Lamaze censors doctors because they fear the truth

I don’t have a lot of respect for the folks at the Lamaze blog Science and Sensibility, but at least under the tenure of Amy Romano, they demonstrated more integrity than any other natural childbirth or homebirth blog:

Henci Goer has banned me: too hard to address my points. The Unnecessarean has banned me: too hard to address my points. Jennifer Block doesn’t let anyone comment on what she writes: good idea since she can’t address anyone’s points. Only the folks at “Science” and Sensibility haven’t banned me. I don’t know why since I have torn apart multiple posts that they have written. I guess that while they may not know much about science, they appear to understand integrity.

Now that Kimmelin Hull is editor, they’ve abandoned even that. Not only do they ban me, but now they’ve started deleting the factual comments of other doctors including anesthesiologist Gilbert Grant, MD. After all, when discussing the risks and benefits of anesthesia, we wouldn’t want women to be informed by mere anesthesiologists.

Last week I wrote that even though there is no evidence that epidural affects breastfeeding, Lamaze still insists on pretending that there is.

Evidently I was not the only doctor to point this out. Dr. Nick Fogelson wrote in the comments:

Please try to find the actual data that shows that epidurals have a measurable negative effect on mothers and babies. Such data is talked about a lot, but I’ve never seen it in any obstetrics journal. The reality is that there are no prospective randomized trials of epidural or no epidural, so such ‘data’ is actually either a fabricated idea or retrospective analyses fraught with bias…

Dr. Grant, the anesthesiologist, weighed in:

Based on the evidence to date, we certainly CANNOT conclude that epidurals have a causal effect of impairing breast-feeding, which is a complex activity subject to many different influences…

In a series of subsequent comments, Dr. Gilbert went on to criticize the misinformation promoted by childbirth educators (including Lamaze educators) in their classes. He provided empirical evidence that Lamaze simply fabricates claims about the “risks” of epidurals that have no basis in the scientific literature.

Well, we can’t have that, can we? Imagine, actual scientific evidence showing that Lamaze educators are deliberately teaching falsehoods about epidurals. So Kimmelin Hull deleted that complete with a pious claim that Dr. Gilbert violated the “standards” of the blog. Apparently, facts cannot be tolerated at Science and Sensibility.

Dr. Grant briefly expressed his surprise that Hull would delete factual comments simply because she preferred to keep women ignorant of those facts. That looked even worse.

Can’t have that, can we? Not only can’t Hull allow actual scientific facts, but she can’t be seen to delete actual scientific facts, so she “cleaned up” the comment thread to completely misrepresent what happened.

It looks like Dr. Grant made only 4 comments when he made twice as many. It looks like Dr. Grant never mentioned the falsehoods taught in Lamaze classes when he was quite explicit in detailing just what falsehoods are being propagated. It looks like Hull never made an attempt to address Dr. Gilbert’s data when, in fact, she offered a pitiful effort to dismiss those facts. It looks like Hull never acknowledged deleting Grant’s comments when, in fact, she acknowledged that the truth apparently “violates” the Science and Sensibility comment policy.

Hey, Kimmelin, way to demonstrate the tactics of Lamaze!

1. Write a piece that acknowledges there is no data for a central Lamaze claim.

2. Insist that it’s okay to pretend that the claim is true regardless of the lack of evidence.

3. Invite comments but be sure to censor any that provide uncomfortable scientific facts.

4. Hide evidence that you are deleting comments.

5. Rinse and repeat ad nauseum.

Wow, keeping women ignorant of the facts about childbirth is hard work!