5 Questions to ask about every birth blog

hands counting

So you’re pregnant and you’ve decided you want to educate yourself about childbirth. Or perhaps a friend or family member has called your decisions to give birth in a hospital, use an obstetrician and get an epidural into question, claiming that you’ll change what you want when you read what she recommends.

There are a plethora of birth blogs out there. How can you be sure that you are getting accurate information and truly educating yourself when so many are filled with mistruths, half truths and outright lies?

I’d like to suggest 5 simple criteria by which you can evaluate every birth blog (or message board or book).

1. Is the blog ideologically driven?

Does the blog start with a conclusion — e.g. natural childbirth is best, epidurals interfere with bonding, women who do it “my way” are the strongest, most empowered and best educated — and work backward from there? If so, you can be sure that the blog is not evidenced based (even, or especially, if it says that it is).

2. Is the blog based on the latest scientific evidence?

How can you tell? Does the author read the latest scientific papers in full, analyze them and encourage you to analyze them? That’s a good sign. Or does the author append an impressive looking list of scientific papers and ask you take her word for what they say? If so, odds are that she herself hasn’t read the papers and doesn’t know what’s in them. She just copied the list from another birth blog or book.

3. Are dissenting comments allowed and addressed?

This is critical. Someone who knows that the scientific evidence supports their claims welcomes dissent as an opportunity to clarify and to educate. Everyone else is afraid of dissent. Therefore, you can be 100% certain that you cannot educate yourself about childbirth by reading any blog or message board when only some of the comments are published, when only praise and agreement are published, when critical comments are published but ignored, when criticism is addressed by saying “don’t listen to so and so,” or when people with actual medical training are banned from commenting at all. Be especially wary about websites that claim to delete and ban “unsupportive” comments. If you are truly trying to educate yourself about childbirth, you are looking for evidence, not for support.

4. Is the site vetted by an obstetrician?

If not, it’s bound to be incomplete and possibly filled with inaccuracies as well. No one knows more about childbirth safety than obstetricians. After all, everyone agrees that they are the ones who have the most knowledge, the most training and the most experience in identifying, preventing and managing childbirth complications. No one else even comes close. So if anyone else besides and obstetrician tells you that something is “safe,” you can’t be sure that is true.

5. Are there circumstances under which the writer will acknowledge that new evidence shows that she was wrong?

This is a corollary to #1. If a website is ideologically driven, there is no way the author will ever acknowledge that the central premise is wrong. For example, a creationist website will NEVER conclude that God doesn’t exist. An anti-vax website will NEVER conclude that a vaccine, any vaccine, is safe and effective. Similarly, if you can’t imagine the author ever acknowledging that new scientific evidence shows that homebirth isn’t safe or that new scientific evidence shows that epidurals are safe and effective, you can’t get accurate information from that website.

Let’s use these criteria to evaluate a few influential birth blogs.

We can start with the Lamaze blog Science and Sensibility, since Lamaze is one of the most influential birth organizations out there. How does S&S measure up?

Is the blog ideologically driven? Absolutely. The blog will always support the central tenets of natural childbirth regardless of what the evidence shows.

Is the blog evidence based? The blog does offer analysis of scientific papers, but it never presents any papers which undermine its ideological stance except to criticize them. It ignores any papers or statistics that conflict with its ideological bias if the papers are well done or the statistics are incontrovertible, since the authors don’t want you to know about them. Of course, it’s impossible for anyone who doesn’t scan the obstetric literature on a regular basis, to know what’s left out, but there are telltale signs. As far as I can determine, S&S, over the many years it has existed, has never presented unfavorable papers or data except to criticize it. Another way to tell, is to see if I and other obstetricians are discussing papers and data that appear to be missing from S&S. Unfortunately, that happens all the time.

Does the blog allow and analyze dissenting comments. When it comes to Science and Sensibility, the answer is a big, fat NO. None, but the mildest dissent is tolerated and commentors who are able to accurate quote the scientific literature are not allowed to do so. The authors of S&S are well aware that they are presenting a skewed picture of the scientific evidence, so they go to great lengths to be sure that you won’t find out.

Is the site vetted by an obstetrician? Of course not.

Are there any circumstances under which the authors will acknowledge they were wrong? I’ve been reading S&S for years, I haven’t haven’t noticed a single one.

Based on these criteria, you can be 100% certain that you CANNOT become educated by reading Science and Sensibility, since it is ideologically driven, presents an incomplete picture of the existing scientific evidence, and will not allow dissent.

How about the website of the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) and the statements of their many spokespersons (Melissa Cheyney and Wendy Gordon, among others)?

Is it ideologically driven? Yes, 100% of what is on the website is based on the unalterable conviction that homebirth is safe in all but the rarest of circumstances.

Is the blog evidenced based? Absolutely not. It bears no relationship to the existing scientific evidence and routinely quotes “sources” that aren’t scientific papers at all. Not only does MANA hide the scientific evidence discovered by others, MANA hides its OWN scientific evidence, if it doesn’t show homebirth to be safe. That’s why years after they have collected the data, and long after they have publicly released the C-section rate, the intervention rate, the transfer rate and every other rate for the 27,000 homebirths in their database, they still are HIDING their own death rate.

Is the site vetted by an obstetrician? Surely you jest!

Are there any circumstances under which the authors will acknowledge they were wrong? Never. It doesn’t matter whether homebirth is safe or not; it won’t matter how many babies die; it won’t matter how many homebirth midwives are tried for manslaughter, MANA will never acknowledge that homebirth is unsafe.

The bottom line is that if you really want to become educated, you have to get your information from a scientifically accurate source.

When you come across a birth blog (or message board or book) ask yourself the 5 questions:

1. Is the blog ideologically driven?
2. Is the blog based on the latest scientific evidence?
3. Are dissenting comments allowed and addressed?
4. Is the site vetted by an obstetrician?
5. Are there circumstances under which the author will acknowledge that new evidence shows that she was wrong?

I’ll let you analyze the blogs and books and message boards for yourself, but I will make a prediction:

You will not find a single popular natural childbirth or homebirth blog that is able to fulfill the criteria.

You and I might quibble about certain details of each site, but every single one bans dissent. And if dissenting opinions aren’t freely published, if the authors are afraid to let you hear them and decide for yourself, then you can’t become educated by the site; you can only become indoctrinated.

  • Anandam

    Ms. Tuteur, your blog is clearly, openly ideologically driven and you censor both evidence and comments that are contrary to your mission. Explain?

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      I censor? Do you have any proof or did you just make it up because you like the way it sounds?

      • KarenJJ

        I don’t think this can be true. Unless there are a heap of blocked IP addresses out there.

        Dr Amy allows people to post under guest names. The posts do not go into moderation first. Due to my geographic location I’m usually checking out this website when most Americans (presumably Dr Amy too) are fast asleep. I do not see loads of mass deletions or posts disagreeing with her that suddenly disappear when Bostonians start to wake up.

        I’ve seen disagreements with Dr Amy kept on this site, including both those by other doctors as well as those from regular readers and other posters..

    • Box of Salt

      Anandam,
      I’ve been reading this website since 2009. The only mass deletions I’ve seen on this site was back under the old commenting system, when commenters could delete their own at will.

      I’ve seen that happen on more than one occasion.

      This is no longer possible through Disqus. If you would like an example, check out the “Why do lactivists ignore what women tell them?” comments (Sept 24, still clickable from the main page at this posting). The top comment right now is from “guest” who deleted her disqus profile some time today after a lot of back and forth discussion under what I assume is her actual name. In the past, under the old system, that would have erased all of the subsequent discussion. It wasn’t censorship by the moderator – it was folks rethinking about what they had posted on public fora.

      The only deletions I’ve seen carried out by Dr Amy as moderator were due to verbal abuse directed at other commenters – both under the old system and this one.

      Please also take a look at the comments on “Two crappy new breastfeeding studies make irresponsible claims of benefits” where Dr Amy is debating the authors of the one of the criticized studies, albeit slowly. If Dr Amy is censoring, why are sdeoni’s comments still there?
      http://www.skepticalob.com/2013/06/two-crappy-new-breastfeeding-studies-make-irresponsible-claims-of-benefits.html

      Tell me, Anandam, what is your motivation behind this accusation of censorship?

      • Squillo

        Ms. Rodriguez also apparently deleted her LinkedIn profile after she realized that attaching her real, professional name to her incoherent comments might not have been the best idea for someone who claims to work at a major medical center as a “maternal/child advocate.”

        • Karen in SC

          Yeah and if you googled her, the comments here came up right away.

    • Karenjj

      Just for shits and giggles. Try posting the above on MDC, Science and Sensibility and the new MANA blog. Let us know how you get on.

    • Young CC Prof

      Haven’t seen much censorship here. Definitely, this blog is written to support a particular point of view. (Most blogs are, that’s why they’re called blogs and not newspapers.) Definitely, comments that oppose that point of view may get criticized. But there’s a world of difference between criticizing opposing comments and deleting them, and that’s the key difference between the skeptical blogosphere and the natural-health movement. Head count, who here has been banned from a natural-health website for polite disagreement? I have.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Of course you haven’t seen much censorship here. She just doesn’t allow you to see opposing viewpoints, which proves that she is censoring them.

        • Karen in SC

          Could you elaborate? Dr. Amy links to those opposing viewpoints so all can read them at the source. How does that prove she is censoring?

          Additionally, she has asked time and time again for NCB leaders to debate her, on this blog or in person. One such person was posting a week or so ago and “dared” Dr. Amy to a debate. Haven’t heard anything since.

        • Squillo

          I think you need to look up the definition of censorship.

          First, as Karen says below, when she criticizes a particular source, she links to it. She gets a lot of criticism for doing just that, in fact, when she links to homebirth disaster stories written by the families themselves.

          Second, Amy Tuteur doesn’t have the power to censor opposing viewpoints. A simple Google search will provide the inquisitive reader with a wealth of them. And she certainly doesn’t have the power to censor any evidence, opposing or otherwise. Or are you suggesting she is able to suppress the publication of peer-reviewed research?

          • Young CC Prof

            I think Bofa was being sarcastic?

          • Karen in SC

            yeah, I think so. At first, I thought it was a Disqus error and the post was written by Anandam….

          • Squillo

            Ah, yes, you’re probably right.

            Sorry, Bofa. Consider my comment redirected at Anandam.

    • Captain Obvious

      I liked the thread where Dr Amy was the first to discredit a study that was trying to prove Homebirth was unsafe. This study or article was poorly done and Dr Amy said it was poorly done, first. She is wise to know homebirth is unsafe and doesnt need poorly done artcles to help prove her point. How’s that for censorship.

  • almostfearless

    This is tough because actually some sites look really good, but they gloss over the dangers of homebirth. The Mayo Clinic website has this post http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/home-birth/MY01713

    ‘While most pregnant women who choose to have planned home births are at lower risk of complications due to careful screening, planned home births are associated with double to triple the risk of infant death than are planned hospital births. Still, even with that increase, the overall risk of infant death is low.’ (By the way, is a first time mom ever low risk, really? You have no idea how her body will handle pregnancy and birth.)

    When my son was born in March 2010, the anti-vax stuff was going strong and it was this very awesome WHO article that I read before meeting my peds doctor that convinced me to vaccinate. Later that doctor and the research was discredited, but at the time my peds doctor (in Oregon) was super open minded, she carefully said, so “do you want to vax, how do you feel about that?” and I quoted from the WHO report and she relaxed and confided in me, yeah, it’s all a myth, you should definitely vax. (I can’t find the original article but it sems they recently republished something similar http://www.who.int/features/qa/84/en/)

    Maybe it’s changed, but at the time, I felt like people were taking a soft approach on homebirth, my OB at the time was like, well if you’re low risk, it’s probably fine…. The WHO or ACOG needs to publish something much stronger for those of us looking for that kind of information. I would like to just trust my OB, but I also like to read up on it and have some idea of what they are talking about because in US medicine you get so little time with your doctor, and without some research, it can be hard to know what they are talking about or to put into context of what the larger medical community believes.

    Isn’t there a trend now of more birth centers and water births to attract pregnant clients who lean in that direction? That doesn’t seem like it’s medically sound either, more like they are reacting to consumer pressure.

    • almostfearless

      Maybe a list of science-based birth blogs would be helpful…

    • NursingRN

      We have a birth center that is wildly popular with the younger generation (like in their 20’s) it’s run by a lay midwife, and our hospital birth center takes in their patients whose births are going wrong. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, the patients we get from there are so difficult to deal with. They are brainwashed into thinking “oh no, we’re in a hospital, they’re going to do a cesarean! I think they convince themselves and it actually has a physical effect on their labor! I once had a patient who wouldn’t let me do anything or wouldn’t answer any of my questions without discussing it with her husband and their doula! The frightening thing is, I’m betting she’d listen to the doula before she’d listen to me, the RN. I’m glad nothing bad was going on with her baby because I’d hate to be like “well, your baby appears to be dusky, and when you granted me permission to listen to his heart he had a murmur that even my five year old could hear- can I please (pretty please with no sugar and an organic non-GMO cherry on top) take him to the nursery to check his blood pressure and oxygen? Oh…I can’t, your doula says it’s an un-nessecary intervention that will impair this critical skin to skin and breastfeeding time? Oh…oooookkaaay….you sure showed me super doula…

      • almostfearless

        I was a planned homebirth in 2010 in Oregon but when my blood pressure spiked (untreated pre-e, thanks midwife for ignoring that) I got the c-section. All of the nurses were really surprised, they said it was unusual for homebirthers to be so easily convinced. I didn’t even try induction after I asked the OB, what he would do for his wife. He said, “For my wife, or even for my daughter, I would do the c-section right now.” Done. It was only the BOBB and those studies that had been floating around (and now later, have been discredited or at least corrected to note the CPM is not the same overseas) that made me think it was a good idea. I probably dodged a bullet because I planned on a water birth, which is even riskier. I think there are two types of homebirthers… those who think it’s really better and those who believe in the woo. I was the former and when presented with the reality, I didn’t hesistate. Too bad I spent my entire pregnancy basically lacking in prenatal care because at the time the OBs just weren’t willing to say, SERIOUSLY YOU WILL KILL YOUR BABY. It’s clear now with the Oregon data, information I didn’t have at the time, and in fact my lay midwife retired this year.

      • Lisa from NY

        Do you document the fact that the women who are transferred are uncooperative? Just in case the delay causes harm…

  • Captain Obvious

    Blog didn’t print my comment. Fits your criteria nicely.
    http://wellnessmama.com/8680/how-i-avoided-and-got-rid-of-gbs/

    • fiftyfifty1

      This is so scary. I followed your link and it is a web site urging women not to treat GBS with antibiotics. There was one poster “Rachel Vann” who wrote in asking for advice. She had a GBS urine infection in the first trimester. For those who don’t know, this means a woman is really heavily colonized and her baby is at even a higher risk than in the case of an average woman who is GBS positive. And this blog goes on to encourage her not to treat with IV antibiotics in labor! It’s criminal! I posted a reply telling her about baby Wren Jones. The *exact* same story: His mom tried to treat the GBS naturally with probiotics and garlic, but baby Wren died of GBS sepsis 11 hours after he was born. I hope that my comment is not deleted. I am so scared for this poor mom who is receiving such bad dangerous advice!

      • jenny

        The comments are all from months ago. :/ This kind of stuff makes me SO ANGRY. This woman’s blog is so heinously irresponsible. She has no business making these kinds of recommendations. I have a friend who lost a baby to GBS and it was tragic. Take probiotics if you are worried about flora, but ffs get the IV antibiotics.

        • I don’t have a creative name

          Do you see how that dipshit is giving medical advice as though she actually knows things, when her background is nutrition and journalism??? There was a post further down about someone who lost a baby due to gbs at 25 weeks, and instead of saying, “talk to your ob and get more testing earlier next time”, she suggested that she follow the stupid vitamin/coconut oil protocol she writes about. I can’t believe people with no training think they are qualified to give advice about life and death situations, and I can’t believe that so many fools take them seriously.

          • jenny

            It’s worse. There is a naturopathic doctor on there who seems to have forgotten basic microbiology.

        • I don’t have a creative name

          I couldn’t help myself and just replied as well on her blog. Bet anything it doesn’t get published, because facts are not important to her, ideology is.

          • jenny

            Mine is there right now, we’ll see how long it lasts.

          • I don’t have a creative name

            She hasn’t posted mine. I wasn’t inflammatory or anything, just pointed out some obvious things. Oh well. Hope nobody rejects life saving treatment in favor of her witch oils.

    • libbycone

      AAARRRRGGGHHH!

  • Sue

    ”2. Is the blog based on the latest scientific evidence?”

    LB re-tweets: ”Gestational diabetes. Does a macrosomic baby need higher blood sugar level rather than ^BSL causing macrosomia?”

    Nope. Doesn’t work that way. Otherwise everyone’s blood sugar would be proportional to size.

    AND this woman once trained as a nurse.

    • Dr Kitty

      Sure Lisa, that’s why all the IUGR babies and SFGA babies are hypoglycaemic (they aren’t) because they need less glucose (they don’t).

      Idiot.

      • KarenJJ

        I’d think she never really studied up on that baby side of things…

  • Squillo

    Banning dissent is the biggest red flag for me. If you find yourself wielding the banhammer more than a handful of times, you should just turn off comments altogether because there’s no value in them for readers. Just your ego.

    • KarenJJ

      When S&S reviewed a paper by an Australian researcher about pelvic floor (I think it was pelvic floor injury and epidurals?), they got something wrong. The actual lead researcher appeared in the comments to correct them and they deleted him! They cleaned up the comments as best they could. After, I think Dr Amy, called them out on it they started leaving some of the dissenting comments. It was a mess. They would have shown much more integrity if they had been able to be corrected.

      • PJ

        Funny they use the word “science” in their name, given that real science thrives on criticism and debate. It’s no place for those who get their feelings hurt by being challenged.

      • Sue

        They DELETED the lead researcher’s comments – about their own study?

        RED FLAG RED FLAG RED FLAG RED FLAG RED FLAG

        • KarenJJ

          http://www.scienceandsensibility.org/?p=1454

          Here you go. They left one up. I thought there might have been another comment but one commenter pointed it out that the main author of the paper was trying to comment and she started leaving up some of the dissenting comments. I think at the time some were removed and later reinstated too. I wish I’d grabbed screen shots, it’s from a while ago and my memory is not to be trusted.

    • I reserve the ban hammer for blatant spamming – that is all that gets censored on my blog….

      • Squillo

        Which makes sense, as does banning someone who is really abusive to other users. I think it can also be useful if used very judiciously to ban someone who continually derails conversations.

        I think it’s useful for blogs to have a posted comment policy that says just what is and isn’t allowed. At least MDC is up front about the fact that dissent is verboten.

  • Dr Kitty

    Also, in addition to seeing if they ban dissent, see how they handle posters with *obvious* issues who toe the party line.

    I.e. Stormbride at MDC. Everyone trips over themselves not to trigger her, or disagree with her, or, in fact, say anything at all to set her off… so she gets away with murder (figuratively) and no- one is EVER allowed to say that a CS can be good, because HER CS were worse than anything, ever, including that time her baby died at HBAC.

    I wish I was joking, but I’m not.

    • It was entertaining to see how MDC handled my cesarean birth story – of course eventually the moderators decided that they couldn’t let comments on it remain open.

      • Karen in SC

        You put your maternal request c-section story on MDC? Brave woman!! Great story by the way and congrats all over again!

  • kumquatwriter

    Changed to “vetted by expert in that field” its a good set of questions on MANY sites.

  • What is sad, is that with names like “Science and Sensibility” and “Evidence Based Birth” – the average woman might be hard pressed to make the determination that those sites are basically NCB propaganda. The general level of science education and information literacy is not overly high.

    • auntbea

      Right. A firm conclusion can be based on ideology that does not consider opposing evidence, or on strong science that has thoroughly considered opposing evidence and rejected it as unsound. Without the ability to distinguish good evidence, it’s hard to tell one from the other.

  • theadequatemother

    I wrote my blog specifically to counter all the bad advice I was hearing about the effects of epidurals. I have yet to have anyone show up there and challenge me on the way I have interpreted and presented the evidence. Just a few ad hominem attacks. Of course, I’m not sure that I, or Gilbert Grant with his book (Epidural without Guilt, Childbirth without Pain) or any of the other blogging anesthesiologists, or even SOAP, have managed to make any sort of measurable impact. The same misinformation about epidurals is perpetuated on pretty much every educational childbirth site and on line group. Its pretty much gospel now, even if it isn’t true.

    • T.

      OT, but I have been wondering if the people who complain about the bad effects epidurals supposedly had to them were not suffering from nocebo effect. Do you think it is possible?

      • Davidah

        I had about one month of dull, achy back pain at my epidural insertion point. I don’t think it was a “nocebo effect”; I think it was a legitimate side-effect of the needle insertion. I chose to not have an epidural for birth #2 because I thought it was worth trading off a short time of intense pain (for me, the time between when I would have wanted the epidural and the birth was about 1 hour, and it was clear that things were progressing very quickly at that point) and avoiding the risk of a month of dull, annoying back pain.
        Your mileage may vary, of course, and I would never want to see a woman denied an epidural. I was very grateful for an epidural with #1 after 18 hours of labor and wish that I had received it sooner. If labor #2 was progressing the same way, I would probably have chosen the epidural again.
        But I wouldn’t deny that the side-effects of an epidural can be real.

        • T.

          Of course, nobody would deny that epidural -like everything else- can have side effects. I am wondering however if the people who come to ask for one after being heavily influenced by woos and later lament big side effects can’t sometimes (not always) be suffering from nocebo.

          This is not the same as saying that there are no side effects, never.

    • I love your blog dearly – and I cringe when I think of all the half-truths out there. Ina May, Rikki Lake, Dr. Klein – have done considerable harm for many women who do not share the same beliefs with regards to birth. They say they are for “empowerment” – but if they are espousing that there is just “one right way” to give birth, and hiding medically significant risks – they are just as guilty of being paternalistic, and just as guilty of depriving women of their rights as receipients of care – including the right to informed consent.

      • almostfearless

        They have hurt so many women. Why did I sob for a week after my c-section instead of enjoying my baby? BOBB. She robbed me of that joy. They SUCK.

    • Jessica

      I think your blog is fantastic as well. I have posted links to some of your entries on various threads on The Bump. If I am ever induced again, your blog has given me the confidence to know that I will request an epidural before the pitocin is started. The pain I experienced the first time around waiting until I was 4cm was so severe, pointless, and exhausting that I remember only bits and pieces of my son’s birth. I’d like to be more present and less exhausted the next time.

    • Houston Mom

      Gilbert Grant’s book was the only childbirth book I read. I looked at tons at Amazon and all the popular books were woo-filled nonsense – some even had art projects. 🙁

      • KarenJJ

        Good grief? How old are we? Art projects?

        • Sue

          I read the hilarious (Aussie cartoonist) Kaz Cooke “Up the Duff” – informative + hilarious.

          • KarenJJ

            ‘Up The Duff’ for pregnancy (for the laughs) and Robin Barker’s ‘Baby Love’ (for being sensible and treating women as though they are intelligent to decide for themselves which option to try – and also for telling me that trying to fix a cat-napper rarely works) are the only books I recommend to new mums. The other stuff – take it with a grain of salt and maybe pick ideas that work, but that’s about it…

          • araikwao

            Oh good grief. My day catnapper has started catnapping at night too. Are you telling me there’s no hope?? *sob*

          • KarenJJ

            Night stuff could be fixed and was worth the effort, but day stuff was pretty difficult and not always worth the effort apparently. That’s what happened with us at least.

          • araikwao

            Our first was a catnapper too, until she switched to 1 day sleep around 14 months or so, but the nights were never as bad as the recent disasters of Catnapper II. I really should go to bed while I can…

          • KarenJJ

            My eldest was a cat napper. My second went through stages of good day sleeps and cat naps.

            And I should have said “there were things you could try to help with night sleeps” instead of implying that they could be fixed. Based on the idea that they are more tired at night..

    • Burgundy

      I was pretty jealous at my friends in Taiwan. When they were
      pregnant, they could attend “birth classes” hosted by real OBs (paid by the government
      health aid). They learned about pros and
      cons with C-section, epidural, virginal birth and what you might encounter at
      the hospital. Meanwhile, the only “birth
      Class” offered at my America hospital was the lame Lamaze class ran by a lay CPM. Kinda ironic, isn’t it?

      • AmyP

        There is something really wrong with US childbirth education.

        • Courtney84

          I really want to take a class at my hospital, but I feel guaranteed to feel frustrated and disapointed with it. I wish there was a class that would kind of prepare us for what to expect to happen at the hospital for a spontaneous labor, an induction, a planned section, or a section that is warranted once labor starts. I feel like all the uncertainty will make me anxious. Oh well. I don’t need to spend $90 for someone to tell me epidurals or evil, if I think positive I won’t need a c-section, and that breast is always best.

    • almostfearless

      I recommend your blog to people, and I think it does help. One mom had 5 kids and was terrified to have a 6th because her epidural free births had become harder not easier. I sent her the link to your site. Woman read, share, spread the word. The writing you’re doing is really important.

  • Burgundy

    I attended Lamaze classes provided by my hospital when I was pregnant with my first kid.. a total waste of my time. It did not provide anything useful that I could apply when I gave birth. The breathing excise was a total joke. I thought I could hold off epidural with all the “pain managements” that we learned from the classes. Well, my body was in so much pain that my face turned white and i started shacking uncontrollably. Fortunately the wonderful attending nurse noticed that really quick; she basically took over the control and convinced me to get the epidural. THE BEST DECISION EVER!!
    So for my 2nd baby, my birth plan had only one word, “EPIDURAL” (all caps).

    • Burgundy

      And I told all my friends to skip Lamaze now. Over the years, I encountered some weird claims and “what planet are you on” commons. Unfortunately (I guess), i am from a upper/middle class, so I did lost couple friends over “home birth” and “churchy” issues.

    • I have a friend (an RN) who had a one word birth plan, much as yours “epidural” – she even travelled thinking that it would be more accessible in a larger city (Victoria). Then she was in labour and denied access to one – not for medical reasons, but because she was told there wasn’t an anesthesiologist available. It might have been nice if her care provider had forewarned her about the very sketchy access to epidurals at her planned place of delivery – as I’m pretty sure she would have just as easily planned to have her baby in Vancouver if it meant she could have had access to the pain relief of her choice.

      • burgundy

        I am so sorry to hear this. It is not fair to be denied due to hospital’s personnel issue. I hope your friend had a good birth despite the lock of epidural.

    • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

      I wish I had not attended Lamaze 19 years ago, when I was pregnant with my daughter. Not only did I find the breathing exercises unhelpful, I also had a teacher(a nurse no less) who was adamantly anti-formula, anti-supplementing and anti-disposable diaper. As I did not want to have an argument in the middle of the class I kept my mouth shut, but the instructors middle class obliviousness was amazing! Yeah lady just assume that everyone has a washer and dryer (Nope, scary laundry room and walk up apartment, assume I don’t have to go back to work right away and have a job environment that allows for easy pumping(umm active duty Navy/junior enlisted, so no not so much)

      I got an epidural at about 4 1/2 centimeters. Funny thing is I went from 5 to 9 centimeters in no time flat after that. A little warning about the barfing during transition would have been appreciated. I did not realize at the time, that that is very common. I loved my epidural. I also loved formula feeding, as it allowed my husband to take the night feedings and I caught up on my sleep. He gave her a bottle and they had long talks about football, world travel and politics…really.

  • anonymous

    You’ll see a random OB get behind some of these nutters, usually the likes of Dr. Biter et al.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      I guess I should qualify the part about an obstetrician to read “an obstetrician who hasn’t been suspended for malpractice or convicted of a crime.”

      • PrecipMom

        Picky, picky, picky…

      • Kerlyssa

        Silly you, assuming that went without saying.

    • Squillo

      I’m looking forward to seeing if he simply allows his license to lapse when it expires on Sept. 30, or if he plans to defend it against the latest accusation.

    • Dr Kitty

      Biter’s the one with the malpractice in the gynae cases and the home birth death while under conditions on his practice, not the one who likes to have sex with patients, right?

      So hard to keep them straight.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        I think that is right. I used to think they were one in the same, and that people called him Dr “Biter” because of his actions. Imagine my surprise that there was an actual Dr Biter who was the darling of the NCB world who was in trouble, completely separate from the guy who had sex with his patients.

        • fiftyfifty1

          Bofa, I think it’s wrong of you to single out Dr. Biter as “the darling of the NCB world”. *BOTH* Dr. Biter AND Dr. Fischbein are worthy of that title!!!

      • Squillo

        Right.

        Fischbein is creepy. Biter is just incompetent.

  • Expat

    Evidence Based Birth is also guilty of these things, as hard as it tries to look scientific and unbiased. Real criticism never makes it through moderation and if it does and she later realizes that her responses to the criticism made her look bad/wrong she deletes it and claims that it didn’t meet her standards. As far as qualifications go, an RN and a phd in depression in cardiac patients research does not an expert in obstetrics make. CNM worship is a weird hobby.