When your baby has a homebirth complication, I don’t win but you lose

54953528 - you lose: yellow road sign with a blue sky and white clouds

Several weeks ago someone forwarded a picture posted in an unassisted birth group.

The mother noted that the baby’s umbilical cord was unusual; it looked like a candy cane or barber pole.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The mother could have killed her baby, but her chief concern is her image.[/pullquote]


As the mother recognized, this is abnormal; it’s often associated with a serious infection of the placenta, the baby or both.

I publicly urged the mother to take the baby to the hospital. A newborn can have a serious infection without showing any signs of illness. The baby could collapse and die before the mother ever realizes that the baby is ill.

Not surprisingly, the mother ignored me. If you don’t give enough of a damn to have a medical professional present at birth, you don’t give enough of a damn to investigate even serious problems. Unassisted birth is medical neglect; bringing in a baby with a complication after unassisted birth will raise all sorts of red flags with medical professionals and child protection authorities.

Not surprisingly, the baby did have an infection. Ultimately a pathology report showed acute chorionitis and acute funisitis as well as meconium staining. In other words the membranes were infected and the baby was mounting an inflammatory response.

Fortunately, it was mild enough that the baby was able to fight it off, though there was no way the mother could know that at the time.

Does she feel bad that she risked her daughter’s life? Of course not. She feels bad that I might think that I “won.”


… I fell like there’s a high chance of my words getting back to “Dr Amy” and I’m not sure if I’m ready to be in that negative spotlight again. Her callous remarks and the hatred from her followers really took a toll on my family that first week … But I finally decided to post an update here because … she doesn’t get to win. She will not make me live in fear. She will not stop the spread of experience, knowledge and information that is so critical to the birth community. She will not silence me.

I, I, my, my, me, me. It just reinforces my contention that unassisted birth groups are cesspits of stupidity, ignorance, and, above all, narcissism.

There is nothing natural about unassisted birth. It is an affectation of privileged, primarily white women who confuse defiance of authority with intelligence.

The mother could have killed her baby, but her chief concern is image. Therefore, let me explain something:

When your baby has a homebirth complication, I don’t win … but your baby loses. My self image is not on the line when YOU do something irresponsible and narcissistic. Don’t flatter yourself by imagining that I care what you think about me.

Unassisted birth advocate Ruth Rodley “dead babies are hickups [sic]” had this to say:


Thank you for sharing, hopefully Amy (Skeptical OB) will blog about this… She ran over me too. Blamed me for things I had no control over in a VBAC group I help in. She is a nasty piece of work.

`And the inimitable Modern Alternative Mama Kate Tietje weighed in:


I can’t stand that woman and her brigade of losers.

Says the woman desperately trying to monetize her ignorance.

I comment about homebirth complications and deaths because I want to PREVENT them. I get no joy from the thought than an innocent baby faces injury, brain damage or death because her clown of a mother wants to impress her equally ignorant friends.

I don’t need validation of my education, training and experience. If I needed that I would look to my professional colleagues whose own education, training and experience I hold in esteem, not to women who are breathtakingly arrogant in their ignorance.

When you risk your baby’s brain function and life in choosing homebirth, unassisted or otherwise, please don’t imagine that I “win” when your baby is harmed. But make no mistake … YOU lose.