Homebirth and natural childbirth advocates keep throwing memes against the wall, hoping one will stick.
Obstetricians don’t follow scientific evidence! Except that they do.
The media is to blame for the pain of childbirth! Except that it isn’t.
Homebirth is a human right! Except that it’s not.
A healthy baby isn’t enough! Except that for most women, it is.
My personal favorites, though, are the pitiful attempts by homebirth and natural childbirth advocates to harness to their cause scientific disciplines about which they clearly are ignorant. Their invocation of quantum mechanics and chaos theory aren’t merely pitiful, they are hilarious.
Now they’re about to throw a new meme against the wall: MicroBirth.
That’s the breathless announcement from One World Birth, the same clowns who nominated Lisa Barrett, a one woman birth-crime wave, as a “National Birth Hero.”
What is MicroBirth?
Over the past three years we have been on a journey, trying to connect the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that is birth…
The more we discovered, the more convinced we were that there was a vital piece missing from the picture.
A piece that connected everything…
The reason it has proved to be so elusive for so long is because it is not visible to the naked eye.
It is microscopic.
What does that mean?
It is supposedly:
… brand new science investigating crucial microscopic events that occur during and immediately after birth.
And, more importantly, what happens when the natural processes of childbirth are interfered with or bypassed completely…
[I]ncreased medicalization of childbirth may be having severe consequences on the life-long health of our children.
What’s more, it could be having a devastating effect on the future of our entire species.
Holy hyperbole, Batman! What could it be?
They don’t say, but I have a guess. I’m going to guess that it’s another pitiful attempt to harness cutting edge scientific disciplines about which they are painfully ignorant, in this case epigenetics and the microbiome.
For those who have no idea about the science of the microbiome and the science of epigenetics, such an effort makes perfect sense:
Natural childbirth and homebirth advocates have a massive problem. The scientific evidence does not support their claims. Natural childbirth isn’t safer and hombirth isn’t safe at all. You might think that would cause them to re-evaluate their core beliefs, but you’d be wrong. Natural childbirth and homebirth are cults, and their core beliefs are non-falsifiable. Therefore, they must abandon their original claims that natural childbirth and homebirth are visibly safer. No problem! Natural childbirth and homebirth are safer on the microscopic scale!
We’ve already seen a preview of this approach. In January 2012, a group of midwives convened a panel on Epigenetic Influence and Impact on Childbirth.
Hannah Dahlen, an Australian midwife, says it could increase respect and demand for vaginal birth. “We’re at the beginning of a very exciting time,” Dahlen says. “I think in 10 years we will potentially look back at what we are doing now and think, ‘What on earth did we do?’” …
They were all frustrated “that despite the research, political activism and efforts they and many others were putting in to increase the rate of normal birth, intervention during childbirth kept rising and arguments about safety and outcomes all had a short term focus,” she wrote in an email.
How frustrating that obstetricians and mothers are focusing on the such short term outcomes as whether the baby lives or dies, is born intact or has suffered a brain injury. Sure, childbirth interventions like C-section make childbirth safer on the macro level (duh!), but at the level of DNA, interventions cause severe consequences on the life-long health of our children (only the ones who survive childbirth, of course) and OUR ENTIRE SPECIES!!!
And not only that, but childbirth interventions might change to microbiome of the gut cause severe consequences on the life-long health of our children (only the ones who survive childbirth, of course) and OUR ENTIRE SPECIES!!!
There’s just one teensy, weensy problem. THERE IS NO EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THOSE CLAIMS.
Epigenetic changes, the chemical modifications of DNA that are the result of environmental influences, are the results of long term events lasting months or years, like famines. There’s not a shred of evidence that ultrashort term events like childbirth cause ANY changes to DNA, let alone deleterious changes.
Similarly, there is not a shred of evidence that altering the microbiome of the gut of the newborn (if indeed such alterations occur) has any long term impact on health.
But wait! Childbirth interventions and C-section rates have been rising steadily and look at the long term impact on health! Since the advent of modern obstetric interventions …. we live longer and healthier lives than ever. Oops!
I predict that this meme isn’t going to stick, either. First of all, “More babies die at homebirth, but the ones who live have better genes!” and “More babies die at homebirth, but the ones who live have better gut bacteria!” are not like to be an effective rallying cries. Second, the central premise, that obstetric interventions are safer on the macro level but cause long term microscopic health problems is obviously nothing more than nonsense.
Natural childbirth and homebirth advocates are (once again) making themselves look like fools, while failing to advance their cause in any meaningful way. They are simply flailing around trying desperately to justify a failed philosophy that has put, and continues to put, the lives of babies at risk.