Ruth Rodley thinks dead babies are “hickups”


Homebirth advocates are panicking. At least 7 babies have died at homebirth in the past weeks.

Although homebirth advocates are excellent at denial, even they are having a tough time explaining this away.

Consider Ruth Rodley, an administrator of one of the most dangerous and notorious homebirth Facebook groups. Here’s what Ruth had to say about the 7 deaths in one week:


…she is so anti homebirth, that she will find ANY story about homebirth that may have had a little hickup [sic] and totally throw it out of proportion. There may have been a few deaths, BUT please be aware that we know even in the hospital that wouldn’t have been avoided. it was out of anyones control …

Really, Ruth? A DEAD BABY is a “hickup” in your view? How can you be so utterly heartless?

[pullquote align=”right” color=””]Really, Ruth? A dead baby is a “hickup” in your view?[/pullquote]

Ruth’s ugly statement gives me an opportunity to expound on the difference between ignorant homebirth clowns like Rodley and real medical professionals.

1. Obstetrics is preventive care.

Just about every test, intervention and procedure is designed to prevent dead babies. We can argue about whether a particular test accurate, whether a specific intervention might be avoided in a specific case, or whether a particular procedure was require in the circumstances. We cannot and should not argue about the value of preventive care.

A woman has the right to forgo hospital birth, just like a woman has the right to ignore a doctor’s advice about smoking, drinking and obesity. But in both cases, what she’s really forgoing is preventive care. Claiming that a baby who dies at homebirth would have died in the hospital is like claiming that the 400 pound woman who smokes two packs of cigarettes a day currently residing in the ICU after her heart attack would have had a heart attack any way even if she hadn’t been an obese smoker. Sure both are theoretically possible, but unlikely.

When you forgo the preventive care that was designed SPECIFICALLY to prevent death during childbirth and then your baby dies, you can’t expect anyone to take you seriously when you claim it would have happened anyway even if you’d had preventive care.

2. Obstetrics is always trying to do better. Homebirth advocates never try to do better.

Doctors and real midwives take bad outcomes very seriously. They are crushed by deaths. They are always trying to do better; that’s why we collect childbirth mortality statistics in the first place. You will NEVER hear an obstetrician or real midwife dismiss a potentially preventable death as inevitable. At the very least, the obstetrics department of the hospital will review the case and offer suggestions for better managment. If the death is the result of a system wide failure, new policies will be put in place. If the death is the result of not acting fast enough, the entire obstetric department will drill on responding faster or a special emergency team might receive extra training as first responders.

Homebirth midwives automatically absolve themselves of responsibility for doing better by pretending that nothing could have been done to change the outcome. There will be no root cause analysis for fear that the root cause is the decision to give birth at home; better not to look than to find that out. There will be no hospital review. There will be no new safety policies because there are NO safety policies at all. No one will drill on preventing future disasters because that would mean that they might have prevented the present disaster.

3. Obstetricians take responsibility. Homebirth midwives and advocates do everything in their power to deny and avoid responsibility for their own actions.

Homebirth advocacy depends on the willful belief of several fundamental fictions: the fiction that childbirth is inherently safe; the fiction that the key to avoiding a bad outcome is “trusting birth”; the fiction that homebirth deaths are always unpreventable.

I wouldn’t want a pilot who refused to take responsibility for a crash; I wouldn’t want an architect who refused to take responsibility for a bridge collapse; I wouldn’t want a doctor who refused to take responsibility for a potentially preventable death. Why would anyone willingly choose a homebirth midwive who will never accept responsibility regardless of the type and magnitude of the disaster that occurred at her hands?

4. Obstetricians will fight fiercely to save your baby and you. Homebirth midwives and advocates will dismiss you and your dead baby as “hickups,” a nuisance to be casually dismissed while proceeding merrily on their way to self-actualization. An obstetrician cares profoundly whether you and your baby survive; a homebirth midwife or advocate couldn’t care less.

Ruth Rodley and her ilk are contemptible creatures whose self-esteem depends on hood-winking other women into risking their babies’ lives and then refusing to accept responsibility when those babies die.

To all those homebirth advocates parachuting in here and on Facebook in a desperate attempt to deny that homebirth isn’t merely deadly, it’s obviously deadly:

Don’t waste your time.

I’m as likely to believe you as I am to believe the 400 pound smoker in ICU who claims her heart attack was unavoidable.

To Ruth Rodley:

Do the babies of the world a favor and shut up! Stop luring women into risking their babies’ lives to boost your self-esteem. Find another hobby like gardening. That way if anything dies as a result of your advice, it will be an expendable plant, not another woman’s precious baby.

And if you have anything to say to or about me, come here and say it so I can publicly eviscerate your desperate lies.