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Surprise! 70% of babies referred for tongue-tie surgery DON’T need it!

There is a veritable epidemic of “broken” baby tongues, known colloquially as tongue-tie and scientifically as ankyloglossia. The epidemic of tongue tie is surprising since the natural incidence has been estimated as only 1.7-4.8% But releasing (snipping) the tongue tie is big business. The surgical fee for frenectomy/frenotomy is $850. I presume that $850 is […]

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Anti-vaxxers won’t take a coronavirus vaccine? I might not take it either.

There’s been a lot of handwringing lately about whether anti-vaxxers will be willing to take a coronavirus vaccine. Pediatrician Phoebe Danziger writes in The New York Times A Coronavirus Vaccine Won’t Work if People Don’t Take It: If a vaccine for coronavirus is developed tomorrow, will you take it? Many people won’t. According to recent […]

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Two daughters, two deaths, two forms of denialism

Denialism kills. Christine Maggiore was in prime form, engaging and articulate, when she explained to a Phoenix radio host in late March why she didn’t believe HIV caused AIDS. The HIV-positive mother of two laid out matter-of-factly why, even while pregnant, she hadn’t taken HIV medications, and why she had never tested her children for […]

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Refusing to wear a mask is drinking the kool-aid

Is there anything more ironic than refusing to wear a mask during the coronavirus pandemic? While anti-maskers loudly insist that no one can tell them what to do, they are in fact doing exactly what President Trump has pressured them to do: risking their very lives to demonstrate political fealty. We have an expression for […]

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Natural childbirth advocacy depends on privilege

Last week I reviewed why natural childbirth philosophy is fundamentally and ineradicably racist. I quoted Rachelle Chadwick (Bodies that Birth: Vitalizing Birth Politics) in exploring an imagined racial dichotomy in birth where indigenous women of color are fantasized as “primitive and animal-like and thus primed to give birth (and breastfeed) easily and without pain or […]

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The Gaskin Maneuver is a classic example of medical colonialism

The racism of natural childbirth advocacy is usually covert, but back in 2017 Ina May Gaskin inadvertently showed hers. According to birth workers of color who attended her talk, when asked about the problem of extraordinarily black maternal mortality, Gaskin blamed women of color for their own deaths: Gaskin responded with anecdotal stories about Black […]

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The casual racism of breastfeeding advocacy

Ironically, one of the most racist examples of breastfeeding advocacy that I’ve ever seen can be found on the website of a bastion of liberalism, National Public Radio. Entitled Secrets Of Breast-Feeding From Global Moms In The Know, it exploits black African bodies to promote the values of privileged, Western, white women. It’s almost like […]

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Natural childbirth and the racialization of pregnant bodies

Yesterday I wrote about the racist origins of the philosophy of natural childbirth. The idea that “primitive” women feel no pain in childbirth and that the pain that Western women experience can be attributed to the “fear-tension-pain cycle” originated with obstetrician Grantly Dick-Read. If you doubt that his fabricated claims were based on racism, you […]

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The racism of natural childbirth and breastfeeding advocacy

Sadly, there is an ugly history of racism in medicine. What’s less well known is the history of racism in natural childbirth advocacy and breastfeeding promotion. As Alison Phipps explains in‘The New Reproductive Regimes of Truth,’ a chapter in the book The Politics of the Body: Gender in a Neoliberal and Neoconservative Age, natural childbirth […]

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Breastfeeding research sucks!

Imagine a study that compared in hospital blood transfusion rates to death rates. What would you conclude if that study found that people who received blood transfusions were more likely to die than those who did not? Would you postulate that blood transfusions caused deaths? Would you recommend that blood transfusions be withheld? Of course […]

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