Henci Goer defends the natural childbirth industry on an industry website


You can’t make this stuff up.

I woke up this morning to find that Gaye Demanuele, the midwife who watched Caroline Lovell bleed to death at her homebirth, extolling a piece by Henci Goer’s “rebuttal” of my Washington Post piece How the natural birth industry sets mothers up for guilt and shame.

I wrote:

…[T]he crunchy natural-birth subculture has slowly morphed into an industry, mainly catering to the most privileged women in society. Second, a cabal of natural-birth activists — online, on the air and even inside hospitals.

Goer, a stalwart of the natural childbirth industry, who makes her money selling books about natural childbirth, takes to her new website, selling her natural childbirth videos ($5 per video, $25 for a yearly subscription), to disagree.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]C’mon Henci, you may think your followers are gullible and stupid, but no one is that stupid![/pullquote]

As with most things that come from the industry, it’s an exercise in mendacity.

Goer starts with a dig:

Amy Tuteur has managed to score a commentary in the Washington Post … You would think that the inflammatory rhetoric would have given the Post’s editors a clue that they should get their fact checkers on the case. If they had, they would have realized that the piece cherry picks bits out of context, distorts and sensationalizes the data, and just plain makes statements that are factually incorrect, but perhaps the “Dr.” in front of her name gave her an automatic pass…

Goer appears to be oblivious to the fact the piece is adapted from my new book PUSH BACK: Guilt in the Age of Natural Parenting. I’ve done quite a few print pieces and radio interviews to promote the book. The Washington Post CHOSE to post an excerpt from the book and THEY chose this excerpt.

Poor Henci. She whines that the “Dr.” In front of my name gives me an automatic pass. She’s apparently disgusted that someone would take the word of a Harvard educated, Harvard trained obstetrician gynecologist who’s written for The New York Times, TIME.com, The London Times and a variety of other publications instead of Goer, who has NO formal training in midwifery, medicine or anything else. Goer is a legend in her own mind, a self-appointed “expert” in the obstetrical literature. Who else considers her an expert? No one.

I’ve written about Goer and her mendacity for years and first challenged her to a debate in 2008.

Her lies back then were legion:

“…The blanket accusation that U.S. direct-entry midwives have less training than other midwives in industrialized countries requires no denial because it is fatuous.”

“… If Amy Tuteur is saying that our perinatal mortality rate is low, that is just not true.”

And my personal favorite:

“I don’t know if you ran across that thread while surfing this Forum, but some of us–including me–theorize that “Dr. Amy” is a disinformation strategy of the American College of Ob/Gyns. We can’t prove it, of course.”

So much for Goer’s vaunted “research” skills.

Goer ended up banning me from her message board; it was far easier than acknowledging that I was telling the truth and she was trying to deceive women.

Goer tries the same disinformation tactics in her “rebuttal.”

I wrote in WaPo:

A study in Oregon found that the death rate for babies delivered in planned home births with midwives in 2012 was roughly seven times that of hospital-born babies.

And Goer inexplicably replies:

Tuteur appears to be referring to Snowden (2015). After adjustment for maternal characteristics and medical conditions, the odds ratio for perinatal death in planned out-of-hospital birth was 2.4 times that of planned hospital birth, amounting to an absolute difference of 1.5 more deaths per 1000. Nowhere is there a mention of a 7-fold greater mortality rate.

No, I’m referring to the Rooks 2012 dataset from Oregon and I’d be willing to bet serious money that Goer knows exactly what I’m talking about.


She knows as well as I do that the Rooks data shows that planned homebirth with a licensed homebirth midwife had a death rate 800% higher than comparable risk hospital birth and there’s no way she can rebut that data. Instead she choose to substitute a study on a different group (including birth centers) done 3 years later which reached NO conclusion about homebirth itself.

I guess she figures her readers are so gullible that they won’t notice.

I wrote:

The Midwives Alliance of North America . . . is a major professional organization for American midwives but requires no educational credentials of its roughly 450 members beyond a high school diploma.

And Goer nonsensically replies with:

MANA has nothing to do with the training or credentialing of direct-entry midwives …

I didn’t say it did. I said it requires no educational credentials beyond a high school diploma and it doesn’t.

I guess Goer figures natural childbirth advocates are stupid as well as gullible.

I wrote:

Lamaze’s website states, adding with a note of pity that an epidural still might be needed if a mother ‘can’t move beyond [her] fear of labor pain.’ Rather than teaching strictly the facts about childbirth, Lamaze promotes one particular vision of labor as normal and therefore good.

And Goer tries this whopper:

Tuteur’s quote is taken out of context.

Says the person who wrote The Thinking Women’s Guide to a Better Birth. It’s an implicit insult to women who don’t follow her precepts but no doubt Goer would claim that the title is taken out of context.

In what context is it appropriate to claim that epidurals are for a women who ‘can’t move beyond [her] fear of labor pain?

In what context is it appropriate to promote “normal” birth as better than any other form of birth?

C’mon Henci, you may think your followers are gullible and stupid, but no one is that stupid!

Goer is a paper tiger. She fancies herself an “expert” in obstetric research yet she won’t appear in any forum where the people who do most of the obstetric research (obstetricians) could question her on her claims. She deletes and bans people from her websites when she can’t address their substantive claims. She has point blank refused to publicly debate me because she knows her arguments would be eviscerated in short order.

She’s exactly what I rail about when I criticize the natural childbirth industry, an industry that puts personal beliefs ahead of scientific facts, and uses shame and guilt in order to profit.

192 Responses to “Henci Goer defends the natural childbirth industry on an industry website”

  1. Rach
    May 18, 2016 at 11:31 pm #

    OT: I noticed an article on this on a news website when I was browsing at lunchtime. There were paragraphs and headings about how dangerous it seemed, and ONE sentence at the end which said that it was ‘likely safe’. Putting aside that the formula tested was from the US, and I’m in Australia the implication (yet again!) is that formula feeding will harm your baby. The study was commissioned by Friends of Earth, which sounds like quite the activist group based on my 5 second look at their page. They are also campaigning against ‘extreme genetic engineering’ of ice cream (their summary, not mine), which is actually opposed to genetically engineered vanilla. Anyhow, here is the study that got my back up:

    • Sue
      May 19, 2016 at 8:30 am #

      But wait….they can find nanoparticles in breast milk too!



    • The Computer Ate My Nym
      May 19, 2016 at 10:17 am #

      There’s genetically engineered vanilla? What’s it do that’s different?

      • guest
        May 19, 2016 at 1:15 pm #

        Maybe it’s cheaper? I know they sell artificial vanilla flavoring.

    • Irène Delse
      May 19, 2016 at 3:10 pm #

      They are an activist group all right. The kind who think Earth would be better off with a very, very reduced human population. Which means most of us should stop having children and wait our natural demise without using up too much of the world’s resources. And that’s the “humane” options. Some of them freely opine that epidemics and famine are only natural byproducts of saving and that everything would be fine if only we stopped fighting AIDS and malaria and let the planet “self-regulate”.

  2. BeatriceC
    May 18, 2016 at 7:06 pm #

    Middle Kid update: I’m seriously not happy. All the tests they did in the hospital are back. They are inconsistent and inconclusive. In other words, they have no idea. The doctor first said “well, let’s wait two weeks and repeat these two tests”. It took everything I had not to flip my shit on her. Instead I took a deep breath and very politely said “Well, it’s been 7 weeks total since his symptoms have been bad to alarming. Two weeks of pain before the initial pediatrician’s work up, then two more weeks of worsening symptoms which led to hospitalization, then a week in the hospital, and now two more weeks at home. He’s stable, but only because he’s getting a bare minimum of calories on a mostly liquid diet. It’s staying down because of anti-nausea meds. He’s still in significant pain if he tries to eat solid foods. He’s still not back on the ice, and this is a kid who had a training schedule to get him to the 2022 Olympics. Something is clearly wrong. What will waiting two more weeks help? Quite frankly, that’s nowhere close to good enough.”

    She then consulted with a more senior doctor and they’re doing an endoscopy and colonoscopy a week from Friday. Not as good as I’d like, but better than nothing.

    • anotheramy
      May 18, 2016 at 7:28 pm #

      Good for you for not flipping your shit! I hope you get answers soon. I’ve been following your story and thinking of you all.

    • PeggySue
      May 18, 2016 at 8:04 pm #

      Oh sweet Jesus. Out of sight, out of mind. Keeping an adolescent on a liquid diet for forever sounds like a serious bad idea. Insane actually. So sorry.

      • BeatriceC
        May 18, 2016 at 8:07 pm #

        I’m actually really disappointed in this department. I’m over the moon thrilled with orthopedics so this is even more of a disappointment than most people might experience. Honestly, their attitude changed when the kid became belligerent in the hospital. But he’s 14 freaking years old. Just because he’s being a non-cooperative jerk doesn’t mean they can get out of doing their jobs. Just because he’s nearly 6 feet tall doesn’t mean he’s an adult. He’s still a freaking child. That’s why he’s at a pediatric hospital. And even if he was an adult he’s still extremely sick. I’m just really frustrated. Ugh.

        • PeggySue
          May 18, 2016 at 8:14 pm #

          I am frustrated on your behalf. You may be right that they are reacting to his behavior, but you are right that they should not be.

        • Who?
          May 18, 2016 at 8:53 pm #

          That’s tough. And he isn’t in the best head even for a 14 year old at the moment.

          It’s frustrating for doctors too when they can’t work out what is going on, and I wonder if you’re falling into the space between the specialist cracks a bit. It’s actually a good thing they aren’t just ‘trying’ things-though sometimes action feels good on its own. Minimal invasion and home is probably best at the moment though I know it can’t be easy for any of you.

          Let’s hope either something becomes clearer in the next week or so-I wonder if that is actually part of the doctors’ thinking-or that the investigations late next week show something useful, and ideally, easily and quickly treatable.

          • BeatriceC
            May 18, 2016 at 8:57 pm #

            I had to force their hands into next week’s tests. They wanted to wait two more weeks and repeat the fecal tests and the 24 hour urine collection. I might have been satisfied with redoing those right now, but not two more weeks from now. I’m about ready to give up. The kid is being belligerent and non-cooperative, the doctors aren’t really doing anything but “wait and see”, and I seem to be the only one who gives a fuck. I’m kind of out of fucks right now. Let the kid waste away to nothing until he’s sick enough to be in ICU. Fine. Discount anything mom has to say. Fuck them. Fuck them all. And I’m all out of fucks with the oldest. His happy ass has a court date next week too, and he’s sneaking out of the house at 6am to do god knows what and hasn’t logged into school for 7 days and pitched a toddler sized tantrum when he got called out on it. I’m kind of just done. I pour my heart and soul into this and have moved heaven and earth to keep these kids safe and this is what they do? I’m so not caring any more.

            (And that’s probably just a rant. I’ll probably feel very differently in a few hours. I’m just beyond frustrated with all of them. I need a fucking break.)

          • demodocus
            May 18, 2016 at 9:20 pm #


          • Who?
            May 18, 2016 at 11:35 pm #

            I’m sorry, that is all miserable. It’s hard to see someone so unwell and be so powerless to move things forward. This has been a roller coaster and it’s gone on for weeks, with some really deep lows. Any wonder you’re worn out by it.

            I wasn’t game to mention the older one.

            That teenage don’t care attitude is just infuriating, even more so when you’re heart and body and soul engaged in what’s going on.

            No wisdom here, but I’d suggest getting outside. Go for a walk-20 minutes out, 20 minutes back. When it’s daylight! Couldn’t hurt, would be better than looking at the walls, and the kids.

          • BeatriceC
            May 19, 2016 at 2:25 am #

            I went for an ambulance ride instead. I started puking uncontrollably, then major heartburn and then chest pain. This is where I am perhaps not the greatest example. They did a preliminary work up (blood work, chest X-rays, ekg) and stuck me in the waiting room. After four hours I figured I wasn’t critically ill and left. I am going to walk in to my doctors office tomorrow and explain what happened. They can get the test results from the hospital. I have too much to do. MrC’s daughter is having her “wedding” in a week (in scare quotes because they actually got married a few months ago, long story) and his other daughter is due in town on Saturday and the house is freaking trashed. Plus everything else. I’m obviously not critical or I would have been prioritized higher. I’m quite certain I’m now just manifesting physical symptoms of extreme stress.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            May 19, 2016 at 8:27 am #

            Don’t neglect follow up for this. It could be stress, but it could also be cardiac disease brought on my the stress (though I would hope that if that were the case someone would have noticed the EKG and moved you out of the waiting room sooner than 4 hours after it was done. Also, if your stress is bad enough to be causing this, that suggests you need some help. Assign some of the work to the non-sick kids? Hire a cleaning service to overhaul the house?

          • BeatriceC
            May 19, 2016 at 11:23 am #

            The trouble is that there aren’t any non sick kids. MK and YK have the bone disease, so mobility is limited. Pain sometimes takes the front seat to getting things done. And I’m eating breakfast right now, leaving in an hour for my doctor.

          • Dr Kitty
            May 19, 2016 at 1:16 pm #

            Look after yourself.
            I mean it.
            Take good care of yourself.

            I hope it is stress (goodness know you had enough).

            BTW if there are menial tasks you can delegate to OK (like, say, staying on hold with the insurance company, or making calls to vendors to check up on stuff for the “wedding”, or doing the laundry and cleaning the house) I would.

            Partly to let him see what you have on your plate, partly as a punishment for skipping out on school and breaking curfew, and partly because if he wants to be treated like an adult he should act like one.

          • demodocus
            May 19, 2016 at 8:37 am #

            both my sibs had heart attacks shortly after Mom died. obesity was part of it but stress didn’t help, especially the one under 25 who was orphaned within a year and had massive fights with his stepmother. (She called the cops on him saying he stole money and medicine from them; her daughter found where her mother had stashed them and made her confess.)

          • BeatriceC
            May 19, 2016 at 11:21 am #

            I’m obese and I smoke, and I’d just had an anaphylaxis episode two days prior. I’ve had prior cardiac complications with anaphylaxis bI panicked a little bit. My doctor’s office opens in 1 hour 20 minutes. I will be there when they open. Yes I do know I need to quit smoking and lose weight. Every time I try to quit my life blows up again and I cave to the pressure. That’s not an excuse. I should just not cave, but that’s where I’m at.

          • moto_librarian
            May 19, 2016 at 12:21 pm #

            Quitting smoking and losing weight are two of the hardest things to do. I am dealing with the latter now, and I feel like every time I start to make some progress, something happens that derails me. I don’t have kids with major health issues either. Don’t beat yourself up so much.

          • Who?
            May 19, 2016 at 6:35 pm #

            You are not ‘caving to pressure’: you happen to be in the grip of a series of personal crises, and in that space do not feel up to giving up the most addictive substance on the planet (ice, perhaps, aside) on the one hand, and lovely comfort food on the other. Cut yourself some slack.

            When they make me Queen for the Day, my first act will be to forthwith ban forever-on pain of worst fears realised-the use, and ultimately even the thought, of the word ‘should’. It is judgy; it is our most base impulse bringing its A game. Do not indulge it. Do not give in to it. And once that is done, the word ‘just’, when used to minimise something huge we ‘should’ be getting on with, will be next to go.

            But do get that heart etc thing sorted out. ASAP.

          • BeatriceC
            May 19, 2016 at 7:11 pm #

            Thank you. I feel like I’m making excuses. I hate excuses. I am not having a good day. I went to my doctor this morning. He pulled the test results from last night (yay for computerized records) and said other than a slightly elevated blood pressure, everything looked good. BP was 135/80. Not terrible for a fat, out of shape smoker in the middle of several extremely high stress situations. I attempted to advocate for myself. I do have a hasty of mild depression with intermittent use of Wellbutrin. I asked for it. I think it has several good effects. First and foremost it really helps with the feelings of being overwhelmed and hopelessness. It allows me to mange when it’s difficult to talk myself out of a chose to go pee even when my bladder is about to burst. Second, it has made me quit smoking without even thinking about it every time I’ve been on it. About week two and I suddenly just don’t want to smoke. Lastly, it helps with appetite and boredom eating. So here’s this wonder drug that can help me manage the stress of my current life, help me quit smoking and help me lose weight. And he won’t prescribe it. He says I have to see a psychiatrist first. The first available appointment is in November. Fat loss of good that does me now.

          • demodocus
            May 19, 2016 at 7:51 pm #

            well, that’s damn annoying

          • Who?
            May 19, 2016 at 8:17 pm #

            Glad the heart thing ended up being not quite so bad as it might have. Keep an eye on how you’re feeling though.

            That said: Gah!!! and I say again Gah!!!!! You and the health system are not having a very good relationship at the moment.

            Hopefully you’ll get some sense out of the health insurer and can embark on that process.

            Oh and the other thing-what you have are reasons, not excuses. Sorry to be the language fascist, but I do think framing is important.

            I wish I had something at all practical to suggest. Dr Kitty just below advocates putting OK on the spot to do some menial tasks, and I’d second that. If he’s old and ugly enough to get up to high jinks he can sit on hold with the insurer, put on a load of washing, or fold it, or dust, or vacuum, or chop the veg for dinner, or something.

          • Charybdis
            May 19, 2016 at 9:43 pm #

            Could you maybe try asking for Zyban, to help quit smoking? It is the same thing as Wellbutrin (bupropion), but it advertised as a “Quit Smoking” aid instead of a depression medication.

            Or ask your allergy doc about Zyban at your appointment. As a way to help reduce the amount of potential allergens in you life, what with the mast cell activation disorder and the increase in your allergic, anaphylactic reactions lately, of course.

            There’s more than one way to skin a cat

          • BeatriceC
            May 20, 2016 at 12:37 am #

            Ohhh. Very, very good idea. I knew the same drug was used for smoking cessation. Actually, I figured out that effect in my teens the first time I was put on the stuff and I suddenly not only lost all desire to smoke, but developed an intense aversion to it. My guess is that side effect was reported a lot before it started getting marketed for that purpose.

          • Janie4
            May 20, 2016 at 3:03 pm #

            Try vaping. Works for my sister.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            May 20, 2016 at 2:47 am #

            Every time I try to quit my life blows up again and I cave to the pressure.

            So? Every time you quit that’s X days between the time you quit and the time you take it up again that you weren’t smoking. That helps. This isn’t the moment to worry about it, but when you’re ready to quit again, don’t give yourself any crap about “but what if I fall of the wagon”. You may and if you do, that’s okay, you’ve still helped your health more than if you’d never quit.

            Also, there is a dose/response curve for smoking. If you cut down you are already cutting your risk so if quitting seems like an unreachable goal, maybe decreasing is a more reasonable one?

            Obesity is probably overblown as a health risk. I would put it lower priority until life stops taking a nonconsensual dump on you.

            (Usual caveats about being just some person on the internet and not knowing your situation so dump any advice that doesn’t work for you.)

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            May 20, 2016 at 11:52 am #

            Don’t feel guilty about picking up smoking again. It’s a hard thing to quit for good. And I know sometimes those silly sayings on Facebook kind of stuff are hokey but there’s one I like: Sometimes courage is that little voice at the end of the day that says “I’ll try again tomorrow.”

            On the obesity thing… I’m in the same boat. I mean I’d like to be hella thin…but I’d also like chilli cheese fries to stay in my life.

          • Bombshellrisa
            May 20, 2016 at 11:04 pm #

            I just read this quote and thought of you “I have learned to smoke because I need something to hold onto.”
            (Elizabeth Smart, By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept)

          • MI Dawn
            May 19, 2016 at 10:08 am #

            You need ALL the hugs right now! The MK issue is a major problem. And adding OK to the mix just makes things more stressful. Rant away.

          • Charybdis
            May 19, 2016 at 11:48 am #

            We’re here to listen, commiserate, and become angry and indignant on your behalf. Rant away.

            I’m low on fucks to give myself, but I do have some extra rat’s asses I can send your way, if you will accept those as a substitute 😛

          • BeatriceC
            May 19, 2016 at 11:51 am #

            And now I’m giggling like a maniac. Thank you. You have no idea how much I needed that.

          • Charybdis
            May 19, 2016 at 11:53 am #

            *blushes* Glad I could help a tiny bit.

          • Chant de la Mer
            May 19, 2016 at 1:58 pm #

            Oh man I have been there! I have a 16(almost 17) yo and he was pulling that kind of crap the last two years. Was on probation for stealing and all sorts of happy joy joy behavior. Plus I have the two younger boys as well that were going bonkers (toddler/infant in my case) at the same time and I just had a total flashback of that moment of being so done you want to simultaneously sell them all to gypsies-lock them in the basement-hide in your room-run away from them all. I had that moment a lot in 2014 and 2015. You have all my sympathy, and it will eventually get better. Make sure to take some time for yourself, only a few minutes if that’s all you can manage, and have a good laugh at something. Seriously, it saved my mind being able to laugh at something and lifted my mood for a few minutes which reminded me that I’m not really that doom and gloom as I have to be to manage the boys.

        • DelphiniumFalcon
          May 18, 2016 at 10:58 pm #

          Sick people aren’t exactly known for being barrels of sunshine so if that’s the reason they’re treating him crappy then that’s just wrong. And fourteen year olds/teenagers in general, especially boys in our culture, aren’t exactly known for their stellar decision making abilities or understanding their emotions well so I’m not quite sure what they were expecting.

          And holy crap with that mass in his intestines I thought they already did the scopes and just missed an update somehow!

          I don’t think I’d be in the best of moods myself at this point. And, well, you’re always mom no matter how old your kids get. You don’t want to see them in pain and just dismissed and at a certain point you just kind of don’t care who you piss off when you have to be their advocate. At least that’s how my mom is and you have some similarities to her in general.

          • Karen in SC
            May 18, 2016 at 11:48 pm #

            I’m with you, I would have thought the endoscopy and colonoscopy would be complete and a biopsy in the works.

          • BeatriceC
            May 19, 2016 at 2:18 am #

            They were going to do the endoscopy and colonoscopy before they discharged him, and that would have meant keeping him through the weekend and doing it on that Monday. Then he went off the deep end and tried to escape. The doctor ordered a “sitter”. They mentioned “taking up a lot of resources”. And then discharged him on Saturday without the scopes being done. I honestly think they just didn’t want to keep caring for him now that he’s a difficult patient. I’m seriously disappointed I them. I have come to expect far better. They let my child down. Perhaps they should quit caring for adolescents if this is what they do. Then again, Ortho is freaking amazing with the other two.

          • Charybdis
            May 19, 2016 at 11:44 am #

            Didn’t they say that the mass was too far “in” to be able to reach from either end? Or are they just looking to say they are looking so it looks as if they are actually “doing something”?

            Aack. Sorry, that line of thinking isn’t helping. Is there a department head you can contact about your concerns? Maybe a hospital administrator? Ooooh…or patient advocate/ombudsman? All of the above?

            Take a Xanax, gird your loins, gather your data and give them what for. I would be inclined to stress that their Ortho department is absolutely wonderful with OK and YK and you were TERRIBLY disappointed when MK’s issues were (and still are) not being addressed to your satisfaction. Not that you are expecting them to pull a miracle diagnosis out of their asses, but the slow outpatient workup, seeming lack of communication and “wait and see” attitude are not cutting it.

            MK is an elite level athlete with sights on the Olympics. The speed at which this has developed is very concerning and the fact that he is not improving AT ALL and is barely maintaining his weight seems like a major red flag that there is Something Very Wrong and the longer they “wait and see” is time he is not improving at all.

            Nobody wants to do unnecessary surgery, but it seems VERY ODD that there was a mystery mass detected in the MRI/CAT scan and that they do not seem to be in a hurry to do exploratory surgery (since it could not be reached from either end) and get a biopsy of the freaking mass in his small intestine and find out what it is (or isn’t as the case may be).

            It is not only affecting MK’s health (mental, physical and emotional), it is affecting yours in a deleterious manner and you are out of patience with the “wait and watch” party line/runaround from the doctors.

            Then see what they do. The ball will be back in their court, as you will have addressed your concerns in a relatively calm, clear fashion and laid out your expectations. The fact that you have done this before with OK and YK means this is not your first rodeo and you can’t/won’t be placated with soothing words, apologies and no real action.

            Tie a knot in your rope and try to hang on.

          • BeatriceC
            May 19, 2016 at 11:50 am #

            They did say that, but they were going to do it anyway, just in case, then his behavior tanked. It’s all just a mess. I have stressed that they have an elite level athlete barely able to get out of bed on some days. This is not acceptable. I’m hoping that these scans will give them more of a clue, but who knows. In the meantime, when I get done with my doctor this morning, I’m calling my insurance to see if I can get approval to seek a second opinion. My insurance has stupid rules about traveling out of the county, and I want to take him to the docs at children’s in Los Angeles. That’s two counties north. But I think it’s time. It will be a tough sell with the kid, but I’m going to try.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD
            May 19, 2016 at 12:31 pm #

            A second opinion is medically justified at this point.

          • BeatriceC
            May 19, 2016 at 12:33 pm #

            Your opinion carries an awful lot of weight (along with the other physicians on the board). I was actually debating if I was jumping the gun on that. I’m relieved that actual doctors think it’s an appropriate step.

          • MI Dawn
            May 19, 2016 at 1:28 pm #

            Go for it. As long as children’s in LA particpates with your insurance, they should not be giving you any hassle about going there for a potentially life-threatening situation with a child. If needed, ramp up the call with insurance – many have a CEO complaint line that gets a lot more attention sooner. Also, mentioning negative publicity helps. I wouldn’t recommend using for normal situations, but this is FAR from normal.

          • BeatriceC
            May 20, 2016 at 12:44 am #

            I talked to my insurance company. I have to get an out of network approval. The boys’ regular pediatrician is on board with requesting one. Here’s the plan. He’s scheduled for endoscopy and colonoscopy next Friday. If they do something appropriate after they’re done, then I’ll stick with these guys. If they say “See you in three months” (his next scheduled appointment with them), then I’ll call the Ped and have them submit the request for an out of network provider. I plan on calling GI at Children’s LA tomorrow and making an appointment so I can get the ball rolling as quickly as possible. My ex-husband is going to contribute to hotel bills if I have to stay in LA for more than a couple nights. It’s a 2 hour drive on a good day, but it’s taken as long as 5 hours to get to my MIL’s house, which is only about 20 miles north. LA traffic lives up to it’s reputation. It’s awful. My car isn’t in great shape, so I can’t make that commute a few times a week if it comes to that.

            So I have a plan in place. I feel a lot better.

          • MI Dawn
            May 20, 2016 at 9:51 am #

            Great! Please keep us posted.

          • BeatriceC
            May 20, 2016 at 12:25 pm #

            I talked to the office manager at the regular pediatrician’s office. They’re completely on board with getting the referrals up to LA. They’re getting the process started as we speak. Actually, when they looked MK up yesterday to see what was going on they were shocked that his next GI appointment wasn’t scheduled until August. Granted that could change depending on the results of next week’s scans, but the fact that they’re willing to let a clearly unwell kid go so long without doing anything alarmed the pediatrician.

          • Amazed
            May 19, 2016 at 2:22 pm #

            Actually, it’s time someone does something appropriate. Pity that it has to be you… again.

            They’re feeling hurty-hurty because he’s busy at making an asshole out of himself? Have they lived on Mars or some other place like that for the last 100 years or so? Teenagers aren’t like people. They aren’t like people. In one way or another, you just need to suffer them until they become like people. Which includes giving them medical, you know, help.

            Good luck you to you and MK again. And please don’t kill him. If you do, you’ll kind of destroy the whole purpose of the whole thing. No matter what a jerk he’s being. Don’t kill him.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD
            May 19, 2016 at 1:53 pm #

            At this point I feel like calling up the doctors and personally hectoring them!

          • BeatriceC
            May 20, 2016 at 1:35 am #

            I might not stop you.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            May 19, 2016 at 1:25 pm #

            Oh heavens! Taking up resources! Wow, it’s almost sick people need extra care and shit! Whodda thunk?! Also if he was barely able to be nourished then no wonder he was probably hell on wheels. I get unreasonably pissy just from skipping lunch. And I’m not nearly starving and on track to be a professional athlete.

            I’m with the rest. Get a second opinion. If the insurance won’t pay maybe another hospital has a compassionate care program for uninsured/underinsured patients?

          • Bombshellrisa
            May 19, 2016 at 7:01 pm #

            You need to talk to the house nursing superviser, the nurse manager of the unit and whatever charge nurse was there when they decided he needed a sitter. They are the ones who are grumbling about “resources” aka staff. The charge nurse because they had to rearrange things to get a one to one care for him, the unit manager because they are worried they are going to have to listen to how over budget they are at the weekly unit manager meeting and the house supervisor because they are the ones who come up with patient acuity guidelines and making sure there is a budget for it. I think you are in California, which adds another degree of interesting, if I remember right that state has a law that assigns staff to patient ratios in numbers, not necessarily by acuity. You deserve so much better, your child deserves so much better and I am disgusted by how they are treating you guys.

          • BeatriceC
            May 20, 2016 at 12:38 am #

            Yup. I’m in California. There’s a lot of really stupid rules here. There’s a lot of good stuff too, but a lot of really stupid stuff.

          • Bombshellrisa
            May 20, 2016 at 12:57 am #

            I hear ya. If I could get back to Temecula, I would be a happy girl : ) my husband is less than thrilled with that idea, but we will see…
            Meanwhile, while the whole minimum staffing thing helps make sure there are enough RNs, it has greatly affected the number of non licensed staff (nursing assistants or whatever they call allied health workers in that particular hospital). So there are fewer available, even though it’s clear they are needed. They are usually the ones who are “sitters”. You need to frame this as a safe staffing issue and send a letter that CC’s everybody-house superviser, nursing supervisors, human resources. Tell them you are appalled that they are making resources (which are there for patients!) an issue when it boils down to 1) them not being able to safety staff a unit to care for a patient or 2) not being able to assess acuity and deal with it. Tell them you are going to fill out your patient survey accordingly. I know you probably don’t have a lot of steam left to do all this, but talk about safety and they tend to listen.

          • BeatriceC
            May 20, 2016 at 1:01 am #

            I’m not too far from where you used to be. I’m not in The city of San Diego. I’m in East County, but barely. It’s one of the first suburbs outside the city itself. I actually really like it here. Other than the whole home air conditioners aren’t common thing, I have no real complaints.

          • Bombshellrisa
            May 20, 2016 at 1:26 am #

            The people I love like parents lived out there! Then they moved to Murietta, which is part of my motivation to be close by (but not too close, they used to live next door and while I loved that and them, I need space. I am a grown up).

          • BeatriceC
            May 20, 2016 at 1:27 am #

            It’s a nice area. It really is. Though I’m considering packing a suitcase and driving to my friend’s house in north central Texas right now. Just for a week or so.

          • PeggySue
            May 20, 2016 at 12:11 am #

            I am slightly puzzled that the only thing they plan to do are the scans that they said would not in any case visualize the abdominal mass. But then, what do I know? I’m just a chaplain.

          • BeatriceC
            May 20, 2016 at 12:34 am #

            I think they have to show they tried it and it failed before they can recommend exploratory surgery. It’s stupid, but what do I know. I’m just a statistician/teacher/mom.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            May 20, 2016 at 2:52 am #

            They mentioned “taking up a lot of resources”.

            Could someone please bring me a table? I need to flip it. What the fuck are the resources FOR except to help sick kids? Fucking for profit medical system. Even the “nonprofits” indulge in it because they have to pay the million dollar salaries of the high muck a mucks. (Nonprofits’ tax records are public, including the salaries of their top, I think, 5 paid employees. Look it up if you don’t believe me about the million dollar thing.)

          • BeatriceC
            May 20, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

            Oh, I believe you. And not all the doctors are being idiots. I still adore his regular pediatrician. And the office manager at the ped’s office should be canonized. They are still fighting for him.

          • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild
            May 21, 2016 at 10:09 pm #

            Devils Advocate Time: They can’t devote all the resources to one sick kid. It has to be spread out evenly amongst all of them. Just like a public school teacher has to split their attention equally between 20-30 kids.

    • Irène Delse
      May 19, 2016 at 2:04 am #

      Ouch. I’d be frustrated too. You did great, though, the hospital team really needed to be pushed off they hadn’t even done those explorations with a mass in the intestine. Hang in there.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym
      May 19, 2016 at 4:56 am #

      Yow! I’m sorry that’s all been happening to you and Middle Kid. Is there any chance of taking him elsewhere for a second opinion? Not that you don’t have enough to do already, but to me MK sounds like he should be hospitalized. Not emergently, but because he’s not getting better and you’re not getting answers.

      If you feel comfortable answering this question, have they repeated any scans? If so, how far apart? Some of the cancers more likely to hit children are extremely rapidly growing and changes might show on scans 4-6 weeks apart.

      • BeatriceC
        May 19, 2016 at 11:24 am #

        I was thinking about calling the doctors at children’s hospital in Los Angelos. The only problem is that they might want to admit him and with him already being non cooperative, hauling him two hours away from all his friends won’t go over well.

        • Anon13
          May 19, 2016 at 1:01 pm #

          I can’t get my mind around a children’s hospital not being able to work with teens/aggression/moodiness. Why don’t they have specialists on hand to cover that?

    • The Computer Ate My Nym
      May 20, 2016 at 2:57 am #

      Random thought about MK’s uncooperativeness: Exercise is addicting. I feel like hell if I don’t exercise daily and MK sounds like a MUCH more serious athlete than me. Along with everything else that’s going on, he’s probably missing the serotonin release of exercising and that may be making him depressed and uncooperative. I don’t know if that helps, but thought I’d mention it in case it’s useful.

  3. Guest
    May 18, 2016 at 5:51 pm #

    OT: has anyone seen this? It popped up on my legal newsletter yesterday. I’m curious if this has been discussed before or if anyone knows more facts.

    “Sampson was one of three deaths that occurred after or during delivery at the Cooley Dickinson Hospital Childbirth Center within a few months in the winter of 2013-2014. The other two were infants.”


    • Gene
      May 18, 2016 at 8:12 pm #

      Interesting, but not surprising. Cooley Dick is a community hospital in the heart of one of the crunchiest parts of the US. One of the pediatric residents in the teaching hospital about 20-30 min away had a (successful) homebirth. I am willing to bet I know at least a few of the physicians involved on the pediatric side of these cases, but have no way of finding out more without violating patient confidentiality.

      More deaths sacrificed on the alter of natural childbirth.

      • lawyer jane
        May 19, 2016 at 9:56 am #

        Horrific. But is there evidence that the deaths were caused by NCB practices, or regular medical malpractice?

        • Guest
          May 19, 2016 at 10:44 am #

          I was wondering the same thing. Given Gene’s comments above, my gut guy says here’s what a non-interventionist mindset gets you (at least with the mom since there’s no info on the infants). But gut feelings does not facts make. I’m very interested to hear more, given the moves some hospitals seem to be making in maternity care.

          • Guest
            May 19, 2016 at 10:45 am #

            *no guy, darn autocorrect

        • swbarnes2
          May 19, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

          I googled an older story, and they cited not enough OBs or nurses as the issues. So that’s likely the direct cause, but I suppose it’s possible that terrible policies might have been driving away staff.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa
          May 19, 2016 at 12:54 pm #

          As Guest notes below, the accusation is basically that they were too non-interventionist. They failed to recognize eclampsia. Were there pre-e signs? If they didn’t monitor, they wouldn’t know.

          The question is, why didn’t they monitor? Too hands off?

  4. Squillo
    May 18, 2016 at 4:35 pm #

    OT: “The optimal time of delivery for women with low-risk pregnancy has been a continuing source of controversy, but a debate on the elective induction of labor at 39 weeks here at American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists 2016 Annual Clinical Meeting turned out to be a statement of consensus.

    The two presenters agreed that evidence is mounting that waiting beyond 39 weeks is not advisable.”

    Their presentation apparently changed the minds of a lot of people who attended it.


    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      May 18, 2016 at 4:59 pm #

      “Expectant management was associated with higher rates of cesarean
      delivery than induction at 39 weeks, and “a clear increase in perinatal

      So, in conclusion: induction at 39 weeks lowers c-section rates and is safer.

      Who could oppose that?

      Oh, right…

      • Roadstergal
        May 18, 2016 at 6:54 pm #

        Cascade of non-intervention!

    • Megan
      May 18, 2016 at 6:10 pm #

      Our local MFM will not let moms over age 35 go past their due date due to research showing that in moms of AMA, placental against is around 1-2 weeks ahead of younger moms. My friend was induced for this reason.

      • Megan
        May 18, 2016 at 6:11 pm #

        * Aging

        • momofone
          May 18, 2016 at 7:57 pm #

          I was 37 when my son was born, and he was born at 38 + 3 with serious degradation of the placenta. It still makes my blood run cold to think what could have happened if not for my OB’s careful monitoring.

      • Fleur
        May 19, 2016 at 7:04 am #

        I was quite shocked when a good friend of mine tried to encourage me to refuse an induction if I got to 42 weeks (I was 34 and a half years old at the time so I doubt the placenta was in tip-top condition). Her reasoning was that there’s only a “slight increase” in the risk of stillbirth if you continue to wait. I have sympathy with the fact that she had a difficult labour after an induction with her first child, but the idea of playing the odds like that just chilled me to the bone, plus I’ve heard some horror stories about my local health services failing to monitor babies properly when they go overdue.

        I actually think my friend picked the whole anti-induction thing up at her hypnobirthing classes, which she loved. I went to one hypnobirthing session at my local hospital and walked out after ninety minutes, but in that time they’d already made disparaging comments about induction at 42 weeks (twice). I thought that was pretty twisted given that I’ve heard several stories from acquaintances about post-dates babies dying under the care of that particular hospital because their mothers were sent home when they raised concerns about movements – obviously, women should be free to refuse any procedure they don’t want, but there’s no informed consent if they’re doing so because they believe in safety net that isn’t bloody there.

        • Sue
          May 19, 2016 at 8:32 am #

          Only a ‘slight’ increase in stillbirth, as opposed to what stillbirth risk from induction at term? (Rhetorical font).

    • Gatita
      May 18, 2016 at 6:53 pm #

      I was AMA and went to 41+3. Scary in retrospect but it was nine years ago so the data wasn’t in on the benefits of earlier induction.

    • lawyer jane
      May 19, 2016 at 10:18 am #

      SO GLAD I was induced at 39 +5! The crunchy midwife seemed set on letting me go as long as possible while my blood pressure creeped up. Luckily when I checked into triage because my BP had spiked in an office visit, the less-crunchy midwife made the call and started the induction. I think the crunch midwife may have been mad about it; she seemed to greatly relish telling me that the induction was going to take 48-72 hours and hurt the whole time.

      • PeggySue
        May 20, 2016 at 12:17 am #

        Crunchy midwife sounds like an ass.

    • moto_librarian
      May 19, 2016 at 2:01 pm #

      Why did I read the comments? Why?

      • Valerie
        May 19, 2016 at 2:45 pm #

        “I have not read the data. I just can’t fathom that something as natural as a women spontaneously going into labor could be more dangerous than induction.”

        Better work on your fathoming skills then, doc.

        • Kerlyssa
          May 19, 2016 at 2:51 pm #

          Yeah. Kinda the point of the article is that all the other docs with said opinion had their mind changed by the rpesented data. some people, jeez

        • Who?
          May 20, 2016 at 7:41 pm #

          I can’t fathom how a plane stays up. But that’s mostly because I don’t care enough to find out. I’d still be most surprised if they started randomly falling out of the sky.

      • Charybdis
        May 19, 2016 at 6:12 pm #

        Because you’re a glutton for punishment? Latent S&M tendencies? Hoping against hope that they won’t be as stupid and myopic as those types usually are?

        • BeatriceC
          May 20, 2016 at 1:19 am #

          I have very much in the open S&M tendencies. Reading comments on pages like that goes beyond most masochism I see even in dedicated BDSM communities.

  5. Allie P
    May 18, 2016 at 3:05 pm #

    First they define pain suppression as a moral failing, then they talk about what passes for science. I was shocked the way the natural childbirth industry elided over the need and/or desire for pain relief, and spent vast amounts of time supposing hypothetical dangers. Pointing out this fallacy to even the most level headed of my friends was a baffling exercise.

    “Well, I don’t think I’ll need it, so why take the risk?” “Yeah, but who wants to be in pain?”

    “I have had bad reactions to pain medications.” “You mean narcotics? Have you ever has anesthesia before? Have you ever had an epidural?” [crickets]

    “I have had bad reactions to pain medications.” “Oh, really? When?” [crickets]

    “I’d rather give birth to my baby without all those drugs.” “Why?” “Because I don’t believe in drugs.” [sips raspberry leaf tea]

    “There are so many risks!” “What are the risks?” [crickets]

    • MI Dawn
      May 18, 2016 at 3:23 pm #

      Tsk! Allie, you should know that only FDA drugs are dangerous. Why, raspberry leaf tea is ALL NATURAL and is just fine. It’s not a drug!

      When I hear that, I’m so tempted to offer them peach pit tea….

      • Sarah
        May 18, 2016 at 5:01 pm #

        Raspberry leaf tea tones the uterus, though.

        Actually, I really wish it was true that things you shove in your trap could tone your body simply by the act of imbibing. I’d be in amazing shape.

        • Azuran
          May 18, 2016 at 5:23 pm #

          The only way you can tone a muscle is by making it contract. So if Raspberry leaf tea tones the uterus that means it causes uterus contraction, which I’m not convinced is necessarily a good thing.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            May 18, 2016 at 11:06 pm #

            An old herb and wild plant ID book that was in the waiting room in one of my psychiatrists office specifically warned that if you’re a woman TTC or in early pregnancy should absolutely not injest quite a few herbs including red raspberry leaf because of uterine contractions. Said red raspberry leaf tea might help with period cramps…but also could make them worse and your mileage may vary. So there’s that. Not that it stops the woo types from claiming it’s an absolute cure all…

          • Sue
            May 19, 2016 at 8:38 am #

            So it could either contract or relax smooth muscle? Not very useful, then, if you cant predict which. It could worsen period cramps or inhibit labor – or do nothing. Great.

          • Inmara
            May 19, 2016 at 1:01 am #

            That’s why it’s recommended for women only in the last stage of pregnancy. There are a few more that are contraindicated during pregnancy, one being yarrow (Achillea millefolium) which supposedly causes miscarriages because of uterine contractions (I was disappointed to avoid it because it’s one of my favorite teas during winter, especially if I’m having a cough).
            Don’t know whether these herbs have been properly researched (then again, it would be unethical to conduct RCT with possibly miscarriage inducing herbs) but they for sure contain several active ingredients so probably there is something to all these old wives tales.

          • Sue
            May 19, 2016 at 8:35 am #

            Certainly some herbs have active ingredients – in unpredicable amounts and mixed purity.

            Thats why we have pharmacology – to ídentify, purify and standardise the active ingredients.

            Herbal medicine is like horse-and-buggy to air flight. Both forms of transport, one more effective and reliable than the other.

          • MI Dawn
            May 19, 2016 at 10:04 am #

            I actually love pharmocognosy. Within reason, I’ll use some of that – i.e. ginger tea when I’m feeling nauseous, red raspberry leaf tea for cramps, comfrey ointment for mild external skin rashes, and, of course, aloe for sunburns! But it’s never a substitute for a MD visit.

      • May 18, 2016 at 5:27 pm #

        If it does something, it’s a drug. If it’s a “natural” drug, that means you’re not getting any sort of regulated dose.

        If it doesn’t do anything, well, maybe it’s tasty, but it’s not medicine (it could be a placebo, I guess).

        So your options with “natural” are 1) unregulated, irregular doses or 2) placebo. Those are not good options!

        I like your idea of peach pit tea, if only in the nasty cockles of my heart.

        • MI Dawn
          May 19, 2016 at 10:05 am #

          It’s all natural! Natural is never dangerous, right? (here, pet my rattlesnake friend. Venom is natural, too).

    • guest
      May 18, 2016 at 5:22 pm #

      The one drug-free argument that makes sense to me is that getting an epidural means you can’t move around, and you have to have a catheter. These were the primary reasons I wanted to avoid one. I got one anyway because all the monitors meant I couldn’t move around anyway, but I can totally understand why someone would want to avoid one.

      • LaMont
        May 18, 2016 at 6:23 pm #

        It truly does seem like *reality* offers people many options for dealbreakers that have nothing to do with the fantasy nonsense about medical risks. Not that the majority of people will find those more compelling than the pain, but if one does find it so, more power to ’em! But they seem determined to view the choice as an insult…

        • guest
          May 18, 2016 at 7:31 pm #

          Oh, absolutely. I just put that there because there are valid reasons why women don’t want an epidural, or to not get one immediately on arriving at the hospital. I had a nurse roll her eyes at me because I refused a catheter just for being in the hospital, but I had one inserted without pain management before, and it’s a horrible feeling (for me). With the epidural, first they placed the epidural, then the catheter – totally different experience when you don’t have to feel it going in.

          • Kelly
            May 18, 2016 at 10:00 pm #

            I feel the catheter every time and they have put it in after the epidural twice. I find it to be one of the top three most painful things while giving birth to a child.

      • Tosca
        May 18, 2016 at 10:30 pm #

        Last time I gave birth was 1994…I had something called a “pushing epidural”. I still had full movement in my legs and didn’t need a catheter. I could still feel the contractions, just they didn’t hurt. I assumed they used less anaesthetic than a full epidural, such as would be used for a caesarian or something.

        Having had one birth with gas and pethidine, and one with the epidural…I would have another epidural in a heartbeat.

    • mostlyclueless
      May 18, 2016 at 7:08 pm #

      Hate to be That Guy but I have had an epidural before, and did have a bad reaction to it. I lived, obviously, so next time I’m open to getting one if I need it, but I am going to see how far I can make it without one.

      • Erin
        May 19, 2016 at 2:44 pm #

        You don’t have to have a catheter or at least I didn’t. Every two hours or so they stuck a tube in to drain the bladder. Didn’t get a catheter until they tried forceps which was about five hours after my epidural worked.

    • GuestK
      May 19, 2016 at 12:50 am #

      All the natural childbirth propaganda ignores the (potentially long-lasting) psychological effects of experiencing extreme, untreated pain.

  6. Cartman36
    May 18, 2016 at 2:40 pm #

    I have a question, our local birth center is staffed by lay midwives but their website says they do well woman care. Don’t you have to be a doctor or a CNM to order lab tests like a Pap smear?

    • MWguest
      May 18, 2016 at 2:43 pm #

      Not always, no. Some labs only care that there’s someone on the other end paying the bill. So, yeah, midwives can collect lab tests, paps, etc, and send them out for testing.

      Usually, their scope of “well-woman care” is pretty basic. No medications, no health assessment, no referral… they just talk you into natural family planning and maybe some essential oils.

      Not sure what they would do with an abnormal pap result. Tell the client “Better find a doctor!”

      • MaineJen
        May 18, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

        ASCUS is just a variation of normal.

        • Megan
          May 18, 2016 at 5:57 pm #

          ASCUS, AGUS… Same difference, right?

      • Roadstergal
        May 18, 2016 at 2:54 pm #

        Can just Jane off of the street (aka CPM) collect an adequate sample, though? God, I do not want a CPM coming near my vagina, especially not with a speculum.

        • Dr Kitty
          May 18, 2016 at 5:10 pm #

          If you can find the cervix with a speculum, taking a smear is easy.
          Having the patient insert the speculum herself actually increased the chances of you being in the right place.
          Finding the cervix can be a challenge sometimes, and I’m not sure I’d want a CPM trying to tell the difference between cervicitis, a large ectropion and a cervical cancer…

      • Squillo
        May 18, 2016 at 6:45 pm #

        Exactly. Would a CPM or ND have any idea how to counsel the patient? And how are they held accountable for follow-up?

    • MI Dawn
      May 18, 2016 at 3:21 pm #

      Some labs will run tests without an MD/licensed health professional order but not many. I’m not sure I’d trust a layperson to get a good pap smear, and I’m really sure I don’t want them interpreting any results that may come back abnormal.

      Oh, you have an infection/abnormal pap? Shove some garlic in your vagina for a week; you’ll be just fine.

    • Adelaide
      May 18, 2016 at 3:45 pm #

      Slightly off-topic, but have you seen this? https://www.solopap.com.au/

      It looks like it is just for women in Australia and they have to see a doctor, but if it works pretty cool.

      If I recall some variety of this has been in the works for over a decade. I think it was originally geared at women in the third world where gyno exams were taboo, or skilled providers were unavailable.

    • Bombshellrisa
      May 18, 2016 at 5:12 pm #

      Do any of the midwives have a ND? We have a lot of CPMs who also have NDs and they do well woman care.

    • Megan
      May 18, 2016 at 5:56 pm #

      AFAIK, you have to be a licensed HCP to submit tests to a lab. But I could be wrong. Maybe non-HCP can order but insurance won’t cover? I live in a place where practically no one would pay for that OOP so I’m not entirely sure.

    • Squillo
      May 19, 2016 at 12:29 pm #

      Can they prescribe hormonal BC? Place IUDs? Fit diaphragms? If not, even if they say they can perform Paps and order lab tests, they can’t provide “well woman care” by HRSA standards in the US. Also, what value is a “well woman” provider who cannot prescribe antbiotics for UTIs or minor vaginal infections?

      • MaineJen
        May 19, 2016 at 12:33 pm #

        Cranberry juice! Garlic! …the power of prayer…?

  7. BeatriceC
    May 18, 2016 at 2:15 pm #

    I almost want to become a cpm so I can take on clients and then risk them all out.

    • Karen in SC
      May 18, 2016 at 2:20 pm #

      YES! I have a business plan that involves a really cool Airstream RV that will drive to your house, pick you up and drive to the hospital parking lot. If baby isn’t crowning by the end of the ride, transfer!

    • Heidi
      May 18, 2016 at 2:39 pm #

      I’ve told my husband the same thing. In fact, I found an online CPM test, took it once, barely failed it, but then re-took after reviewing the answers, and got a 100%. I think if I dedicated like 2 more hours to Google research, I could pass it easily! But I think you have to attend a few births? That part…eh.

      • Sarah
        May 18, 2016 at 2:40 pm #

        Well you must have been to at least one, your own, so that’s a good percentage of the way there…

        • Roadstergal
          May 18, 2016 at 2:52 pm #

          “I had an easy, unmedicated vaginal birth.” So my mom told me.

          • PeggySue
            May 20, 2016 at 12:20 am #

            So you are already an expert in normal birth!

        • Heidi
          May 18, 2016 at 3:22 pm #

          And my son’s! And I was at the hospital when I was 10 and my younger sister was born by C/S so surely that counts!

          • Sarah
            May 18, 2016 at 4:10 pm #

            I’m pretty sure that qualifies you to work at The Farm.

          • Heidi
            May 18, 2016 at 4:14 pm #

            Yes! I live less than 4 hours away from the Farm. I could probably hack the drive a couple of days a week. And no income tax here!

          • Sarah
            May 18, 2016 at 4:59 pm #

            There we are then, I’ll book you to attend my breech HBAC of triplets in a tree.

          • Heidi
            May 19, 2016 at 10:02 am #

            Will you be using my placental encapsulation services and/or my birth photography services? I’m a busy mama and homeschool my 8 children so I can only stick around for an hour after they are born, but I’ll draw you and your babes a nice herbal bath. Works better than any big pharma toxins at stopping bleeding so I promise you won’t hemorrhage!

          • Sarah
            May 19, 2016 at 2:06 pm #

            You encapsulate placentas? That’s disgusting, my child’s will remain attached until they’re 47. I could never allow a hideous placenta abuser and mutilater to attend my homebirth. You’re fired!

          • Heidi
            May 19, 2016 at 2:35 pm #

            Oooo, I also have some beautiful pottery I make out of Himalayan dirt for you to lug the placenta around in. It will infuse the placenta with minerals. Minerals that are only to be found in the Himalayas! Minerals seriously lacking in our standard American diets.

          • Sarah
            May 19, 2016 at 3:35 pm #

            Well I’m British, but in the same way that all indigenous people are the same to people wanting to make money out of pushing an idealised version of how they see childbirth, presumably all Westerners are too.

          • Roadstergal
            May 18, 2016 at 6:56 pm #

            I’m pretty sure that OVERqualifies her to work at The Farm.

        • Megan
          May 18, 2016 at 6:02 pm #

          You know it’s funny how many births people think are “a lot.” NPR was doing a story today about a woman and in passing mentioned that she was a midwife and had attended 2900 births in her entire career. While this is a lot for a lay midwife (and they don’t mention whether she’s a CPM or CNM), it is nothing compared to most OB’s careers. Maybe OB’s should start publishing their numbers and people would see what “a lot of deliveries” really looks like.

          • Bombshellrisa
            May 18, 2016 at 6:20 pm #

            I agree. And I would like to have them list how many they attended as a student and resident too, as those numbers alone are usually more than what most midwives see in a career.

          • MI Dawn
            May 19, 2016 at 10:01 am #

            I remember going nuts trying to get my clinical deliveries in as a student NM – We had to get 40 IIRC. Which, compared to a medical student/resident isn’t many. But we also didn’t get access to the “unassigned” patients like they did.

            I think when I quit, I had nearly 200 under my belt, in 5 years (long story as to why I quit). And that’s not counting the women we “risked out” but still followed, and those who had C/sections. It would have been more, but there were backup and insurance issues in those days that don’t exist now. I only delivered in hospitals, also.

          • Sarah
            May 19, 2016 at 2:07 pm #

            Reminds me of when Gina posted about how she’s learned a lot from being at 25 births, or whatever it was.

  8. AA
    May 18, 2016 at 1:11 pm #


    “I’m hoping one of my die-hard home birth clients will have a twin pregnancy and call me up!”

    • MaineJen
      May 18, 2016 at 1:24 pm #

      Good god. She assures us she takes only “low risk” women, while in the same breath mentioning history of pre-e and previous c section.

      • MI Dawn
        May 18, 2016 at 1:29 pm #

        Ah, but she’ll only take them if they promise to eat right and follow all the rules this time because you know it’ll never happen twice (yeah, right…)

        And she’ll happily take twins and breech, even though she’s never handled either kind of delivery because it’s just normal, you know.

        • AA
          May 18, 2016 at 1:30 pm #

          But the twins are for “hardcore homebirthers” only!

    • Charybdis
      May 18, 2016 at 1:28 pm #

      Looks like she’s in a hospital or medical setting in her picture; there’s a Sharps container on the wall.

      Unless that is somehow acceptable home decor these days.

      • MWguest
        May 18, 2016 at 1:52 pm #

        Right, so she’s standing in a hospital room, or in a clinic somewhere – where she’s NOT licensed to practice, maybe just to give the impression of professionalism, or medical-y-ness. Or credibility.

        If she’s a CPM in Oklahoma, she has no license, correct? She’s just a gal with a credential from NARM. Which means nothing, does nothing, and regulates nothing. And she works in a state that doesn’t license non-nurse midwives. SWEET. Ticket to do whatever she wants!

        • Bombshellrisa
          May 18, 2016 at 2:08 pm #

          “From 2004-2007 Faith studied through the Texas Midwives Training Program, completing their academics syllabus while simultaneously obtaining her clinical experience in both home birth and birth center practices with a total of fourteen different midwives. She is nationally certified through the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) as a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM). She is also a Licensed Midwife through the State of Texas (LM).

          Faith operates a private practice based in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area.” So like other home birth midwives, she is licensed, just not in the state that she has her practice in.

          • MWguest
            May 18, 2016 at 2:39 pm #

            Maybe they think midwifery licenses are like drivers’ licenses??? Get one in one state, drive in any state? Is that how it works?

            Oh, why am I even trying to make sense of any of it?

      • Bombshellrisa
        May 18, 2016 at 2:00 pm #

        That could be a pic from a birth where she was a doula or a hospital transfer.

      • critter8875
        May 24, 2016 at 3:00 pm #

        Could be a green screen.

    • Marie
      May 18, 2016 at 5:31 pm #

      That is terrifying.

      I’m a healthy weight, eat fruits and vegetables with every meal, and have completed 2 triathlons. I excercise almost daily. I never eat fast food, rarely drink soda, etc. I’m pretty healthy.

      I had a giant baby via C-section last year. But hey if I just “get healthy” I can vbac at home! Yay! (Sarcasm).

    • Deborah
      May 18, 2016 at 7:40 pm #

      Wealth and privilege drip from that interview. It’s all there. The beautiful, spacious home with tall ceilings and big windows, children playing happily with toys behind French doors, overseas travel, volunteering and a luxury car.
      The sanctimony of this birth hobbyist is incredible. She believes that if high risk women were simply willing to “change their attitude” and follow her diet and lifestyle advice they would then become low risk and she would be able to accept them as clients. How benevolent of her.
      The way she trivialises a TOLAC woman in difficulty at a home birth as cute and funny, throwing in a big word to feign knowledge (asynclitic) clearly shows that she has no understanding at all of the catastrophic possibility of a uterine rupture with all it’s devastating consequences.
      She is a disaster waiting to happen.

    • Cinder Allie
      May 18, 2016 at 8:11 pm #

      Yeah, I used to dance in Tulsa

  9. MI Dawn
    May 18, 2016 at 10:49 am #

    So very convenient that you can’t comment on Henci’s post…

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      May 18, 2016 at 5:17 pm #

      Henci is discussing it on Facebook:


      • canaduck
        May 18, 2016 at 5:42 pm #

        Special award for the dumbest comment ever should go to the dope who responded to you with “Step away from the computer Dr. Maim-me your drunk!”

        • Bombshellrisa
          May 18, 2016 at 6:21 pm #

          Ouch, reading that was painful.

        • demodocus
          May 18, 2016 at 8:53 pm #

          Am I the only one who twitches over the grammar?

          • MI Dawn
            May 19, 2016 at 9:56 am #

            No. Grammatical errors make me twitch, too. And non-edit functions on comments make me nuts when I make a error, also.

          • Chant de la Mer
            May 19, 2016 at 3:51 pm #

            No, it made me twitch too. It’s not a very good insult if I’m too busy correcting your grammar to notice I was insulted!

  10. May 18, 2016 at 10:42 am #

    I got to cuddle my first baby nephew yesterday for the first time. He’s amazingly perfect in the way that sleeping newborns are.

    I’m certain that Goer would have killed him if she’d been midwifing my sister-in-law.
    -The OB started NST weekly during the later part of the third trimester since SIL had pre-eclampsia that was controlled, but kept acting up.
    – When a NST came back poorly, labor was induced at 37 weeks with antibiotics since SIL tested GBS+.
    -Since her labor was monitored closely, they noticed that J.’s heart rate showed he wasn’t tolerating labor well. Added bonus – since it was an induction, they played around with some drugs to see if they could find a sweet spot of contractions J. could handle.
    – When it became clear that J. wasn’t doing well, a quick and neat CS was done.
    – His placenta was failing at 37 weeks.

    When SIL told me that she had needed antibiotics because of a test and that the doctor told her that his heart rate dropped because his placenta was deteriorating, I couldn’t stop staring at J who I held just a little tighter and kissed on the forehead.

    He wouldn’t have made it to 40 weeks. He wouldn’t have survived a vaginal birth. He might have died of pneumonia from GBS.

    Instead, he’s alive and well. I am unspeakably grateful.

    • momofone
      May 18, 2016 at 10:51 am #

      Congratulations on your new nephew!

    • Bombshellrisa
      May 18, 2016 at 12:43 pm #

      Congrats auntie!!! Science and medical interventions are amazing!!!

    • Amazed
      May 18, 2016 at 12:51 pm #

      Congrats on his arrival!

    • Zornorph
      May 18, 2016 at 2:20 pm #

      If he had not made it ‘Earthside’ at a home birth, they would have said that he was ‘not meant to live’. Fuck them.

  11. MWguest
    May 18, 2016 at 10:40 am #

    The Goer & Romano book (Optimal Care in Childbirth) was a required text for my nurse-midwifery program. A crying shame. Too many are duped by this fraud. I can’t even find words for how disgusted I am by this.

    • MI Dawn
      May 18, 2016 at 10:45 am #

      Huh. We used Varney’s Midwifery.

      • MWguest
        May 18, 2016 at 10:50 am #

        Oh yes, Varney’s is required. But they’ve added in this nonsense book from Henci Goer. It’s garbage. I was incredibly disappointed. I was hoping (maybe) for some critical evaluation of the content of the book, but that didn’t happen. SIGH.

      • May 18, 2016 at 12:53 pm #

        Maggie Myles! (British midwives of a certain age would swear by it) It was one of the most lucid, no-nonsense texts I’ve ever read.

    • Dr Kitty
      May 18, 2016 at 2:40 pm #

      I can recommend Obstetrics and Gynaecology by Impey. That was my med school go to, and very easy to read.
      It is not, in any way, interested in the “spiritual” aspect of birth, just a no nonsense overview of OBGYN.

      • BeatriceC
        May 18, 2016 at 4:40 pm #

        I might read that just for fun.

    • Megan
      May 18, 2016 at 10:00 pm #

      We used Beckmann, which I liked and found very readable yet comprehensive. I still refer to it every once in a while.

  12. MI Dawn
    May 18, 2016 at 10:38 am #

    During my midwifery (CNM) training, we read a lot by Judith Rooks. While even then I didn’t necessarily agree with her, I will say at least she’s honest in this article about the risks of out-of-hospital birth.

    • MI Dawn
      May 18, 2016 at 10:41 am #

      (and let me say that I’d never heard of Henci Goer until coming here! But then, my program didn’t focus too much on woo. It informed us about homebirth (since the program – Frontier – had started in the KY hills), but was much more based on medical truths than woo. No herbs, no homeopathy.

      • MWguest
        May 18, 2016 at 10:43 am #

        Hey – I’m at Frontier – one of Goer’s books is required reading now. Guess FNU is stepping into the woo. You avoided that? Lucky you!

        • MI Dawn
          May 18, 2016 at 10:45 am #

          Ah…I was CNEP class V…so a long time ago.

          • no longer drinking the koolaid
            May 18, 2016 at 11:04 am #

            I am also and FNS grad. Goer’s book about OB myth was required reading by CNEP class 14.

      • guest
        May 18, 2016 at 10:59 am #

        My SIL gave me the Thinking Woman’s Guide when I got pregnant. I thought at first it would be great – a science-based book to cut through all the superstitions and myths. And it is written as if it is based on science. But oh, so, so, so much woo.

        The correct title is “The Guide for Women Who Like to Think of Themselves as Smarter Than Experts Based on Anecdotes.” I will admit that the proper title isn’t as pithy.

        • Sean Jungian
          May 18, 2016 at 12:51 pm #

          Maybe call it “The Big Book of Smug”?

          • demodocus
            May 18, 2016 at 3:10 pm #

            I read “Big Book of Smog”. Yeah, Tolkein!

          • Nick Sanders
            May 18, 2016 at 3:20 pm #

            That’d be “Smaug”. 😛

          • demodocus
            May 18, 2016 at 3:50 pm #

            You’re right, my brain’s on vacation.

          • demodocus
            May 18, 2016 at 3:53 pm #

            You’re right, of course. My brain’s on vacation. Still have visions of dragons circling mountains, though. 🙂

          • Roadstergal
            May 18, 2016 at 6:59 pm #

            That’s what they call it in L.A.

      • MWguest
        May 18, 2016 at 10:10 pm #

        This comment got me thinking about who first introduced me to Henci Goer.
        It was Melanie Moore, CPM working-in-a-then-illegal-state, NARM qualified evaluator, HBAC mama, who was eventually charged with practicing medicine without a license for attending a ‘stillbirth’, a bona fide ‘sister in chains’ (see the website of the same name), featured character in the film Midwife, who now apparently mentors and ushers new CPMs into the world.

        She thought Henci Goer was the bees knees and highly recommended her books. She was speaking with such authority and women’s ways of knowing that I went right out and bought that book, Obstetrical Myths vs Research Realities – or Whatever the eff it was…. oh, this was long before my foray with Frontier, long before I’d heard of Ina May and the Farm and made my own birth junkie pilgrimage there. This was when I was first learning about midwifery and getting earfulls of nonsense from these self-proclaimed experts.

        And even after the damage is done, the charges are filed, the sentences are served, these midwives are still celebrated. WTF is wrong with this picture?

        And Henci Goer is nothing but a nut.

    • MWguest
      May 18, 2016 at 10:41 am #

      Compared to Goer, Rooks is pretty level-headed and demonstrates an ability to critically think.

  13. momofone
    May 18, 2016 at 10:21 am #

    “C’mon Henci, you may think your followers are gullible and stupid, but no one that stupid!”

    I love your optimism, but I worry that it’s unwarranted.

    • nomofear
      May 18, 2016 at 11:41 pm #

      Yeah, I was that stupid. Birth center for my first baby, that, by luck, ended well – of course, I thought I had everything to do with its success. Googling Ina May during my second pregnancy led me here, and thank the gods I started reading. I barely looked up from my phone for two weeks, and when I did, I told my husband I wanted a 39th-week induction with an epidural, and ALL THE MONITORING. He cried tears of joy. But until I stumbled in here, I was trapped in the echo chamber. It didn’t seem dark and scary until I saw the light…

      • Rose Magdalene
        May 20, 2016 at 12:14 am #

        I found this website by googling “natural childbirth is bullshit.” My first baby was born via emergency c-section after a failed natural hospital labor. I followed most of the rules. I waited till I naturally went into labor (at 41 weeks 4 days). No drugs, no continuous fetal monitoring. Took a hypnobirthing classes. Avoided OBGYN’s. Had doulas and moved around all kinds. Still ended up with a c section. Only thing I could have done “more right” was to avoid the hospital all together. Thank the gods I didn’t make that choice.

        Well after I got over my c-section guilt I realized that the natural childbirth ideology was a bunch of bull. I thought I was the only person to have noticed this, until I found this site. Through one of the site linked here I learned that the tolac rupture rate was 1 out of 200, and I decided that was a risk I wasn’t interested in taking. I second baby was born via elective c section. My choice and no regrets. The NBC had me believing that uterine ruptures were super rare. 1 out of 200 isn’t super rare. This website and others like it seriously helped me to rid myself of my remaining NCB demons.

        • nomofear
          May 20, 2016 at 7:23 am #

          Oh, well at least you’d already decided it was a pile of horse poo. Sadly, even after altogether awful care, and pain that put me into a fugue state in which I decided I’d changed my mind and didn’t want a baby any more because it hurt too much to push, so it took three hours of pushing before my first daughter was born – and, in a birth center, so no real monitoring – I thank the universe every day that she’s here and perfectly fine. It so easily could have gone south. I mean, such horseshit. I ate up all the spiels about having to labor flat on your back honed up to machines in the hospital. Guess how I labored at the birth center? Flat on my back on a bed. The amazing hospital with #2? A modern bed, sitting up at an angle. I could go on but frankly we all know the comparisons – I just can’t believe I’m that gullible. It’s good to know that about myself. At least I didn’t fall for anti vaccine stuff, right?

          This site also got me looking up organics and GMOs with new eyes. Happy to say I’m pretty sure conventional is better, and GMOs will feed the world, if the superior anti marketing doesn’t win out.

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