Stuntbirth is coming to TV!

Birth in Nature: Natural Birth

Stuntbirth, known to devotees as unassisted childbirth (UC) or “freebirth” is about to get a reality TV show. It’s a marriage made in heaven!

Stuntbirthers are narcissists in the extreme and reality TV is made for narcissists who are so desperate for attention that they are willing to be ridiculed and/or humiliated for the TV.

The only surprise is that it took this long.

Stuntbirthers like to pretend to themselves and others that this is how birth happens in nature (no, across all times, places and culture, birth is assisted), that birth is so deeply personal and “sexual” that a couple must experience it alone (really, then why are you posting a video of it on YouTube for all the world to see?) and that it is safe. The entire practice would be nothing more than a punch line were it not for the fact that it kills babies, in fact a startlingly high proportion of the babies whose mothers were ignorant enough to embrace this stunt.

Perhaps more compelling than the statistics is the fun fact that both the leading American and Australian advocates of UC have ended up with dead babies as a result. Laura Shanley, the American, likes to boast that she had 4 wonderful unassisted births, but she has actually had 5. She deliberately and knowingly gave birth to a premature baby alone at home and, over the next several hours, watched him die without ever summoning help.

In April of 2009, Janet Fraser, Australia’s leading advocate of UC, experienced the death of her baby during labor. Fraser had proudly boasted to an Australian paper that she had no prenatal care of any kind, and planned to have no medical assistance at the birth. Her baby paid the ultimate price for her idiocy.

Unassisted childbirth is also, in its own self-absorbed, narcissistic way, startlingly racist. Stuntbirth advocates (like many homebirth advocates) like to imagine that women in nature, particularly women of color, did not fear childbirth, simply squatted down by the Congo River to give birth, and immediately returned to their fabulously healthy paleo lifestyle.

Instead those women in nature, often women of color, feared childbirth because they died in agony and in droves. Indeed, even today many women, particularly women of color, continue to die in agony and in droves. According to the World Bank, the life time risk of maternal death is the probability that a 15-year-old female will die eventually from a pregnancy related cause. In the US where modern obstetrics is available the risk of death due to pregnancy and childbirth over a lifetime is 1 in 1800; in countries that are predominantly white and ethnically homogeneous, the lifetime risk is 1 in 13,000. In contrast, a teenager in Cameroon has a 1 in 34 chance of dying of a pregnancy related cause over her lifetime and women in Chad have a 1 in 15 chance of dying.

You can bet that they aren’t crowing about the virtues of stuntbirth. They have the assistance of traditional birth attendants in labor; they may walk miles to deliver in a clinic, and they certainly don’t give birth outside by the river bank.

In a sense, stuntbirth is the childbirth equivalent of blackface, complete with racist stereotypes minimizing the childbirth horrors that women of color endured and still endure (look up obstetric fistula). Just like blackface performers often portrayed people of color as happy to be slaves, stuntbirthers (invariably well off white women) like to portray women of color (albeit without the blackface) as happy to give birth “in nature.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

Tragically, unassisted childbirth has no benefit for the baby and poses very serious risks or injury and death. It is a form of medical neglect based on appalling ignorance, extraordinary selfishness and clueless racism. In short, it is nothing more than an ugly and dangerous stunt.

Perfect for reality TV!

  • guest

    Even though this is an older post, I feel I need to comment.. I watched this disgusting video birth and I wanted to vomit. As the baby’s head was delivering by the “babbling brook” a large, black FLY landed on the baby’s head, not once, but TWICE. The husband, partner, whatever, who was actually delivering the baby, (so much for her “unassisted childbirth”) didn’t even attempt to brush it off. I couldn’t believe it.. The whole thing was so repulsive and gross.. the glaring arrogance and selfishness of that insane woman in plain view for all the world to see.. it’s even more repugnant to me now when I have to assist in a midwife delivery in the hospital with one of these non-interventionist nut-cases and their total lack of respect for the lives of their babies… I think I’ll look for another line of work..

  • Pincourt

    This post is a week old so I won’t add much more than to say that I currently live in Wedt Africa where prenatal card is spotty at best… Even when the babies live , I see way too many children with deformities I’m sure could have been easily prevented. It’s a sad ‘normal’ here. I don’t even venture to comment in death rates in the rural villages. Nature? Ha. I’m an expat living in a place where Nature is the enemy in many ways, to wit: Malaria (a convenient ailment to blame all unknowns on by the way), lassa, yellow fever, infections normally considered innocuous in the developed world that kill here, bad water, diarreha, Ebola.
    I’m NOT kidding. As a white woman who always was grateful for hospitals, I can’t tell you enough how the arrogance of such UC behsviour strikes me (I know #firstwotldproblrms is a tird meme… But still!). I’m a priveledged expat and Damned if I’m not happy there are some awesome doctors around me. You nailed it, Dr Amy (once again)!

  • sapphiremind

    Wow. I just watched the video finally. What pretentious tripe. So angry watching that video. I can’t even.

  • Lombardi

    I just watched thew YouTube video that inspired this new tv show I think Dr Amy nailed this mindset. They actually flew to a friend’s home in a rain forest to achieve the most pristine natural birth possible. She settled on a pure steam with great tasting water. As if the taste of the water can tell you how clean it is. As for the women of nature. This family looks like they are out of a Nat Geo doc except for being white and old. A toddler can be seen running around outside in no clothing only a string of beads around his neck (In what the video author describes as unseasonably cool weather). Mom is also naked except for a string of fashionably tribal beads. Good grief…
    Despite having an “easy labor” she looks quite uncomfortable. Being one of the lucky ones to have experienced a post birth high I could see how NCB advocates are able to forget the very real pain and shit their focus to the post birth experience. But is does not mean that labor is not painful!

  • Lion

    That big rubber mat doesn’t look too natural. Naturally, wouldn’t the baby just fall onto the pebbles?

  • Lisa from NY

    When a baby dies during labor, the ratings will go up, right?
    You’ll see footage of the ambulance racing to the hospital in only 15 seconds of footage.

  • sdsures

    When I first heard about this, I thought it was a really sick joke. :(

  • http://radicalfeministforlife.tumblr.com/ Wharves of Sorrow

    “in countries that are predominantly white and ethnically homogeneous, the lifetime risk is 1 in 13,000″ What are some countries like that?

    • Stacy48918

      I would guess places like Norway, Sweden and Finland. But someone correct me if I’m wrong.

      • Young CC Prof

        I believe those are some of the ones she had in mind. Low poverty and socialized medicine also help keep maternal mortality down.

        Low birth rate, also. Bearing eight children is inherently more dangerous than bearing two, even with the best technology.

        • Wharves of Sorrow

          So why would birth rates in the Nordic countries be higher than the US?

          • Siri

            Most ethnic Norwegians who become parents have 1, 2 or 3 children; larger families are uncommon. They’re a very healthy population, having had access from before birth to excellent public healthcare, and from birth to excellent nutrition, education, health and dental care, sports and leisure facilities, universal high-quality childcare etc. It’s a very homogeneous society, with high adherence to the tenets of a healthy lifestyle (unlike the UK, most teenage mums breastfeed for extended periods); fresh air and outdoor exercise are available in huge quantities, and Norway is an extremely child- and parent-friendly country (paid parental leave, universal low-cost childcare, safer roads, playparks everywhere, pram-friendly public transport, family-friendly workplace policies).

            Remind me why I chose to bring up five kids in the UK?

          • Wharves of Sorrow

            Sorry! I meant why is risk of death due to pregnancy and childbirth higher in predominantly white and ethnically homogeneous countries?

          • Trixie

            It’s not — it’s much lower.

          • Young CC Prof

            Most sources talk about the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 births, this is talking about the odds of a given 15-year-old girl dying in childbirth at ANY point in her life, so the cumulative risk of all pregnancies.

          • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

            At least according to Wikipedia, in 2014 the birth rate in Norway was 1.86, the birth rate in Sweden was 1.88, and the birth rate in the US was 2.01 children per woman.

            The US isn’t much higher, but it is higher, than Nordic countries.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sovereign_states_and_dependent_territories_by_fertility_rate

      • Siri

        Would you like a cake? Or a meringue? No, you’re not wrang! I’d luv a cake. (Geordie joke). You’re spot on.

        • Siri

          The enemy are so close, Sir, we can hear the sound of drums! Are they war drums? No, Sir, they belang to them! (Nother Geordie joke). Sorry. (Slinks away).

          • KarenjJ

            It’s been a while since I’ve heard a Geordie accent and I’m now remembering the confusion involved from my end :)

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            See, I’ve got LeVar Burton in my head (Geordie LeForge) and none of this makes any sense.

          • Liz Leyden

            My American BIL and his Aussie wife live in Newcastle. Hubby and I went to visit them 10 years ago. I was in England, surrounded by Anglophones, and I couldn’t understand anyone.
            Asking for directions was alternately comedic and frustrating.

          • Carrie Looney

            I loved Stephen Fry’s reaction to that one on QI.

          • Comrade X

            OMG, are you a Geordie?? Living in Gateshead atm with my Geordie man! :)

  • Rob

    This is ridiculous. No one would advocate this for the good of the mother or baby. It is sensationalism for profit -an extreme case. Unfortunately it is also accepted practice for Obstitritians to jump to cesarean section when it is not warranted. This happens so much (the US is top in the world for c section numbers, many of which are admittedly unnecessary) that it could also be labeled extreme, but that doesn’t make prime time entertainment, so we are less likely to pay attention and call it what it is.

    • wookie130

      Rob, while I agree with your comments on sensationalism for profit, and the ridiculousness of filming unassisted childbirth for a reality show, I think you’ll find that there are no unnecessary c-sections, per se. What exactly is a necessary or “warranted” c-section? One where a doctor errs on the side of safety, rather than risk? I’d much rather find out later that my c-section was medically unnecessary, than gamble with my life, or my baby’s life to just “wait and see” when things start hitting the fan. There are women who do choose to take this risk, and sadly, lose their lives, or their children. Even if a woman chooses to have an elective c-section for cosmetic reasons, or because of past trauma, or extreme anxiety, why is this unnecessary? Why tout that women have choices for childbirth, only to make women feel that c-sections are somehow inferior to vaginal birth? I also think that you need to reexamine your stats when you say that the U.S. tops the rest of the world in c-section rates…I think you’ll find some info right here on this site that may help you see this a different way.

    • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

      Give an example of someone who had a C-section (ordered by the OB) that was unwarranted?

      How do you determine that?

  • Gretta

    I find this “reality television show” to be a slap in the face to so many mothers around the world who would give all they have for prenatal care and a qualified birth attendant….. but find that all they have is not enough. Mothers who lose their babies, lose their lives or both. The very definition of a sad and heartbreaking reality.

  • Chione

    There was a documentary, “A Walk to Beautiful”, made a few years back about the real, potential consequences of giving birth in poor, rural Ethiopia today. Maybe watching that and listening to the stories of these women who have actual experience of giving birth in a developing country might give at least some of these “birth enthusiasts” pause and even actual enlightenment. Then again, maybe not.

    • Bombshellrisa

      I watched this movie-it was eye opening.

  • the observer

    Awe that’s nice! It’s really great our world is encouraging natural births, and is starting the see the idiocy in anti-home-birth fanatics like you :)

    Also, I’ve seen the video. What a lovely childbirth! So many colors, so much family, a natural soundtrack, and so much love. <3

    • GuestB

      And….they’re off!

    • http://radicalfeministforlife.tumblr.com/ Wharves of Sorrow

      Passive aggressive much?

    • Stacy48918

      “Also, I’ve seen the video. What a lovely childbirth! ”

      I don’t know…all I was thinking was – ACK!!! Giardia!

      And natural childbirth folks worry about the “germs” in a hospital???

    • Trixie

      Which part? The part where she got infested stream water all over the baby’s face?

      • deafgimp

        Wasn’t this an Australian, and she gave birth in the bush in an area where there are lots of salties (saltwater crocodiles–they live in fresh water too). All I could think when I saw the video was some croc is going to smell the birth and have some dinner.

  • Anna T

    I’m not a fan of any reality shows, but this??!!!!

    During my births, I experienced a very strong desire for privacy. I have heard this is common. Basically, what I wanted most of all was to be left well alone (with my husband), and I’m glad it was possible for us. I was, of course, very happy to have the midwife’s help in the end, with the actual delivery.

    I would never, in my wildest dreams, think to have a crew of people around me filming it all. This is attention-seeking at its worst.

    • Young CC Prof

      I told my husband that he had to bring a good camera to take pictures of the BABY, and that if I even saw the camera before the baby appeared, I would break it. (Then actual labor turned out not to be my fate, so it didn’t matter.)

      • Bombshellrisa

        I told my husband the same thing, He took pics of baby but not of me until I said ok.

      • Lion

        I did not allow my husband to bring a camera inside the labour ward, said he could fetch it when baby arrived. I did not care whether we were private or not, I just wanted it over. I was very worried that if we had photos or videos that we would get so relaxed about it all that we might show someone else. That thought horrified me.

  • Deborah

    OK, so when I was in OB residency in the 90′s, one of my fellow residents was an FP from Canada retraining as an OB. She had worked for years at Iqaliut, the regional referral hospital for all of the far North, located on Baffin Island. “EDC” of course stands for “estimated day of confinement”, by which we mean “due date”. But for them, “confinement” was at 36 weeks when all the pregnant Inuit women would come down to Iqaliut and be “confined” boarding with local families until delivery. She told me that every so often the more separatist Inuit types would really complain about this, and want to set up midwife-led deliveries in their home villages in the far North. And then, all the older people would say, “What are you, total idiots?” and start chiming in with stories about their mothers, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews lost at childbirth. All in living memory, so much more forceful.

  • OldTimeRN

    Every year doctors from work to to places like Haiti or countries in Africa to deliver babies, suture up vaginal tears from rough deliveries, give out antibiotics like candy for all kinda of infection. Some of them walk miles to get to the clinics and sometimes even walk miles again the next day for follow up. And here we sit in a country with all the best hospitals with the best equipment and the best doctors ready and will to help you deliver your baby.

    These are not proud American moments.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Well, maybe a few disasters on reality TV will do the opposite of intended- make people realize how stupid it is to give birth alone without medical aid, as someone(s) is rushed to the hospital and/or dies.

    At some point, my compassion runs out. This is about that point. I still feel bad for the babies who will be hurt or killed by this, but the women choosing to do this? I just can’t feel bad for them. I just hope they serve as valid object lessons for other people.

    • lawyer jane

      But we will never know about the disasters, because the mothers have inevitably signed an arbitration and confidentiality agreement with the network. Unless something REALLY bad happens and they sue anyway, we’ll never hear about it. I wish some enterprising attorney general in the states where they are filming this would investigate on criminal/child protection grounds.

  • Life Tip

    Depressingly, these babies will probably be safer than the average homebirth with a CPM. At least someone (the network) will have a financial interest in whether or not the baby lives. And there will be too many witnesses around to bury the dead baby in the backyard.

    So, a step up I guess. Yay?

    • OldTimeRN

      I doubt we hear any mother say “I’ll take my chances” when being told her baby is in trouble and she needs a csection.

    • Sue

      And if anyone argues with the rescue helicopter paramedics, at least they can edit that bit out.

      • wookie130

        Ah, but “quality” (ha!) reality television would definitely capture that moment on film, and share it with the audience!

  • Jessica S.

    I’d like to see the advocates of UC spend one month minimum with these (fictitious) women they’re supposedly mimicking, in whatever country the UCers imagine they’re from, these noble savages. In reality, they will find real women with real (like, beyond what the UCers could ever fathom) struggles and I suspect these real women would think the UCers are batshit crazy for WANTING to give birth that way. It’s beyond insulting.

  • OldTimeRN

    Why do I predict all these deliveries will result in crying babies delivered with no complications? They wouldn’t dare to show a fetal death or a transfer. Nope it will all be sunshine and roses. As a new generation of woo is created while all the woman in 3rd world countries weep for our woman and babies.

    • Ash

      Very easy to make the outcomes of this show all look “positive”. All people featured on the TV show have to sign non disclosure agreements. So then you film the show, any woman or child who has an adverse outcome, you don’t include them in the show and they are not allowed to talk about it.

      • T.

        But would that hold in case of death or serious brain injury?

        • Susan

          I don’t think that the parents can sign away the baby’s right to sue.

    • Phascogale

      That was exactly what I was thinking!

  • areawomanpdx

    I’m thinking the people who do this show are really just people who desperately want to be on TV and not the true believers. My prediction is that there will be a high transfer rate, because they won’t really be people who are willing to sacrifice their child for the birth experience (but will risk it for the 15 minutes of fame).

    • fiftyfifty1

      Nah, you can be a true believer AND desperately want to be on TV. Not a contradiction there at all considering the number who have already live tweeted and posted on YouTube.

  • running away with the circus

    I would like to give birth on a trapeze. I think the swinging action would encourage delivery. Does anyone know of a birth worker who also has trapeze skills and would be willing to swing towards me as my baby flies out and catch it? Failing that, retrieve it from the net below and swing back up to me so I can nurse while I swing the placenta out. Serious responses only.

    • http://www.antigonos.blogspot.com/ Antigonos CNM

      I’m for being suspended upside down by bungee cords attached to my ankles, myself. Just think, your child would be born already standing up!

      I once thought that might be one of the books I’m intending to write when I need to make a million [oh, that's now, isn't it?]. If I get a couple of celebrity endorsements and put the price high enough, it’s sure to be a success, no?

      • Bombshellrisa

        Didn’t Ina May write something about that? Giving birth upside down?

        • Phascogale

          But doesn’t that go against that fact that using gravity will help you push a baby out? Won’t it be harder to do this when you are suspended by your ankles and have nothing to push off against. Unless of course it’s a short rope and there’s another cord to pull against while you have your feet pushing against the tree branch you are suspended from.

          • Who?

            I don’t know that logic has lived here for a while.

          • http://www.antigonos.blogspot.com/ Antigonos CNM

            Logic in childbirth? Childbirth is all about being in tune with one’s femininity and instincts! Logic is for men, those soulless creatures!

          • http://www.antigonos.blogspot.com/ Antigonos CNM

            But just think how the lack of pressure on the baby’s head will allow his brain to expand better–followed by exclusive breastfeeding until age 10 and being worn 24/7 by mama, how can he fail to be a genius?…and of course, the perineum would probably benefit from the reduced pressure on it. Goodbye episiotomy.

            Given some of the contortions I have occasionally had to do to control the birth of the baby’s head with the mother delivering in bathrooms, or on a wheelchair, or squatting, it would be a breeze for a midwife to deliver a baby with the mother suspended from the ceiling by her ankles at just the right height for the birth attendant.

            [Gee, I'm getting really interested in this :-)]

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            They should actually tie the bungee around the mother’s neck to truly use the full force of gravity and that way the mother/stunt birther can feel what the baby is feeling too, lack of oxygen and brain death/damage. ;) (Of course I’m j/k, that would make more work for me when they show up at the hospital)

      • Deborah

        Even bats turn the other way to give birth. (And use bat-midwives.)

        • Young CC Prof

          Midbats. Presumably bat-midbats. Which is just a fun word.

        • Mel

          I had a cow attempt to midwife another cow. It wasn’t helpful AT ALL. Of course, the calf might argue that I was worse….

          What really happened was that the cow in labor – 4875 – was a first calf heifer making good progress. The front legs were all the way out and fully extended. I hadn’t seen a nose yet, but it was close to the vulva. All of a sudden 406 – who’s close to her due date and has been licking the amniotic sac of 4875 – starts mounting 4875 who is laying on the ground. I chase off 406. The head of the calf comes out on the next push. I turn to grab gloves. I hear something, turn back around in time to see 406 launch herself on top of 4875′s abdomen. Imagine 500+ pounds of pressure being applied to the uterus of a cow. With images of a crushed calf, and punctured internal organs on the dam, I rush at 406 and slap her nose. This causes her to run to the feed bunk and sulk. I decide that it’s time for the baby to come out….before 406 changes her mind. I rip open the amniotic sac, hear myself saying “Welcome to the world, little buddy!” and apply traction to the calf’s front legs since the cow is still contracting. The rest of the calf pops out with a gush of amniotic fluid that drenches the front of my dress. (I had stopped by the barn on the way home from school and was still in “teacher” clothes). I pull the little bull around to the front of the dam.

          His heart’s beating, he’s reactive, but I’m not seeing any breathing. I start clearing his air ways by sticking my fingers in his nose and putting my fingers in his mouth to clear fluid. He doesn’t like that – grimaces, but I’m still not seeing breathing. I start using clean straw to irritate the inside of his nostrils. He obviously hates that and flops onto his chest. I pause because if he’s not breathing, he shouldn’t have the energy to flip from his side to his chest and hold his head upright…

          Then I remember. Look at the chest for a heartbeat; look at the stomach for breathing. I’d been looking at the chest for both….

          My husband and mother-in-law laugh had so hard they cried when I told them. My husband says that we’ll have a steer with a deep-seated fear of print fabrics and straw…..

    • Amy M

      Well, there is a trapeze school that lets any random schmuck swing on the trapeze if you pay for it, in a Jordan’s here in MA. I think its the one in Reading. Maybe they’ll let you rent their trapeze, as long as you promise to clean up the mess. And for those of you non-New Englanders, Jordan’s is a furniture store. The same store also has an ice-cream parlor, and a display of all the Boston landmarks made out of jellybeans. (Beantown) I shit you not.

      • LibrarianSarah

        Damn and to think I bought my furniture at Bobs Discount like a sucker when I could be eating ice cream in a trapeze.

    • Lion

      You may have to do that unassisted. If every midwife turns you down that is what you do. Sure you’ll find someone though.

  • Amy
    • Young CC Prof

      Because it’s not enough to have a home birth, you have to be Martha Stewart and concoct the party of the year at the same time.

      • Amy M

        I’ve never had a party that looked like that, not for a birthday, not for Thanksgiving, no way. I guess some people are into it, and sure it looks cool to go all Martha Stewart, but that is not where my talents lie, and I don’t even care. :)

      • Amy

        Lol. She set the decorations out every night and put them away each morning that she did not find herself in labor.

        • Amy M

          Really!!!? I skimmed it, but I didn’t catch that part! that’s awesome.

        • Ash

          How does anyone have time and energy for this, especially at the end of their pregnancy?

      • MamaBear

        I am confused, why would you need to host a party for your birth attendants? The money you paid and risking your child’s life is not payment enough? I wonder if she got up from the birthing tub and cooked a four cause meal with her finest china. Only the best for the
        “Professional” midwife and doulas.

        I am starting to wonder if I’m the crazy one for not wanting to set up a party for delivery. The day I went into labor with my daughter I didn’t even want to get off the couch, let alone make goodies for the hospital workers.

        • Amy M

          I went into labor at 3:30am…not a time I really associate with cooking, or hosting guests. I wonder how this lady’s home birth actually went?

        • OldTimeRN

          Allowing everyone to see my Vay-Jay-Jay in all it’s glory should be enough of a party!

    • Trixie

      Good lord. She was scared of the (likely pasteurized) Caesar dressing, but a homebirth? No problem!
      That’s a level of effort beyond what I do for my actual, already born children’s birthdays.

    • Somewhereinthemiddle

      I just… I mean… What the? These people are psychotic.

    • AmyP

      What if the baby is died or injured, and then you have to come home to all those decorations?

      Oh, the pain!

      • Mishimoo

        I was so worried about that with all of mine, even though I had planned hospital births and had low-risk pregnancies. I wanted everything sorted and in order, but it made me anxious because I didn’t want to come home without a baby and have to pack everything away again.

    • http://www.antigonos.blogspot.com/ Antigonos CNM

      I do presume she’s being satirical…although I have had women who, prior to their inductions or elective C/Ss, made sure to have their hair done and a manicure and pedicure so they’d look good when the admiring friends and family came visiting postpartum…

      • Trixie

        Nope, not satire. She’s got a Young Living essential oils MLM business, so I’m pretty sure she’s serious.

      • Dr Kitty

        I got a massage, a facial, a mani-pedi and a haircut a few days before my daughter’s birth.

        Not so I looked good in photos (I look EXACTLY like someone on heavy duty painkillers who has just had abdominal surgery and happens to have been given a baby to hold) but because I enjoy those things and reckoned it would be a long time before I would have the free time and the spare cash again.

  • Lena

    OT: I’ve been reading NGM’s facebook posts about her daughter’s labor, birth, and issues with the baby’s health, and I’m just so…I don’t even know. No matter how much I read I can’t stop from being amazed at the way people’s minds work. She refused an ultrasound to determine the baby’s size, was annoyed at the CNM for suggesting a c-section before labor because the baby looked to be big, ended up with a CS after THREE HOURS of pushing, and you could see the ridge on that poor (10lbs.+)baby’s head from where it was pushed against her pelvis. And then she ended up needing emergency surgery because of an internal hemorrhage, at the same time that the baby ended up in the NICU with breathing issue. All the while NGM, while obviously terrified for her daughter and grandson, still manages to be thrilled that the baby hasn’t had a drop of formula. When they finally figure out that the baby has been aspirating breastmilk, Meghan complains about having to give her baby thickening “crap,” only to finally be ok with it when it works.

    I just cannot understand people who are only capable of learning the hard way. Why do they have to experience these things for themselves before they’ll stop criticizing the suggestions of medical professionals and calling life-saving measures “crap.”

    • Trixie

      Didn’t they also delay going in until their favorite CNM was on duty? It seemed like NGM was doing cervical checks at home, although she didn’t come out and say it.
      Maybe she’ll finally revise her opinion on HBAC, now.
      And of course, I’m really happy that Meghann and the baby are okay now. That’s the most important thing.

      • http://www.antigonos.blogspot.com/ Antigonos CNM

        Well, with my youngest daughter plus/minus 2 weeks from her due date, and a previous C/S for primip breech [this baby is not only vertex but looks to be deeply engaged in the pelvis already], I confess I’ve got a little bag packed with gloves and lubricant because she doesn’t want to go to the hospital “in false labor” and I’m OK with that [although, since The Amazing Granddaughter was an elective C/S, I'm not sure my daughter is really prepared for strong contractions. We'll see] I don’t mind, if she is coping, with keeping her at home until labor is established rather than have her walking the Hadassah corridors because the duty midwives think she’s still prodromal. [I actually have my British district midwife bag with the delivery set in a cupboard somewhere -- all I'd have to do is boil the scissors and clamps and renew a few supplies -- but neither she nor I want a VBAC at home. So what we are going to have is an "adapted domino system" labor and birth [home for early labor, birth in hospital, and possibly early discharge depending on several factors we can't predict] From the C/S, she knows what an epidural’s like, and she’s all for it. She’s a hard-headed girl.

        Keep tuned to this channel.

        • moto_librarian

          I would feel a lot better knowing that my CNM mom was available to help me know whether or not I was actually in labor! Good luck to her!

        • Trixie

          Yeah, but you’re an actual CNM and not prone to reckless decisions. Good luck to your daughter!

        • Jessica S.

          Exciting! You sound like you’ve got it all covered. Keep us posted!

    • moto_librarian

      I think that the CNM was trying to prepare NgM’s daughter for the very real possibility that she was going to need a c-section. Having a VBAC seemed very important to her, and at least she can look back on the experience and know that she was given every opportunity to have one. Personally, the thought of pushing for three hours with no descent sounds like hell on earth, but at least they both know that this c-section can never be considered “unnecessary.”

      That being said, I abhor the attitudes being expressed by a number of commenters who are absolutely convinced that the baby is aspirating breastmilk because of a tongue tie. Never mind that said baby has been evaluated by at least three LCs, neonatalogists, pediatricians, and a speech pathologist – it just can’t be that a baby is having issues with breastfeeding! It pisses me off that they have no respect for medical professionals who are doing their best to preserve the nursing relationship between mother and child by having her bottlefeed breastmilk with thickener and then put the baby to breast after pumping to maintain his latch. Formula and thickening supplements are not “crap” or “poison.” The baby would still be in the NICU if they hadn’t tried this, and I fail to see how that would be preferable to him being home with his family.

      • Lena

        It’s amazing the theories people come up with so as not to change their worldviews. Breastfeeding is best. Expressed breast milk is a distant second. Thickener and supplements are crap. Baby’s aspirating breastmilk and his health improves with bottle feeding and a thickener? He MUST have an easily fixed problem like tongue-tie, because it just can’t be that breastfeeding is bad for him.

    • OldTimeRN

      I’d be shocked if the baby didn’t have formula during the 1st 48hrs. There is no way she’d be able to pump enough to give to the baby. I can’t imagine she was able to get to NICU every 2-3 hrs to breast baby. And even if she was Neonatology usually orders supplements for the health of the baby. So yes I think she’s lying. But that’s ok, I’ll let the minions keep believing.

      • moto_librarian

        Since mom was also in the ICU after receiving 11 units, I don’t see how she could be pumping throughout that.

        • Lion

          I can’t imagine doing much more than groaning when feeling so weak.

      • Lena

        It wouldn’t shock me if Meghan and her husband refused formula for their NICU baby, I think they’re that fanatical, but I’m sure you’re right. Considering how soon after her CS she started hemorrhaging and how long the surgery and recovery would have taken it’s just not likely that she would have pumped at all, let alone enough to last all those hours. How long would the NICU team cater to the family before giving a baby formula without consent?

        • sapphiremind

          Depends on the hospital, especially if there was distress/decreased blood flow, in the NICU we actually would prefer to not give the child formula, as it increases the risk of NEC. They either get IVF or donor breastmilk. Formula in the NICU is actually seen as something very potentially dangerous, depending on the age and condition of the infant.

          • Lion

            Even though baby would only need around 5-10ml per feed (that figure is what the milk banks use for calculations, not sure where they get it from) with that amount of blood loss, even if she had been managing to pump or hand express, I doubt there would be much colostrum. Here we also use donor milk in the NICU when it is available. We have milk banks, and the mothers of the prem babies sometimes get so practiced at expressing that they can supply for the shortfall for a few babies.

    • Medwife

      When studies talk about the worst outcomes are seen with failed TOLACs, this is what they mean. An elective repeat section would have saved them so much pain and suffering. The CNM did exactly the right thing suggesting that Meghan was not a good VBAC candidate and still could choose to go with ERCS.

  • InfiniteSovereign

    OT: Do you think a very long labor (2.5 days), ending in a hospital transfer and a non-emergency c-section could have caused my son to be developmentally delayed? He has significant speech and motor delays, although cognitively he is right on target.

    • Gene

      It’s hard to say. Oxygen deprivation during labor and delivery can cause subtle damage, but that can occur with both short and prolonged labor.

    • http://www.antigonos.blogspot.com/ Antigonos CNM

      How old is he? There really is very great variation in “normal”, and children who excell at a particular skill early often are slow at others, as if they can conquer only one major skill at a time.

      • InfiniteSovereign

        Sorry, I replied to my own comment and not yours. Whoops. Anyway, he’s 16 months and a bum scooter. He just started pulling up about 2 weeks ago.

        • http://www.antigonos.blogspot.com/ Antigonos CNM

          Then don’t go running to the experts just yet. The Amazing Granddaughter was verbal from an astoundingly early age, yet did not begin walking on her own until nearly two. Now, at 3 and a bit, she’s running circles around everyone, literally, and is off the charts developmentally.

          Her uncle, my oldest child, however, was walking by 11 months but decided he had nothing to say until he was two, when we were beginning to worry.

          Go figure. It seems children concentrate on either walking OR speaking rather than both together.

          • Mac Sherbert

            I think she’s right to go to the experts even if it looks like time is all the child needs. I have friend whose 2 year old just started speech therapy. The therapist told her without therapy he would probably be ok, but that many kids that don’t get early therapy can go on to develop stuttering, etc (or something like that).

            It’s better to get early intervention even if you don’t need it than to have needed it and not gotten it.

          • Carolyn the Red

            Consequences of going to the experts – possible unnecessary physiotherapy or evaluations.

            Consequences of not going – more time with a possibly painful or correctable problem going untreated.

            (From someone who had bilateral congenital ankle dysplasia detected at age 2. I may have caught up by my 20s)

          • InfiniteSovereign

            He’s actually way behind with speech, too. But we are starting PT, OT, and speech therapy with Early Intervention. I thank God that our attempted homebirth didn’t injure or kill him.

          • Mishimoo

            Early intervention can make a huge difference. I know it’s frustrating at times, but PT, OT and speech therapy have come so far since I was a kid. Speech therapy is so much more fun, and our daughter had better results more quickly than her aunt did. Hope he’s running and talking your ears off soon. :-)

    • InfiniteSovereign

      He’s 16 months old. He scoots on his butt; never crawled, always hated being on his tummy. He just started pulling up. We’re starting PT and speech therapy with ECI next week

      • Mac Sherbert

        I have friend who’s perfectly normal child didn’t walk until 17 months. I have a nephew that was butt scooter forever!! My MIL worried herself silly over his lack of walking well past 1 year…He’s now the best t-ball player you have ever seen. Seriously, making double plays!
        I’m going to bet you’ll see a big difference after a few weeks of therapy. Those professionals love what they do and they are good at!

        • InfiniteSovereign

          Thank you, Mac! That is very encouraging!

        • Haelmoon

          I didn’t walk until I was 22 months. I had a limited vocabulary for a long time. I even had to go to speech therapy until I was in grade 4. I have done fine in the long run. However, if you meet me at four in the morning, you will hear my funny speech coming back, and by post call I have trouble finding words when speaking (but not writing).

      • Houston Mom

        I have a friend with four late-walking kids – 16 months plus. They’re all very bright.

      • Who?

        My son was scooting around at 14 months, then we went on holidays with friends whose daughter was the same age and walking, and he was up and running in two days. I seriously think he never saw walking as of any value until he saw her do it. He loved to climb from when he could stand, his first words were ‘get down!’ shouted from whichever item he had climbed onto-they do repeat what they hear!

        Your therapists will help him and I’m sure he’ll work it out in no time-you might end up looking ruefully back to when he wasn’t running around so much!

      • carr528

        My son didn’t walk until 18 months and didn’t talk until almost two. He just finished kindergarten near the top of his class. Thankfully, he hit both milestones just as we were considering therapy.

      • Certified Hamster Midwife

        I didn’t walk until 18 months. My pediatrician told my parents to wait it out. I have some undiagnosed gross motor skill issues, but have made it through life okay, with lots of broken plates and coffee-stained shirts and no sports trophies.

      • Jessica S.

        My son didn’t take his first step(s) until almost 16 months. He could count to 10 before he walked on his own. (Rout memorization, he couldn’t actually comprehend “counting”.) He just never seemed interested in trying to stand, although he did “cruise” and crawl. But both of those were quite late. He’s always been more interested in things, concepts, talking, etc.

      • Who?

        Meant to say as well my freakishly intelligent husband was born at around 34 weeks in the early sixties, didn’t talk or walk until he was two, and is, well, freakishly bright and extremely dextrous and strong for his size, which is smaller than his siblings. Scary to think what he’d be like if he’d gone to term…

      • Dr Kitty

        I didn’t walk until 18 months, and never really crawled or bum shuffled, just went from sitting on my bum, to cruising on furniture, to walking, which was probably down to the Spina bifida. My mother says I just worked out that I could tell people to get me what I wanted and thus was too lazy to learn to walk if I didn’t have to!

        Bum shufflers walk later because it is a more effective method of locomotion than crawling. Bum shuffling babies seem to have an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude to walking.

    • Mac Sherbert

      I’ve worked with parents and I know you probably stay up late at night wondering, if you did something or didn’t do something to cause you child’s problem. Bottom line is that it doesn’t matter. You have the child you have. You love the child you have. It sounds like you are addressing all of his needs and hopefully with all the support you are giving him he will overcome his delays and be just fine.

    • Stacy48918

      My first labor was about that long, but without the C. My son hit all his motor milestones on target (crawling, pulling up, walking, etc) but didn’t say more than 1-2 words at a time until he was nearly 3. Didn’t have his “language explosion” until nearly 3. A prelim speech eval thought he had dyspraxia and a couple other things I don’t remember at the moment.

      Can’t get the kid to shut up now and he’s reading at a 2nd grade level. He turns 5 next month.

      There’s a range of “normal”. In those first uncertain years of parenting the thing that helped me relax a bit was thinking “he won’t still be crawling at age 5″, or “he won’t still be in diapers at age 5″ or “he’ll be talking by age 5″ (though I admittedly had more worry about that last one!). Kids develop at their own pace. You’re right to evaluate him early because early intervention makes a huge difference, but he might just be working on his own schedule. :)

  • atmtx

    I really don’t think a bad outcome on this show would change the minds of any determined, kool-aid-drinking UC’ers. You see, with medical staff nearby and a film crew watching, it’s not a TRUE UC. Therefore, any bad outcome is explained away because the parents didn’t fully trust birth. For an example of this, check out NGM’s UC birth story. It was miserable and someone had the temerity to say that it was her fault for having friends around, thus making it not truly UC. F that.

  • Captain Obvious

    Hey, even the producers are “smarter” than American homebirthers, because at least they risked out FTM.

    • Renee

      They don’t want anyone to die, that might add to their liability!
      I bet they will make sure to have medical care about 50′ away, and hidden. The UC moms will agree because they want to spread their disease, er, ideology far and wide.

  • Beth S

    Lifetime, the network that will let a “dance teacher” verbally abuse little girls for no other reason than she wants to. A network that used to show quality programing like Unsolved Mysteries reruns and reruns of the Golden Girls in between it’s woman in peril movies. It now has fallen so far as to push this UC crap which as many have pointed out is never going to be truly UC because of insurance reasons. Will they put the disclaimer about it being fake on the end of the program like Moonshiners does? Or will they let the viewers know that it’s fake only after they have a season of pushing this anti-science, anti-medical and to my mind anti-feminist tripe?

    • Are you nuts

      Yeah!!! I long for the days when Lifetime was nothing but Golden Girls, Designing Women and man hating movies!!!

      • Beth S

        I used to love Lifetime, when I was stuck at home after a surgery a few years ago it was mandatory daytime TV watching, when I was stuck on bed rest this pregnancy trying to stave off precipitous labor it ended up being ID because I just couldn’t take it anymore.

        • Amy M

          Were they the channel that had “What Not to Wear?” I really got into that one when I was on bedrest and maternity leave. I even took some of their tips when I got clothes to go back to work (since my pre-preg clothes didn’t fit again yet at that point.)

          • me

            No that was TLC. (love that show!)

          • UsernameError

            Oh, yeah, “The Learning Channel.” They used to have educational shows, now it’s just uneducated people screaming at each other.

            It’s a bit off topic, but TV used to be something that families could watch together. There are very few educational shows on TV anymore. It’s to the point that when we heard about Cosmos coming on, we practically had a party. I really miss stuff like Going Tribal, Digging for the Truth and so on. Every now and then there is a short series like Moon Machines or Cosmos, but it’s becoming rarer, and the ones on are so over dramatized they are hard to watch. Except River Monsters, for some reason I like to watch that guy catch 200 lb arapaima. There are no family sit coms any more, or just any shows we can all sit and watch together. And even adult shows are graphic murder mysteries or reality shows. My husband and I are reduced to watching re-runs of Night Court and Mystery Science Theater after the kids go to bed.

          • MLE

            My roommate in college watched thousands of episodes of “A Baby Story.” Shockingly, she had a failed birth center birth years later with a midwife who let her push before she was fully dilated.

          • R T

            I love that show! I watched it everyday when I was on bed rest and cried every episode!

          • Amy M

            LeVar Burton is bringing Reading Rainbow back!!

          • Carrie Looney

            After a great deal of documentary despair, I finally found The Smithsonian Channel – it has some decent documentaries, and especially some about Big Machines (I do love Big Machines).

          • Jessica S.

            We got rid of cable a year or so ago and just use our Apple TV. We figured we’d break even in cost, but I think we’ve ended up saving money. We just don’t watch as many shows anymore. It’s bliss not having commercials, even though we muted and/or fast-fwrd through them before.

            Consequently, the few times we have watched live TV my 3.5 year old can’t comprehend what “commercials” are all about. It’s funny. And delightful.

          • R T

            River Monsters is terrifying and literally gives me nightmares! Do you have Netflix? There’s lot’s of good stuff on there!

      • Stacy48918

        “nothing but Golden Girls”
        Wish Betty White would stick with her acting career instead of screwing over vets…

    • Zornorph

      Mother, May I Give Birth With Danger?

  • MSN

    This week’s posts have been unusually disturbing, particularly for me because we just celebrated my daughter’s first birthday (who is alive and well because of modern medicine, like c-sections, NICUs, and formula!).

    But this TV series is another whole level of stupid. How atrocious. I’m calling BS on the whole premise–if there is a qualified medical staff with equipment on standby, and within a safe proximity of a hospital (that most likely has the woman’s medical information on file and an operating room at the ready), the birth wouldn’t be “truly” unassisted, would it? Isn’t the whole UC movement based on keeping as much distance (both physically and figuratively) between the “sacred momma/baby diad” and medical help?

    Dr. Amy, your job must be like trying to reason with a pile of turds on the sidewalk. Keep up the good fight!

  • http://www.antigonos.blogspot.com/ Antigonos CNM

    not to mention of course, what the chances that 13 year old in Chad or Burkia Faso will, if she survives childbirth, have a major fistula.

  • Amy M

    I looked over at the Unassisted Childbirth forum at mdc, and this show hasn’t been brought up yet….anyone here who has an account there, want to mention it (and stir the pot a bit)? I’m guessing the responses would be: 1)this is great for the OOH birth movement! or 2)those women are cheating, since they aren’t really unassisted.

  • jhr

    The most extremely perverse example of “x-treme sport.”

  • Susan

    I hope they get sued to oblivion. Can’t sign away the baby’s right to sue. This is just a step away from Hunger Games…

  • UsernameError

    According to the article they have an emergency medical professional on scene. I’m wondering what this person’s credentials are, and if they are actually a real medical professional, how the heck the show convinced them to do this?

    • Lena

      I’m assuming it’s an EMT until they state otherwise. Or an unlicensed MD who makes their living consulting for tv/movies.

    • Are you nuts

      That’s the problem with this. Everyone [should] know that reality TV isn’t real. While the camera lens will show a woman squatting in a river giving birth, assisted only by her husband and spirit animal, behind the lens I guarantee there’s a team of doctors and nurses who can spring into action if anything goes wrong. The network’s lawyers wouldn’t have it any other way.

      So while the audience sees an “unassisted birth” that’s edited to fit their narrative, they are led to believe it’s safe while there is a whole story behind the camera or edited out that conveys a very different message.

      • http://www.antigonos.blogspot.com/ Antigonos CNM

        The truth about “reality” TV shows is that they are scripted, edited, and not shown in real time.

        Believe me, I’ve attended labors where I would have loved to see something as exciting as watching paint dry… a really real unassisted birth would not get good viewer ratings

        • Amy M

          I can vouch for that…my labor was boring as crap until the end. Granted that’s an n of 1, but seriously, hours and hours can go by while waiting for dilation. That’s not interesting.

          • http://www.antigonos.blogspot.com/ Antigonos CNM

            And the noises, the fluids…occasionally solids…expressed…

          • Hannah

            Now you’ve got me wondering, combined with the photo above… what would happen if a woman and/or the network got fined by a state or national park or even the EPA for putting all that crap in the water. The explosion might take out the internet.

          • KarenJJ

            True – I was reading a book through most of my unmedicated labour up until the decision to go for c-section. The most boring (and unproductive) labour ever. It didn’t hurt much either even after my waters broke (which was probably one of the issues – the contractions didn’t/couldn’t do all that much).

    • Anonymous

      They’ll most likely have real EMS personnel standing by. My dad briefly participated in a single shot of the movie “Saving Private Ryan” in a strictly advisory role for some gunfire footage and even for that, with trained professionals everywhere, in a totally controlled environment, they had to have both fire and ambulance as well as members of the Sheriff’s office standing watch. As irresponsible as this is, it’s going to be like any other production where right off camera, there’s dozens of trained people waiting to take the reigns as soon as something even looks like it’s going south. Unless they want to shoot this show uninsured, that is. Unlike midwives, lifetime can’t just declare bankruptcy to stave off people suing if a mishap should occur.

      • Irène Delse

        Yeah, in all probability, they will have the support team just out of camera range… And the effect on screen will be as misleading about childbirth as Bear Gryll’s show is about survival.

        • Beth S

          I mentioned Moonshiners up above, sounds like it’s the same principle except vulnerable mothers are actually going to believe this is a good idea.

        • Who?

          Maybe they’ll get Dr Spaceman from 30 Rock.

      • Susan

        You do have to wonder though about the ethics of any medical professional who would agree to participate in this. It’s wrong to take any excess risk to mom and baby and wrong to participate in glamorizing this to the public.

        • Beth S

          I think in this case the EMTs will justify it to themselves by saying that if they weren’t there the person would be in even more danger and at least with them on scene if something does go wrong they can at the very least transport baby and mother. At the most they can deliver the baby, believe me I know.

          • Susan

            I can maybe forgive an EMT for thinking that way but not any OB nurse, NICU nurse or OB/GYN. The show wouldn’t have insurance without these medical people abetting it so they are fully culpable morally for being there. If their presence makes it possible to take these risks then they are culpable.

          • Beth S

            Could they get away with having either a CPM, DEM or LM on hand if they’re filming in states where they’re legal?

    • Jessica S.

      Man, that’s safer than a homebirth then.

  • Amy

    Disgusting. And the other new shows mentioned in the article? Taken together, the whole thing sounds like an SNL parody. Racist, clueless, glorifying cultural appropriation.

  • lawyer jane

    In addition to a grassroots approach (with the Change.org petition below) it would be great if major medical associations, researcher, and doctors sent a letter to the networks. That’s not something I can organize. Dr. Amy, can you?

  • lawyer jane
    • Mishimoo

      Signed!

      • Aki Hinata

        signed

  • Young CC Prof

    According to Dr. Mark Sloan, the death rate in truly unassisted childbirth is so high that the human race cannot perpetuate itself that way. Women have always always helped one another.

    It sounds like they’re taking enough precautions that, if they only make one season, they probably won’t lose any babies. They will have filming interrupted by rescues, of course.

    The idiots inspired by such a program, however…

    • AmyP

      Exactly–that’s a huge problem. The viewers inspired by the show will not be thinking about the fact that there’s a camera crew, there’s a medical team, etc.

      Whenever you see a reality show participant “alone” in the wilderness, there’s probably at least another half dozen people following him around.

      • Beth S

        I think that’s why the only reality show I watch is Deadliest Catch, those guys could use an extra EMT on the boats, and at least Discovery actually shows how dangerous it is and what can happen even on the shore. RIP Captain Phil Harris.

  • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

    I saw this in the news this morning and was completely disgusted. People should boycott Lifetime Network for encouraging and promoting such dangerous and ridiculous practices. Lifetime actually claimed the mothers are safer with the camera crew being present?! Like, seriously is the cameraman also a doctor and the audio guy trained in neonatal resuscitation? This show is pure shit and is endangering babies lives for ratings.

    • Karen in SC

      And it won’t be like that video that inspired it. Hospitals will be nearby so the “wilderness” area is likely to be Central Park, or Forest Park in St. Louis. Or the desert surrounding of a major hospital in the Southwest.

      • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

        It is still freaking stupid and just plain disgusting. Women in Africa and other countries are laughing at these stupid Americans and people like stream squatter make our country look like a bunch of fools! If somebody did this in Ukraine people would laugh them out of the town for being so foolish and ignorant.

    • Mac Sherbert

      Boycott…I thought everyone already stopped watching? It’s the only reasonable explanation of why they would do something this desperate for ratings/viewers.

  • lawyer jane

    This is the network condoning child abuse, plain and simple. Can somebody get a petition together?

    • lawyer jane

      Ok, Lifetime is partly owned by Disney. How about creating a facebook page and a Change.org petition boycotting Disney until Lifetime stops actively colluding with child abuse?

      • Deena Chamlee

        I will sign it when it is up and going.

      • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

        Sorry, we have our Disney trip all set up for the fall. We aren’t backing out now.

        • Susan

          I have been pissed at Disney over something else recently. Dammit I LOVE Disney stuff why do they have to keep making such nuts decisions.

        • Beth S

          Yeah we’ve got a trip set up next spring around ODDs birthday I’ll boycott after I get back from that. I’ve done spent too much money to boycott now.

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            The Disney part was easy. The hard part was getting flights to Orlando only 6 months in advance.

        • GuestB

          I hope you’ll be there for the international wine and food festival. It’s awesome.

      • Mac Sherbert

        Let it go. No one with small children addicted to Disney could survive a Disney boycott.

        • Amy M

          I see what you did there…

        • the wingless one

          My falling off the charts underweight 17mo will only eat dinner while watching Sofia the First. There’s no way I could participate in a Disney boycott!

      • Trixie

        I’m already boycotting Disney, just because I hate it. But now I’ll pretend it’s because of this.

      • Stacy48918

        Our house already boycotts Disney. Can’t stand that stuff. :-P

  • lawyer jane

    1 in 15 in Chad? That’s really awful.

  • Lena

    “Unassisted childbirth is also, in its own self-absorbed, narcissistic way, startlingly racist.”

    Thank you for writing this. The oblivious racism displayed by NCBers and advocates of attachment parenting has always disturbed me.

    On a related note, one of the funniest-saddest things I’ve witnessed was my grandmother’s (7 home births and the useless bladder to show for it) and her sisters’ (all homebirths) reactions to my cousin announcing that she planned to have a completely natural birth. In a hospital with a CNM, yes, but they wasted no time in telling her that they thought she was nuts. My grandmother was also completely confused by another granddaughter who insisted on exclusively breastfeeding even though she suffered mastitis AND a nasty case of thrush. It’s funny how people who did it because they lived in a time and place where there was no other option are completely unimpressed with the whole back to nature nonsense.

    • Karen in SC

      I read a comment on the EW thread (I think) from a Fed Upper (again, I think) suggesting a better concept would be to switch those privileged white mothers with mothers in Chad or wherever. Then see what happens. Why not, there is already a show that switches mothers of opposite lifestyles.

      • Renee

        I would pay to watch that!

      • Busbus

        Ha! No privileged white mother would do that. “Birth in nature” is only cool with first world amenities (doulas, birth pools, mp3 labor lists) and a world class hospital nearby.

        • Young CC Prof

          And wifi! What good is natural childbirth if you can’t liveblog it?

    • Bombshellrisa

      Yes! When I told my husband’s aunt that women are wanting to give birth vaginally to a breech baby, she said WTF?! She gave birth “naturally” three times, once to a breech and she didn’t see what was so spectacular about it. I told her home birth and anti vax along with exclusive breast feeding and cloth diapering are considered things to beat other women over the head with. She did all that too (not the anti vax part, she is a polio survivor) not to crow about it but because there was no other choice. She told me that her mother gave birth at home back in the late 30′s and into the 40′s (12 kids) with midwives because they were really poor and lived very far from a hospital. Only one of her children was born in the hospital (her last) and that is when the doctors did surgery to correct all the problems that came from her tearing badly and not being repaired properly with the first child.

    • Beth S

      My grandmother looked at my cousin like she was nuts when she mentioned she was thinking of going UC with her next child. In her words: “I had six kids, all of them but your mother were born in a hospital and all of them but the younger two were born without drugs. Why would you be so damned stupid as to put your life at risk to give birth at home?” She then went on to explain that she lived in Harlan County when her eldest was born where there was no hospital at the time, and Debbie almost died. She then went on to mention that if it was her religion pushing for it God created doctors and pushed them to create drugs for a reason and why would we go against him by being stupid.

    • Montserrat Blanco

      My grandmother had an awful homebirth in the 50s. It went quite wrong and a doctor had to be called when the midwife could not resolve her stalled labor. Next two children were born at a hospital. If I tell her I will have a homebirth I am pretty sure she would slap me on my face.

      • Amy M

        I believe my parents were born in hospitals, but I would suspect my grandparents were not. 3 out of 4 of them were born in Europe, into large families that weren’t especially wealthy. If my grandparents were alive today, I’m sure they’d scoff at this nonsense…they and their families all came to the US to have a better life than what was available back in Europe, and I’m sure that included medical care, even for what it was when they got here (mostly mid 20th century.)

        • Montserrat Blanco

          I have heard my grandmother´s story quite a few times and it really sounded scary. She was young, healthy, had good nutrition (everything was organic at that time) and quite wealthy. Her parents offered a homebirth with the best midwife in the village in the best house in the village, apparently something quite well off people did at the time in Spain to avoid the overcrowded hospitals. The result was terrifying. She really feared she would die. My grandfather was terrified also. Needless to say, the next two children were born at a hospital without any kind of problem that I heard of.

          UCing is something that I can´t understand. I guess some people only have that to feel important and different.

        • the wingless one

          I’ve actually never really thought about it but my mom always tells the story about how after she was born the midwife didn’t tie her cord correctly and she almost bled out until one of the visitors at their house pointed out how pale she was. So my mom must have been born at home, and likely so were her 5 siblings (she was child #5).

          I wonder if watching those births following his own (they lived in a tiny 2 bedroom shack with dirt floors so I imagine being the oldest of 6 kids, the youngest being 14yrs younger, he must have been quite aware of what was happening in the next room over when my grandma was in labor) played any role in my mom’s oldest brother becoming an OBGYN serving a rural area.

      • Mishimoo

        My granddad used to tell me stories about his grandmother who had a laying in home. She was a granny midwife that apparently had fairly good results and also had reputation for delivering healthy and happy babies, but always wanted better medical options for her ladies. From what I have heard of her, she would be appalled by the conditions at home births and in some birth centres, and shocked by the NCB movement.

    • Mel

      Everyone in my family in my generation, my parent’s generation and my grandparents generation was born in a hospital.

      The only thing that comes close to HB/NCB was Oma’s youngest brother who was born prematurely during WWII in the occupied Netherlands. Accor

      • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

        Mel – this post answers a question I’ve been meaning to ask you. So your family is Dutch, then?

        My kids have an Oma, too.

        • Mel

          My biological family is mostly English (Grampa Turnbull immigrated from England at 7) with some German and who knows what else. When people ask, I shrug and say “American?”

          My husband’s family is 87.5% Dutch with 12.5% Scottish. Ironically, because the 12.5% is the Y chromosome line and paternal family name line, they have a clearly Scottish last name. Oma and Opa are my husband’s mom’s parents. My grandparents have passed away long before I met my husband. Oma and Opa have taken me in as a grand-daughter and I will be forever grateful for their kindness and love.

  • Busbus

    It’s just a matter of time until something goes wrong. How will they portray that on tv?

    • Lena

      They won’t put it on air, and the show will be immediately canceled without explanation.

      • Karen in SC

        There have been medical issues on other survivalist shows and I think it just ups the schadenfreude quotient.

        But, I do hope you are right.

        • Lena

          Oh, I’m sure they’d air the close calls and emergency hospital transfers, but as soon as there’s a death or permanent damage the show will be done. That’s just too much reality for TV audiences.

          • AmyP

            Plus, the participants would probably sue the TV show.

        • KarenJJ

          Hard to feel any schadenfreude over an infant though. Different when a d list celebrity sprains an ankle.

      • Busbus

        I’m sure you’re right. Also, I just looked at the link, and they are putting a number of restrictions on the show that the typical UC couple doesn’t have – exclusion of first time mothers and anyone with risk factors and emergency professionals on site. And I’m sure that won’t be a lady midwife.

      • Amy M

        Yes, they can do amazing things with editing these days too. They’ll make transfers appear to go differently than they actually do in real life, I am sure. If someone actually dies or ends up seriously disabled though, that wouldn’t be aired, and that would be the end of that.

        How anyone could really believe these women are unassisted though, is beyond me. I mean, aside from the medical professional (whoever that is), with an ambulance standing by (I am sure, to facilitate transfers, no waiting for someone to make that 911 call), there’s an entire production team and camera crew. Sure they aren’t medically trained, but I bet the women involved signed a contract to transfer at the slightest hint of trouble, lest the producers end up with blood on their hands.

        • Mac Sherbert

          Just think about the poor OBs that have been notified they will transferred to their hospital…

  • Deena Chamlee

    Has our culture always been this sick? Because lately that is all I am seeing, disorders everywhere.

  • http://kumquatwriter.wordpress.com/ Kq

    Where did this information come from? What network is carrying it? Or is it an indiegogo/kickstarter project? Do you have any links?

    • Karen in SC

      I think they are building on the popularity of that naked survivalist show. According to my husband, who watches it, contestants have to be airlifted out occasionally.

      • Young CC Prof

        Being stranded in the desert naked: Way way less dangerous than giving birth there. (Also, most of the things that kill you tend to be pretty slow, like dehydration or exposure. Rescuing someone from that is easy.)

    • Irène Delse

      There’s a link in the first paragraph of the OP. I’ll repost it here:
      http://insidetv.ew.com/2014/06/04/birth-in-the-wild-reality-debate/

      • http://kumquatwriter.wordpress.com/ Kq

        I missed the link in my disgusted horror. Thanks.

    • Pilo

      The link is in the first sentence of the post:
      http://insidetv.ew.com/2014/06/04/birth-in-the-wild-reality-debate/

    • Sue

      Is there any reason they can’t have a “real” reality show from some isolated, impoverished community where women already have no access to medical care, and can’t be suddenly rescued by helicopter if something goes wrong?

      Isn’t it insulting to have middle class white people risking sunburn and being whisked away if anything goes wrong?