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The language of natural childbirth: English to English translation

The most important thing you need to know about the philosophy of natural childbirth is that it is a business. It is a multimillion dollar business that includes trade organizations, public relations people and government lobbyists. There’s nothing wrong with the fact that natural childbirth is a business. In a capitalist society like ours, when […]

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Obstetricians are lifeguards

Lifeguards are over used. Think about it: Swimming is a natural process. Water is entirely natural. Animals swim all the time without difficulty. If death by drowning were common we wouldn’t be here. Most rescues result in children and adults who are perfectly fine. Yet despite these incontrovertible facts, people have been socialized to believe […]

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Let’s review: Trust umbilical cords?

Natural childbirth and homebirth advocates get very excited about umbilical cords, specifically nuchal (neck) cords, the medical term for an umbilical cord that gets wrapped around the baby’s neck. They get excited because they believe that obstetricians dramatize the risk of nuchal cords (“the baby could die”) when they aren’t dangerous at all. As usual, […]

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Marginalizing women by diverting them into the vagina wars

When you think about it, it’s a stroke of genius. If you were a misogynist who felt threatened by competition from women in business, science and politics, what better way is there to marginalize women once again than to divert them into competing over who has the better vagina and breasts? That was the conscious […]

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Really, TNR? Is this hatchet job on electronic fetal monitoring what passes for journalism these days?

Apparently the author started with the conclusions, spoke only to those who would support that conclusion, and failed to consult even a single expert on the topic to produce a hatchet job on electronic fetal monitoring (EFM). Noah Berlatsky wrote The Most Common Childbirth Practice in America Is Unnecessary and Dangerous for The New Republic […]

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How do breastfeeding stunts normalize breastfeeding? They don’t!

Imagine if former chief executive Carly Fiorina had addressed HP stockholders while wearing a filmy negligee. Would that normalize women chief executives? No. How about if Serena Williams took the court at Wimbledon topless? Would that normalize women in sports? I doubt it. What if Hillary Clinton chose to campaign in a bra and G-string? […]

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How mothers became rivals and what we can do about it

For the longest time, I was one of the few bloggers writing about the perverse and inappropriate pressures of natural parenting. But as the response to World Breastfeeding Week indicates, the tide is finally turning. In the last few months, we’ve seen: I’m an obstetrician and I failed at breastfeeding Breastfeeding does not determine a […]

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The mothering quest and the construction of the maternal hero

You cannot understand the discourse around contemporary parenting in the US without understanding this central reality: Every woman is the hero of her own mothering story. That’s the essence of the mommy-wars. It has nothing to do with children, although children are ostensibly the focus; it has nothing to do with science, although science is […]

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Have lactivists lost their minds?

I wasn’t planning to write about breastfeeding today. I thought I had temporarily exhausted the topic. Then I saw this: The Australian Breastfeeding Association is warning that new mums are giving up breastfeeding so they can drink alcohol … with disappointing outcomes for their bubs… New mothers are being warned that feeding their ­babies formula […]

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Dr. Newman, what will it take for you to understand the suffering of mothers pressured to breastfeed?

“Listen to your patient, [s]he is telling you the diagnosis.” Those are the words of William Osler often called the Father of Modern Medicine for his contributions to the development of medical education. I first heard them from the chief of surgery at the beginning of my internship. It is almost always true, the patient […]

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