2013: The year in homebirth deaths and disasters

Crying woman

As the end of the year approaches, it is time for the grim task of recapping the deaths and disasters from 2013. The toll of homebirth deaths and disasters, almost all presided over by homebirth midwives, is, above all, a shocking indictment of the second, inferior class of American midwives known as CPMs (certified professional midwives).

The list is much too long:

1. Thank goodness I chose homebirth for the shoulder dystocia that nearly killed my baby (UK disaster)

2. Yes the baby died, but my homebirth midwife was awesome

Another homebirth, another dead baby, another loss mother proclaiming that her midwife was really, really nice to her.

In this particular case it is not clear whether the baby would have survived had the mother been under the care of an obstetrician, since the baby may or may not have had congenital anomalies; but there is no question that the baby would have had a much better chance of surviving if her mother had had appropriate care for a postdates pregnancy and an ultrasound that had revealed any potential problems that might have been addressed in a timely fashion.

3. No, homebirth did not save your baby, either

The idea that a homebirth saved this baby’s life is ludicrous on its face. C-section is the life saving treatment for a worrisome velamentous cord insertion because it reduces the risk of perinatal death to near zero, not homebirth, which guarantees the baby’s death if the blood vessel is torn.

4. Another devastated homebirth loss mother

Another homebirth, another shoulder dystocia, another dead baby and another homebirth midwife who will never be held accountable for presiding over the preventable death of a beautiful baby girl.

5. Homebirth baby dies of virus contracted during waterbirth

An infant who died following a home waterbirth into a pool containing her mother’s virally contaminated diarrhea.

6. Actually you did lose your uterus because you chose homebirth

The basic story is very simple and the fault is very clear. She had a history of previous C-section, went against medical advice in choosing homebirth, ruptured her uterus, had her baby’s life save and her life saved by a repeat C-section and lost her uterus and wound up in the ICU on a ventilator having received multiple transfusions.

Does she take responsibility for her decision to choose high risk homebirth? Are you kidding? It’s everyone’s fault but hers.

7. 20 years of presiding over homebirth deaths

Barbara S. Parker, 55, faces three felony counts of practicing midwifery without a license. These charges stem from three August deliveries.

The first was on Aug. 2nd when Parker took a woman to an Auburn hospital when she was having trouble delivering her child. Then on Aug. 3rd Parker helped a woman deliver a baby that wasn’t breathing and had no pulse. That child later died at the hospital. Then a few days later, on Aug. 7th, Parker was helping a mother deliver twins and the second infant was only partially delivered and had to be taken through cesarean section. According to court papers, the second child did not survive.

8. Empty arms, broken heart, another homebirth death

I lost my son … in Feb 2013 at 40 weeks 2 days during delivery, the last pushes killed him official cause was cord prolapse. The hospital staff tried everything possible to revive him for 26 minutes after his birth but he never came back to us. He was 8lb’s 6oz and absolutely perfectly beautiful. I miss him, my arms ache, my heart hurts, my breasts ache every time I am around a baby …

9. Unlicensed midwife arrested for homebirth death AND for prostitution; homebirth advocates hold fundraiser

It’s almost as if homebirth advocates are trying to advertise their moral bankruptcy. They couldn’t care less how many babies die at homebirth, why they die at homebirth and who pretends to be a midwife.

I’m referring of course to the case of Rowan Bailey. She allegedly represented herself as a licensed midwife even though she uncredentialed and unlicensed. She has been jailed for allegedly presiding over an intrapartum death at homebirth … In addition, she was arrested last month for prostitution. What are other homebirth midwives doing in response? They’re raising money to “free” her, of course.

10. Another homebirth, another brain injured baby, but the midwife was awesome

How many times have we heard this story before?

Awesome homebirth midwife? Check.
Ignoring risk factors? Check.
Midwife with no idea until the moment of birth that the baby was in distress? Check.
High tech, extraordinarily expensive treatment to prevent further brain damage? Check.
Permanent brain injury? Check.

11. Homebirth kills mothers, too

My husbands cousin passed away today while giving birth. She was 24, beautiful, had just graduated with her masters in engineering, and was getting married. She was due may 15th. She went into labor today. She had a home birth and midwife. She bled to death on the way to the hospital that was 8 minutes away. Her daughter is alive…

12. Another maternal death: How the quest for the idealized birth experience continues to kill

The story is simple and straightforward. A pregnant woman was facing a C-section because all the obstetricians she consulted advised her that vaginal delivery might result in the death of one of her twins or herself. She decided to ignore their warning and gave birth at home unassisted. She died of a massive postpartum hemorrhage.

13. Mother eating her words; baby fighting for her life

I did have my twins … at home. I wrote a recent post about What would the world be like without hospitals. I had to eat my words this last week because my second baby had prolapse cord and has been in the hospital since birth fighting for her life. [She ultimately died.]

14. Sam, a victim of homebirth

Sam’s parents brought charges against the midwife in the Texas Board of Midwifery. The Board acknowledged that she had failed to immediately transfer Sam’s mother despite evidence of abruption. The punishment? Six months probated suspension.

Sam’s family, including two older sisters, took him home and loved him … and got lots of love in return.

Sam ultimately died due to aspiration. The autopsy ruled that it was directly related to his labor/birth injuries.

15. A mother looks back at her daughter’s postdates death

Our daughter was stillborn at 42 weeks 3 days. She never opened her blue eyes. She never cried. She never nursed at my breast or grabbed her daddy’s finger with her chubby hand, but she was still born, and she deserves to be remembered forever.

Why was she born at 42 weeks and 3 days? Because her mother wanted to avoid another C-section after 2 previous C-sections, so she chose homebirth. [Correction: Not a homebirth death because the mother had planned to deliver in the hospital. Her baby died after two days of intermittent labor at home, before the mother went to the hospital.]

16. On the other hand, maybe the midwife is a monster

The homebirth midwife presided over a neonatal death at homebirth of a VBA3C mother in Utah, administered Cytotec to induce or augment labor, and delivered the baby using a vacuum extractor; in addition a massive postpartum hemorrhage occurred.

17. Homebirth killed my baby; I’m still in favor of it

I actually did have a midwife at my homebirth and sadly my baby died. He was born still. We couldn’t find his heartbeat and then just didn’t get him out fast enough (had to transfer to hospital and have a csec) it was an attempted vbac. Even after that situation, I am still for home birth. (just not for me) If one of my daughters decided to have a HB I would be all for it …

18. Homebirth means never having to say you’re sorry

One week ago I lost heart tones on our little girl at 9 cm. We rushed to the hospital but we weren’t on time and they did a cesarean. Because of a long labor (4 days) and not dilating (transition for 15 hrs) the dr told me I shouldn’t labor again. However, I’m planning on having another baby as soon as I can and would like a home birth.

19. You nearly killed the baby, but you think the NICU abused him?

Took castor oil at 41&2 and had contractions 2-3 min apart starting at 10 pm until I delivered the next day, Friday 7/26, at 5:15 pm. My first labor was only 12 hours, start to finish, so this really shocked us all… Delivered that way [half squat] with my midwife supporting my perenium. It is a boy! He was lifeless & they had to work to get him to pink up. He had apgars of 5/6/8 but swallowed fluid, had retractions in his abdomen, & would stop crying.

He spent several days in the NICU where the mother claims he was “traumatized.”

The NICU traumatized the baby? How about his own mother who nearly killed him for no better reason than bragging rights. She hired a midwife so incompetent that she had no idea she was about to deliver a lifeless baby. She labored at home without adequate monitoring. She let her baby spend hours nearly asphyxiating. She insisted on delivering far from the people and equipment that could have resuscitated the baby faster and possibly prevented a long NICU stay.

20. Classic homebirth screw-ups lead to yet another homebirth death

Another day, another baby who didn’t have to die at homebirth.

According to The Irish Times: “A couple who prepared for what they hoped would be an idyllic home birth by lighting candles and playing soothing sounds on their stereo ended up devastated when their baby was stillborn, an inquest heard today.”

21. Homebirth midwives: bringing third world causes of childbirth death to the first world

South Carolina has suspended the license of a free standing birth center and two of its midwives because of an intrapartum stillbirth.

22. Don’t blame yourself, blame your homebirth midwife

After 6 hours of pushing, not only was I in pain and tired but she hadn’t moved and there was meconium running down my leg which indicated that she was in stress. My midwife was still checking her heartbeat and it was a little slow. They had me lay on one side and have oxygen and that seemed to help her heart but it wasn’t helping anything else. At that time I told my midwife I was done. I couldn’t do it anymore. She tried to lift my spirits and say I COULD do this but I told her I did not want the encouragement. I was tired and I didn’t want to be in pain anymore. I wanted the hospital…

By the time they opened me up, she didn’t have a heartbeat. She was covered in meconium and the umbilical cord was wrapped several times around her neck and body. They tried rescusitating her for 15 minutes but she never made it.

23. But the baby’s heartrate was fine right before it dropped nearly dead into the homebirth midwife’s hands

Yet another baby has been placed at risk of significant brain damage and possible death because the clueless homebirth midwives didn’t understand how to diagnose fetal distress.


Think homebirth is safe? So did the mothers in these 23 accounts.

Think homebirth is safe? Read the 23 stories and think again.


Be sure to read the companion piece 2013: Homebirth papers and statistics.

209 Responses to “2013: The year in homebirth deaths and disasters”

  1. Laura Holmes
    January 7, 2014 at 2:20 pm #

    I read the blog. I feel sad. I know two women whose babies died at home birth, one of a breech. I can’t. I can’t do it. I tell women thinking about homebirth that its dangerous. I will be (seven years after baby one) making a decision whether or not to repeat a c-section. Which was necessary the 1st time. As a mom and a technician I want to scream: equipment does not “increase” the c-section rate, it decreases the rate of complications. I was happy to know my daughter was safe and no matter what, I’ll be happy to know baby number two is safe, in the hospital.

  2. Treemom
    January 1, 2014 at 3:19 pm #

    Just a small correction, pretty sure Heather (who lost a daughter to stillbirth after being post dates) was not attempting a home birth but rather was insistent in avoiding an induction and do a VBAC. I have known heather for over a decade and we have discussed this, as I had a stillbirth (unrelated to HB, or natural birth) as well. She was still influenced by home birth advocates and unfortunately I chose not to speak up and say something when I got concerned. Anyhow, it demonstrates home birth isn’t the real risk. But rather the very birth culture that is perpetuated in first world countries.

    As an aside, I was leaving to climb Kilimanjaro the day Heather lost her daughter and I spent 10 days on that mountain thinking about her. And then I got off the mountain and toured a medical facility and halfway house for women suffering from Obstetric Fistula and those two things did more to solidify my view that this pop culture around birth is so elitist and dangerous than the previous 11 years of mothering and being around santicmommies.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      January 1, 2014 at 5:09 pm #

      Thanks. In the original post I mentioned that it was not a homebirth, but forgot when I excerpted it for the year end post.

    • anion
      January 1, 2014 at 9:24 pm #

      I hope Heather is doing okay, and has managed to find some peace. Having once fallen for the “Oh, but everybody feels this way/everybody can do this” type of lie myself, and still dealing with the regret now sixteen years later, I know how it feels to realize you blindly allowed yourself to be misled and that you–not them–have to deal with that for the rest of your life. (I’m not comparing our situations directly, but they’re not entirely dissimilar.)

      • Treemom
        January 1, 2014 at 9:34 pm #

        She is doing well and expecting another baby. My biggest regret is that I kept my mouth shut when I wish I had spoken up.

        • anion
          January 2, 2014 at 8:22 am #

          That is excellent news! If you feel it’s appropriate, please pass on my sympathies and my sincere hopes for a happy, healthy baby, delivered safely.

          But please don’t blame yourself. The lone voice in the wilderness is often ignored. Had you spoken up you *might* have made a difference, but you also *might* have ended up alienated from your friend–it’s more likely that you would have–and now completely estranged; nobody likes the person who was right to warn them, you know? (Well, lots of people don’t.) (That’s not a judgment of Heather, just a general observation.)

  3. anion
    December 31, 2013 at 9:10 am #

    God, every time I read baby Natalie’s story I just feel sick. That midwife killed that baby through her ignorance and negligence, point blank, and was cruel and borderline abusive to Natalie’s mother in the process. No mother should have to go through what Katie went through.

    (All of the stories make me feel sick, of course, but that one really sticks with me.)

  4. Sue
    December 31, 2013 at 12:47 am #

    OT – with a touch of reality: Over the holiday’s I’ve been reading ”Marley and Me” – a real feel-good for dog lovers. A couple of episodes struck me:

    First birth – the birthing suites with whirlpool bath are full, so the birth takes place in the hospital ”indigent suite” – mostly Hispanic-background couples. The staff, however, were some of the most skilled – being accustomed to managing births for which there has been little access to pre-natal care. Then:

    “I learned that in America pain relief is a luxury – not a necessity. For those who could afford it – or whose insurance covered it, as ours did – the hospital provided epidurals, which delivered pain-blocking oblivion directly into the central nervous system….. The Mexican women nearly were not so lucky. They were left to tough it out the old-fashioned way, and their shrieks continued to puncture the air.”

    and when the second pregnancy developed pre-term labor at 21 weeks: twelve days of hospitalisation with medication, bed rest at home with intra-muscular labor-inhibiting medication – she makes it over thirty-five weeks and delivers a healthy baby.

    It strikes me while I’m reading: this is the reality of modern life for normal people – it’s not about lotus birth or kale – it’s about using the best our society has to offer and benefiting from the outcomes.

    • Sue
      December 31, 2013 at 12:48 am #

      Oops – sorry about Apostrophe Man sneaking in – I meant holidays plural, not possessive!

  5. Leah Timberlake
    December 30, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

    Have you ever seen anything you would criticize in a hosbital? Do women’s testamonies matter to you when they are reporting errors and abuses that occur by medical staff and doctors? You obviously take very seriously women’s reports regarding homebirth. Would you advocate for licencure and medically attended births at home for low risk births? Would you send a woman with a history of precipitous labors home with an emergency injection of pitocin in case of hemorage? Do you really care about birth and women and what women want (and have as mainstream options in more civilized parts of the post industrial world) or do you just like to insult and point your ranting finger at what affirms your profession? Be honest. Your blog is a redicilous caracature of homebirth and a naive dream land ode to the mystery of what happens behind closed doors in the hospital. If you were really concerned about women you would confront, publicaly, the errors occurring within your own profession and calling for more advanced homebirth options in our country. Of course that might require a bit more elbow grease and a bit less singing before your own adorable reflection and choir. I stand by homebirth because of people like you. Your blog is an adolescent rant spewing a violent bias and argument against the very deep desires of women to birth with dignity. Please make homebirth safer if you see improvements that can be made, but don’t tell me that my only option is to come into an institution and face someone like you during one of the most vulnerable experiences of my life.
    Mother of 3. 1 hospital birth, two home births.

    • Susan
      December 30, 2013 at 7:36 pm #


      (thanks Allison big time saver)

      and here’s a bonus link


    • December 30, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

      Not many adolescents rant with statistics, case studies, an M.D. and the knowledge base from an entire career as a doctor – plus four children of her own.

      • Bombshellrisa
        December 30, 2013 at 8:06 pm #

        They might use the spelling “redicilous” though : )

        • Leah Timberlake
          December 30, 2013 at 8:23 pm #

          That’s what I get for typing on a phone. My point stands.

          • Box of Salt
            December 30, 2013 at 9:16 pm #

            Leah Timberlake, I just want to thank you for sticking around and continuing a dialog after posting your rant above, unlike the commenters who posted just before you with drop-by complaints.

            I’d also like to encourage you to stick around and read some more of the blog before dismissing it entirely.

      • Leah Timberlake
        December 30, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

        Maybe not the four children. Adolescents are, however, are notorious for quoting statistics to support their own bias and determined views. What they are not good at is working toward solutions that embody multiple perspectives and goals. If she sees a problem with home birth, than make homebirth better. That wod be an adult solution toward diverse needs and priorities. In my case, home birth was safer. I have extremely precipitous labors. This doctor blogger is not open to what is safest for everybody. She is on a team and is competing. Not all doctors, not all surgeons, agree with her. Her top priority seems to be attacking g something g that she ought to instead be helping improve. The “us vs. them” mentality is immature and couterproductive. I am not impressed with this blog at all.

        • AlisonCummins
          December 30, 2013 at 8:41 pm #

          Leah Timberlake,
          She does want to make homebirth better. You haven’t been following.

          US homebirth midwives are essentially untrained, certainly compared to licenced midwives in other countries. Amy Tuteur, MD wants homebirth midwives to have proper training, she wants them to have insurance and she wants them to have a meaningful disciplinary review process.

          CNMs (Certified Nurse-Midwives) meet these criteria, so it’s possible. Most homebirth midwives in the US today are untrained and *do not wish to receive training.* That is why babies die, and it’s a problem.

          • Bombshellrisa
            December 30, 2013 at 8:47 pm #

            It’s also easier to become a homebirth midwife and you can charge a great deal of money without any oversight and only minimal oversight if you would like to collect from Medicaid and insurance in some states.

          • Leah Timberlake
            December 31, 2013 at 3:20 am #

            We have a midwife here who attended home births for 20 years before she became a CNM. I wonder if she would agree? I honestly do not know. I know that I she attends v-bac’s and that many women come to her so that they can give birth naturally in the hospital. I also know one of her clients, who was spared 3 unnecessary surgeries because of this amazing woman.

          • Anj Fabian
            December 31, 2013 at 7:51 am #

            Surgeries? I suppose you are referring to c-sections and not cosmetic surgery.

            (Although it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to hear about women who had all natural home births and had one or more cosmetic procedures.)

          • Bombshellrisa
            December 31, 2013 at 10:23 am #

            Agree about what? Education requirements needed to fulfill the CPM qualifications didn’t include high school diploma until last year. 20 years of homebirth doesn’t mean she attended thousands of births or even hundreds. In 20 some years, the busiest (and well known) homebirth/birth center practice in WA state counts just over 1500 births with over 20 midwives using the birth center. They also attend HBACs, although they do not proclaim that loudly. I attended births with them for years before I left to finish my RN.

          • Leah Timberlake
            December 30, 2013 at 10:02 pm #

            My home birth midwife was state licensed, MN, and answers to a medical board and follows protocol established by that medical board. In MN we have CNM’s LPM’s and lay midwives. I had a CNM in hospital, and LPM at home. I made the safest choice for each pregnancy. I had excellent prenatal care and ultrasounds. Nothing eventful from a medical point of view.

            I understand she does not want to make home birth better. That is obvious.

          • Leah Timberlake
            December 30, 2013 at 10:02 pm #

            My home birth midwife was state licensed, MN, and answers to a medical board and follows protocol established by that medical board. In MN we have CNM’s LPM’s and lay midwives. I had a CNM in hospital, and LPM at home. I made the safest choice for each pregnancy. I had excellent prenatal care and ultrasounds. Nothing eventful from a medical point of view.

            I understand she does not want to make home birth better. That is obvious.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD
            December 30, 2013 at 10:28 pm #

            If CPMs and LMs are so qualified, why don’t they meet the education and training requirements of all other midwives in the first world? Don’t American women deserve the same care as European, Canadian and Australian women?

          • Amy Tuteur, MD
            December 30, 2013 at 10:28 pm #

            If CPMs and LMs are so qualified, why don’t they meet the education and training requirements of all other midwives in the first world? Don’t American women deserve the same care as European, Canadian and Australian women?

          • AlisonCummins
            December 31, 2013 at 9:25 am #

            Leah Timberlake,

            That’s actually part of the problem. Many US states license unqualified midwives. Unless they are CNMs they are simply unqualified and would not be allowed to practice in Canada, the UK or the Netherlands.

            A lay midwife is *by definition* unqualified. That’s what it means. Someone who is practicing midwifery with no qualifications to do so. LPMs sound like they are qualified but they are not.

            People very reasonably believe that if a health care provider is state-licenced they must be qualified. That’s true for many providers but not for midwives in most of the US.

            Is the medical board your LPM reports to in Minnesota part of a hospital? If so that’s great and provides you some protection. It’s a step in the right direction and the kind of thing that Amy Tuteur, MD promotes.

            There is no situation where an unqualified midwife is *safer* than someone with adequate training.

            I’m glad you had uneventful births. Most women do. That’s why it’s important for birth attendants to have experience with hundreds of births so that they can gain experience with the “eventful” ones and recognize and deal with them appropriately.

          • fiftyfifty1
            December 31, 2013 at 10:42 am #

            She reported the recent homebirth disaster in MN. That birth was obviously attended by midwives who didn’t know what they were doing. Luckily that baby is still alive-saved by the professionals at the hospital. Reporting this sort of incompetence is an important part of improving homebirth care, don’t you think?

          • Trixie
            December 30, 2013 at 10:19 pm #

            I live in an area where there actually are home birth CNMs with hospital privileges and practice agreements with OBs. They don’t hesitate to transfer, they risk out people who ought to be risked out, and generally operate responsibly. Is it as safe as hospital birth? No. But it’s about as safe as home birth can be, and certainly the vast majority of the horror stories we read here wouldn’t happen under their care.

          • Trixie
            December 30, 2013 at 10:19 pm #

            I live in an area where there actually are home birth CNMs with hospital privileges and practice agreements with OBs. They don’t hesitate to transfer, they risk out people who ought to be risked out, and generally operate responsibly. Is it as safe as hospital birth? No. But it’s about as safe as home birth can be, and certainly the vast majority of the horror stories we read here wouldn’t happen under their care.

          • AlisonCummins
            December 31, 2013 at 9:26 am #


          • Leah Timberlake
            December 31, 2013 at 3:11 am #

            My home birth midwife was state licensed and acted under the over sight of a medical board and followed protocol created by that medical board. Here, in MN, we have what is called a LPM or Licensed Professional Midwife. There are not many, unfortunately. I would like to see more growth in this direction.

            I have personally met CNM’s who would love to be allowed to attend home births, and would do so, but would lose their jobs if they did.

          • AlisonCummins
            December 31, 2013 at 9:28 am #

            Leah Timberlake,

            Who formed the medical board? Are they part of a hospital?

            Many states recognize LPMs. As I mention downthread, that’s a problem.

            Why aren’t CNMs allowed to attend home births in your state?

          • LynnetteHafkenIBCLC
            December 31, 2013 at 9:31 am #

            Yes, CNMs are qualified to do homebirths. However, almost none of them do it. Why not? Maybe because they have enough education to know that it is extremely risky to give birth outside of a hospital in the US.

          • AlisonCummins
            December 31, 2013 at 9:36 am #

            One of the reasons people choose home birth in the US is the cost. They resent the idea that they would have to pay an institution a whole bunch of money to go in, push a baby out and go home. I suspect that’s one of the reasons LPMs are tolerated in the US: it’s been a way around the problem of health care for the uninsured. Now that everyone in the US is insured (yay!) there will be less pressure for states to licence cheaper but unqualified and uninsured providers.

            One reason LMPs are less expensive is that they do not carry insurance. CNMs would need to be insured — making them unaffordable for many people.

          • Trixie
            January 1, 2014 at 10:44 am #

            Another reason why my local CNMs can do home birth is that they serve mostly a population that will never sue (although they do carry insurance).

          • Trixie
            January 1, 2014 at 10:38 am #

            At least in my state, CNMs can only operate under a practice agreement with an OB, who has to sign off on the CNM doing home births/freestanding birth center. Most OBs won’t do that. In my area, we have a large plain population that will birth at home regardless, so it’s safer to have regulated CNMs with hospital privileges doing it than the underground midwives some would otherwise turn to. Even still, some of them try to save money by going to the lay midwives, with deadly consequences.

        • Trixie
          December 30, 2013 at 9:07 pm #

          I “wod” love it if the adolescents I knew made impassioned arguments based on accurate statistics. It would make me extremely proud and happy.

        • fiftyfifty1
          December 30, 2013 at 9:24 pm #

          Welcome Leah,

          We have a regular poster on here who goes by the handle “precipmom”. Sounds like you and she have a lot in common birthwise. In the beginning she planned homebirths because she was worried she wouldn’t ever make it to the hospital in time with how super-fast she went. Check out some of her posts.

          • Leah Timberlake
            December 31, 2013 at 2:56 am #

            My first birth was very fast and I barely made it to the hospital. After the birth I was accused if lying about when I went into labor. I literally came in the room and gave birth to a healthy baby and the whole thing was pretty quick and easy for the staff. All they could do was complain about how “late” I had arrived. I was billed about $4500 which included cost for services that I had not received. It took months to get the bill adjusted. I decided it was best to plan a homebirth and to skip all the drama and tension next time and I am glad that I did. My third birth occurred 20 min after I woke up in the morning. I am glad that I was prepared and just stay put. If I, or my daughter, had needed emergency medical care (or worse) I think that the last person I would want to face at the hospital would be a doctor with a grudge against homebirth like this doctor has. I might even end up on her blog!

          • OBPI Mama
            December 31, 2013 at 8:10 am #

            Actually, you don’t even care about anything other than the well-being of your baby at this point. You want a doctor, any doctor and bedside manner is the last thing on your priority list. You get over yourself fast when your baby is hurt and in trouble. And you’d be surprised about how many doctors remain curteous and compassionate even when they don’t agree with your decision. I’ve never had a doctor.therapist/team of specialists tell me that my homebirth was a big mistake and so on.. even when I was still in denial about my homebirth. They simply would write my injured son was a homebirth, ask some details, and move on. I received more “shaming” from fellow homebirthers than I did from the medical community! Once you are a statistic with a homebirth trauma, that community wants you gone, feeling like it was your fault, and quiet!

          • December 31, 2013 at 9:46 am #

            you know you were incredibly lucky to have easy, short labors right? I just hope you aren’t one of those people who think it would be easy for everyone if they just tried harder.

          • wilifred
            January 1, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

            Leah, my cousin has her 4th child 5 years ago. Her first 3 births were normal non-complicated births. With number 4, she had an amniotic fluid embolism. She and the baby lived, but she is now legally blind due to blood loss (they had to replace her blood volumes at least twice), and has kidney and other health issues.
            My cousin should be dead. Survival rates in hospital, are grim, and for homebirth, I don’t even want to imagine.
            Even if you could close all the education and training gaps, license every midwife, identify and avoid those with crackpot philosophies, and eliminate high-risk candidates, You are still at home. There is no blood bank, no OR, no NICU, no ICU, and just too much that can go wrong.

        • theadequatemother
          December 30, 2013 at 10:24 pm #

          After my first labour was precipitous I chose induction at term for my second. I’m glad of that because we had two of the complications more common after a precipitous labour – a baby that was stunned and needed resus and a post partum hemorrhage. I know for a fact we wouldn’t be safer at home.

        • theadequatemother
          December 30, 2013 at 10:24 pm #

          After my first labour was precipitous I chose induction at term for my second. I’m glad of that because we had two of the complications more common after a precipitous labour – a baby that was stunned and needed resus and a post partum hemorrhage. I know for a fact we wouldn’t be safer at home.

        • Captain Obvious
          December 30, 2013 at 11:19 pm #

          You could have had a planned IOL in the hospital. But I bet you didn’t want to be induced, and like an adolescent who is told what is safer, because it is not what you want so you whine like a teenager begging for someone to make Homebirth safer despite being offered a safe birth option.

        • Birthbuddy
          December 31, 2013 at 12:34 am #

          It is not about impressing you, Leah.

        • Isilzha
          December 31, 2013 at 2:21 am #

          Stats show that hospital birth IS the safest choice for mothers and babies.

        • KarenJJ
          December 31, 2013 at 8:37 am #

          Most people I know that had precipitous births (I only know a couple) were induced in hospital around 39-40 weeks for the subsequent births. Is that not an option for you?

        • The Computer Ate My Nym
          December 31, 2013 at 9:35 am #

          Not all doctors, not all surgeons, agree with her.

          Oh, yes. Opposing her are an OB who has been sued 7 times (don’t know how many he’s lost) and one who has been accused (convicted now?) of sexual harassment of a patient. Stellar competition she’s got.

          Actually, Dr. Tuteur isn’t in practice so isn’t competing with midwives, OBs, or anyone else.

    • Young CC Prof
      December 30, 2013 at 8:07 pm #

      1) People listen better when you use spellcheck. There are an astounding number of misspelled words in that extremely long paragraph.

      2) Those “more civilized parts of the world” where home births are more common have higher perinatal death rates than the US. A home birth in the Netherlands or Britain is safer than a home birth in the US, but still more dangerous than a hospital birth in any country with a good medical system. If women understand this and want a home birth anyway, fine. But I personally have a major issue with the lie that home birth is safe.

      • fiftyfifty1
        December 30, 2013 at 9:31 pm #

        I have sympathy for her spelling. I’m a rotten speller myself. I used to blame it on the fact that my parents homeschooled/unschooled me, but I changed my mind recently after my oldest started writing and turned out to be a terrible speller. He got an eval and basically he falls into the group called “good reader, bad speller”. According to the school reading specialist there is a technical name for it, but I can’t remember it (and probably couldn’t spell it even if I could 😉 But anyway, it has a huge genetic component supposedly, so that’s my excuse now. I know my bad spelling can make me look unintelligent at a first glance, so I’m always grateful for those people who look beyond my spelling and address the merits (or lack thereof) of my arguments.

        • Isilzha
          December 31, 2013 at 2:19 am #

          I was a notoriously horrible speller as a kid too. Would have been awesome to have had a specialist give it a name and get my parents off my back about it. I was reading way above my grade level, but that didn’t matter as much as a “C” on a spelling test (because girls are suppose to be GOOD at spelling!).

          I’m still an atrocious speller, but I take advantage of spell check to alert me to misspelled words and use google to quickly find the correct spelling. I LOVE spell check…love it, love it, love it. I had to look up 2 words just in this short response and I’m glad technology makes it so easy.

          ETA–So, there’s not much excuse for Leah’s post.

      • KarenJJ
        December 31, 2013 at 8:33 am #

        I live in a more “civilized” part of the world. Homebirth is free for me here. You get two university educated midwives who cannot take on high risk, such as VBAC or twins or breech. It is completely different to what is going on in the US. No CPMs allowed.

        And yet homebirth rates are still incredibly low. You can’t even give it away here (of course hospital birth is also free and there is also a birth centre attached to the main maternity centre here that is free).

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      December 30, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

      Which part of ‘homebirth increases the risk of death by 3-10 times over comparable risk hospital birth are you having trouble understanding’?

      Thanks for mentioning your homebirth; it is clear that you are merely trying to rationalize your own risky choices.

    • Bombshellrisa
      December 30, 2013 at 8:45 pm #

      There are plenty of errors that get reported. A nurse hangs the wrong IV solution, she writes it up, even when there is no harm done. I am wondering though what you mean by errors and abuses? Are these medication errors, communication errors between staff that mean a patient hears two different things but ultimately the plan of care stays the same and it doesn’t affect the outcome or what? I do wonder because I have talked to patients and their families who are concerned that major errors have happened when they hear “saline lock” from one nurse and another says “heplock” or if a vein gets blown and the patient ends up very bruised after a blood draw (it looked like someone tried to make my arm purple on purpose. There should be a crayon color called “Blown vein”)

      • fiftyfifty1
        December 30, 2013 at 9:16 pm #

        “if a vein gets blown”

        Patients do get really upset about that don’t they? It looks so dramatic that they feel it must be serious and must therefore be a sign of a medical error. That’s one of the ways I can help people as a primary care physician. I can listen to their concerns and help them understand what really went on.

        • toni
          December 30, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

          It is quite alarming the first time that happens! I’d had hundreds of blood draws before it happened to me I thought they’d hit an artery by accident or something. It looked like SO much blood. Tried my best to look like i wasn’t bothered though.

          • KarenJJ
            December 31, 2013 at 8:51 am #

            Something like that happened to me once! I’ve had many many blood tests over recent years but unfortunately this was one of the few that my (needle-phobic, rather squeamish) husband was also at. Blood was running all down my arm. I think it unsettled the nurse too (it certainly bothered my husband).

        • Bombshellrisa
          December 30, 2013 at 11:36 pm #

          It was ironic-I do how many draws every day and I end up with a huge bruise in each hand and my forearm. The blood HAD to be drawn (my one hour glucose test!) so that was why so many attempts were made. It was ugly to walk around with but not life threatening. But I can see why people do get dramatic. My doctor joked about it with me and we had a laugh

          • amazonmom
            January 1, 2014 at 11:29 pm #

            It took 4 IV starts to get a vein that didn’t blow for my C section. The staff kept apologizing but they hit all the veins on the first try, the blown veins didn’t even hurt. I looked at my hand and it was the size of a baseball after the drip stopped. If I wasn’t a nurse I bet I would have been freaking out!

        • Dr Kitty
          December 31, 2013 at 8:42 am #

          I’ve had a nurse put the needle into my median nerve instead of the juicy vein beside it. I was unimpressed.
          Having a green needle stuck into a large nerve is quite sore.
          “Ow, that’s a nerve, please try again” is as much of a complaint as I made, because these things happen.

          People who get upset about tissued drips or bruises around their Clexane sites…suck it up, it isn’t an “error” it just happens.

    • Captain Obvious
      December 30, 2013 at 11:14 pm #

      “Would you send a woman with a history of precipitous labors home with an emergency injection of pitocin in case of hemorage?” ? Why not a planned IOL in the hospital to ensure onset and delivery under medical supervision. Women with advanced cervical dilatation who live far from the hospital or have histories of precipitous labors are often offered planned IOL.
      Advances in the hospital are always occurring. Double post partum rooms are almost all done away with and private rooms are the new standard. 2-3 family members are allowed in for delivery. Research even shows better outcomes if delivered before 41 weeks for singletons and before 38 weeks for twins. It’s the homebirthers who refuse to follow best practices evidence based medicine because they trust birth and what their bodies were intended to do.

      • Leah Timberlake
        December 31, 2013 at 9:18 am #

        Glad I didn’t listen to you. I might have ended up with very different birth experiences or outcomes. I think the path I took was lower risk that the path you just suggested.

        I have a friend who was induced. As a result she suffered irregular spasms of her uterus. Her planned epidural was administered. Nothing. They tried a couple more times. Nothing. She suffered severely for hours before her c-section which was necessary because of her body’s reaction to the induction and inability to receive the epidural she trusted would work. She never had another child for fear of going thru another medically induced crises again.

        Tell me, do you care about what happened to her? Does it upset you? She, like many women, never complained to her doctor or to the hospital. No report was made. She just accepted whatever the white coat did and took her baby home and said that at least he is alive. She cried a lot. She never did tried again. She was terrified. I don’t believe the medical community cared at all about what she went thru. I know they don’t. There was no follow up, just a bill.

        Take care guys. I don’t believe your eyes are open. I believe you are seeing something as simple that is not. Women have a right to give birth with dignity. That is not what many of us see happening in you hospitals. We have a right to avoid the risks that occur and to judge which risks we want to take. If you don’t get that, then you don’t.

        • fiftyfifty1
          December 31, 2013 at 9:25 am #

          Women who get induced due to a history of fast labors have very successful inductions. It’s a very different situation than a first-time mother induced for a medical reason who may not have a ripe cervix. I have a friend who is a multip with fast labors. She needs nothing more than a whiff of pitocin. That gets labor started, and so then they take her off it and she goes on to have easy unmedicated deliveries a couple of hours later. She’s thrilled with this plan. But you discredit her experience. Why is that?

        • Bombshellrisa
          December 31, 2013 at 10:45 am #

          So a bad outcome is a c-section with a healthy baby? Birth without dignity is surgery with adequate pain control and a sanitary OR with trained staff?

          • anion
            December 31, 2013 at 10:47 am #

            Don’t forget that the hospital staff tried several times to relieve her pain, instead of telling her it was all in her head or feeding her herbs or just flat-out telling her she didn’t need it because she’s a warrior. What awful people!

        • AllieFoyle
          December 31, 2013 at 11:11 am #

          “She suffered severely for hours before her c-section which was necessary because of her body’s reaction to the induction and inability to receive the epidural she trusted would work. She never had another child for fear of going thru another medically induced crises again.”

          Try thinking a little more critically about the situation you have described. The most evocative part of the description is the idea that she suffered without pain relief for hours. How would a home birth have helped this woman? Maybe you have some fantasy that if she hadn’t been induced she would have had a quick and easy delivery like you experienced, but you have no reason to believe that would actually have been the case.

          Was there a medical indication for the induction? Why do you conclude that her c-section was only necessary because of the induction and unsuccessful epidural? You’ll never know what the outcome would have been had she not had access to prompt medical management.

          She clearly had a traumatic experience, and for that, I think most of us are sorry and sympathetic. However, I think you are rewriting her story so that medical intervention takes on the bad guy role, when it was likely employed to mitigate risks to her and the baby, and quite possibly had that effect. I think you’re also failing to recognize the extent to which unrelieved pain and the difficulties inherent in childbirth by its very nature were major contributors to her bad experience, and that home birth without access to pain relief or cesarean section would have done little to improve her experience and might have made it far worse.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            December 31, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

            I think you are rewriting her story so that medical intervention takes on the bad guy role

            Yeah, the story kind of comes out “Woman in labor had severe pain. Anesthesiologist tried to ameliorate pain and failed. Therefore, anesthesiologists are evil.” Doesn’t make a lot of sense.

        • Captain Obvious
          December 31, 2013 at 11:42 am #

          Please show me where induced labor pains are worse than spontaneous labor pains of the same frequency! Pitocin can be titrated so that if the contractions get too frequent they can be titrated down. Hell, even one shot of terbutaline can be given to space out the contractions to afford the mother a break. But you cannot tweak the spontaneous labor contractions at home. Sure maybe you can try nipple stimulation to increase contractions, but there is a wide range of response to that among different women and if you get too contractions going how do you propose to decrease them?
          Tell me how this woman would have tolerated these labor pains at home without an epidural. If she needed an epidural in the hospital, she would have needed one at home. If her labor was slow in the hospital, than it surely wasn’t precipitous. In the hospital, you can still walk around, use the birthing ball or bar, take a shower, try morphine, the doctor can place a pudendal block or paracervical block, or even retry the epidural. I find many flaws to your story that just don’t add up. I do work in the field and have many options for women’s discomfort.
          This woman could tolerate the pain, period. She needed an epidural. How would she have gotten that at home. She would have been transferred. If she was making good progress, she would have delivered despite her pain. I wonder what the real scenario was and the discussion the doctor offered her. It all comes down to having the baby tolerate labor and making good progress in a timing tolerable fashion.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym
          December 31, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

          I hear you about contractions. My (spontaneous) contractions were nasty! I was fortunate enough to have an epidural that worked extremely well, but I realize that not everyone is so lucky. But why didn’t she move on to other pain control options? There are multiple options in the hospital, from back rubs from a partner to general anesthesia if things are bad enough. I can’t think of any that would be available at home that wouldn’t be available in the hospital unless maybe she had some marijuana at home or something*.

          I too took home a healthy baby and never had another. There were a lot of reasons for that decision, but I won’t pretend that one of them wasn’t the fear of another labor like the first one. Even with a platonic ideal epidural, a few hours of 10/10 pain is just not something I feel up to repeating if I can avoid it.

          *Not that I’m recommending marijuana for labor pain. Not outside of a clinical trial anyway.

        • Maria
          December 31, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

          I was supposed to be induced because my water broke and I was barely effaced at the time. They never had a chance to give me Pitocin and I will tell you that my contractions were big, with no break in between like they promised in my birthing class. These were not medically induced contractions, they were my body going into labor and then progressing very quickly, and totally naturally. I did have a successful epidural and I feel so badly that your friend’s didn’t work. It sucks that they don’t work for everyone and I guarantee you that every nurse and doctor who was working with your friend had a lot of sympathy for her because it is absolutely no fun to see your patient in pain and to not be able to give her what she wanted.

          And I just need to call you out on that horrible, unfeeling “medical community” you clump together as if all nurses and doctors are clones of a dispassionate, cold, money hungry monster. Those people are real people, with real emotions and honest reactions to everything that happens to each and every patient. To suggest otherwise is arrogant and insulting. You are telling me that my sister, my brother-in-law, my mother, my mother-in-law, and my cousin (all of whom work or worked in medicine in one role or another) are awful people motivated only by money. You have not read the heartbreaking emails from a doctor who lost two patients in one week and had to tell another that her cancer was back and it was terminal. You have not heard the exhaustion in their voices as they come off 48 hours of call and have had to deal with one crisis after another. And in none of these conversations did anyone even suggest that they made a medical decision because of money (in fact my sister actively avoids over-doing tests, etc even though she knows she could be making more money), nor do they suggest the patient is anything less than a feeling human being. Perhaps it is you who have your eyes closed and are so wrapped up in the idea that the “medical community” is awful that you can’t see how hard working, patient, and dedicated the vast majority of the people within that community actually are.

        • Birthbuddy
          December 31, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

          How would homebirth have been better?

        • wookie130
          December 31, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

          I care far less about “giving birth with dignity” than I do coming out of it ALIVE, with a HEALTHY, LIVING baby.

          You are very lucky to have experienced the positive outcomes you did with your homebirths, actually. It is by some stroke of luck that you had a good outcome at home, removed from a medical environment. I get rather confused about the whole “low-risk” birth assessments, you see. How in God’s green Earth can one actually know this, until labor and delivery is well underway? Perhaps one of the OB’s or nurses can weigh in on this one for me, as it really does confuse me.

          I’m sorry your friend was terrified after what happened at her induction…I assume the induction was necessary for medical reasons, and that someone on the medical team felt it would be safer for her to be induced. I shudder to think how traumatized she would have been had she attempted to labor at home, and something awful may have happened…how would this have been less terrifying, exactly? To me, if things started to hit the fan, and I was at home, I know that I’d be completely panicked…and there would be my relaxing dignified home birth right out the window.

          And the “white coats” statement…le sigh. I mean, there are times when I think the NCB and HB movements have more do with giving “the man” the finger, and being all anti-establishment, than actually caring about outcomes for women and babies.

          Really, the data DOES speak for itself. What floors me is how people continue to ignore the glaringly obvious fact, that homebirth, even under the best circumstances, continues to kill mothers and babies at a rate that is far higher than births that occur in hospital settings. This fact does tend to get lost in all of the outright LIES, FALLACIES, FAIRY TALES, MYTHS, and FOLKLORE of those who choose to hop upon the homebirth bandwagon.

          And it’s because of this, that women and babies will continue to be hurt and die in 2014.

        • ngozi
          January 2, 2014 at 11:11 am #

          I don’t think bleeding to death with a dead baby at home is “dignified”

        • Jessica
          January 5, 2014 at 11:10 pm #

          But the mom and the baby are alive, right? She can get therapy, find a better dr/hospital or simply decide that the whole thing isn’t for her, but a home birth isn’t the answer. Babies have to be delivered from their mothers and it really shouldn’t be a revolutionary idea that the delivery itself is secondary to the point of having a baby. You don’t choose to have a baby in order to have the birth you want. You’re a vessel for a life that will depend on you to varying for their entire lives yet will never owe a thing to us b/c we aren’t the point. I certainly am not under any impression that I will change your mind, and I don’t care if I do. Some things just need to be said, in the case: THE BIRTH IS THE MEANS, THE BABY IS THE END. And obviously, a live baby is the desired end.

    • Birthbuddy
      December 31, 2013 at 12:28 am #

      Leah, you are confused.
      When things go wrong in hospitals they are reported and people take responsibility, Homebirth disasters – not so much.
      Your NCB midwife friends cause harm at 3-10 times the rate than hospitals.
      This number is even more shocking when you consider that hospitals deal with ‘all risk’ pregnancies while homebirth supposedly only deals with ‘low risk’.
      Wake up.

    • Sue
      December 31, 2013 at 12:51 am #

      Leah Timberlake, if hospital practice is so full of ”errors and abuses”, how can you support a system of home birth where the death rate is three times higher, and the injuries and errors aren’t even measured, let alone reported?

    • Antigonos CNM
      December 31, 2013 at 1:27 am #

      “redicilous caracature”?

      Because a system isn’t perfect, that doesn’t mean it lacks all value. Hospitals, and hospital staff, aren’t perfect. They are created by human beings, who aren’t perfect. Yet the alternative is even less perfect. Would you throw a brand new car on the dust heap because a door handle broke or a seat belt got stuck? No, you’d repair it. No one suggests that the level of medical excellence and service in a hospital cannot be improved; indeed, must constantly be subjected to review with an eye to improvement.

      The reality, backed by statistics, is that homebirth, even in countries which have high licensing standards and good emergency backup systems — which the US most emphatically does not — is far more dangerous than giving birth in hospital, grumpy staff or not. I’ve done homebirths [in the UK] and the potential for irreparable disaster was present at every one, although there was a crisis in only one [abruption] and mother and baby were both saved, they were also at much greater risk at home than in the hospital and in the end required much more intensive treatment [largely because of time delays] than if the same situation had happened in hospital.

      My husband has collected, compared to myself, several hundred tickets for parking and various minor infractions, during the past couple of years. Is he a terrible driver? No, he is a taxi driver who drives over 300 km per DAY. His level of road experience is awesome. I drive maybe 200 km per month, mostly from home to supermarket or mall. I can proudly state that I’ve never gotten a ticket. Does that mean I’m a better driver? I am certainly a much less experienced one.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym
      December 31, 2013 at 9:28 am #

      Browse the archives a bit. Dr Tuteur can be and has been quite scathing about hospitals and doctors that make errors. Including herself.

      Would you advocate for licencure and medically attended births at home for low risk births?

      I would not. A “low risk” birth can turn into a deadly emergency in the blink of an eye. I don’t see any way of making home birth safe enough to be reasonable, at least not until we get teleporter technology or something. Yes, a home birth with a competent attendant would be safer than an unattended home birth or an incompetent attendant, but it won’t be and can’t be as safe as a hospital birth.

      I’d much rather make hospital births more warm and friendly, which is an achievable goal. Why not give birth in a birthing suite with a birthing ball, rocking chair, homy bed, snacks for the first stage of labor, a hot tub, relatives around, someone else to clean up the mess–and an OR down the hall in case something goes wrong. (I started labor in the former and ended up in the latter, saving my life, my baby’s life, and my baby’s brain function. Very glad I did. Oh, and except for age, I was uber-low risk. I had no pre-existing medical issues, no complications during pregnancy (except for nausea that did not ever prevent me from staying hydrated and eating enough for the baby to gain weight well), swam every other day during the third trimester, ate lots of fruits and vegetables, had a normal sized fetus with head down…none of it prevented the delivery from being deadly. Only modern surgery saved me. And nothing prevents your fourth pregnancy, should you choose to have one, from ending in a similar manner.)

    • Life Tip
      December 31, 2013 at 9:29 am #

      How would you suggest that Dr. Amy “make home birth safer”? Advocate getting rid of uneducated, incompetent midwives? Check. Discuss pseudoscience and dispell myths surrounding birth so that women will be less likely to believe inaccurate information and place themselves in an unsafe birthing situation? Check.

      Unless Dr. Amy pushes for requiring all home births to occur only in homes that are also equipped with an OR, anesthesiologist, nursing staff, etc., she cannot do much more to make home birth safer. If you chose to “stand by home birth” because you don’t like the attitude of a doctor, I suppose that is your perogative. But you can’t pretend it’s a safer option for mothers or babies.

    • Sterrell
      December 31, 2013 at 10:23 am #

      Alright, Leah, be honest… Are you the Leah Timberlake, “birth companion”‘, whatever the hell that means, that works out of St. Croix Birth Center? The exact same place where a midwife delivered a hypoxia baby that Dr. Amy JUST wrote about? If so, please DO continue to “inform” us about how safe midwifery is. http://www.stcroixbirth.com/midwifery-care.html

      • Sterrell
        December 31, 2013 at 10:27 am #

        Apologies, hypoxic not hypoxia.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym
        December 31, 2013 at 10:27 am #

        And keep informing us about (retired) Dr. Tuteur’s “conflict of interest” while you’re at it.

        • Bombshellrisa
          December 31, 2013 at 10:41 am #

          Her conflict of interest because of her natural births? Cause you know anyone who can perform a C-section can’t have a natural birth or breast feed : )

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            December 31, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

            Hadn’t thought of that one. LT kept going on about how Dr. Tuteur had a “conflict” because she was an OB and had a financial interest in discouraging out of hospital birth…all the while apparently failing to disclose her own financial conflict of interest. (Though I suppose it could be a different Leah Timberlake who does not have a conflict.)

      • Bombshellrisa
        December 31, 2013 at 10:40 am #

        A birth companion is a paid space holder, silly!

        • Birthbuddy
          December 31, 2013 at 8:58 pm #

          Lisa Barrett tried calling herself a ‘ birth advocate” to avoid regulation by the authorities. Thank goodness the law has finally legislated to control her.

      • anion
        December 31, 2013 at 10:41 am #

        Wait wait wait! Are you saying that Leah here has both a direct personal and direct financial interest in homebirth AND the success and reputation of this particular “birth center?” And yet she failed to disclose it to anyone, but instead acted like she’d just stumbled across this story and, as a completely uninvolved stranger, wanted to discuss it with us? That she mentioned living in the same state but didn’t mention that she in fact earns money through this exact company?

        It can’t be true! I am shocked! SHOCKED, I SAY!

    • JennG
      December 31, 2013 at 11:49 am #

      It would be really nice if US midwives would regulate themselves, transfer high-risk patients appropriately, and hold each other to account. Since they don’t, I full support every “ranting finger” that does.

      Women want healthy babies, first and foremost. If midwives did not continue to lie to them about their choices then they could actually make informed ones.

    • ngozi
      January 2, 2014 at 11:05 am #

      Let me tell you this. Even if Dr. Amy was going to attend my homebirth I wouldn’t do a home birth because there is no way she could have all the equipment at my home if I should suddenly need a C-section. And that DOES happen. My C-section had to happen so fast they didn’t even have time to SHAVE me. If I had been seeing one of these fly-by-night homebirth midwives my child probably would have died anyway because his ultrasound looked “great.” My OB (who wasn’t even all that good, honestly) at least had enough insight to see something and sent me to have a NST that helped save my child’s life. Even though she is a OBGYN, she can’t just sprout wings and transport me if I need to be transported to the hospital.
      What I don’t understand, if hospitals are so bad, then why are midwives always harping about how fast a mother can be transported to one?
      Look, I understand not wanting all the medical stuff. I hate surgeries. I used to cry at the thought of having a C-section. I cried when the oral surgeon told me I had to have my wisdom teeth cut out. But when seconds count you don’t have time for candles, music, and other froo froo. Things can go wrong SUDDENLY and you and your child can DIE (or be permanently disabled)!!
      Remember what happened at the end of “The Business of Being Born”?

  6. Mel
    December 30, 2013 at 6:57 pm #

    In defense of “unnecessary” c-sections:

    I’m a dairy farmer’s wife who’s learning how to deliver calves. It’s really easy in hind-sight to obsess that an intervention was pointless when the cow and calf ended up healthy after the intervention.

    Case-in-point: On Christmas Eve, I was watching a cow give birth. She was in second stage with front feet delivered and the calf’s nose starting to emerge. Her delivery was going a little slower than we like to see The nose kept popping out, but nothing else. Then she stopped contracting and the calf retracted so far back that the feet disappeared back into the vagina. I’d never seen/heard of /read anything like that before. Thankfully, “O” was nearby and helped me pull. Nothing. “O” also has been trained in using the calf jack – a mechanical device used to assist in deliveries. With the jack, the calf popped out on the next two contractions. The newborn bull was looking great; we gave his dam some oral calcium in case her contraction problems were due to milk fever (hypocalcemia or low blood calcium).

    Would everything have worked out if I just let the labor progress? I have no idea. Do I regret intervening? Nope. The calf was fine (cow APGAR 10) when he was born. He might have survived a prolonged second stage or he might have suffocated if his umbilical snapped before his chest was free of the dam. I live in Michigan which is bitterly cold this time of year even in the barn. If the calf had been weak at birth and the dam ill from milk fever, the calf would have likely died of hypothermia since the cow couldn’t lick him clean / fluff his fur before he froze. We lost two calves that way last winter – they died within 20 minutes of birth.

    • LynnetteHafkenIBCLC
      December 30, 2013 at 7:51 pm #

      I guarantee you that NCB folks would just dismiss that story because cows have been bred to suit human needs for milk and meat, and the original wild animals in the paleolithic era would have had no trouble birthing their calves

      • December 30, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

        Animal birth stories are only valid if they prove birth is safe, dontchaknow

        • Bombshellrisa
          December 30, 2013 at 7:58 pm #

          hehehe sounds a lot like human home birth stories-any time people admit there was no glitter and no unicorn it’s NOT VALID!

          • Susan
            December 30, 2013 at 8:13 pm #

            What no unicorn? Did you know there really IS such a thing as a unicorn scout?

          • Bombshellrisa
            December 30, 2013 at 8:19 pm #

            I believe the scout part-I was thinking that I was cheated though, they must have brought the unicorn out after I left at the homebirths I attended (it’s cause I didn’t believe hard enough. Same with the glitter, never saw any of it!)

          • Susan
            December 31, 2013 at 1:10 am #

            Oh Bombshell doncha know that if you really had believed in the beauty and power of homebirth you would have seen the unicorn glitter? I feel so sorry for mommas who can’t see the unicorn glitter 🙁

          • Susan
            December 31, 2013 at 1:13 am #

            Of course I am worse as I am a unicorn glitter apostate. (One of the best contributions of he who shall not be named, he called me a homebirth apostate, you know the guy with the perfect SATs)

          • Dr Kitty
            December 31, 2013 at 8:52 am #

            Ah well…perfect SAT scores… coolers full of rice and beans he expected his relatives to keep in their freezer during his stay…and a deep hatred of high heels…

            I sort of miss him.

          • Bombshellrisa
            December 31, 2013 at 11:13 am #

            That is actually a good line, I forgot he was the one who penned it. Don’t forget that his children are brilliant too.

          • Bombshellrisa
            December 31, 2013 at 1:24 am #

            I guess I should have known when the accusation “you are too clinical” came up more then once from my preceptor that it was NOT a good thing. Never became a home birth baby catching specialist! Oh well, my husband watched the home births of his siblings and he reported no unicorns and no glitter. He did tell me seeing his stepmother tear and get sewn up made him a believer in c-sections

          • Susan
            December 31, 2013 at 1:26 am #

            Too bad we can’t work together. I have been accused of being a linear thinker as a backhanded compliment as well.

          • Bombshellrisa
            December 31, 2013 at 10:34 am #

            Wow-you would think people would want someone like that!
            Being “clinical” made the clients nervous and inhibited their laboring experience, according to CPM preceptor. I was as enthusiastic about getting the candles lit, diffusing the lavender oil and giving a back rub as the rest of them, but only to a certain point. In my mind, if the baby hasn’t arrived in 5 hours of pushing after 30+ hours of labor at 42 weeks, it’s time to transfer and quickly. Not so with my preceptors and that is what got me into trouble. I relied too much on “the book” and not on my intuition.

          • Young CC Prof
            December 31, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

            But isn’t “going by the book” listening to the wisdom of our ancestors?

          • Susan
            December 31, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

            The irony is these are the same people that almost treat the term evidence based as something they invented and in my view never even question if their own care meets the definition. It’s a through the looking glass world to be sure!

          • December 30, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

            If you’ve seen The Cabin In The Woods, the idea of unicorns at a birth is right up there with dolphin midwifery.

          • December 30, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

            If you’ve seen The Cabin In The Woods, the idea of unicorns at a birth is right up there with dolphin midwifery.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa
          January 1, 2014 at 10:25 am #

          Animal birth stories are only valid if they prove birth is safe, dontchaknow

          The corollary, of course is that, if animal birth stories prove birth is safe, they are valid, even if they are completely made up.

      • Carolyn the Red
        December 30, 2013 at 8:57 pm #

        What would they make of the maternal death rate of hyenas?

        • LynnetteHafkenIBCLC
          December 31, 2013 at 7:51 am #

          Oh that’s easy: stress from human-caused lack of habitat.

          • Trixie
            December 31, 2013 at 8:24 am #

            So when my cat had kittens and 2/3 of them died at birth and the rest died a week later, that was just because we didn’t make her environment natural enough!
            (For the record this was 30 years ago. I always spay/neuter pets).

          • LynnetteHafkenIBCLC
            December 31, 2013 at 8:27 am #

            Absolutely! They must have had mineral deficiencies from being forced to eat Fancy Feast instead of free-range rodents and birds. If you get anymore cats, be sure to give them something from Weston A Price’s website instead of frankenkibble!

          • Trixie
            December 31, 2013 at 9:27 am #

            I had another cat who was probably brain damaged from maternal toxoplasmosis infection. It’s why she was so dumb and why she developed a degenerative neurological disease at age 5. I say “probably” because I wasn’t going to spend a thousand dollars on diagnostic tests for a terminal, brain damaged cat who was peeing on everything, and that was the vet’s best guess. But, I guess I can’t prove it wasn’t a “vaccine injury” that caused it.

          • Bombshellrisa
            December 31, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

            Maybe you should have been knitting in the corner to hold the space. Being concerned about the momma cat and her kittens must have signaled to her that you didn’t trust birth enough and so she didn’t trust birth-which led to a bad outcome (but kittens die in vets offices too!)

      • Trixie
        December 30, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

        Hence Ina May making up perinatal mortality statistics for random animals as an argument for the safety of NCB.

        • Bombshellrisa
          December 30, 2013 at 11:39 pm #

          Oh yes, and the quilt squares to commemorate those women.

    • Karen in SC
      December 31, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

      Mel, I love your cow birth stories!

      • Mel
        December 31, 2013 at 9:42 pm #

        Thank you. I like sharing them.

        • Bombshellrisa
          January 1, 2014 at 2:04 am #

          I love hearing them too. They are a direct answer to Ina May and Gloria Lemay’s anecdotes about how animals birth perfectly in nature.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      January 1, 2014 at 10:23 am #

      The whole goal of intervention is to AVOID emergencies, not respond to them. If you let it get to the point where there is an emergency, then you have not intervened soon enough.

      In your case, you did it right. You intervened before there was any danger to anyone, so you avoided any dangerous situations.

      • amazonmom
        January 1, 2014 at 11:47 pm #

        Exactly Bofa. Your point was beaten into me by the professors at Univ of MD. I thought that was a concept shared by all that provided healthcare. Then I met homebirth and NCB culture.

  7. MP
    December 30, 2013 at 5:54 pm #

    I would love to see the statistics of the number of babies that died in the hospital underneath care of an OB as well. This is so one sided and biased it’s ridiculous. Until you can proved a point without bashing one side, you’ll never win this argument. Or children that have issues now or at birth due to unnecessary interventions. Or from forced C-sections.

    • December 30, 2013 at 6:11 pm #

      here you go.


      its a really rare event. statistically perinatal deaths in a hospital with an OB are almost always developmental abnormalities or complications from prematurity.

    • DaisyGrrl
      December 30, 2013 at 6:11 pm #

      There are other posts on this blog that put those numbers up so you can compare them side by side. Spoiler alert – the OBs come out way ahead in terms of safety. Note that I’m not saying the OBs are perfect. Just much safer than lay midwives.

    • Bombshellrisa
      December 30, 2013 at 6:21 pm #

      I would love to see actual statistics about “forced” C-sections.
      There are, sadly, babies who die in a hospital despite the best efforts of the perinatologists, neonatalogists, NICU nurses and the whole team that may have been part of their care. Arguing that babies die in hospitals does not excuse homebirth midwives or advocates.

      • December 30, 2013 at 6:37 pm #

        I don’t know of statistics, but these things do happen sometimes. The ACLU has successfully sued for forced c-sections multiple times because the right to refuse medical treatment is something they defend. They have also helped mothers who had their children taken away for refusing a c-section. The world isn’t black and white, hospitals still screw up and do terrible things sometimes.

        • Bombshellrisa
          December 30, 2013 at 6:46 pm #

          I don’t think anyone here believes that mistakes can’t be made by educated professionals. I understand that “things happen” but I don’t believe that “forced C-sections” happen at the same rate as the examples sited here.

          • December 30, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

            It does happen though, and there aren’t statistics to tell us how often it happens, so I don’t feel comfortable making assumptions. I don’t want to alienate or invalidate women who have gone through that.

          • Young CC Prof
            December 30, 2013 at 7:10 pm #

            There’s also a question of how you define “forced.” I don’t think there are terribly many women in recent years in the USA who were actually dragged into surgery while screaming in protest. There certainly have been women who consented under heavy pressure from a doctor in a moment of fear and pain and later regretted that choice, believing they could have delivered vaginally. Whether they’re right, or whether the doctor was right to pressure them is a rather complicated question. I imagine that in the vast majority of such cases the doctor was acting on signs of a serious potential hazard to mother or child.

            Unfortunately, it’s impossible to get ideal informed-consent conditions for an emergency c-section. Time is very short, and the mother is often in great physical and emotional distress.

            One partial solution is for mother and obstetrician to discuss the possibility of c-section before delivery begins, including what kinds of problems might make it necessary. Many doctors already do this, perhaps more should. Hopefully, science-based childbirth sites like this one can also help.

          • Trixie
            December 31, 2013 at 8:36 am #

            I had to have separate consults with the anesthesiologist and OB ahead of time and pre-sign the c-section consent form before the hospital would let me VBAC. Turns out I didn’t need them at all, and the CNM could handle the whole thing. But I was happy to know everything would go quickly and smoothly if I needed a c-section. So much for the profit motive and evil doctors trying to section people at the drop of a hat.

          • AlisonCummins
            December 30, 2013 at 7:17 pm #

            Not sure “forced c-section” is a mistake, exactly. Wouldn’t they require a court order? You’d have the hospital ethics board and legal team and the obs twisting themselves in knots. Violating someone’s body is not done lightly. Every effort would have been made to explain that a c-section was necessary and the mother was not demonstrating that she accepted the information. It’s not a goof made by an overworked resident on call.

            It would be one thing to say, “it’s ok, I’d rather die an agonizing death with an undelivered fetus after 72 hours of labour than have a c-section and a live baby so why don’t you just prescribe me some morphine so I can go home and gather my family” which would be bizarre but at least demonstrate understanding of the consequences. When the OBs say, “you cannot physically give birth vaginally” and the labouring mother just says, “yes I can” it puts everyone in a bind because they can save her life and that of the fetus but she denies the danger. I’d hate to be anyone involved — medical team, mother, anyone.

          • Bombshellrisa
            December 30, 2013 at 7:38 pm #

            I think you are right, I would not consider it a “mistake”.

      • FF4life
        December 30, 2013 at 7:10 pm #

        My ex sister in law refused a csection in a hospital. She labored through shoulder dystocia and actually pulled the tendon and nerves from her sons arm in the process. He can’t lift his arm and has limited movement in his hand and fingers. She says she wished she had just had the csection since it’s resulted in many surgeries in attempt to repair the damage.

        • OBPI Mama
          December 30, 2013 at 8:25 pm #

          An Obstetrical Brachial Plexus Injury. My son suffers from it to this day as well. His was due to my stupidity in believing in the safety of homebirth, that emergencies can be foreseen, that my midwife was trained and experienced in recognizing potential emergencies, and that our bodies don’t grow babies too big for us to birth… 6 years of hard work, surgeries, and therapies and wow, was I wrong.

          • December 31, 2013 at 8:38 am #

            obpi mama-If you want to write anything for ex-home birthers, please let me know. Stories like yours are important.

      • amazonmom
        December 30, 2013 at 7:48 pm #

        I would love to see real data about the harm to babies by these forced c sections. The only harms I have seen to babies are mild TTNB and small lacerations. Neither having any long term effect, and the TTNB might have happened anyway. Of course I’ve only seen c sections done with the best consent possible at the time, and the intent was to give mom, baby, or both the best chance at survival intact. I’ve never seen a c section done with no consent except for one done on a pregnant mother that had a cardiac arrest while visiting a friend at the hospital. (Both survived )

        • Trixie
          December 31, 2013 at 8:28 am #

          Holy crap! How fortunate that she was in the hospital!

      • The Computer Ate My Nym
        December 31, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

        Unfortunately, there have been examples of forced c-sections. Usually after a certain period of forced continuation of pregnancy. It never ends well. But telling someone “your baby is in danger and may die if you don’t get a c-section” is not forcing the c-section, just giving the patient the information they need to make an informed decision.

    • Susan
      December 30, 2013 at 6:46 pm #


  8. CM
    December 30, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

    Now will you write an article on all of the babies and mothers who died because of unnecessary c-sections?

    • Young CC Prof
      December 30, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

      I’m not aware of any, not this past year in the USA. Perhaps you should write this article.

    • AlisonCummins
      December 30, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

      It would help if you could define “unnecessary c-section.” If obstetricians knew in advance which ones were necessary that would make a lot of people very happy.

      But anyway, I think this is the article you’re looking for.

    • December 30, 2013 at 6:05 pm #

      Doubtful. Find a single case, I dare you.

      • Birthbuddy
        December 31, 2013 at 8:51 pm #

        Yes please. Just one.

    • December 30, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

      mistakes are made by all sorts of people, OBs, midwives, etc. Lets say, for the sake of argument, that the rate of deadly mistakes is exactly the same for homebirth and hospital birth. The difference is that when midwives screw up they aren’t accountable. the family gets shunned, ignored, and is left with all the financial and emotional damage from the misconduct. You have a chance to sue an OB because they carry malpractice insurance. Families that lose babies and mothers from negligence deserve to be compensated.

      • Bombshellrisa
        December 30, 2013 at 6:28 pm #

        They can also lose their privileges and medical license for practicing in a way that is unsafe (another major difference)

      • Susan
        December 30, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

        Agreed, and the natural birth/homebirth
        contingent that sees a conspiracy and evil intent behind OBs is so highly overrepresented on the internet that though homebirth has at a minimum a 3x higher perinatal mortality that fact is completely lost in the echo chamber. Human beings have a really hard time, in general, with the concepts of statistics and risk. Making the faces of home birth loss real helps other expectant families understand what it is they are risking.

      • OBPI Mama
        December 30, 2013 at 8:20 pm #

        First hand experience with that here… My son is 6 years old now and we still struggle with medical bills (makes me go crazy to hear, “It’s so much cheaper to have a homebirth.”… two women I know have said that this year and one was a transfer and one should have been, but was very lucky). I also said that and boy was I wrong… and it’s not just the money it takes for gas, appts, babysitting with other kids, etc… It’s also the fact that my old midwife was never held accountable for her big time screw up that was my son’s birth. She’s had another 4 births (friends and ones that I know of) go very wrong since my own sons and she’s not held accountable for those either. I take partial blame because I should have sued her after my son’s birth. It might have prevented her from being able to practice and injure/kill other babies. 🙁 What a grip the homebirth “club” can hold on a woman…

      • hurricanewarningdc
        December 30, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

        Shameon is right, but add to that the fact that even if the rates for hospitals and homebirths were exactly alike, the advantage would be with the hospitals and non-quack medical professionals. That’s because hospitals take patients of high AND low risk. They also receive those patients that have been endangered by the midwives (i.e., transfers). So one should expect that the hospital numbers are worse. Maybe much worse. If they’re equal (which they aren’t – and that’s what we know even without the release of the midwives association’s statistics), then that means that even with the “low risk-ONLY” births that midwives claim to perform, midwives are more dangerous than the traditional option. Using a midwife is playing Russian Roulette with your child’s life; if Leah Timberlake and others lucked out and didn’t end up with a dead baby, they should be praising the sweet infant baby Jeezus and counseling others not to repeat their brazen, egotistical stupidity.

    • Susan
      December 30, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

      These inevitable “stop shining the flashlight on my mess” look over there comments just reek of self interest. Always makes me think of…


    • Captain Obvious
      December 30, 2013 at 11:35 pm #

      Do you have some studies on this topic you would like to share or link to? First define an unnecessary cesarean. Is it like me unnecessarily wearing my seat belt everyday because since I didn’t get into an accident so I didn’t need it? If an experienced doctor feels circumstances have began while in labor that might increase the risk of a bad outcome to my baby so a cesarean is recommended, that is good clinical practice. A healthy baby not requiring any resus after delivery is not necessarily an unnecessarian but a success. If you think that a necessary cesarean is one where the baby comes out nearly dead or requiring a large amount of resus, you are wrong, that is close to malpractice in many aspects.

    • anion
      December 30, 2013 at 11:45 pm #

      How many are there? Presumably you have some evidence in this matter to share? And that evidence proves that a c-section killed a mother and/or baby who would have otherwise lived, guaranteed?

    • Birthbuddy
      December 31, 2013 at 12:45 am #

      It would be a very short article.

    • Dr Kitty
      December 31, 2013 at 9:05 am #

      Is it “unnecessary” if the mother wanted it?
      Or if her doctor advised it?

      Or just if YOU think so?

  9. Sorin
    December 30, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

    My heart weeps for those poor babies. As a mother to two breech babes who have all of their brain cells thanks to c-sections, I’m appalled that any mother would take such a risk by having a home birth.

    Slight OT, but still related to bad “medical” advice–my SIL (who I’ve mentioned before) has been feeding her 9 month old three runny egg yolks a day for several months based on the advice of her acupuncturist. I’m so worried for him. We just got back from a visit, and his diet is excessive. Three eggs, half an avocado, and some kind of meat make for regular meals every. single. day. He’s huge. At 9 months, he’s 25lbs and in size 24 month clothes.

    I don’t want to cause a riff by saying anything, so I guess I need someone to pat my hand and tell me it’ll be ok and that the little (big) guy won’t have a heart attack before he’s two. 🙁

    • toni
      December 30, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

      Well I think runny eggs can cause food poisoning but otherwise that doesn’t sound too bad as long as formula or breastmilk is his main source of nutrition? My baby is six months old and 21 lbs and we haven’t started on solids yet. Paediatrician not concerned. Just a hungry little fella.

      • Antigonos CNM
        December 30, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

        Rule of thumb is that a baby ought to be approximately twice his birth weight at 6 months, three times his birth weight at a year. Obviously there is considerable variation, but since most of one’s fat cells are laid down in the first year or so of life [later they just get bigger, or so I was taught], babies who really exceed this amount of growth are at greater than average risk of childhood obesity.

        • toni
          December 30, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

          He’s three and a half times his birth weight already. was six pounds exactly at birth. He’s excl. breastfed. He’d doubled by two months if I remember rightly. Eightieth something percentile for both height and weight though so I assume that means he’s the correct weight for his length(?)

          • Antigonos CNM
            December 31, 2013 at 1:43 am #

            Percentiles are useful for comparison. There is a vast range of “normal”. If a baby is born in the 80th percentile but by a year has dropped to the 40th, for example, then one should suspect that not all is well. As a matter of fact, something similar happened to my son — he was born above the 90th percentile but by a year he was in the 50th. But he stayed stable thereafter. It is a marker but not an absolute. Daughter # 2 began in the 80th, and stayed there — and definitely ate less than her big brother.

            Babies almost never overfeed unless they are pushed. If a breastfeeding mother allows herself to be constantly used as a pacifier, it can be as if she was feeding the baby the equivalent of constant snacks; and the baby gets used to the dribble of milk which he gets even when not hungry and thus learns to overeat.

          • Trixie
            January 1, 2014 at 11:52 am #

            I’m pretty sure this old trope about letting your baby pacify at the breast will teach them to overeat is false and not based on any actual evidence. It’s got its roots in moralizing about the baby deriving pleasure from the breast rather than in any evidence. Does pacifier use in breastfed babies decrease rates of obesity?

      • Sullivan ThePoop
        December 30, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

        if they are soft boiled they do not cause food poisoning because the shell is sterilized before the egg is cracked.

        • toni
          December 30, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

          The salmonella is on the shell not in the yolk?

          • Young CC Prof
            December 30, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

            Yup. The salmonella comes from the reproductive tract of the chicken, and is (sometimes, not usually) deposited on the shell during laying.

            This means soft-boiled eggs are safe. This ALSO means that if the shell of an egg is cracked, it should be cooked or frozen within 2 hours. It cannot be stored in the fridge for days and then eaten, since the egg acts as growth medium for the salmonella, which then cranks out toxin and fills the egg with it. Even thorough cooking does not make cracked eggs safe to eat.

          • anion
            December 31, 2013 at 9:06 am #

            Would washing the eggs before cracking make a difference?

            (I use organic free-range eggs from a nearby small farm, so I tend to not worry much about them, but this concerns me.)

          • Young CC Prof
            December 31, 2013 at 10:19 am #

            Not sure about washing the shell. Luckily for all of us, only about 1 egg in 40,000 is contaminated with salmonella, so raw/runny eggs are a fairly small risk. (With raw chicken meat samples, it’s a much higher percentage. One study found 25%.)

          • Cartwheel
            January 1, 2014 at 11:42 am #

            Free-range eggs from small farms are not safer (though they may taste better). They are actually more likely to have bacterial contamination. Here’s why:

            First, the chickens in backyard flocks live longer than commercial birds, and during their lives they are exposed to more wild birds and rodents (commercial poultry farms have strict biosecurity aimed at excluding “visitors”). Since exposure to wild birds and rodents is how these birds will pick up Salmonella, longer life with less biosecurity translates to a much higher likelihood that the flock is infected.

            Salmonella doesn’t make chickens sick, so there is no way to tell from looking at a group of birds whether or not they will be shedding bacteria in their feces.

            On top of that, there is the issue of cleanliness of egg-laying. When eggs are laid, they are warm and the cuticle of the shell has not dried & hardened to a bacteria-proof barrier. If eggs are laid onto a clean dry surface, then when they cool they remain clean and are impervious to bacterial penetration. (In the EU, eggs are not washed in the production facility, so it is safe to keep them stored on the counter for a long time – not so in the US, where the cuticle has been removed by washing.) But if the eggs are laid into a fecally-contaminated area, such as the nest boxes at most small farms I have visited or just onto the ground, then as they cool and the cuticle dries, whatever bacteria were present in the feces are drawn INTO the egg, where they can live and multiply and make you sick. No amount of washing will take the bacteria out, and soft-boiling does not make these eggs safe.

            The only eggs that can be made safer by soft-boiling are eggs that were laid in a clean area and not previously washed.

            It’s also worth knowing that there are multiple kinds of Salmonella, and one of the (S. enteriditis) invades the interior of the egg while in the reproductive tract of the hen, before the shell is put on. If a flock is infected with this serovar, then even lack of fecal contamination won’t make the eggs safe. Commercial producers are inspected by the FDA and the flocks are regularly tested for this and other kinds of Salmonella (if positive, appropriate action is taken – depopulate the flock, or send the eggs for pasteurization and sale to large-scale bakeries, etc). Backyard flocks almost never are, so you’ll never know whether and what Salmonella the chickens producing your eggs have.

            I’m not saying don’t eat backyard poultry eggs – I do, I think they’re delicious. But be aware that they are a higher-risk food than commercially-produced eggs, NOT a lower-risk food.
            (Backyard chickens also do not reliably have a better welfare situation than commercial poultry; sometimes they do, but too often they are fed inappropriate food, housed in dirty and too-small enclosures, and at the mercy of harassment, torture, and death by predators – meaning family dogs, raccoons, hawks, foxes, et cetera. It is currently en vogue to value “free-range” as the be-all and end-all of chicken welfare but it is really not so.)

          • Jessica
            January 5, 2014 at 11:51 pm #

            I can testify to the death by doggy predator. :S My MIL’s neighbor had his chickens killed by a roaming dog. I was over for dinner, looked out the window over his property and said “Um, did your neighbor get a dog?” It was not a pretty sight. But he didn’t have a proper setup, no lock on the hen house and the fence was easy to scale. Didn’t stop him from starting over with another batch, several months later. Coincidently, I happened to be over for dinner again that night, looked out the same window and said “Um, did you know your neighbor got new chickens?”. I swear, my MIL looked like she was going to march over and build a better fence/hen house right then and there. She did however convince him to do so and the chickens are still happily pecking away.

          • Trixie
            January 1, 2014 at 11:46 am #

            Organic and free range does not mean safer. That’s like a raw milk advocate saying it’s okay as long as the cows are pastured and fed organic feed. I do agree that free range eggs taste better, but organic or not makes zero difference.

          • guest
            December 31, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

            The salmonella can be either inside or outside. Please see



            I read recently that in Europe many farmers have turned to vaccinating the hens against salmonella, which I didn’t even realize was possible. Here’s a lovely article about how U.S. farmers won’t do it, despit the fact that it is absolutely working overseas.



        • December 30, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

          I don’t think you know how most factory farmed eggs are produced. Its nasty. A lot of the birds are diseased. I’m not sure how the inside of eggs could be totally unaffected by that.

    • AlisonCummins
      December 30, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

      She appears to have him on a low-carb diet. You can ask her what her pediatrician thinks of the diet.
      As far as weight, he’s up there but not abnormal. 90-95th percentile. Many babies go through a worrisome-looking three-chin stage between six and nine months. In developmental terms they are packing on the weight while they are relatively immobile, but once they can move and life becomes Much More Interesting they’re burning more calories but have less patience for sitting around and eating. This is when you can expect them to slim down again.

    • me
      December 30, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

      I’d be more worried about a heart attack if she was feeding him a steady diet of kool aid and cocoa puffs.

      I share your concern over runny yolks, but eggs, avocados, and meats are extremely nutritious foods. It might help if you consider that breastmilk gets most of its calories from fat (some 50-60%, much of that being the dreaded arterycloggingsaturatedfat ™) and while the percentage of carbs is greater than the percentage of protein, you could say bf babies are all on a ‘low carb’ diet so long as they are exclusively bf. In fact, the recommendation to start with cereal seems to have changed; many pediatricians are recommending babies be started on meats, egg yolks (well cooked, tho) and/or things like avocado. More nutritionally dense foods than the heavily processed cereals. As for his weight, take a look at his weight in relation to his length, rather than his weight for age. That will give you a better idea of whether or not he is being ‘overfed’.

      • Sullivan ThePoop
        December 30, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

        avocado has been recommended for at least 20 years as a first puree because they recommended for my 23-year-old daughter.

        • me
          January 1, 2014 at 12:11 pm #

          I just remember the cereal being pushed hard as the ‘ideal’ first food when my oldest was born (7 years ago), then it was ‘good’, but meat/egg yolks “might” be better when DD2 came along (4 years ago), and by the time my youngest came along (18 mos ago) it had changed to start with whatever you want, but iron rich foods like meat are especially good, avoiding cereals would be prudent. Of course, this was in the wake of the whole arsenic in rice brouhaha, so I imagine that contributed to the change in mentality.

          FWIW, I tried cereals with my oldest, they simply constipated her. With #2 and 3, I really didn’t bother with them. In reading the additional info provided, I think the concern in this case is less about what the child is being fed, and more about force feeding. That’s wrong whether it’s avocados, cereal, or anything else.

    • Young CC Prof
      December 30, 2013 at 4:43 pm #

      The human body is fairly flexible nutritionally. A few key questions:

      1) Is he also tall for his age? Some babies are just bigger than others. My friend’s baby hit 30 pounds at 12 months, and he’s not at all fat, just tall and sturdy. (Apparently his primary goal in life is outgrowing his six-and-a-half foot father as quickly as possible.)

      2) Does she force or coax him to eat more than he actually wants? In young children, a key to preventing obesity is to allow them control over portion size.

      3) Is he getting fruits and veggies other than avocado? He should be!

      • Meerkat
        December 30, 2013 at 10:14 pm #

        My son started wearing 24 months clothes when he was 12 months. He is in 95% for height and weight. 3 eggs a day?!? I am lucky if he eats 1/4 of his hard boiled egg, and even luckier if I find where he stuffs the rest of it.

      • Meerkat
        December 30, 2013 at 10:14 pm #

        My son started wearing 24 months clothes when he was 12 months. He is in 95% for height and weight. 3 eggs a day?!? I am lucky if he eats 1/4 of his hard boiled egg, and even luckier if I find where he stuffs the rest of it.

      • Sorin
        December 30, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

        Oh, I should have been clearer. If he were only breastfed and was that size I’d be high-fiving my SIL for her awesome whole milk breastmilk. My poor skim would pale in comparison.

        I’m more concerned about the health ramifications of eating three runny egg yolks plus half an avocado every day as an infant. And yes, she is force feeding him. He turns his head, keeps his mouth closed, and bats the spoon away. She just keeps at it. It was so bad that even my DH had to say, “Um, sis, I think he’s done.” She insisted that he eat more, however (it was yogurt that time) and waited for him to yawn/open his mouth just a tiny bit so she could feed him some more.

        I don’t know how much, if any lighter veggies and fruits he’s getting. I’ve only seen her feed him eggs, avocado, meat, and yogurt.

        • Young CC Prof
          December 30, 2013 at 10:52 pm #

          Yeah, that’s not a good thing. It’s one thing to sneak the spoon in a few times to introduce a very young baby to a new food, but you don’t keep cramming it into a kid who’s clearly not hungry any more! I don’t normally put much stock in “babies know” arguments, but healthy babies know when they are hungry and when they are full, and parents should respect those cues unless there’s a darned good reason not to.

          I mean, 3 egg yolks and half an avocado is half his calories for the day right there (over 300.) Add meat, yogurt and breast milk on top of that, it’s probably a lot more than he needs.

          • Trixie
            January 1, 2014 at 11:41 am #

            Both my kids ate huge quantities of food at that age, on top of nursing 8 times a day (and I had a big oversupply). Yet, they were (and still are) both technically underweight on the BMI charts. I never calculated their calorie intake but it had to be way more than 600. But again, the issue is not to force feed them.
            My first refused to feed himself anything because he didn’t want to get his hands messy. My second refused to let anyone feed her at all and would only do it herself. But the baby I spoon fed still let me know when he was hungry and when he was done.

        • Siri
          December 31, 2013 at 7:41 am #

          I wouldn’t worry about the eggs, avocado or meat – but I would strongly advise against force-feeding a baby. He needs to acquire self-feeding skills and be allowed to stop eating when full, otherwise he may struggle with overweight later. Many people who were forced to clear their plates (of food someone else had portioned out for them) find it hard to know when to finish eating as their sense of fullness was routinely overridden. Food is enjoyment and a social issue as well as nutrition, so it’s better if parents focus on enjoying their food and let the baby do the same (depending on age and ability, of course). Everyone’s appetite waxes and wanes, but we often expect babies to eat the exact same amount at every meal, every day. Your SIL would do well to ease up a bit and eat with her baby, keeping mealtimes lighthearted.

        • guest
          December 31, 2013 at 7:28 pm #

          Ellyn Satter (an R.D.) made a video of one of her clients treating her baby this way. It’s shown at a lot of new moms groups as an example of how NOT to feed your child, and it’s kind of heartbreaking as well. The baby wants to play and interact and just keeps getting shut down. If you can somehow get Ellyn Satter and her books (Child of Mine, in this case) or website into your SIL’s hands … but it would have to be so casual and nonjudgmental in approach. Maybe you could just mail a copy to the acupuncturist.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa
          January 1, 2014 at 10:34 am #

          Shoot, i don’t even care about the baby eating the three egg yolks and an avocado everyday. My concern is that your SIL actually believes the nonsense from the acupuncturist who claims that this “diet” is important. That doesn’t bode well.

          A normal person would say, “Huh? That’s looney.” But your SIL has fallen for it. If she can’t see that 3 raw egg yolks and an avocado diet is whacko, she’s lost her perspective.

        • Trixie
          January 1, 2014 at 11:30 am #

          I had a 9 month old who ate so many eggs she could’ve starred in Cool Hand Luke. She ate hard boiled eggs whole like an apple. The difference is, she fed them to herself. And they were fully cooked. So if that’s what the baby is hungry for, among other appropriate table foods, I’d think it was okay. But it sounds like this person has drunk the Weston A Price kool aid.

      • Sorin
        December 30, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

        Oh, I should have been clearer. If he were only breastfed and was that size I’d be high-fiving my SIL for her awesome whole milk breastmilk. My poor skim would pale in comparison.

        I’m more concerned about the health ramifications of eating three runny egg yolks plus half an avocado every day as an infant. And yes, she is force feeding him. He turns his head, keeps his mouth closed, and bats the spoon away. She just keeps at it. It was so bad that even my DH had to say, “Um, sis, I think he’s done.” She insisted that he eat more, however (it was yogurt that time) and waited for him to yawn/open his mouth just a tiny bit so she could feed him some more.

        I don’t know how much, if any lighter veggies and fruits he’s getting. I’ve only seen her feed him eggs, avocado, meat, and yogurt.

    • Sullivan ThePoop
      December 30, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

      My oldest 2 were very big babies and not overweight. They were in the 98% for their height and weight.

    • AmyP
      December 30, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

      I’d be most concerned about salmonella. Runny eggs–yuck!

    • anion
      December 31, 2013 at 9:03 am #

      I seem to recall–quite clearly–reading that cholesterol isn’t a concern for babies, because of various digestive and body chemistry differences. (I could be misremembering, or recalling an inaccuracy, but I am very sure that I did read that in a proper baby-care book.)

      Force-feeding is a problem, absolutely, but I wouldn’t worry about his cholesterol at this point.

      • Young CC Prof
        December 31, 2013 at 10:17 am #

        Agreed. Other that the risk of Salmonella, the diet she’s feeding is probably reasonably nutritious for a baby his age. The problem is quantity and force-feeding.

      • December 31, 2013 at 11:48 am #

        Isn’t it related to infants having “brown fat”?

      • Sorin
        January 1, 2014 at 2:37 pm #

        Oh, good! This is the kind of hand-patting I needed. I am worried about the forced feeding, of course, but at least what she’s feeding him won’t hurt him. Whew!

  10. December 30, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    I wish that the information on birth was balanced and accurate with respect to the choices available and the risks and benefits associated with those choices. Instead we have come to a place where the thinking on birth is completely warped, it’s not about healthy babies and healthy moms, it’s about avoiding cesareans and cutting costs at a terrible expense.

  11. Monica
    December 30, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

    And sadly a good many of them are still so disillusioned that they still think homebirth is the best way to birth :(.

  12. Allie
    December 30, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

    I’m sorry, but I had to give up reading after just a few of the stories. I just can’t stand to think of the perfect, beautiful babies who did not have to die. What a terrible loss. How do these terrible women continue to operate with impunity?

  13. Renee Martin
    December 30, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

    And to think, these are just a FEW of the many. I wish we knew how many could be attributed to high risk situations. Again, it seems like if they bothered to follow their own rhetoric about “low risk, good prenatal care” they could reduce these deaths by half. It would still be dangerous, but so much less so if there were not VBACs, or twins, or postdates, or ridiculous long labors.
    But that won’t hAppen….

  14. December 30, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

    and they just set up in a new state when they screw up. Its sickening. Please petition the obama administration to review the direct entry midwife credential for safety and accountability. Nothing short of federal legislation will stop this from happening more.


    (before anyone points it out, I know that MANA won’t release the death rate, not NARM, but I can’t edit the petition description now. sorry!)

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      December 30, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

      Petitioning the Whitehouse is not the way to go. Midwifery is not regulated by the Federal government; the state governments are in charge of midwifery.

      • December 30, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

        I know it isn’t currently federally regulated, but I think it should be. Its worth a shot to me to raise awareness, if nothing else.

        • Trixie
          December 30, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

          I think your petition is well intentioned, but all medical providers are licensed at the state level in the US. The Obama administration — or any federal administration — isn’t going to take that power from the states.

          • December 30, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

            they are licensed at the state level, but there are still federal regulations that health care providers must abide by. HIPPA is a good example. This issue isn’t even on the political radar and it needs to be. It’ll take only a minute of your time. If it reaches enough signatures they will have to respond, even if it is a ‘we can’t do anything, try ____” then we will have given a lot of visibility to an issue that is ignored by virtually everyone, as well as bringing some unity and solidarity to people who are trying to fight against CPMs.

      • Renee Martin
        December 30, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

        Maybe it should be a federal issue. They step in when things are very dangerous, so why not try? Not gonna hurt to try anyway.

      • Saron Hand
        December 30, 2013 at 1:43 pm #


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