Ginger Breedlove, CNM confirms that midwifery leaders don’t give a damn about dead babies

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Is there medical professional more devoid of ethics, morality and simple human compassion than a midwife who ignores dead babies?

I doubt it, but Ginger Breedlove, CNM, former president of the American College of Nurse Midwives, appears willing to ignore all three when her profits and those of other birth workers are at stake.

Breedlove has produced what she imagines is a riposte to Gatehouse Media’s incredible expose of American homebirth midwives (CPMs, LMs), Failure to Deliver. Instead she confirms what seems to me to be its central contention: babies are dying as a result of substandard midwifery care and the midwifery leadership can’t be bothered to give a damn.

Breedlove tries to bury dead babies twice, first in tiny coffins and then by refusing to acknowledge that they lived and died.

The central characters in Failure to Deliver are the babies who died. Their lives and preventable deaths are engraved on the hearts of their bereaved parents. In a 600 word rant, Breedlove doesn’t mention the babies even once! Instead, like many homebirth advocates and midwifery leaders Breedlove attempts to bury dead babies twice, first in tiny coffins and then by trying to expunge their existence from public consciousness.

Yesterday, in writing about Failure to Deliver, I identified some of the tactics homebirth midwives use to mislead consumers. Today, Breedlove demonstrates them.

She starts with the bait and switch:

I submit we would NOT see this type of clear attack on midwives and birth centers in ANY other high-income country where midwives have worked for decades, in all settings, with far better outcomes while delivering far more babies than their OB counterparts.

Duh! The most important revelation in Failure to Deliver is that homebirth midwives (CPMs, LMs) don’t meet the standards of midwives in ANY other high income country, but try to trade on the achievements of those other midwives. Homebirth midwives seek to confuse consumers about this second, substandard class of midwives, and Breedlove continues the deliberate deception.

She includes the classic midwifery red herrings:

WHY NOW? When we are battling the highest rate of maternal mortality in over 20 years, untenable inequities for black and brown communities in receipt of comprehensive maternity care, the battle over respectful maternity care and realities of consumer choice?

Maternal mortality has risen because women are dying for LACK of high tech interventions, the very interventions that midwives don’t provide. Untenable inequities for black and brown communities? Indeed, the number of black and brown midwives is tiny. Perhaps midwives ought to look to their own glass house before throwing stones.

Breedlove rails against fear:

ANY news that begins with emergency 911 recordings is intentionally designed to evoke fear in the readership. For me, it leads with an intentional set up as a page turner that keeps you on the edge of your seat, and ends with provoking the same reader emotions – FEAR.

But why shouldn’t we fear the preventable deaths of babies? Oh, right, because it would hurt the incomes of midwives and what’s a few dead babies compared to midwife profit?

Again and again Breedlove ignores the dead babies to focus on midwives:

As we work at #GrowMidwives to advance the Midwifery profession among many stakeholders including hospitals, physicians, midwives and consumers, it is quite frustrating to have to sort out fact from fiction, misuse of titles, and a void of comparison to hospital birth with similar populations including relative risk data.

I can’t begin to imagine how Breedlove believes her “frustration” is more important than the preventable deaths of babies and the shattered lives of their parents, but apparently she does.

She has papers!

We have numerous studies to counter some of the cited associations made in the article about home birth and birth center birth.

So what! The tobacco companies had numerous studies to counter the association between tobacco and lung cancer. That didn’t make them true.

There is absolutely no question that CPMs and LMs have neonatal death rates triple (or more) death rates from comparable risk hospital birth. What does Breedlove plan to do about that? Absolutely nothing!

Ethical medical professionals put the wellbeing of their patients first. Not Breedlove:

And, #GrowMidwives will continue to help #GrowConsumers and others who see the value in full integration of Midwives in this country.

In the meantime, the rest of us will continue to work tirelessly to see the value in live, healthy babies and mothers. And we will continue to marvel and mourn the fact that enablers like Breedlove don’t give a damn and keep burying dead babies twice.

Breedlove should be ashamed of herself, but that would require both ethics and insight and apparently she has neither.

  • Merrie

    Wtf even is that. I just can’t.

    I got into a quasi-argument about this on Facebook. My friend claims that she’s concerned about unqualified midwives doing births, but then says that well-trained CPMs are better at “natural” birth than CNMs. Dafuq.

    • Anj Fabian

      The “experts in normal birth” trope is true, sadly.

      If you don’t have a normal birth, they have no idea what to do. They often do nothing.

    • RudyTooty

      Dafuq.

      Agreed.

      A cat can assist at a natural birth.
      Or a flea.
      Or a flea’s turd.

  • rational thinker

    I think it is very clear the only thing this midwife cares about is #$$$$$$$$$$$

    • Daleth

      They care about money, but I think they care more about power and feeling special. They have a lot of power over and respect from women in the home-birthing community. They feel special, exactly like antivaxxers feel special — because they have convinced themselves that they know more than the experts; they know hidden truths that the “supposed experts” don’t have access to. It’s the same mentality as conspiracy theorists.

      • rational thinker

        They do seem to get off on the power it gives them, I wonder if they even feel anything when a birth ends in tragedy.

        • RudyTooty

          What do they feel when a birth ends in tragedy?

          There’s a short span of cognitive dissonance. (minutes to days)

          Then denial. (the rest of their life)

          Those seem to be the two stages of grief for midwives.

  • Mel

    Personally, I’m skeeved out by the fact that she’s hashtagging her own consultant group to build brand awareness in the same post that supposedly is addressing a fundamental societal wrong. #gross #anotherdayanotherdollar

  • Daleth

    This is such a bizarre statement:

    we would NOT see this type of clear attack on midwives and birth centers
    in ANY other high-income country where midwives have worked for
    decades, in all settings, with far better outcomes while delivering far
    more babies than their OB counterparts

    It’s bizarre because no such country exists. There is no high-income country where midwives deliver “far more babies” than OBs and have “far better outcomes” with comparable-risk babies. What planet does she live on?

  • space_upstairs

    It looks like this professional is more aligned with the business side of her line of work, and so is dedicated to pleasing the common customer base of midwives who attend non-hospital births: people who care more about *how* their child is born than *whether* their child is born.

    While it’s tragic that so many kids that could have been born alive don’t get to be, they will at least not be raised by people who will be unable to unconditionally love them, like that mother I read about on this blog a while back who admitted to favoring her vaginally-birthed child over her C-sectioned child.

  • moto_librarian

    Just posted this on her FB feed. I know it will be deleted: Stunning to see the former president of the ACNM responding in this fashion. MANA’s data demonstrates a perinatal mortality rate that is three times higher than that of hospital birth (and that’s when they compare it with ALL hospital birth; the appropriate comparison would be low-risk hospital birth, which makes the death rate even more hideous). Surely you know that the leading causes of maternal mortality (pph, cardiac issues, pulmonary embolism, etc.) are only exacerbated by giving birth in a low resource setting? Or are you really suggesting that less technology would have prevented these deaths? Both of my sons were delivered by CNMs. I credit the fast actions of the CNM during my first delivery with saving my life. She diagnosed a cervical laceration as the root cause of my pph, and worked with nurses and the attending OB to get me in the OR within fifteen minutes of the start of the crisis. It really bothers me to see CNMs writing off the preventable deaths of infants and mothers as fear-mongering. In fact, it makes it very difficult for me to feel comfortable with recommending midwifery care to friends. I also know that you are deleting comments that take you to task, including those posted by other CNMs. This behavior is unprofessional and grotesque.

    • RudyTooty

      I didn’t even take her to task.

      I just disagreed with her, by saying I thought the series of articles was very good. Then suggested that the standards that govern our certification as CNMs be the minimum standard in the US.

      That is *not* taking anyone to task. That is having a very mild difference in opinion. I’m sure she felt ‘attacked’ – but JFC.

      It’s like I walked into an Apple store and had the nerve to say that everyone should own an iPhone.

      • moto_librarian

        Oh, but she claims that you were “unprofessional.”

        • RudyTooty

          HAHAHAHAHA.

          That doesn’t mean much coming from her.

          Edited to add: I’m a person who holds a professional credential (CNM) asking that the credential be held up as the standard for all midwives, and *I’m* unprofessional?

          Is it opposite day? Where am I?

        • RudyTooty

          It’s so frustrating that I can’t comment over there.

          Geez, she really didn’t read the articles did she?

          They published a whole chart about midwives including the CM credential. I don’t remember which story it was in – but they did go into it.

          Ask her if she’s read *all* the stories in the series. If she hasn’t blocked you yet.

        • RudyTooty

          The chart I mentioned – is in the link she linked to.

          She can’t. Or doesn’t READ.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/502ac42a1617ec55b665bb439d4fffac6270c045651b4c2a8f62f91d33871789.png

          • What I like to point out about CPMs, is I could be qualified to be one. Me. I’ve a political science degree with a minor in sociology. I’ve precisely zero medical background, but I looked at the test they make you take, and it’s dirt simple. I could study for less than 2 weeks and pass it. I’d have to find a midwife to apprentice to, but then attend 50-100 births and that’s it.

            That’s appalling. I am in no way, shape, or form qualified to be the primary medical attendant at a medical event with life-or-death consequences. I’m probably better qualified than a lot of CPMs just because I am appropriately terrified of bad outcomes and would call for an ambulance/properly qualified help as soon as possible, though, and that’s just sad.

  • Why does Breedlove seem to be identifying herself with American CPMs and LMs? “Failure to Deliver” is not an attack on midwives–it’s an expose of homebirths, which are mostly attended by non-CNMs (though I realize they also discussed birth centers with CNMs). Her response seems to have very little to do with the piece it’s supposedly responding to–just a very odd bit of territory marking.

    Also: “Failure to Deliver” presented the integration of homebirth midwifery into regular medical systems as a GOOD thing. Why does she think it opposed midwifery?

  • attitude devant

    I think I may scream and never stop screaming as long as these tools/fools persist in referencing maternal mortality as a demonstration of their own usefulness. Ummmm, no. If you examine the causes of maternal mortality, exactly none are improved by a low-resource setting.

    • RudyTooty

      “exactly none are improved by a low-resource setting.”

      It’s laughable that this even needs explanation.

  • RudyTooty

    I love this. Thank you. This made my day.