deaths bother me like crazy.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      July 10, 2013 at 11:39 am #

      I don’t dismiss what you say at all. In fact, it makes perfect sense, at least one would think.

      I am always completely bamboozled by those who, on one hand, are so desperate to have a child that they will jump through amazing hoops to get pregnant, but then, after getting pregnant, will take careless risks.

      It just doesn’t make sense to me. What is the goal? To get pregnant? Or to have a baby?

      Jeez, we were fortunate that we did not have any problems conceiving, but we still didn’t want to take any chances. I don’t understand how anyone can be so cavalier about having a baby.

      • Allie P
        July 10, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

        A friend of mine who had a failed birth center bradley birth was very outspoken in trying to get all her friends to do what she “couldn’t” and when she used IVF to conceive her second child, was DETERMINED to have the NCB of her dreams to prove that her body was capable of all this reproduction thing. Like the fact that her body was failing her in conception was even more reason she had to perform acts of physical prowess through natural childbirth. My opinion is it’s not about the birth, or the conception, or the pregnancy, it’s about the baby. Do whatever it takes to get the BABY here and healthy. It’s like concentrating too much on the wedding instead of the marriage. Does anyone really care how you got married? No.

        • OttawaAlison
          July 10, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

          There was a book for women doing ivf that said something to the effect of “even though you’ve worked so hard getting pregnant, now you can go on and have a natural pregnancy’…it was kind of phrased in a way to make having a natural pregnancy/natural birth would redeem using ART.

          I’ve been pregnant naturally twice, once it lead to a healthy baby, the other lead to miscarriage (the fact I have gotten pregnant twice naturally by my husband still boggles my RE’s mind). My gp is willing to take on shared care with both pregnancies even with my risk factors (weight, previous caesarean and age – sidebar she’d transfer me in a heartbeat if she feels she couldn’t care for me and send me to my on for all my care not just the last trimester), but wouldn’t take me on for shared care if I had conceived via ivf.

          I’m planning to go and have the trifecta of ivf, RCS and formula. I’m sure I’m making many ncb/NP peoples’ head spin by that.

          • Karen in SC
            July 10, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

            applauding you and wishing you luck!

        • I don't have a creative name
          July 10, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

          I have definitely noticed that some of the most crazily insane NCB and bf at all costs folks are the same ones who have a lot of difficulty getting pregnant. (Some, not all, etc.) I have two theories on that:

          1 – Being an infertile myrtle these days often means spending lots of time online on women’s forums dedicated to providing support in these matters. The craziest, wackiest NCB crap seems to live mostly on the internet, and they therefore have exposure to nonsense they may not have otherwise.

          2 – There definitely seems to be a need to prove to themselves that they aren’t “broken” (ie, requiring medical help) at the end of the pregnancy as they were as the first. It’d be interesting to read some survey data on that.

          • Wren
            July 10, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

            I would say I fit both of those theories. I went ahead and accepted medical help when it was needed though.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            July 10, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

            Being an infertile myrtle these days often means spending lots of time online on women’s forums dedicated to providing support in these matters.

            There definitely seems to be a need to prove to themselves that they aren’t “broken”

            These two are not unrelated. Who do you think are the ones telling them they are “broken” in the first place?

          • SarahSD
            July 10, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

            Exactly. The terrible thing about the “your body is not broken” crap is how it reinforces the idea that certain kinds of bodies (or bodies which can perform certain processes in sanctioned ways) are better than others, instead of just acknowledging that all bodies are different. And at the same time, the rhetorical leveling of “variations of normal” acknowledges differences but basically says they don’t matter, when in fact the differences can matter a lot.

        • Meerkat
          July 10, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

          It’s so funny that you bring up the wedding analogy. I have seen NCB crowd comparing birth to a wedding. Apparently you are wrong, it’s the wedding that counts. Cause you did all the planning, have the beautiful dress, flowers. How would you feel if the vandals threw paint all over your beautiful dress? Destroyed your flowers?

          • Allie P
            July 11, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

            Oh, I’d be pissed. But I’d still be married. I don’t think about my daughter’s birth on a day to day basis, or my wedding on a day to day basis. It’s one day.

          • Meerkat
            July 11, 2013 at 4:59 pm #

            My emergency c section was great despite the stress. The doctors and nurses were awesome. I think about that day, but only as the most amazing day of my life, because I got to meet my son.

        • BeatlesFan
          July 11, 2013 at 12:38 pm #

          I got married barefoot and pregnant. No, really. I wonder what the equivalent of that would be in NCB-land?

    • Courtney84
      July 10, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

      I am sub fertile with repeat loss. I do not see the appeal of the NCB stuff. Obviously, my body doesn’t deal with reproduction in the desired way. It is NOT trust worthy at making mucus for conception or progesterone to maintain pregnancy – why would I blindly trust my lady parts with any remaining tasks?

      What really boggles me is the women who take such care to get the perfect balance of nutrition, exercise, and rest (which I think really is laudable) and then take big risks with delivery (declining GBS testing, ignoring pre-e symptoms, delivering OOH, etc).

      • Lisa from NY
        July 11, 2013 at 1:15 am #

        We are currently infertile and I share your pain. The avoidable deaths are disturbing, especially since inductions can prevent many of them without a C/S.

    • Oiuy
      July 11, 2013 at 6:35 am #

      I’m glad I’m not the only one feeling this way. I start infertility treatments in a few weeks. When my friend, who gets pregnant every time she sneezes, announced that she hire a midwife for baby #4 I thought I was going to vomit.

  22. Elizabeth A
    July 10, 2013 at 11:26 am #

    Did the Laboraide lady poof, or is Disqus flaking?

    A few minutes ago, someone posted a link to this article: http://www.laboraide.com/article/1332-the-benefits-of-natural-homebirth#.Ud16VIZ2NnU

    Along with a comment saying that claiming that homebirth causes death is like saying breathing causes death. I’m inexact, but words to that effect.

    In case anyone cares, I wish to note the following:

    1. The linked article says almost nothing about the safety or inherent risks of homebirth. The central argument appears to be that some women prefer homebirth because it’s nicer.

    2. The linked article contains at least one outright falsehood about hospitals – “In a hospital setting, a woman is forced to lie on a bed and prop her legs up so that the doctor can catch the baby.” This is absolutely untrue – if there is a hospital where it applies, I think that hospital should change, but the only restrictions ever imposed on me, positionwise, while in a hospital to give birth were the positions required administration of epidural anesthesia, and for surgery.

    There’s a bunch of false implications about hospitals vs. homebirths as well, my favorite being: ”
    “With a home birth, no bags need to be packed, no cars need to be loaded, and there is no fear of getting stuck in traffic or in an elevator. This makes the process especially easier when the baby starts to arrive at a very late hour.”

    In every planned homebirth I’ve heard of, midwives have recommended that the family have a “Go Bag” packed in advance in case of emergency, and getting stuck in traffic or an elevator in such an emergency is a real fear. The problem in getting to the hospital during labor is not “late at night” (when the roads are usually clear), it’s “during rush hour.” I have spent hours inching down the freeway between my house and the hospital during morning rush hour, I would hate to go into labor at 8:30 a.m.

    • stenvenywrites
      July 10, 2013 at 11:36 am #

      ..or just before or after a major league baseball game, in my old part of town. We checked the Red Sox schedule every week leading up to dd’s due date. I didn’t want to give birth on the green line.

      • Elizabeth A
        July 10, 2013 at 11:37 am #

        You neither? I thought that was pretty much the worst line to give birth on – I did give it thought.

        My first was born on March 20, and DH and I had a serious discussion about contingency plans for labor on St. Patrick’s Day. There’s a parade route that goes right down our street.

    • suchende
      July 11, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

      It amazes me what these people call “drawbacks.” I loved packing my hospital bag. I went out and got special jammies and a special robe, I got travel-sized toiletries for myself and my husband, baby’s take-home outfit, and other small comforts. For a pregnant lady pulsating with nesting hormones, it can be cathartic.

  23. Zornorph
    July 10, 2013 at 11:12 am #

    At least neither of the two lunatics said that their baby was ‘born sleeping’. But, honestly, you would think that their husbands or SO (if they have one) would drag their asses to the hospital the next time.

  24. The Bofa on the Sofa
    July 10, 2013 at 10:56 am #

    I think your picture is misleading. This isn’t about faith (“belief in the absence of evidence”) but DENIAL.

    You try to think about how in the world anyone could go back to a HB after their decision to do it last time caused a bad outcome? Deny that it had anything to do with HB. “Babies die in hospitals, too.” “The doctor said there was nothing that could be done.” Etc.

    Whatever you do, don’t blame your choice for a HB or the MW, even when it is pretty clear that the HB caused a huge problem (“We didn’t get to the hospital in time to get him out by c-section” – apparently, “only X minutes from the hospital” wasn’t close enough?)

  25. AmyP
    July 10, 2013 at 10:53 am #

    This is so unfair to any older children. I had a miscarriage when my big kids were 9 and 6 and it was really hard on them (I’m still not sure it was the right thing to do to tell them, but it was a very tough call). I can’t imagine how horrible and confusing and guilt-inducing it is for older children to deal with a catastrophic home birth.

    • Antigonos CNM
      July 10, 2013 at 11:40 am #

      iMO, viewing a labor and birth, no matter how much explanation has been given, MUST be traumatic to pre-adolescent children — and to be honest, to most adolescents as well, even when the outcome is entirely uncomplicated.

      • Bombshellrisa
        July 10, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

        My husband was forced to watch his siblings being born at home-he was 6 for the first birth, 7 for the next one. He was terrified both times, and both births were uncomplicated. I can’t imagine what it must be like for a young child to have to be there and having the baby stillborn.

      • Dr Kitty
        July 10, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

        I’ve had to explain, very carefully, to my 4 year old, that no, she will not be able to come and see the doctor cut her baby brother or sister out of my tummy, (if there ever IS a baby brother or sister in my tummy, which there isn’t at present).

        She’s rather disappointed she would not get to watch, but that’s only because I don’t actually think she gets what a CS would involve, and I think a RCS would be less traumatising for a child than watching an analgesia free NCB, because it would be quick, and she could see I wasn’t sore or scared.

  26. Antigonos CNM
    July 10, 2013 at 10:27 am #

    I sometimes wonder if these women, who plan to repeat a homebirth after having a homebirth that resulted in a dead baby really want to have living children at all. They seem to do everything possible to ensure that there will be a tragedy which they can “dine out” on for the rest of their lives. I’m reminded of the perpetual mourning of Queen Victoria, who had a place laid at the dinner table for Albert every night after he died for the remainder of her life, and had his pyjamas put out by his valet [ex-valet, by this time].
    I’m also reminded of Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy.

    • Are you nuts
      July 10, 2013 at 10:56 am #

      I thought of Munchausen’s too. Really, really sick.

    • theadequatemother
      July 10, 2013 at 11:43 am #

      i wonder if the reason for wanting a second homebirth would be because if it ended well, it would give them *proof* that their prior decision didn’t lead to their baby’s death.

      • PrecipMom
        July 10, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

        This is at least partially my guess. It’s atonement (see, I really CAN birth right!) and “proof” that the first baby wasn’t meant to live because the subsequent baby did.

  27. KarenJJ
    July 10, 2013 at 10:24 am #

    I don’t understand this and I can’t see how anyone can ever get through to someone in this mindset. Their baby died, it is the worst outcome. They still choose to back homebirth midwifery. If it is very recent, I can understand because other loss mothers on here have discussed their tumultuous feelings on here. But once it is in the past? And choosing homebirth again? I can’t imagine feeling the same way personally..

    • suchende
      July 10, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

      If you hospital-birth next time, don’t you sorta have to admit to yourself it was your fault?

    • Lisa from NY
      July 11, 2013 at 1:20 am #

      Cognitive Dissonance, rationalizing that they did the right thing in the first place in order to satisfy their nerves.

  28. ArmyChick
    July 10, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    Just goes to show that the unborn child is nothing but a “player” in some sort of sick game where the mother’s selfish wants and needs come first.

    No ladies, birth is NOT about you. Get over yourselves.

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