Getting your information on birth from The Childbirth Connection is like getting your information on solar power from Big Oil

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Can you say “conflict of interest”?

That’s the heart of the latest public relations effort by The Childbirth Connection, the leading lobbying organization of the natural childbirth industry.

The New York Times’ Motherlode blog notes, New Report Urges Less Intervention in Births.

But getting your information on birth from The Childbirth Connection is like getting your information on solar power from Big Oil.

Just like Big Oil has a financial interest in whether or not you choose solar power, the constituency of The Childbirth Connection (midwives, doulas and childbirth educators, aka “birth workers”) have a financial interest in whether or not you choose obstetric interventions.

The Childbirth Connection is well known for ignoring data, even its own data, in favor of promoting full employment for birth workers. The Childbirth Connection has published three “Listening to Mothers” surveys on the state of childbirth in the US, and each time they refuse to listen to what mothers tell them: approximately 90% of women in the US are happy with maternity care; the majority of women who use epidurals are extremely pleased with them; the majority of women who use alternative methods of pain relief find them to be ineffective, etc.

Despite what women have told them, despite the spectacular success of modern obstetrics, despite that fact that the only places in the world with low perinatal and maternal mortality are places with easy access to and liberal use of childbirth interventions, The Childbirth Connection insists there is a crisis.

“If overtreatment is defined as instances in which an individual may have fared as well or better with less or perhaps no intervention,” the report states in its forward, “then modern obstetric care has landed in a deep quagmire. Navigating out of that territory will be challenging.”

Dr. Sarah Buckley, who collected and interpreted the research and wrote the report, suggests within it a number of ways of escaping that quagmire, all based on the premise that the hormonal physiology of childbirth nearly always works best when it is left to work at its own speed. The benefits of the natural process, her synthesis of the research suggests, go far beyond what we had previously understood; preparing mother and baby for birth through hormonal changes up to and during the labor and birth process.

Dr. Buckley takes a page out of the playbook for challenging modern medicine. Paul Wolpe explains the steps in The Holistic Heresy: Strategies of Ideological Challenge in the Medical Profession.

1. Alternative health advocates must:

must portray the discourse as in crisis, must provide an alternative ideology to rescue the discourse, must legitimize their ideology through appeal to a reframed historical myth, and must portray the orthodoxy as a betrayer of the discourse.

Hence Buckley’s claim that modern obstetric care has landed in a deep quagmire. Really? In the past 100 years modern obstetrics has dropped the neonatal mortality rate by 90% and the maternal mortality rate by 99%! That doesn’t sound like a quagmire to me. The real quagmire is where “birth workers,” midwives, doulas and childbirth educators find themselves. They feel marginalized by lifesaving technology, so they demonize it.

2. Then offer the new philosophy, positioning it as the replacement for the old:

[The critic] draws from the marginalized or folk knowledge of the tradition and elevates the constructs found there to primary importance…

… [G]reat pains are usually taken … to show that the alien ideas are not in fact alien at all, but have existed in the discourse in a different form. [Critics] often import foreign, folk, and traditional forms of healing into their practices, [carefully describing] them as wholly compatible with Western medicine, scientifically valid, or historically present in other forms.

Hence, Buckley’s claim that “the hormonal physiology of childbirth nearly always works best when it is left to work at its own speed. The benefits of the natural process … go far beyond what we had previously understood.”

3. Blur the distinction between health and disease:

The goal of holistic health is more than the absence of disease; it is a state of optimal functioning, often referred to as ‘wellness’… [which] greatly expands the role of the [alternative provider] in medical intervention …

Hence the goal of The Childbirth Connection is more than healthy babies and healthy mothers, it is “normal birth,” a recapitulation of birth as practiced with the ancient wisdom of our foremothers.

4. Portray yourself as the savior:

The [critic] is the true keeper of the flame, the savior of the discourse, and should ascend to the position of power in place of the orthodoxy.

Hence Carol Sakala’s (director of Childbirth Connection Programs at the National Partnership for Women & Families) claim, “Our current high rates of intervention are not serving women well… But the community is really moving in the right direction. Professional societies are … talking publicly about the overuse of cesarean sections, the need to avoid constant fetal monitoring, and not permitting elective inductions or cesareans. “We are hopeful that the timing of this report will support that change.”

In the minds of natural childbirth advocates, demonizing modern obstetrics is the solution to the employment issues of birth workers.

Why? As anthropologists Caroline Bledsoe and Rachel Scherrer explain in The Dialectics of Disruption: Paradoxes of Nature and Professionalism in Contemporary American Childbearing:

If nature is defined as whatever obstetricians do not do, then the degree to which a birth can be called natural is inversely proportional to the degree to which an obstetrician appears to play a role. The answer to why obstetricians are described with such antipathy thus lies not in the substance of what obstetricians do … Obstetricians are … perceived as the chief source of disruption in the birth event …

And, not coincidentally, they represent the chief economic competition to midwives, doulas and childbirth educators.

For birth workers, fewer interventions = more employment opportunities.

To a hammer, everything looks like a nail. To a birth worker, every women looks like she needs a birth without interventions.

That doesn’t make it so.

121 Responses to “Getting your information on birth from The Childbirth Connection is like getting your information on solar power from Big Oil”

  1. Daleth
    January 22, 2015 at 9:37 am #

    I don’t suppose Childbirth Conection would ever share this study: Apparently a repeat CS is much safer for babies than a VBAC, and somewhat safer even for moms.

  2. manabanana
    January 14, 2015 at 12:07 pm #

    I’m disappointed that the ACNM is promoting this report on their Facebook page. Surely they understand this is nothing more than an opinion piece.

    Signed: an SNM who would like to believe she’s entering a profession where her colleagues understand how to distinguish scientific evidence from fluff.

    • Medwife
      January 14, 2015 at 9:13 pm #

      As a practicing CNM, I’m taken aback as well. Am I the only one who sees how sick the population tends to be? Do these people live in Fairyland or something?

  3. fiftyfifty1
    January 14, 2015 at 10:49 am #

    Getting your information on birth from the Childbirth Connection is like getting your information on abortion from Ellen Mary.

    • Young CC Prof
      January 14, 2015 at 10:58 am #

      Complete with facts and statistics from before many currently pregnant women were born.

    • January 14, 2015 at 10:05 pm #

      I think I love you.

  4. Lauren
    January 14, 2015 at 8:24 am #

    Maybe we should be pushing to change the terminology.
    I don’t think of these things as ‘interventions’ — I’m not a drunk, I’m not a drug addict, I’m not going into extreme debt because of my gambling habit. My giving birth does not need a stage, aggressive, “YOU NEED TO CHANGE” event.
    My birth needs ASSISTANCE.

    I am secure enough as a woman to say that while I do know my body to a certain extent, I am by no means an expert on it. So yes, I welcome the assistance of an expert to help me through something that can be simultaneously banal and dramatic as birthing.

    “Intervention” “assault” and “injury” have very, very, very few opportunities to be used credibly when speaking about medical treatment, and it is insulting that the HB crowd capitalizes on the aggressive and negative nature of these terms to help their cause.

    Assistance, not intervention! 🙂

    • Lauren
      January 14, 2015 at 8:25 am #


    • Amy M
      January 14, 2015 at 11:40 am #

      And in their alleged minds, all “interventions” are equal. I guess that’s because the NCB workers convince their followers that every single intervention done by an OB will lead directly to a Csection, which is of course, the worst possible outcome.

      • Lauren
        January 14, 2015 at 5:14 pm #

        I’m planning a C-Section for my first. We’ve had two incredibly traumatic miscarriages (one that included negligence on the part of the ER triage staff) and after months of therapy, emotionally I just can’t separate ‘birth’ from ‘dead baby’. That’s all my body knows, and I know that right now (at 21 weeks) I would not be able to handle a vaginal birth, when the entire time I would be weeping and believing I was birthing a dead baby, yet again.
        Maybe that will change as I get closer to the due date, but at least I know that my OB will support my decision to have a planned C-section – whatever the reasons – and that for me, it will still be ‘a birth’ and not a failure.

        I would like to throat-punch the wooers and the HB and NCB supporters who first off, ask me what my ‘birth plan’ (like it’s any of their business!) and then if they do find out it’s a hospital birth, give me that ‘oh, that’s so sad for you’ look, but that would not help anything.

        It is so easy to preach the sky is blue, when you have never seen it rain.

        • Mer
          January 14, 2015 at 6:29 pm #

          Congrats on your baby and congrats on finding a good OB that will do what’s right for you. Happy for you and I really hope you two have a great “birthday”!
          Boo to the buttheads that presume to feel sorry for you when they have no idea what you have gone through.

          • Lauren
            January 14, 2015 at 11:44 pm #

            Thanks for all the support everyone! It may sound a little silly, but I actually cried a wee bit reading these 🙂
            It is so calming and wonderful to have people ‘get it’ and not brush it off as ‘oh you’ll change your mind and want that natural birth! Trust your body!’


            I especially like the virtual throat-punches from yugaya 😉
            They will come in handy!

        • yugaya
          January 14, 2015 at 7:02 pm #

          I wanna send you hugs and kisses, but a good stockpile of throat-punches for all the future idiots who dare call it “unnecessarian” is better, so I’m sending you those instead. Good luck and keep us posted!

        • January 14, 2015 at 10:06 pm #

          You go, girl. Or woman. Or whatever, you ROCK.

    • Sue
      January 14, 2015 at 11:30 pm #

      Good point, Lauren. In most of health care, “interventions” and ”treatment” are are seen as helpful. For birth and delivery, we could use words like ”support”, ”assistance” , pain relief, etc. The zealots wouldn’t change their attitudes (they never do) but other readers might.

  5. yugaya
    January 14, 2015 at 4:33 am #

    A birth without interventions kills women at the rate of 1 000-1 500 dead women per 100 000 live births, but dr. Buckley forgot to mention that when she based her claims on the premise that “the hormonal physiology of childbirth nearly always works best”.

    Dear Ideal, Completely Intervention Free, Almighty Hormonal Physiology Only Natural Childbirth: If that is according to your advocates “nearly the best” number you can come up with, thanks but no thanks, I’ll stick with what the modern medicine has on offer.

    • Amazed
      January 14, 2015 at 7:17 am #

      Dear Unnatural Hospital Sheeple, you’ll never get “a really lovely spontaneous birth at home”.

      On the other hand, you won’t die after it either.

      • yugaya
        January 14, 2015 at 7:34 am #

        Hopefully not. 😛

        You know, the state curriculum biology coursebook for 6th grade insists on concepts that are so dear to our current regime, like natural physiological supremacy of boys over girls in science subjects and sports. I had no idea my right wing conservatives in power who approved it were such a bunch of advanced women’s rights activists. :)))

      • Dr Kitty
        January 14, 2015 at 7:41 am #

        Personally, I’m hoping for a lovely planned ERCS in hospital!

        • Amazed
          January 14, 2015 at 8:04 am #

          See? Sheeple.

          • January 14, 2015 at 10:07 pm #


  6. fiftyfifty1
    January 13, 2015 at 10:43 pm #

    ” overtreatment is defined as instances in which an individual may have fared as well or better with less or perhaps no intervention”

    It seems to me that most mothers along with their OBs are already choosing interventions in a sensible stepwise fashion.

    Pain relief: most women plan to see how it goes. They start with conservative measures like breathing, ambulation, position change and getting into water. Only if these more conservative steps *are failing* do women typically request pharmaceutical pain relief. Who wants to continue on in agony? Doesn’t sound like overtreatment to me.

    Induction: Most women over their due dates have already tried some folk remedies like walking, yoga or sex. The OB has already tried stripping the membranes. Only if these more conservative techniques *are failing* does the plan change to induction. Who wants to subject their babies to the increased risk of stillbirth and meconium aspiration that come with postdates? Doesn’t sound like overtreatment to me.

    Stuck baby: Most women have already tried position change and walking. The OB has already tried augmentation and ARM. Only when these more conservative techniques *are failing* does the talk turn to CS. Who wants to return to the bad old days of high forceps? Doesn’t sound like overtreatment to me.

    I could go on.

    • Allie P
      January 14, 2015 at 8:04 am #

      Most women plan to “see how it goes?” I’d like to see some actual studies on that. I only have anecdotal evidence, but in my circle. only the crunchies deny themselves pain relief until they are in unbearable agony (at which point they feel like failures). Most women (myself included) are happy to take full advantage of the modern technology offered us and get epidurals.

      • fiftyfifty1
        January 14, 2015 at 9:43 am #

        Yep, I would say that most women plan to see how it goes. I have met very few patients who go into their first labors with a plan to get the epidural preemptively before pain even starts (I do see that sometimes with women who have already experienced labor and know what it feels like for them). Most first time moms try some conservative measures first. Most go on to ask for an epidural at the point when they realize that the pain is bad, not getting any easier with time, the baby will not be out anytime soon, and realize that agony await them. And at that point they are happy to take advantage of modern technology just as you say. It seems like a very reasonable step-wise approach.

  7. Sue
    January 13, 2015 at 9:11 pm #

    This tactic of portraying the mainstream health care system as some sort of “failure” is intrinsic to the “alternative” provider culture. They love to cite the adverse event rate and conflicts of interest in real health care, while ignoring:
    – the abundant benefits of real medicine
    – the number of ppl treated
    – the severity of illness treated
    – the back- up nature of real medicine – available for all conditions, at all times
    – the dishonesty and profiteering within non-science-based “remedies” and their manufacturers and purveyors.

    In reality, modern medical science is one of humanity’s greatest achievements. None of its shortcomings make HBMWS any safer or homeopathy anything other than placebo.

  8. Amy Tuteur, MD
    January 13, 2015 at 8:49 pm #

    The Childbirth Connection had to go all the way to Australia to find a non-practicing family physician to front their report on childbirth interventions.

    Here’s a taste of Buckley’s “research findings” published in (where else? Mothering Magazine

    “The relationship with the placenta does not end with its disposal, whether
    by ritual burial or by hospital incineration. Placental symbolism is
    everywhere in our culture, from the handbags that we carry—holding our
    money, datebooks, and other items of survival—to the soft toys that we
    cram into our babies’ cribs. Some believe that much of our culture’s
    discontent and our urge to accumulate possessions—including all of the
    aforementioned—come from the traumatic loss of our first possession: our
    placenta. And each year we honor our placenta by lighting candles on
    our birthday cake—in Latin, the word placenta means “flat cake.”

    • Sue
      January 13, 2015 at 9:03 pm #

      Disclaimer – Buckley is a NZ- trained GP. She doesn’t have much of a profile in Aus, And I’ve seen no evidence that she’s done any real research. Oh, and she doesn’t have an MD – she clearly markets herself for the Nth American market. Lots more $$ there, I guess.

      • Amy Tuteur, MD
        January 13, 2015 at 9:23 pm #

        Oops! You’re right. She trained in NZ. Her website says she is a general practice medical doctor. Is she not being honest about her qualifications?

        • Dr Kitty
          January 14, 2015 at 5:04 am #

          No, she doesn’t have an Australian or NZ MD (which is a post graduate qualificate equivalent to a PhD in medicine).

          from her own website:
          “Sarah trained in medicine at Otago University, also known as the University of Otago, where she gained the qualification MB, ChB, equivalent to MD in the US and MB BS in Australia.”

          She is using “MD” because her North American readers understand it, but no, she doesn’t actually have that qualification.

          She would be Dr Sarah Buckley MD ChB MRACGP DRANZCOG.

          She is a member of the Australian Medical Association (which is a trade union) and the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine.

          ACNEM say this about becoming a member on their website:
          “Doctors, dentists and healthcare professionals registered with the Australian Health Practitioners Registration Agency (AHPRA), the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ) and the Dental Council of New Zealand (DCNZ) do not need to provide supporting documentation providing their current registration is able to be confirmed by a web search of the AHPRA, MCNZ or DCNZ website”…so membership of ACEM isn’t exactly a qualification either.

          I am MB BCh BAO MRCGP DRCOG- or, in other words I have EXACTLY THE SAME equivalent qualifications, if not the same clinical experience (because I’m not crazy enough to do homebirths).

          • Amazed
            January 14, 2015 at 6:19 am #

            Ah Dr Kitty! Maybe you’ll change your tune once you have your wonderful healing homebirth with the kitten you’re currently housing. Maybe you’ll be the next Sarah Buckley or Aviva Romm!

            P,P. Once again, best wishes to you and the kitten! Does your kid want a kitten, or a sibling? I was all for the furry part. No need to say what I got instead. A win-win.

          • Dr Kitty
            January 14, 2015 at 7:15 am #

            Kiddo has been asked Santa for a sibling for as long as she could talk, so I’m not worried on that front, although our actual furry kitty has been a bit weird around me for the last week or two, so we have yet to see how he feels!

          • Cobalt
            January 14, 2015 at 11:05 pm #

            My cats, after spending months purring on my baby while he was in utero, were completely unimpressed when we brought him home. One even went on strike for a week, refusing to nap with me now that the bump was gone. After my hernia surgery he came around immediately and of course wanted to lay over the incision. Cats!

          • KarenJJ
            January 14, 2015 at 7:33 am #

            One of my specialists did their medical training there. Judging by their level of knowledge and the regard with which they’re held by other specialists, the University of Otago would be a good university. At least we don’t have to claim her as Australian I suppose. I thought she was no longer practising?

          • January 14, 2015 at 10:10 pm #

            I saw DRANZCOG open for Danzig in the late 90s!

    • Bugsy
      January 13, 2015 at 9:04 pm #

      Calling it a placenta cake would sure ensure you have a lot of leftovers…

    • Trixie
      January 13, 2015 at 10:22 pm #

      I’m going to make the kids symbolic placentas for breakfast tomorrow.

      • Samantha06
        January 13, 2015 at 10:38 pm #

        I can see it now.. the latest NCB money making scheme– Placenta Pancakes! You use a standard pancake mix, make one huge pancake, then use a form to make a “cord”.. cover it in strawberry jelly, and there you have it!

        • Who?
          January 13, 2015 at 11:30 pm #

          You know, as icky and just plain wrong as that is, the really awful part is I doubt you are the first person to think of it, and the first person probably wasn’t thinking it to mock…

          • Samantha06
            January 13, 2015 at 11:43 pm #

            I know, I thought about that too… ugh!!

    • Elaine
      January 13, 2015 at 11:41 pm #

      Oh, good grief.

      I have a song that I sing at times like this–to the tune of Barbara Ann.
      Whack whack whack, whack whack a loon
      Whack whack whack, whack whack a loon…

    • Francesca Violi
      January 14, 2015 at 7:58 am #

      AHAHAHA! Hilarious! Yes, darling, my new Gucci purse DID cost 2500 euros but hey, I’m only replacing my traumatically lost placenta! 😀

    • Amy M
      January 14, 2015 at 8:03 am #

      No wonder my twins are so good at sharing, they shared their first possession! I’m sure they were traumatized when it was chucked in the biohazard bin.

      We’ve all seen that gross teddy bear made from dried placenta. If a teddy can be made, a handbag can be made, so there’s that. If she is equating a handbag to a lifeline, then a smartphone would be more accurate, because we can actually call a literal life saver (911), as well as use it to find food (grocery stores), shelter, and community.

    • sdsures
      January 14, 2015 at 9:36 am #

      MDC strikes again!

    • Beth
      January 14, 2015 at 9:56 am #

      omg. my eyes just rolled so hard one fell out and landed under the desk. Traumatic loss of our first possession? Even if newborn babies’ brains were developed enough to form that complex a thought, I think their first thought would be “hey, it’s cold, it’s bright, what the heck?” not “where is that goopy thing that used to be parked on the wall nearby?”

  9. Alenushka
    January 13, 2015 at 5:22 pm #

    I felt super calm in the hospital. I wants to be in a room with OR and Blood Bank down the hall.

    • Young CC Prof
      January 13, 2015 at 7:29 pm #

      Yup. There are many women in the mainstream who are in favor of natural childbirth, but most of them, when they picture doing their Lamaze in a comfy birthing room, they also want the OR down the hall and a caregiver who can reliably identify signs that something might not be going well.

      • Karen in SC
        January 13, 2015 at 7:52 pm #

        I wanted that 21 years ago!

      • Cobalt
        January 13, 2015 at 8:26 pm #

        I’m willing to agree with nature whenever nature is willing to agree with me.

    • anh
      January 15, 2015 at 5:35 am #

      I know what you mean. we knew my daughter’s cord was wrapped around her neck so they kept telling me to do kick counts every 4 hours. I felt such tremendous relief to have the monitors on and know that I no longer was the only personal responsible for monitoring my daughter

  10. Amy Tuteur, MD
    January 13, 2015 at 4:38 pm #

    This is what happened when I asked Sarah Buckley a question during the ongoing Twitter session on #BirthHormones:

    • Samantha06
      January 13, 2015 at 9:56 pm #

      I wonder if she would block me if I ask her how a placenta is like a handbag? I can’t get past that one…

      • Young CC Prof
        January 13, 2015 at 10:09 pm #

        “How is a placenta like a handbag?”

        I threw it away when I didn’t need it anymore?

        • Samantha06
          January 13, 2015 at 10:29 pm #

          That’s for sure! But what about when they make them into capsules, or bury them? Maybe the capsule thing could be akin to cutting up the handbag and making it into little change purses?

        • Cobalt
          January 13, 2015 at 10:32 pm #

          It’s telling that when they make analogies, placentas are compared to desirable goods and as a root of lifelong covetousness, while babies inevitably get likened to poop.

        • Sarah
          January 14, 2015 at 6:53 am #

          Neither taste good.

        • Amy M
          January 14, 2015 at 12:04 pm #

          It would be funnier if she started answering with more questions, like “Why is a raven like a writing desk?” or “What does that have to do with the price of tea on the Moon?” but those NCB people never have a sense of humor.

      • Trixie
        January 13, 2015 at 10:24 pm #

        Someone should contact Lady Gaga’s wardrobe person about the possibility of a placenta handbag at the next awards show.

  11. Amy M
    January 13, 2015 at 3:19 pm #

    I guess the good news is that Childbirth Connection is not getting too far if they are consistently getting a survey result of 90% + rate of satisfaction with modern birth and all its interventions. They really have a low opinion of the intelligence of their target audience, huh?

  12. Votre
    January 13, 2015 at 2:56 pm #

    Um…DR. Amy? The Paul Wolpe article you referenced looks like it would make for good reading. Unfortunately the link points to yet another Elsevier paywalled article.

    • moto_librarian
      January 13, 2015 at 4:28 pm #

      Not much she can do about that, I’m afraid. You can try getting it via ILL.

    • Ardea
      January 14, 2015 at 2:09 am #

      You can look at the authors of the paper (there are usually more than one) and e-mail them to request a pdf. That’s what I do. They are usually very happy to communicate about their research.

  13. Roadstergal
    January 13, 2015 at 2:51 pm #

    I really can’t get over this parallel.

    “If overtreatment is defined as instances in which an individual may have fared as well or better with less or perhaps no intervention,” the report states in its forward, “then modern obstetric care has landed in a deep quagmire. Navigating out of that territory will be challenging.”

    If overtreatment is defined as instances in which an individual may have fared as well or better with less or perhaps no intervention, we need to stop every person after an accident-free drive and ask how they feel about the ‘quagmire’ (giggidy) that modern safety systems (seatbelts, booster seats, car seats) have landed them in.

    • Allie P
      January 13, 2015 at 3:07 pm #

      “If overtreatment is defined as…” means that we need to march on dentists’ offices for not telling their patients to just bite on a stick.

  14. Ash
    January 13, 2015 at 2:23 pm #

    Childbirth Connection says they are part of the National Partnership for Women & Families. In the About Us section:

    “Today, we promote fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care, and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family.”

    Reproductive health and rights? No, in order to meet CC’s demands, women are supposed to succumb to THEIR demands rather than their individual desires as women with agency. It’s required that you follow their pathway rather than your own. Spend a few hundred on a doula. Be subject to the vague and unspecified “hormones” that require that you avoid effective pain relief. Don’t have discussions wtih your care team about your individual situation–no, to go down a good “pathway”, you should unilaterally avoid c-sections, oxytocin, and epidurals.

    The pathway image reminds me of the antiquated concept that women are subject to “hysterics.” Calm down! Don’t be stressed! Don’t ask questions!

    • Alannah
      January 13, 2015 at 2:35 pm #

      The intermingling of natural childbirth ideology and mainstream healthcare is a reproductive rights issue.
      Women are systematically denied pain relief, forced into birth modalities they don`t want, have their right to choose their feeding method revoked and are subjected to hazardous levels of sleep deprivation (baby friendly, anyone?).
      None of these have scientifically proven benefits but they fit the agenda of certain categories of healthcare providers (midwives, LC`s, doulas). This needs to stop.

  15. BirthatHome
    January 13, 2015 at 2:15 pm #

    As far as “normal birth” is concerned, since when did giving “normal birth” become a medical procedure requiring hospital stay? Women have been giving “normal birth” for thousands of years without assistance from doctors. Complete hospital birth $10,000, complete home birth $2000. Our insurance would have paid for the complete birth in a hospital but because we chose to have our children at home they only covered 30%. We had our children at home because it’s safer. They title of your article is misleading at best, at worst it’s an outright lie.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      January 13, 2015 at 2:24 pm #

      Chilbirth is, in every time, place and culture, a leading cause of death of young women, and THE deadliest day of the 18 years of childbirth.

    • Alannah
      January 13, 2015 at 2:25 pm #

      How much do you think the emergency transport, NICU stay and lifelong 24 hour care for your baby would have cost if you hadn`t been so lucky? $1000.000 wouldn`t begin to cover that. Insurers are very much aware of what is cost efficient and what is not. From a purely finanial perspective homebirth is pennywise, pound foolish.

      • Guest
        January 13, 2015 at 5:51 pm #

        But some Insurances DO cover home birth.

        • January 13, 2015 at 10:27 pm #

          And that proves NOTHING, except that you are splitting hairs and/or have a stupendous lack of reading comprehension.

          • Guest
            January 14, 2015 at 9:39 am #

            Wow! I never said that I was pro home birth! or trying to prove that home birth is safe! I’m not “splitting hairs”. Several people stated that home birth is not covered under insurance or “general insurance companies. I was just trying to add that yes it is covered under many policies, in many states, by many companies. My husband is in insurance. But, Thanks for calling me stupid. Nice way to start the day.

          • January 14, 2015 at 9:45 am #

            Lack of reading comprehension =/= stupid. Oh, and neither does stupendous.

        • yugaya
          January 14, 2015 at 5:11 am #

          Some DO. Most don’t. Thus it’s safe.

          What planet did you say you were from?

          • Guest
            January 14, 2015 at 9:28 am #

            Come on! I am not arguing or trying to prove that home birth is safer because insurance companies cover it!! I was merely stating that it is a covered benefit on some policies. It varies from state to state, company to company and policy to policy. And several in my state do cover it. Why the need to insult??

          • yugaya
            January 14, 2015 at 2:00 pm #

            You have so far provided no valid evidence for your claim that homebirth is safer.

            And I do wonder quite often about the actual origin of logic that manages to come up with the conclusion that homebirth is safer than hospital birth. 🙂

        • birthbuddy
          January 14, 2015 at 5:54 am #

          General insurance companies wouldn’t go near homebirth midwives.
          They calculate real mathematical risk on facts not mythology.

      • Liz Leyden
        January 14, 2015 at 1:20 pm #

        My state requires health insurers to pay for home birth, even if the provider is not a CNM and does not have malpractice insurance. Medicaid also pays for home birth with a non-nurse midwife, because it’s cheaper. Of course, no one has calculated the costs of home births gone wrong.

    • Joyce
      January 13, 2015 at 2:30 pm #

      As a L&D nurse working in a hospital, I can assure you that childbirth is not as safe as you think, either for the mother or the baby. When a laboring woman comes in with a birth plan, I read it carefully, discussing each point with the parents to be, and I tell them I am more than happy to follow their plan EXCEPT when following that plan could compromise the safety of mother or baby. Most families understand this; we don’t intervene for the sake of intervening, we intervene because we all have the same goal, that is, a healthy mother with a healthy baby.

      • BirthatHome
        January 13, 2015 at 2:33 pm #

        I did not say childbirth is safe, I said it’s safer at home.

        • Joyce
          January 13, 2015 at 2:39 pm #

          Do you have evidence demonstrating that childbirth is safer at home? Women in labor come to my hospital when things have gone wrong during an attempted home birth and we desperately, and sometimes unsuccessfully, try to save mother and baby. In childbirth emergencies, minutes and even seconds can count.

          • BirthatHome
            January 13, 2015 at 3:43 pm #

            “Do you have evidence demonstrating that childbirth is safer at home?” Yes, otherwise we would not have gone with home birth.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            January 13, 2015 at 4:05 pm #

            Interesting. The question of the safety of homebirth has been long discussed here, with plenty of supporters showing up. Yet, no one has ever come up with anything showing that birth is safer at home. So do you mind sharing that evidence with us all? It would be very eye-opening.

          • moto_librarian
            January 13, 2015 at 5:12 pm #

            Your assurances aren’t good enough. Show us the actual data that proved that it was safer.

          • yugaya
            January 14, 2015 at 1:55 pm #

            Duh. So what you are saying is that “because I say/feel/think so” or having a homebirth or two that did not end up as a trainwreck is not evidence enough?

            I think our guest really wants to check out the story on Maria Zain and see how far that type of ‘evidence’ can take you if you rely on it instead of qualified medical opinions and scientific data. She also wants to check out the story of Gavin Michael to see how deadly the ‘evidence’ lay midwives rely on is too.

          • Joyce
            January 13, 2015 at 5:24 pm #

            If you have evidence (and I mean real evidence, not anecdotes) then please share that evidence with us.

          • Petanque
            January 13, 2015 at 8:11 pm #

            Oh, ok then.

          • Samantha06
            January 13, 2015 at 9:41 pm #

            Where is the evidence? Please share it, don’t keep it all to yourself! Just one, teensy, weensy study..

          • January 13, 2015 at 10:26 pm #

            “Yes, but I won’t tell you cuz it’s sooper sekrit magick snowflake evidence”

          • Lauren
            January 14, 2015 at 8:15 am #

            You’re going to have to do better than that.
            Imagine I was answering your question to me, “do you have evidence that hospital birth is safer” and then all I responded with was, “Yes, otherwise we would not have gone with hospital birth.”
            I can hear your scorn and disagreement from here.

            The difference is that I have multiple, credible, reliable studies that I can supply as my evidence. And I will supply them. Whether you read them and can pull apart the data in order to refute them is the next step in the discourse.

            But see, you’re not giving any of your evidence. So others have no chance to read it and then refute it if possible.
            So, really, your ‘evidence’ smacks of ‘personal preference’ and is likely not based on reliable information. So you see how you’re not really participating properly in the discourse here.

            Now, if you wanted to go with ‘my personal OPINION and PREFERENCE is home birth, which is why we went with it’, have at it. No one here will take that away from you, because only you can make decisions for your body and your family. That’s your inalienable right, and every person here will support that right.

            Just don’t come in with statements that are meant to read as facts — but lack factual evidence — and expect to be taken seriously.

        • Deborah
          January 13, 2015 at 2:42 pm #

          Birth at home IS safer if you count a cesarean, epidural, or use of pitocin as a major complication, on par with HIE, stillbirth, long NICU stays, and maternal mortality or severe morbidity. If you don’t count it that way, then hospital birth is safer.

        • Anne
          January 13, 2015 at 4:34 pm #

          If you live in the Netherlands and are having your second or subsequent baby and are “low risk”.
          As it sounds as though you are in the US (assumption from your discussion of insurance cover- correct me if this assumption is wrong) you cannot extrapolate the article you linked.

          • deafgimp
            January 21, 2015 at 10:48 pm #

            Wait, do you mean based on study that was proven to be wrong on how homebirth in the Netherlands is safer, when actually high risk births in hospital in the Netherlands have better survival rates than low risk homebirths do?

        • Amazed
          January 13, 2015 at 6:55 pm #

          Of course it is. That’s why all those hospital birthing mothers are calling an ambulance to take them home as soon as their stuck/having non-reassuring heart rate/irresponsive due to the mec stain baby start showing signs that there is a problem. Because, by definition, home is safer!

        • Sue
          January 13, 2015 at 9:20 pm #

          We know that’s what you are saying, but what you are saying has been shown to be wrong. Multiple times. And in multiple systems and countries.

        • Samantha06
          January 13, 2015 at 9:50 pm #

          Well then when there’s a crisis at your home birth, you’ll be able to “handle it” right? You won’t be calling an ambulance to rush you to the hospital in the hopes your baby makes it or you make it, right? Since, after all, birth is “safer at home”..

    • Allie P
      January 13, 2015 at 3:10 pm #

      Citation please. Homebirth has a threefold increase of death.

      THAT’S why your insurance wouldn’t cover it. It’s dangerous.

      • Guest
        January 13, 2015 at 5:48 pm #

        Some Insurances do cover home birth.

        • Lauren
          January 13, 2015 at 5:50 pm #

          Some insurances cover breast augmentation and rhinoplasty. There insurance companies that cover homeopathy and naturopaths.
          Whether an insurance company – a separate entity with its own self-interests – will or will not cover homebirth is almost entirely irrelevant.

          • Guest
            January 13, 2015 at 5:56 pm #

            It’s not irrelevant. The commenter said that insurance wouldn’t cover home birth because it was dangerous. I’m just saying that yes it is a covered benefit on some policies.

          • Lauren
            January 13, 2015 at 7:13 pm #

            It is almost irrelevant because if you look hard enough and shop around long enough, you can find an insurance company to insure just about anything. So while one company may state that it does not insure homebirth because it is dangerous, another may state that it does because it is not dangerous.
            The point is — we are not taking the opinion of insurance companies as to whether an action or situation is inherently dangerous, since they choose to insure or not insure based on their own profit margins and ideologies first, and possibly takes into account other sources (i.e. science) second.
            We trust science and medical professionals to tell us if homebirth is safe, hence insurance is pretty much irrelevant here.

          • Guest
            January 14, 2015 at 9:16 am #

            well. You actually don’t have to “shop” around to find an insurance company that will cover home birth. It is not that difficult to find one. But I am NOT arguing that home birth is safe because insurance companies cover it! I was merely refuting a statement that was incorrect.

          • Lauren
            January 15, 2015 at 12:03 am #

            Then you may want to either re-read the thread, or define what you mean by ‘incorrect’, given that the original post stated ‘our insurance only covered 30%’.
            Not ‘any’ insurance, or the insurance you can find, but the one this person was using.
            The response to that was, it wasn’t covered because it’s dangerous.
            You then commented, twice now, that homebirth is covered on some policies, which reasonably implies you disagree that HB is unsafe, and this fact (re: insurance) supports that.

            So which part of that was incorrect?

            If you don’t believe insurance coverage = level of safety, why bring it up?

          • Allie P
            January 14, 2015 at 8:10 am #

            Let me clarify. Many insurers will not insure homebirth midwives because they are untrained frauds and quacks shilling their snake oil and calling it medical training. Better?

          • Guest
            January 14, 2015 at 9:12 am #

            Actually, yes.

          • Lauren
            January 14, 2015 at 11:53 pm #

            Hahaha, yes
            Very well put.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      January 13, 2015 at 3:15 pm #

      If “normal birth” is defined as birth that occurs without any complications and without so much pain that pain relief is required, then pretty much by definition, it is safe to do it at home.

      However, in that case, whether a birth is normal or not can only be determined after it is complete, and so saying that we should do normal births at home makes about as much sense as betting on red or black in roulette after the number has come up.

    • Amy M
      January 13, 2015 at 3:15 pm #

      Well, the longer hospital stays are more for when the birth goes awry and is no longer “normal.” Or more accurately, no longer uncomplicated.

      But, to most of us, a birth where a human baby is born to a human mother and all of the parties involved are alive with their brain cells intact at the end, that’s a normal birth. Now, if a human woman gave birth to, say, a puppy, that would not be normal.

      We often hear about “variations of normal” from the NCB crowd. Where is the line? What, to you, is abnormal?

    • moto_librarian
      January 13, 2015 at 5:11 pm #

      Yup. And they and their babies often didn’t live to tell about it. But please go on and tell us how much safer home birth is based on a news report from the BBC.

    • Sue
      January 13, 2015 at 9:17 pm #

      “Normal birth” is not a medical procedure. Birth is a physiological process with a naturally high maternal and infant mortality and morbidity rate. Medical procedures reduce the morbidity and mortality enormously. Concentrating medical expertise and equipment in hospitals allows everyone to access them. Neat system, isn’t it?

    • Samantha06
      January 13, 2015 at 10:00 pm #

      “Women have been giving “normal birth” for thousands of years without assistance from doctors.”

      And they died. The End.

      • yugaya
        January 14, 2015 at 4:45 am #

        Yes, but they had such beautiful birth experience. It also cost them nothing.

        • Samantha06
          January 14, 2015 at 11:42 am #

          For sure.. no doctor bills…

    • Montserrat Blanco
      January 14, 2015 at 3:26 am #

      Please, show us a single paper published on a journal with a decent impact factor that demonstrates that. I would be really happy to find out that homebirth is safer.

      And “normal birth” is the joke. A process with 15% preterm, 3% multiples, 5% preeclampsia, 5% gestational diabetes, etc, etc does not seem very “normal” to me.

    • yugaya
      January 14, 2015 at 4:44 am #

      Oh hai.

    • Liz Leyden
      January 14, 2015 at 1:22 pm #

      Birth is a natural process that can go *very* wrong *very* quickly.

  16. Alannah
    January 13, 2015 at 2:10 pm #

    “Not permitting elective inductions and cesareans”. Because women should have “choices in childbirth.”
    Unless hey choose not to adhere to the NCB agenda. In that case they must be forced to comply.
    Mothers are worse off than we were in the 1950`s: another breed of paternalistic healtcare providers are clamoring to make our birth choices for us, only this time around they have no real medical skills and they won`t allow us pain relief.


    • Samantha06
      January 13, 2015 at 9:47 pm #

      So true. That’s what’s so horrifying about the HB/midwife/NCB thing.. women are being offered sub-standard “care” under the guise of choice, and they are falling for it hook, line and sinker…

    • Sarah
      January 14, 2015 at 6:59 am #

      She’s clearly a feminist like Gina.

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