Abby Reichardt of The Florida School of Traditional Midwifery demonstrates the arrogant ignorance of homebirth midwives

expression -  Ignorance is bliss - written on a school blackboar

The most deadly thing about homebirth midwives isn’t their ignorance; the most deadly thing is that they are arrogant in their ignorance.

Over the last two days, regular readers have been treated to a festival of blazing stupidity courtesy of Abby Reichardt, posting as Sweet Baby Jesus. I’ve known all along who she is, but she just outed herself to the rest of the group this morning.

Who is Abby?

[pullquote align=”right” color=”#0f100f”]At the end of the argument, Abby is no more knowledgeable than at the beginning (even about arithmetic).[/pullquote]

Abby Reichardt, B.S., is a … graduate of the University of Florida in Family, Youth & Community Sciences. She first became involved with FSTM as a student midwife and completed one year, taking time off to work so that her husband, John, could pursue his degree at UF also. She has been working with FSTM’s Academic Department since spring 2012. In September 2013 she gave birth at home to her first child, John Earley. Abby is passionate about midwifery education and practice and intends to complete her midwifery schooling and become an LM/CPM.

What is FSTM?

The Florida School of Traditional Midwifery offers excellence in direct entry midwifery education in an environment that encourages students to reach their full potential.

What’s Abby’s role at FTSM? Having dropped out of the school temporarily, she worked at the school as … wait for it … Academic Director!

But as I said above, the most amazing thing about Abby is not that she is so ignorant that, as she demonstrated, she cannot do 4th grade math. The most amazing thing is that no matter how many times she was corrected on matters both large and smaller, she continued to aggressively insist that she has something to teach the many doctors and CNMs who were correcting her.

Abby parachuted in like so many homebirth advocates do, determine to share her special brand of “knowledge” with the rest of us.

With your impressing curricula vitae, Dr. Amy, it would appear from this post that the facts and examples you obtained came from sitting in the break-room with other colleagues from your exact background sharing anecdotal banter about “lay midwives” from a painfully narrow and biased perspective. Where are any real facts and figures in your post? What research have you conducted on midwifery training and accredited schools in the US, or for that matter the national infant and maternal mortality/morbidity rates in this country?

Abby then graced us with the typical talking points of the homebirth movement and concluded with a flourish:

My final charge to you, Dr. Amy, is this: I challenge you to re-post your very same argument in response to my comments using REAL statistics and CURRENT information regarding obstetrical practice in the United States. I want to see facts that include the actual state of CPM education in our country and a comparison of those overseas…

Written by a student midwife seeking CPM/LM licensure in the State of Florida, previous Academic Director of a MEAC-accredited midwifery school and mother of one beautiful and safely home-born boy.

Abby promptly demonstrated her astounding inability to do arithmetic:

Neonatal death—all newborns
Homebirth: 2.0/1,000
Hospital Birth: 0.9/1,000
(increased risk with Homebirth is 0.1%)

Let’s leave aside for the moment that the death rate for low risk white women at term is actually 0.4/1000 which means that the risk of death at homebirth is 5X higher (400%); any 4th grader should be able to divide 2.0 by 0.9 and get 2.22. I can’t even begin to fathom how Abby came up with 0.1%. What’s even more remarkable than that is that she couldn’t see, just by eyeballing that she was spectacularly wrong in her “calculations.”

When it was pointed out to Abby that the increase risk of death at homebirth (using her numbers) is 1.22/1000, she dismissed such deaths as so rare as to be unworthy of consideration.

That is a blip on my radar. That is also a trade-off for some of the things that can happen when only-hospital birth is enforced.

Who wants to be cared from by a provider who thinks your baby’s death is a blip on her radar?

After expounding on the risks of C-sections, someone asked Abby if she knew the risks of vaginal birth. Her response:

I think that is a great question and vital to a true informed consent. I will get back to you on that because I think that it will take time to gather info…

She then favored us with this gem:

The number one maternal killer in the US is suicide.

Abby does not realize that when we speak about maternal death we are referring to deaths cause directly or indirectly by the pregnancy or other medical conditions. Suicide is not even on that list. The number one cause of maternal death in the US is maternal cardiac disease.

After being corrected repeatedly on her assertions, Abby had this to say:

I’m going on anecdotal evidence at best. There is not a whole lot of research on out of hospital birth as a whole that isn’t horribly slanted toward the hospital-birth bias. I would love to see more. Would you listen? When I posted evidencebasedbirthblog above everyone laughed, so apparently attempts to research it are made fun of. Preeeeetty discouraging.

No, Abby, what’s pretty discouraging is that you think a website run for profit by a cardiac nurse is a research source.

Abby believes herself to be an expert on obstetric training. First she told us that during 4 years of internship and residency, OBs see only 75 spontaneously vaginal births. When informed that the average OB resident sees that many in two months, Abby retorted:

Does every OB see every complication during training before they start managing birth? It’s not like #81 is guaranteed to be a cord prolapse. You train hard and you learn how to manage it and you practice in clinic and you continue education. Just like every single medical provider out there. Your standards are out of reach even for OBs and it makes for faulty logic.

Actually, we see all but the rarest complications (and even some of those) because we train in teaching hospitals. So not only did I myself perform hundreds of deliveries and care for thousands of women during the years of my internship and residency, but I went to Morbidity and Mortality rounds every week where all complicated cases were discussed. Since more than 6,000 babies were born at the hospital every year and since I was there for 4 years, I heard about complications from over 24,000 deliveries and how best to manage each and every one of those complications.

Abby wailed repeatedly about the hardship of becoming a real midwife (CNM):

Did you know that there are only a handful of CNM programs even available in this country? One has closed recently in my hometown and leaves very few options left in our region of the country.

So what? Providing safe healthcare for women isn’t about what is convenient for Abby and her friends; it’s about the education and training needed to be a safe provider. Just because it isn’t as easy for them to obtain the necessary training is not a reason to dumb down the training to make it convenient for them.

Abby flounced repeatedly, but could not stick the flounce. She kept returning to provide more evidence that CPMs are utterly incompetent.

At the end of the argument, Abby is no more knowledgeable than at the beginning (even about arithmetic), despite being corrected repeatedly:

I will end with this: The perinatal risk of having a homebirth over a hospital is 0.1% greater.

Abby has taught us a lot … no nothing about math, medicine or obstetrics … Abby has demonstrated why homebirth midwives are responsible for so many dead babies. Many homebirth midwives, like Abby, are blithering idiots who mistake their own ignorance for knowledge.


Addendum: Abby deleted all her comments, but I had already saved them. Here they are (in reverse order).

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