Ina May shows how it’s done

What a coincidence!

In honor of Mother’s Day, Ina May Gaskin, godmother of gobbledly-gook in midwifery has discovered that there is a “crisis” in maternity care, a crisis so enormous, so comprehensive, involving so many well white women that it can only be solved by … midwives!

Isn’t that amazing. Just like Amy Romano, but completely independently, both midwives realized that all solutions to problems in maternity care involve paying more money to more midwives. But while Amy Romano preferred to write a subtle, understated smear that tugs at your heart strings, Ina May shows us how it’s really done.

1. Declare that there is a “maternity crisis.”

That’s where both she and Amy Romano started.

2. Supply an anecdote to “prove” that obstetricians don’t know what they are doing.

It is absolutely critical to the natural childbirth project to convince women that doctors don’t know what they are doing, and willfully and cheerfully risk the lives of women and babies to promote a secret agenda.

Romano chose a heart tugging anecdote where an non-obstetrician made a mistake. Ina May goes for farce when recounting the story of a North Carolina obstetrician who made the mistake of believing a patient and failed to diagnosis a hysterical pregnancy (pseudocyesis).

According to midwifery “logic,” if one obstetrician makes one mistake (or, as in Romano’s case, a non-obstetrician fails to diagnose an obstetrics problem) that means that ALL obstetricians, everywhere and at all times, cannot possible be trusted to do anything right.

3. Insist that the dramatic progress of modern obstetrics is an illusion and that obstetricians oppressed midwives because they were afraid of economic competition. As Marketing Professor Craig Thompson has written:

“… [T]he cultural dominance of medicalized childbirth is explained as the historical artifact of a fin de siecle struggle between midwives and physicians, where the latter group held a decided economic and sociocultural advantage. As this critical narrative goes, the medical profession leveraged its emerging economic-political clout and cultural affinities toward ideals of scientific progress and technological control to displace midwives (both socially and legally) as the authoritative source of childbirth knowledge.”

4. Lie about the scientific facts.

Ina May claims that the World Health Organization recommended a 10-15% C0-section rate, and “neglects” to mention that the recommendation has been WITHRAWN because, as the WHO acknowledged, it was fabricated without any scientific evidence to support it.

Ms. Gaskin claims that the maternal mortality rate doubled in the past generation, when that is flat out false. The purported “increase” is almost entirely due to two separate revisions in birth certificates that enlarged the classification of maternal death to include deaths that previously would not have been included. In addition, Ms. Gaskin conveniently “forgets” to mention that maternal mortality has actually DROPPED in the past two years for which we have data.

Ina May also neglects to mention the fact that in the 100 years after its advent, modern obstetrics dropped the neonatal mortality rate 90% and the maternal mortality rate 99%.

5. Cynically ignore the real crisis in the care of women around the world who die for lack of access to modern obstetric care, and pretend that the “crisis” is that there aren’t more midwives to care for well white women in first world countries. Cynically ignore the fact that the leading causes of maternal mortality in the US are complications of pregnancy and pre-existing medical conditions like heart disease and kidney disease. Midwives can have no impact on these deaths because they don’t care for these patients.

6. Insist that obstetricians overuse technology, AND at the very same time, under-use it. The battle cry of midwifery advocates is usually that obstetricians have “ruined” birth with their insistence on using technology, yet both Romano and Gaskin have invoked medical mistakes where the under-use of technology led to the bad outcome.

Which is it? Do obstetricians overuse or under-use technology? Or does it not really matter, when the goal is to use any means at hand to disparage obstetrics and encourage mistrust of obstetricians?

7. Sadly, but firmly insinuate that obstetricians don’t want to help women; they want to make money, show off, and get to their golf games as quickly as possible. Regretfully, but firmly imply that obstetricians actually want to HURT women by imposing their fancy technologies to ruin otherwise perfect labors simply so that they can apply even more technology.

And declare (this is the big finish), the only way you can prevent obstetricians from victimizing you, hurting you and profiting from you is …. give more money to midwives.

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