Microbirth: Doctors present at medical conferences, natural childbirth advocates make a movie


The midwifery and natural childbirth communities are abuzz with news of the premiere of Microbirth, a movie based on purported new medical discoveries about childbirth and the microbiome, the bacteria that normally live within the human intestines.

Microbirth supposedly presents:

…brand new science investigating crucial microscopic events that occur during and immediately after birth.

And, more importantly, what happens when the natural processes of childbirth are interfered with or bypassed completely …

[I]ncreased medicalization of childbirth may be having severe consequences on the life-long health of our children.

What’s more, it could be having a devastating effect on the future of our entire species.


The purpose of the documentary is to raise public awareness of the importance of “seeding the baby’s microbiome” at birth with the mother’s own bacteria – this bacteria helps train the immune system to recognise what is “friend” and what is “foe”. We believe “seeding of the baby’s microbiome” should be on every birth plan – for even if vaginal birth isn’t possible, immediate skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding can still help to provide bacteria crucial to the development of the baby’s immune system. In the scientists’ view, if we can get the seeding of the baby’s microbiome right at birth, this could make a massive difference to the baby’s health for the rest of its life. Consequently, we believe that “Microbirth” is of extreme importance for global health and potentially, for the future of mankind!

We can predict with near certainty that the movie is going to be a bunch of crap. How do we know? Real medical discoveries aren’t introduced in movies for laypeople.

Imagine if the tobacco industry created a movie for laypeople to present the scientific evidence about the “risks” of quitting smoking. How about if the coal industry produced a movie for laypeople on the “dangers” of solar power? What would you think of the chemical manufacturers banding together to produce a movie about the “benefits” of dumping industrial waste into lakes and streams?

Most of us would recognize these as deeply cynical efforts on the part of industries to bypass real scientists, who would laugh at and eviscerate their specious, self-serving claims, in favor of presenting marketing propaganda directly to laypeople incapable of telling the difference between the two. Microbirth is a similar cynical attempt by the natural childbirth industry (“Big Birth”) to bypass real scientists, who would laugh at and eviscerate their specious, self-serving claims in favor of presenting marketing propaganda directly to laypeople.

Big Birth has a big problem. The scientific evidence does not support their claims. Natural childbirth isn’t safer and hombirth isn’t safe at all. You might think that would cause Big Birth to re-evaluate its core beliefs, but you’d be wrong. Natural childbirth and homebirth are cults, and their core beliefs are non-falsifiable. Therefore, they must abandon their original claims that natural childbirth and homebirth are visibly safer. No problem! Natural childbirth and homebirth are safer on the microscopic scale!

The truth is that the microbiome is extremely complex and interacts with the body and with both helpful and pathogenic bacteria in ways that we do not yet comprehend. That’s why any contemporary claims about the microbiome, including claims about possible differences in the microbiome of babies born by C-section vs. babies born by vaginal delivery are just wishful thinking on the part of Big Birth. We are dealing with something powerful, but we don’t know enough about it yet to make ANY recommendations since we have no idea of what the optimal microbiome looks like, how the virome (viruses that live inside humans) and the microbiome interact, how the body uses the virome to manage the microbiome, whether individual differencess in the microbiome are clinically meaningful, and the long term effects of attempting to manipulate the microbiome.

The movie Microbirth involves a microscopic amount of actual scientific evidence and a massive amount of propaganda. You’d be a fool to believe any claims it makes in the same way you’d be a fool to believe any scientific claim made directly to laypeople by any industry with a major financial stake in the claim.

But, of course a lot of natural childbirth advocates and a fair amount of midwives are fools. The rush to embrace Microbirth merely proves it.

201 Responses to “Microbirth: Doctors present at medical conferences, natural childbirth advocates make a movie”

  1. Alana
    October 17, 2014 at 3:22 am #

    WOW! What an emotive piece this is! Not exactly cool, calm and scientific. We are meant to collaborate in caring for women and respecting their informed choices not tear shreds off each other.

    • fiftyfifty1
      October 17, 2014 at 8:06 am #

      English to English translation: Girls! Girls! Make nice and get along. Debate is unladylike!

      Men passionately debunking pseudoscience = strong leadership
      Women doing the same = “emotional”

    • Stacy48918
      October 17, 2014 at 8:31 am #

      Please provide us with a cool, calm and scientific analysis of the actual material, then, not your emotive response to it.

  2. deafgimp
    October 1, 2014 at 9:42 pm #

    I’m sure the NCBs used this study to their advantage, though the sample size is too small to allow for any decisions


  3. Alyssa
    September 27, 2014 at 5:59 am #

    Just curious: what’s in it $-wise for the “Big Birth” movement? (Dr. Amy draws comparisons in this post between the BB mvt. pushing their agenda and and Big Tobacco creating a film where they claim there are risks to quitting smoking.) Clearly the tobacco industry would have a huge economic incentive in convincing people that their product is safer than it is, but is the BB mvt. really that financially motivated? Or is it more of a pseudo-religious mindset (which I guess is what Dr. Amy’s cult allusions get it) that’s driving it? Are CPMs and lactation consultants getting filthy rich off the natural birth mvt. in some way? Again, just interested in learning more about the economics of the mvt….not a supporter of it myself!

    • Trixie
      September 27, 2014 at 8:17 am #

      Imagine if you could charge as much as an OB for a birth — without having to pay for medical school, or liability insurance. Then, demand payment in full ahead of time, even if your patient ends up at the hospital. Oh, and you accept bartering so you can avoid taxes.

      • Alyssa
        September 27, 2014 at 4:12 pm #

        Thanks, Trixie! Makes me wonder if homebirth midwives are feeling more of a crunch since Obamacare launched (as far as I know, all plans on the Marketplace are required to include maternity care even if the applicant is already pregnant when applying.) Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems that a hospital birth should now be cheaper than a homebirth for almost any US citizen regardless of their deductible, etc. In comparison, this seems to have not been the case even a few years ago (was reading a forum where people discussed homebirth midwife prices in 2011 and several claimed that a hospital deductible would have cost more on their insurance at the time.) Though I know that dollar value is not homebirth’s selling point, I’m sure it used to factor into some peoples’ (particularly the previously uninsurables’) decisions. Must be a lot more work now for CPMs to convince people that they should shell out $5000+ out of pocket for care considered substandard in an industrialized nation!

        • Bombshellrisa
          September 27, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

          There are states where CPMs are licensed and accept insurance, including Medicaid. I am in WA state and because CPMs accept Medicaid, home birth is also covered.

        • Trixie
          September 27, 2014 at 9:17 pm #

          Or, they have to try to lobby their legislatures to require CPMs be covered by insurance, which is happening….

  4. Vanessa
    September 26, 2014 at 6:35 am #

    Having just watched the documentary, at no time did it advocate a homebirth. It simply states that the relationship between humans and bacteria is more complicated than previously thought and the events that occur during birth might be linked to health outcomes later on in life. Leading health professionals are interviewed and many state that this research is still in its infancy and there is still a long way to go before the full picture is seen. It in no way implies that c-sections are unnecessary, it just states that there could be ways to make them even safer. Your blog would actually have some credibility if you would lose the anger and write without such emotive language. It makes you sound bitter and twisted instead of impartial and educated. If you actually watched the film you would see that what you have written has no ralivance to it.

    • Amazed
      September 26, 2014 at 7:37 am #

      Leading health professionals? Would you care to name a few?

      Of course it canno advocate for homebirth in an outright manner. Subtle and not so subtle distrust in c-sections is more their style.

      Finally, I love people who arrive here riding the high horse to tone troll and announce that this blog would actually have some credubility if only Amy were nice. Earth to Vanessa: there are many, many posters here who appreciate the blog for changing their views. Some of them had their babies saved by this blog that “lacks credubility” in your eyes. Other regular contributors feel informed and welcomed here after the NCB crowd tried to devour them in the wake of their babies’ preventable loss in homebirth. But riding the high horse is a trademark for homebirth advocates, huh? Who are you, Vanessa, to tell a highly successful blogger how to do her job?

      • Vanessa
        September 26, 2014 at 6:21 pm #

        Well Amazed since you asked here is a list of the health professionals I mentioned.

        RODNEY DIETERT, Professor of Immunotoxicology, Cornell University

        MARTIN BLASER, Director of the Human Microbiome Program & Professor of Translational Medicine, New York University

        MARIA GLORIA DOMINGUEZ BELLO, Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, New York University

        PHILIP STEER, Emeritus Professor of Obstetrics, Imperial College, London

        NEENA MODI, Professor of Neonatal Medicine, Imperial College, London

        MATTHEW HYDE, Research Associate in the Section of Neonatal Medicine, Imperial College, London

        SUE CARTER, Professor, Behavioral Neurobiologist, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

        ALEECA BELL, Assistant Professor, Dept of Women, Children and Family Health Science,
        University of Illinois at Chicago

        STEFAN ELBE, Professor of International Relations, University of Sussex and Director of Centre for Global Health Policy

        ANITA KOZYRSKYJ, Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Alberta and Co-Principal Investigator, Synergy in Microbiota Research (SyMBIOTA)

        JACQUELYN TAYLOR, Associate Professor of Nursing, University of Yale

        HANNAH DAHLEN, Professor of Midwifery, University of Western Sydney

        LESLEY PAGE, Professor of Midwifery, King’s College London and President, Royal College of Midwives

        And to answer your question, I am a Registered Nurse and I work in a rural maternity clinic in New Zealand. I am an advocate of educating women and empowering them to make the best and safest decisions during their pregnancy and birth. I am not against c-sections or any other intervention as long as they are medically necessary.
        My post was not about homebirth. I simply stated that Dr Amy’s blog about the documentary had no validity as as she hasn’t actually watched it. Have you watched it Amazed? Who are you to verbally attack me? And my post was aimed at Dr Amy, no-one else.

        • Amazed
          September 26, 2014 at 6:54 pm #

          VETERINARY MEDICINE? Are you kidding me? You might be happy to become one of Dr Dietert’s patients but last time I checked, I had two hands and two feet, not four paws.

          Hannah Dahlen? The woman who said “Perinatal mortality is in fact a very limited view of safety”?


          Hannah Dahlen, the midwife who stated “We have a very powerful medical lobby in this country. They are
          desperate not to lose their sizeable market share of births…there’s huge money to be made.”


          Lesley Page, President of Royal College of Midwives?

          And those are only the ones whose names stuck at me. I am sure that should I just google the rest of them, I’ll find something about their interests and lobbies, too.

          Who are you, Vanessa, to deny me or any other woman a c-section that is not medically necessary but it is our educated choice, say, because it’s safer for the baby, as elective c-sections are proved to be? Educating and empowering women but allowing them only the decisions you think best, huh?

          • Vanessa
            October 17, 2014 at 4:27 pm #

            I wasn’t going to reply to this as your last comments revealed the level of your intelligence and therefore how it would be a waste of time. But I would hate for someone to actually believe that there was any validity in your statements.

            On Dr Dietert: You may not have four paws but your comments show you to be an ass.

            Dr. Dietert is a Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. He received the BS degree in Zoology from Duke University in 1974 and his PhD from University of Texas at Austin in 1977. Dr. Dietert has been: Director of Graduate Studies for the Graduate Field of Immunology, Senior Fellow in the Center for the Environment, Director of the Institute for Comparative and Environmental Toxicology, Director of the Program on Breast Cancer and Environmental Risk Factors and President of the Immunotoxicology Specialty Section of the Society of Toxicology. His research on immunotoxicology has been supported by the NSF, the USDA, the NIH and industry.


            Do I need to spell that out for you? He doesn’t practice vet med. He researches immunotoxicology…for humans…

            Dr. Dietert has published peer-reviewed papers in more than 60 different scientific journals ranging from environmental health and pediatric medicine publications to nutrition, metabolism, immune, neurological and reproductive journals. He is currently President of the Immunotoxicology Specialty Section of the Society of Toxicology and previously led Cornell’s programs in immunology, toxicology and risk reduction of breast cancer.


            just to point it out in case you miss it… He has published PEER REVIEWED papers in scientific journals. Not just angry blog sites….

            On Hannah Dahlen: How very clever of you you’ve mastered the cut and paste option on your computer! Unfortunately you missed some of her quote and therefore completely miss quoted her… And really, and website with the word crikey is hardly credible. But if you insist, lets give the full quote shall we?

            “When health professionals, and in particular obstetricians, talk about safety in relation to homebirth, they usually are referring to perinatal mortality. While the birth of a live baby is of course a priority, perinatal mortality is in fact a very limited view of safety.

            With suicide during pregnancy and the postnatal period now one of the leading causes of maternal death in Australia, the UK and USA, we are very remiss to not consider safety in a much broader context.”

            Do you understand what that means? She’s not saying that perinatal mortality is a minor thing. She is saying that not only is perinatal a priority but so is suicide pre or post partum.

            In the same article you chose she actually says this

            “if we are agreed (mostly) that homebirth for women with risk factors in their pregnancy leads to an increase in adverse outcomes compared to hospital birth, where to next?

            Well this is where we must move from the current kindergarten approach of beating one another up with handpicked statistics, to the adult approach in the debate and towards a shared responsibility.

            Keeping in mind the well-founded assumption that home birth is here to stay, there are three issues we need to consider. Firstly, why do women undertake a birth at home with risk factors? Secondly, how do we define safety? Thirdly, do we really want to take away a woman’s right to self-determination.”

            A very balanced view. Unlike anything I’ve found on this blogsite so far.

            And I’m not even sure what you mean by

            “Lesley Page, President of Royal College of Midwives?” What about her????

            And I’m sorry if I didn’t say it clearly enough in my first response to you Amazed. (What are you Amazed by? The fact that they are saying the world is round?) I’ll put it nice and plainly here… I don’t give a rats about how you gave birth to your child. It seems you still have some issues over it though. Go get some therapy and get over it.

          • Amazed
            October 17, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

            I know he doesn’t practice veterinary medicine. He might be too busy being a movie star. What was the purpose of his participation in this movie? It doesn’t improve outcomes for anyone which is the purpose of being, I don’t know, a health care professional? He might have actually been useful if he had presented his interesting ideas in an actual paper. But they’d want more than bombastic words. They’d want… research. Proof.

            As to Hannah Dahlen, keep championing her. She’ll happily keep sprouting words like “interventions” and “suicide”, supported by mothing else than her own twisting of studies and court procedures. But keep championing her, she’ll love it.

            I am Amazed by the lengths of idiocy people go to when they see a bunch of letters behind someone’s name. I am also Appalled that people like you actually work in healthcare. I am also Disgusted by the way you twist things (hey, maybe that’s why you defend Hannah Dahlen so? Kindred spirit and stuff?) I am all for choices, you claim. And then… as long as it’s medically necessary. It’s clear that you’re lying through your teeth, it just isn’t clear which one of your two statements is a lie.

            As to your touching advice, sorry, Nurse Vanessa, you’re off the mark. I don’t have children yet. I just got here after a child died when the mother was convinced by manipulative idiots like Hannah Dahlen that birthing at home was a wonderful thing. Until then, I had no idea that someone would WANT to give birth at home. But since we’re giving advice here, I’d advice you to do some reading and get over issues like necessary or not. You must be terribly busy convincing people that they don’t need those breast implants or that plastic surgery.

          • Vanessa
            October 17, 2014 at 8:25 pm #

            Really, could you “twist” my words any more? How dear you fly off the handle and make such sweeping accusations?? “Not medically necessary equals evil” Really?? I’m so dumbfounded by your stupidity!

          • Stacy48918
            October 17, 2014 at 9:04 pm #

            Amazed flew off the handle? Pot. Kettle.


          • Stacy48918
            October 17, 2014 at 6:46 pm #

            You DO give a rats ass about how we give birth to our children because you want to sit on your high horse and declare whether or not my C-section was “medically necessary”.

            So Dr. Dietert doesn’t practice medicine in any fashion? I can tell you my most annoying profs were the ones in immunology that had never been outside of a lab or a classroom in their professional career. They might be brilliant, but that doesn’t mean they actually understand clinical practice which cannot be determined on a bench.

            ~A veterinarian.

          • Vanessa
            October 17, 2014 at 8:29 pm #

            Again with the sweeping accusations! my initial comment on this post was about Dr Amy’s post about a film she was never seen! How do you get me being on a high horse about C-section out of that?? I REALLY DON’T CARE how your babies are born!!! My own sister had an emergency c-section that saved her life and the life of her baby. I’m happy that we live in an age where these are a safe option!!

          • Stacy48918
            October 17, 2014 at 8:59 pm #

            You said this:
            “I am not against c-sections or any other intervention as long as they are medically necessary.”

            So if I decided that I’d like to have my baby out before Christmas, just because, you oppose my C-section because it’s not “medically necessary”. Or maybe that I’d rather not chance a vaginal delivery and the trauma to my nether region so sign me up for a C-section. Not “medically necessary”.

            Which is it? Either you support a woman’s right to do with her body as she chooses, or you believe in deciding FOR a woman what her reproductive decisions should be.

          • Vanessa
            October 17, 2014 at 9:14 pm #

            I support a woman’s right to decide to do with her body as she chooses. I used the words “medically necessary” which seems to have gotten everyone in tis, as I have seen the blatant bullying of women by obstetricians to have interventions during labour that were not medically necessary. Perhaps I should clarify I am not against C-section. Full Stop. Or any intervention that is medically necessary.

          • Stacy48918
            October 17, 2014 at 9:21 pm #

            So you support my right to have a C-section simply because I want to pick my baby’s birthday and don’t want a vaginal birth?

            How exactly does one determine which interventions are necessary and which aren’t? That’s pretty difficult even for a seasoned doctor. What secret knowledge do you have?

          • Vanessa
            October 18, 2014 at 2:59 am #

            Its pretty easy actually. If the baby is not showing any signs of fetal distress, if the mother’s health is not showing any signs of deterioration and she is happy to continue labouring unhindered… Not secret knowledge at all.

          • Stacy48918
            October 18, 2014 at 3:09 am #

            So if someone walks into the ER and all you have is their heartrate and whether or not they’ve crapped their pants, can you tell me if they are going to die in the next 15 minutes?

            Measuring “fetal distress” is incredibly difficult and imprecise. Pretty much all we’ve got is heartrate and passage of meconium. Not a whole lot to go by.

            Funny that YOU have it completely figured out, how “easy” it is to determine WITHOUT a medical degree whether or not a baby NEEDS a C-section when thousands upon thousands of OBs can’t do it.

          • Bombshellrisa
            October 18, 2014 at 4:03 am #

            Stacy-this is why AIM exists, another NZ nurse who sounds like Jane the midwife

          • Stacy48918
            October 18, 2014 at 3:10 am #

            And you skipped my first question. Again.

            I want a C-section because I don’t want to have a vaginal birth and I really like the date for my baby’s birthday. You support a woman’s right to choose. Do you support my choice?

          • Vanessa
            October 18, 2014 at 3:49 am #

            And again, personally, I DON’T CARE!! If that is how you want it then great! Power to you. In my professional role I DON’T CARE! Its not going to change my life if a woman gives birth one way or another. What I do care about is when a woman’s choice is ignored because of a DR’s impatience. And can we get off the C-section band wagon please!!? The interventions I am talking about are not c-sections. The one story I’m thinking of was a woman in the middle of a protracted labour was made to have an epidural because the Dr thought she couldn’t cope. Now, she argued that she was happy to keep going without it but the Dr wore her down and she ended up having one and then the whole labour ended with a forceps delivery. I’m not saying that it ended that way because of the epidural and I’m not saying that that is a bad outcome. What I had to deal with was a woman who felt she had failed because she didn’t have the ability to argue with a dr in the middle of labour. She hadn’t wanted it!! Hadn’t needed it!!

          • Bombshellrisa
            October 18, 2014 at 4:01 am #

            And did you back up that idea, that she failed somehow? Or did you reassure her that if she had chosen pain relief in the form of an epidural that she did what was best? I hate nurses who let their own ideas about who does and doesn’t need an epidural get in the way of their patient care.

          • Vanessa
            October 18, 2014 at 4:11 am #

            Yes of course I told her that she was useless and should have tried harder…NOT!! Can you not read??? Thats not what I’m about! It didn’t matter how much reassurance we gave her she couldn’t get it out of her head. The first couple of days of her child’s life, which should have been beautiful, were filled with self loathing. If she had chosen to have the epidural then at least it would have been her choice.

          • Bombshellrisa
            October 18, 2014 at 4:20 am #

            The carefully chosen words of a nurse at that time can really help. And maybe she couldn’t get it out of her head because she needed time to process it and move on. Or maybe that is just what pain, exhaustion and all of a sudden being responsible for a newborn will do to you, along with some postpartum hormones and maybe even depression.
            I had no idea epidurals were given without consent, that would be a cause for complaint.
            It does interest me that you are rallying for birth without interventions based on one case.

          • Vanessa
            October 18, 2014 at 4:53 am #

            Yes I’m sure she has moved on from it by now. And of course the newborn time can be hard enough without added complications. I didn’t say it was given without “consent”. she was worn down enough to give consent but she felt she got bullied into it. And for the last time, can you people not read? I did not say I was against interventions. I said I was against the medically unnecessary ones. And I am not rallying about anything on one case. It was simply one that came to mind.

          • birthbuddy
            October 18, 2014 at 4:55 am #

            So, pain relief is medically unnecessary?

          • Bombshellrisa
            October 18, 2014 at 5:09 am #

            Please expand on “medically necessary” interventions. If you are taking the WHO paper stance on this, I suppose you are thinking of the examples in category A and are against the ones deemed unnecessary which include enemas and shaving. You have insisted you are not against interventions, but your answers read like they should be used as an absolute last resort, which is really a slap in the face of advances made in medicine yet you are quite willing to embrace even the idea that an intervention could cause change to the microbiome (what does a healthy microbiome look like?)

          • Stacy48918
            October 18, 2014 at 5:16 am #

            So you oppose all routine labor epidurals, then? After all, consent or no, they’re not “medically necessary”. An awfully nice perk of modern obstetrics but not necessary to birth a baby in the vast majority of cases.

            Perhaps that influenced this woman’s self-loathing – she’d been pre-programmed to believe that because epidurals are “medically unnecessary” they are to be avoided at all costs. So ending up with one is rather a failure.

          • AlisonCummins
            October 18, 2014 at 6:37 am #

            Did you reassure her that it was ok to accept the epidural?

          • birthbuddy
            October 18, 2014 at 4:42 am #

            And what harm does the epidural cause, exactly?
            Also, who defined it as a failure?

          • Stacy48918
            October 18, 2014 at 5:13 am #

            So you’re in histrionics over one anecdote? And deny an entire body of evidence that shows that having an epidural doesn’t increase the risk of an instrumental delivery?

            Ever consider that the baby might not have been adequately positioned to descend and have labor progress and thus was more difficult to get out, necessitating an instrumental delivery?

          • Stacy48918
            October 17, 2014 at 9:03 pm #

            I would also wager that Dr. Amy hasn’t seen the movie because she’d rather read the medical literature behind the premise of the movie. Oh wait, there isn’t any.

          • Vanessa
            October 17, 2014 at 9:41 pm #

            But yet she feels the need to condemn it?

          • Stacy48918
            October 17, 2014 at 9:44 pm #

            If the information they are presenting is poorly researched (or wrong), that’s the ethical thing to do.

            Again, if they have good peer reviewed replicated published literature to back up their assertions, that’s all that’s needed.

        • Amy Tuteur, MD
          September 26, 2014 at 6:54 pm #

          And yet, no one who isn’t directly involved with the film is supporting it, are they?

          • Vanessa
            October 17, 2014 at 3:50 pm #

            And yet, I can’t find any leading health professionals who are opposed to it? Please show me who is! I was in fact looking for just that when I came across your blog.

          • AlisonCummins
            October 17, 2014 at 5:03 pm #

            Read the title of the post. Leading health professionals critique papers. That’s why the thesis of Microbirth was never published as a paper where leading health professionals could critique it, it was just made into a movie for the general public.

          • Vanessa
            October 17, 2014 at 8:14 pm #

            Thats not the title of this post at all. And This post is only one health professionals (Hardly a leading one) opinions on a documentary… not a thesis… made by a filmmaker… not a scientist. Dr Amy openly states she hasn’t even seen the documentary. And that is what i have issue with. If she has watched it and can give a real, science backed, balanced critique without the use of emotive language that would be great! I honestly was looking to find negative feedback on the film so I could get a fuller picture. So far this post is the only one I can find. The film never states that it is the be all and end all of all things microbial. It is simply exploring an angle of microbiology and the events at birth.

          • Stacy48918
            October 17, 2014 at 8:18 pm #

            So which is it Vanessa?

            We should take the documentary seriously because of all the people you listed…
            Or we shouldn’t because it’s a film not a thesis.

            Make up your mind.

          • Vanessa
            October 17, 2014 at 9:06 pm #

            What I’m saying is that its just a film!!!! And its not about homebirth!!!! or even about natural birth really. Its about microbes people!!!

            TO pull a quote from Dr Amy’s post.

            “Big Birth has a big problem. The scientific evidence does not support their claims. Natural childbirth isn’t safer and hombirth isn’t safe at all.”

            Shall I say it one more time? Its not about homebirth!!!!

            Yes it has some experts (and whether you like it or not these people are experts in their fields) to back up its claims. And funnily enough Dr Amy agrees with them when she says,

            “The truth is that the microbiome is extremely complex and interacts with the body and with both helpful and pathogenic bacteria in ways that we do not yet comprehend. That’s why any contemporary claims about the microbiome, including claims about possible differences in the microbiome of babies born by C-section vs. babies born by vaginal delivery are just wishful thinking on the part of Big Birth. We are dealing with something powerful, but we don’t know enough about it yet to make ANY recommendations since we have no idea of what the optimal microbiome looks like, how the virome (viruses that live inside humans) and the microbiome interact, how the body uses the virome to manage the microbiome, whether individual differencess in the microbiome are clinically meaningful, and the long term effects of attempting to manipulate the microbiome.”

            Thats pretty my how they sum up the film. They are not suggesting anything except that this area needs to be looked at! And my concern, is that everyone who follows this post will not make their own conclusions about the film based on fact, they’ll make them all from the statements taken from Dr Amy, who hasn’t even seen it!!!

          • Stacy48918
            October 17, 2014 at 9:24 pm #

            I’d love to make my own conclusions based on “fact”. Please provide us with links to the scholarly peer-reviewed literature upon which the film is based.

            If it’s not out there yet, perhaps it would have been more prudent to actually HAVE facts prior to declaring to the public that they’ve stumbled upon the “next big thing”.

          • Vanessa
            October 17, 2014 at 9:36 pm #

            Why don’t you just watch the film? If someone on this thread would actually watch it and then come at me with why its so bad that would be great! Then it would be real debate rather than this silly argument about semantics.

          • Stacy48918
            October 17, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

            Because I care about “facts”. I care about the scientific literature, not movie presentation. Much easier to warp things on a screen than in black and white text in a journal.

            Why can’t you provide the articles?

          • Vanessa
            October 17, 2014 at 9:43 pm #

            Please provide some scholarly peer-reviewed literature that debunks it.

          • Stacy48918
            October 17, 2014 at 9:45 pm #

            Nice try. They are making the claim. Therefore the onus of proof is theirs to back up their assertions. Proving a positive (their claim) is much easier than proving a negative.

            They made the movie. Clearly they have SOMETHING upon which to make their claims. What is it? Where was it published? When was it replicated? How many subjects? Followed how many years?

            If they want to influence medical policy, they need to have that information.

          • Amazed
            October 18, 2014 at 5:36 am #

            It’s like the documentaries in my field. There are two or three professors who are always there, with their ideas. People love them. Professionals should have their hands tied to the chair while watching because they’d like their hair to stay in place and it won’t if hands are free.

            But you know what I’ve found out? People love conspiracy and the idea that a thing or three in science has been misinterpreted or is actually “a myth”. I am currently explaining to a bright young teen why, even if such a “myth” is removed from history textbooks, it still won’t be a myth. I mean, the fact that 1000 years ago (we just celebrated the 1000th anniversary of the Tsar in question’s death) authors of different countries wrote about something, the perpetrator was praised for centuries for doing the deed (politics is a nasty business, always was) and so on still remains, despite our government’s pressure not to be “politically antagonizing” or whatever. Facts are facts. For now, no one has dared write a paper with myth claims because it’ll be torn to shreds. But my, people love to think that science is wrong and a groundbreaking new discovery was made!

            Same with microbiome. There surely is some truth to it. But as one of my professors would say, “I do science, not movies. Give me science, and I’ll make a stance.”

            That might turn out to be the right stance, ironically. A friend who wrote a rebuttal of such a professor (my field, again) later tried to start working in a science institution where the same professor held a senior office. He was refused. And discreetly told not to try again since the professor would not have him.

          • Stacy48918
            October 18, 2014 at 5:53 am #

            “There are two or three professors who are always there, with their ideas.”
            There was a bit John Oliver did on his show recently about the “debates” over climate change that happen on cable news shows. Because they always have one climate change scientist debating with one climate change denier it sets the stage for viewers to think that opinions are evenly divided (and that both views are equally valid) in the scientific world. But it’s not. So Oliver brings on 100 additional “climate change scientists” to all argue at the same time against the one denier.

            Sure there is always going to be someone out there you can find to support your crackpot view…but you have to willfully ignore tons and tons of other educated people – the majority opinion – to get to them.

            That’s what Vanessa is doing. Willfully ignoring the entirety of scientific literature and every major obstetric organization to pursue an unproven idea posited in a single documentary made for lay people.

        • birthbuddy
          October 17, 2014 at 5:32 am #

          Calling Hannah Dahlen a health professional is stretching it a bit.
          I think she is a fool with a qualification.

          • Vanessa
            October 17, 2014 at 4:29 pm #

            Please birthbuddy, enlighten us with your wise words as to why you think she is a fool…

          • Stacy48918
            October 17, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

            Please enlighten us with how to determine 100% beforehand whether a C-section or other intervention is “medically necessary”.

            You educate women that elective induction at term (39/40 weeks) reduces the risk of C-section, right? You educate women that an epidural doesn’t increase their risk of a C-section, right? You’re all about educating women, just want to make sure you’re educating them with information that can be verified in the scientific literature, not in a movie made by lay people.

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa
            October 17, 2014 at 5:49 pm #

            Please enlighten us with how to determine 100% beforehand whether a C-section or other intervention is “medically necessary”.

            Fuck that noise, Stacy. I want someone to enlightend how to determine whether a c-section is medically necessary AFTER the fact?

            So the baby was born healthy via c-section. How do you know it would have worked vaginally?

            And certainly NOT “100%”

          • Stacy48918
            October 17, 2014 at 6:42 pm #

            You’re right Bofa. After the fact without having been there, without the medical record, and without a medical degree.

            Were you the one that brought up the Medieval Lives yesterday? One of the queens in the movie had her baby after 2-3 days of labor…then died herself. So *hooray* she had a vaginal birth. Oops, perhaps with a C-section at day 1-2 she might not have died. Bummer about a lack of modern medicine….

          • Bombshellrisa
            October 17, 2014 at 8:40 pm #

            Medieval Lives was me. It was so common for women or their babies (or both) to die during or shortly after birth in those days. Women losing many babies was also common. Those women would probably be amazed with today’s technology-from ultrasounds and blood work to pain medication and c-sections. Not to mention what a NICU can do for a baby.

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa
            October 18, 2014 at 8:15 am #

            After the fact without having been there, without the medical record, and without a medical degree.

            Hell, I don’t care if you WERE there and HAVE a medical degree.

            How can you claim, much less with “100% certainty” that the c-section was not necessary?

            It’s logically impossible. You can’t know that the vaginal birth would have been successful.

          • Stacy48918
            October 17, 2014 at 5:39 pm #

            Well she thinks that dead babies at homebirth are less important than a good experience. (“perinatal mortality is in fact a very limited view of safety”) She thinks that dead babies at waterbirth are a myth, despite several case reports documenting exactly that. She once said “Hannah Dahlen, Professor of Midwifery at University of Western Sydney, said the findings we “very reassuring” and showed a very low perinatal mortality rate, comparable with birth centres. Except that the perinatal mortality rate at home was 400% higher than in the hospital. Oops.

            Some reading for you:


          • Bombshellrisa
            October 17, 2014 at 6:37 pm #

            It’s Dahlen’s own words that show her to be a fool

          • birthbuddy
            October 17, 2014 at 9:25 pm #

            Res ipsa loquitor

  5. Anonymous
    September 22, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

    This is the norm for NCB, Alt med, etc. Movies are essentially 1-way communication. You go to a conference and present something like this, you’re going to get inundated with questions that you most likely can’t answer. Publish in an actual peer-reviewed journal, and you’ll get either shot down, or get destroyed by follow-ups from other researchers. This way the only criticism that gets out is from people that watch the movie. By using this form of communication, it’s win-win for them, since regardless of the opinion of the viewer, they’ve still made their money charging to view the film. If they get called to rebut criticism on TV, it just adds legitimacy to their view, and when they go on camera, they just regurgitate a few bullet points over and over until they run out of time. If it’s in print, they just ignore, respond selectively, or cite research not connected to or showing something different than the opinion that they use.

  6. Maya Manship
    September 19, 2014 at 8:33 am #

    Well, the homebirth crowd would think I’m the worst mother ever. I just agreed to schedule a C-section at my last appointment. I actually wish I knew a few of those nut jobs so could yell at them ( I honestly don’t know people that buy into the woo…they keep it to themselves if they do). For them it would not be reason even that my first born did not progress during labor…I was fully dilated and that baby never dropped! I’m sure I would be scolded for not trusting birth. Well, I have a newsflash for them. Birth is not some thing that you control. I had a healthy pregnancy with my first and this one is going well too. My body, for some reason unknown to me, would not birth my baby. I am not putting this baby through what happen with her sister and there is a good chance of it happening again! My chances of a natural birth are less than 50%. Why would I deliberately put myself and my baby through a risky birth that could harm both of us? What if I had to go home and explain to my little girl that the baby died? What if I were to die? What if we both died? I can’t bear the thought of not being here to raise my children. I will not leave the child I have without a mother! I want to cry now just from thinking about that. The homebirth community needs to get over themselves.

  7. RKD314
    September 19, 2014 at 3:59 am #

    I don’t know how you do this, honestly. I mean, I am glad that you do, but I can argue with idiots on the internet about once a week, max. I envy you your stamina in fighting the good fight, Dr. Amy Tuteur.

    • Belle
      September 19, 2014 at 4:20 pm #

      Knowledge is power and they can’t fight that.. that’s why Dr. Amy always wins..

    • Who?
      September 19, 2014 at 11:02 pm #

      She isn’t really arguing with them, just taking them apart calmly, point by point. You know when she’s done when they start swearing, calling names, crying ‘meeaann’ and flouncing.

      Like my grandma used to say, ‘never argue with an idiot, they drag you down to their level and beat you with experience’.

  8. birthbuddy
    September 19, 2014 at 3:42 am #

    So, just to get this straight, NCB have no understanding of normal microbiology so they treat GBS with garlic,
    They don’t understand maternal physiology, so they ignore active third stage management.
    They don’t understand the mechanism of labour, so ignore partograms and believe VE’s cause C Sections.
    They don’t understand placental physiology, so ignore oligohydramnios.
    But, somehow, they have an intimate knowledge of the biome?
    Give me a break.

  9. Amy
    September 18, 2014 at 10:49 pm #

    We all know the NCB folks love them a good anecdote or two, so how about these two? Both my kids were c-sections. Nary an allergy or even a serious illness between them.

    • Jocelyn
      September 18, 2014 at 10:56 pm #

      My second daughter had a totally unmedicated vaginal birth. Skin to skin right afterwards. Bad allergies from the time she was a month and a half old.

    • Mishimoo
      September 18, 2014 at 11:38 pm #

      All 3 were vaginal deliveries, 1 with pethidine, the other 2 with pitocin augmentation; all exclusively breastfed until 4 months. All have eczema, all are mildly allergic to housedust, all develop contact dermatitis when exposed to creams/soaps containing parabens, the middle one is allergic to Preservative 200, the youngest is allergic to bananas (cooked and raw) as well as developing hives when exposed to creams/soaps containing Methylisothiazolinone.

  10. Jocelyn
    September 18, 2014 at 9:10 pm #

    So, I’m writing a blog post about why I’d never choose home birth. Can you guys give me a summary of all the equipment they have at hospital that they don’t have at home? I know EFM. What kind of resuscitation equipment do they have a midwife wouldn’t? What else does a hospital have? Thanks!

    • Julia
      September 18, 2014 at 9:11 pm #

      An OR

    • Karen in SC
      September 18, 2014 at 9:33 pm #

      They have a resuscitation TEAM that can do the specialized work required for a newborn. (There was a guest post here about that)

      They have back-up. If one nurse needs another opinion, there is someone to ask or work with.

      Unlimited hot water in the shower. A clean bed and food that is delivered.

      • Young CC Prof
        September 18, 2014 at 9:46 pm #

        Back-up so you aren’t alone when your midwife goes out to get lunch, or nap, or pick up her kids from school.

        And I second the wonderful nutrition and housekeeping staff, who bring you clean sheets afterward and breakfast in the morning.

        • September 19, 2014 at 2:19 am #

          And although most folks don’t think of it, people like electricians to provide decent illumination for the medical and nursing team to see what they are doing. A hospital is a custom-built facility, and, I believe, with perfect faith, that if decent hospitals had existed in ages past, the whole concept of home birth would have vanished by now.

          • Young CC Prof
            September 19, 2014 at 10:18 am #

            Good point. I’ve done volunteer work in about a dozen different commercial kitchens, and it’s painfully obvious which ones were designed with the input of a cook and which were NOT.

          • September 20, 2014 at 1:12 am #

            One thing’s for sure: when hospitals are being designed, no one ever asks the nurses for their input. At one brand new hospital it was discovered that the average nurse, on an average shift, walked 15 miles just between the patients’ rooms and the service facilities [bedpan sterilizers, linen cupboards, etc.] But it sure was a PRETTY unit!

          • Young CC Prof
            September 21, 2014 at 2:42 pm #

            Colleges have the same problem, in a way. Plenty of donors will build a new library wing, not so many will pay to keep the lights on.

          • Siri
            September 27, 2014 at 9:48 am #

            Crikey – that’s five hours’ walking out of a 7.5 hr shift! Not very good use of staff time, but at least they’d all be super fit…

        • Trixie
          September 19, 2014 at 7:07 am #

          Or when she grabs a beer out of your fridge….

      • Belle
        September 18, 2014 at 10:14 pm #

        As well as the appropriate equipment and drugs to effectively perform neonatal resuscitation, not to mention training! Since so many babies they deliver are at high risk for needing help (“but the baby was fine until it fell out of the mother dead”) we all know they not only don’t have the appropriate equipment but certainly wouldn’t know what to do with it if they did! And a team of professionals with the appropriate equipment to deal with a maternal resuscitation.. Are HB midwives even CPR certified?

    • Young CC Prof
      September 18, 2014 at 9:45 pm #

      Ability to check your baby’s blood sugar before hypoglycemic seizures set in. Many hands to assist in the event of a tight nuchal cord, shoulder dystocia or other immediate problem.

      And, what’s more likely to be relevant, IV drugs to stop a hemorrhage before it really gets off the ground. According to MANA’s own data, 15% of home birth mothers suffered excessive blood loss!

      Of course, pain treatment. But to some, that’s a bug, not a feature.

    • Liz Leyden
      September 18, 2014 at 10:05 pm #

      Hospitals have extra staff on hand in case something goes wrong. If your labor is prolonged, change of shift means the staff will be adequately rested. So many home birth horror stories involve midwives who don’t arrive in time, who have to leave before the baby is born, or who are overtired. As an added bonus, you’re not expected to feed the hospital labor team.

      • Sara
        September 19, 2014 at 10:57 am #

        Yep. A local HB midwife I follow recently posted photos of herself on facebook with bloodshot eyes after 36+ hours of being up all night at multiple deliveries.

        The self-sacrifice is supposed to be noble, but really it’s just dangerous.

        • Anj Fabian
          September 20, 2014 at 5:19 am #

          That’s scary when the midwife looks worse than her clients.

    • Daleth
      September 18, 2014 at 10:08 pm #

      Well, speaking as someone who just gave birth to twins via emergency preterm c-section for preeclampsia and went into hypovolemic shock (aka hemorrhagic shock–I lost about 25% of my blood) while in recovery, here’s what I would say saved my life and the lives of my beautiful gorgeous babies. It’s not just equipment, it’s also expertise, the ability and willingness to order tests and drugs, etc.:

      – Vigilant doctors who monitored me with blood and urine tests twice a week for the last three weeks of my pregnancy because I was borderline preeclamptic, and who sent me straight to the OR when my labs came back showing that as of that day (the labs were stat, same-day results) I’d progressed to full-blown pre-e and my kidneys were failing;

      – Vigilant doctors who took me to recovery and immediately noticed that I was hemorrhaging internally, then administered pitocin to make my enormous womb shrink down fast (the only way to stop that type of bleeding, as I understand it), and administered IV fluids to enable my heart to pump what was left of my blood around my body (when you lose more than 20% of your blood your heart can’t effectively pump what’s left–you need more fluid in your veins to keep circulation going);

      – Oh, and for good measure they also put me on a megadose of IV magnesium to help ensure that if my pre-eclampsia didn’t resolve immediately, at least I wouldn’t start having seizures;

      – A complete medical team (neonatologist + nurses) for each baby, to assess and support them; one baby was sent straight to the NICU for breathing problems and the other had glucose issues that they caught and treated right away.

      So, yeah… I’m thinking with a home birth, we would all have been doomed.

      • Young CC Prof
        September 18, 2014 at 10:10 pm #

        Wow! I’m sorry the birth of your twins was so dramatic, but I’m glad all three of you got through it. Congratulations.

      • Amy M
        September 19, 2014 at 7:50 am #

        Congratulations! Are you all home now? How is it going?

      • Sara
        September 19, 2014 at 10:54 am #

        So glad you were well cared for!

    • Elizabeth A
      September 18, 2014 at 10:29 pm #

      Don’t underestimate the importance of the non-tech stuff at hospitals either.

      Industrial linen service. When you give birth at a hospital, you don’t bleed on your own stuff. If the hospital johnny gets gross, you ask for a new one. They have lots. Want another blanket? They’ll grab it off the warmer. Sensible nurses won’t even tell you what’s on the sheets, they’ll just swap ’em out for new ones.

      More people. At a home birth, there are at most two midwives, and more usually one, dealing with the needs of two people. At a hospital, the staff is able to outnumber you if it looks like it might be necessary. They can have one person holding your legs, one pushing on your fundus, one poised to catch the baby, and still have two people to spare to handle newborn evaluation while all those people deal with the placenta.

      More practice. Homebirth midwives are considered “experienced” if they’ve attended more than a hundred births. Obstetrical residents get that much experience in their first few months. When the L&D unit is quiet, they run drills on coping with things like shoulder dystocia.

      Supplies. Hospitals have the stuff they need to take care of you. They bought it in bulk. When appropriate, they have it wrapped up in sterile packaging. You are not responsible for making sure the hospital has enough chux pads, or suturing kits, or units of O-. There’s a department of administrators that makes sure the hospital has the necessary supplies, and that they stored them correctly.

      Standard setup. Where’s the neonatal resus equipment? The hospital staff know. They have multiple sets. You’re never far away from it. Even if your midwife has the equipment, and is trained to use it, and has practiced, there may be a considerable distance between you and her jump bag when the shit hits the fan.

      Routine maintenance. Hospitals have staff to take care of their facilities and equipment, and a depreciation and replacement cycle.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym
        September 19, 2014 at 10:47 am #

        Industrial linen service was high on my list of “fluffy” reasons why I wanted to go to the hospital rather than give birth at home. I distinctly did not want to clean up the mess. Which, in the event, turned out to be even worse than I was expecting…

        On the downside, the food fit every hospital food stereotype in existence.

        • Amy
          September 19, 2014 at 11:50 am #

          Mine too! Just thinking of having to change the bed after I’d just given birth! Even if my husband took care of the laundry, I’d still have to get up.

          The food where I gave birth the second time was actually good! Better still, my dad brought me the takeout roast beef sandwiches I was craving due to blood loss.

        • namaste863
          September 20, 2014 at 1:58 pm #

          Ah yes, world decried hospital haute cuisine. I forgot about that little detail.

    • Susan
      September 19, 2014 at 3:02 am #

      Such a great thread and I don’t believe I saw this with so many of the great responses. Oversight, accountability and witnesses. It’s just so easy for a rogue homebirth midwife to get away with whatever… because no one is watching, Nurses. doctors and hospital CNMs never practice in a vacuum. They are proctored, witnessed, and help accountable on a daily basis.

    • Dr Kitty
      September 19, 2014 at 5:29 am #

      A typical Oxygen Cylinder used in the USA will last a maximum of 61 minutes if set to 10L/min (which it should be in an emergency, and anything less than 4l/min may as well be room air).
      That is, if the cylinder is full and the MW remembers to bring it.
      And assuming mother and baby don’t both need oxygen at the same time…

      A hospital will have oxygen on tap, as much as you want, for as many people need it, for as long as you need it.

      • yugaya
        September 26, 2014 at 9:03 am #

        Carla Hartley says that oxygen is a dangerous drug and that au naturel air is better ( unfortunately I am not joking):

        “What about oxygen? Oxygen is a drug. Room air is more beneficial and far less dangerous.”


        Her “article on Oxygen in Birthnbabies magazine” must be full of similar lolfacts.

        • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa
          September 26, 2014 at 10:11 am #

          Carla Hartley says that oxygen is a dangerous drug and that au naturel air is better ( unfortunately I am not joking):

          “What about oxygen? Oxygen is a drug. Room air is more beneficial and far less dangerous.”

          So when I see statements like that, I am reminded of that classic line said by Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) to Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) in A League of Their Own:

          “What are you, stupid?”

          Seriously, there is nothing else to say.

        • Trixie
          September 27, 2014 at 9:12 pm #

          But..isn’t being born in a room fundamentally unnatural, Carla? Nature didn’t create rooms.

    • lawyer jane
      September 19, 2014 at 10:52 am #

      A full team devoted to the baby! My baby was born in distress and the pediatric team was standing by to whisk him to the NICU.

      • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa
        September 19, 2014 at 11:40 am #

        OMG! They took your baby away from you???!!!!! How evil!!!!!


    • DaisyGrrl
      September 19, 2014 at 11:42 am #

      Blood bank on site. If the worst happens and you hemmorage uncontrolably, the hospital has blood products that can save your life should other measures to control hemmoraging fail.

    • D/
      September 19, 2014 at 10:39 pm #

      For newborns:
      In the hospital setting a team with practiced proficiency in advanced resuscitation skills is immediately available with equipment for thermoregulation, suctioning, ventilation, oxygenation, intubation, central line IV access, administration of emergency drugs, monitoring, and lab value assessments … and more importantly that team fully expects low-risk, anticipated live birth resuscitations to be successful.

      It’s really an opposite philosophy from home birth … “Some babies just aren’t meant to die!”

  11. Deborah
    September 18, 2014 at 8:34 pm #

    I had a patient recently INSIST on doing this thing where she put gauze soaked in saline in her vagina, and then rub the baby down with it after the cesarean. (She was GBS negative, thank goodness, no herpes hx either . . . ) Anyway, what was interesting was how everyone reacted. Some people supported it, most of us could care less, but a few people really freaked out over it, including the neonatologist.

    • Jenny_from_da_Bloc
      September 18, 2014 at 8:46 pm #

      Are you serious? Wow, that woman belongs in psych! I can’t imagine what the other people present were thinking while she did this, because I would have had to leave the room.

    • Zornorph
      September 18, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

      Next these kooks will be wanting to pee on their C-section babies after they are born.

      • Belle
        September 18, 2014 at 10:15 pm #

        Good one! You are probably right!

      • MLE
        September 19, 2014 at 12:54 am #

        My son peed on me a lot in the early days, it’s only fair.

    • Who?
      September 18, 2014 at 11:59 pm #

      Can I first say ick.

      I’d assumed that the point was that the vaginal fluids entered the baby’s eyes, nose, mouth etc and did whatever good they are doing that way.

      If that’s right-if I’m not, apologies for grossing you all out-what on earth would be the good of what she did?

    • DiomedesV
      September 19, 2014 at 10:49 am #

      What’s the problem? I suggested a long time ago that, if vaginal flora proved to be important for baby health long term, one could easily innoculate the babies of C/S mothers who are GBS- and don’t have herpes.

      Having a baby already entails multiple types of maternal and infant fluids. Big deal.

    • Roadstergal
      September 19, 2014 at 2:09 pm #

      Maybe that’s what this birthing in a pool business is all about! The kid shouldn’t miss out on all that fecal microbiota, after all…

  12. Jenny_from_da_Bloc
    September 18, 2014 at 8:05 pm #

    Maybe we should just shit on our kids to make up for having C/S?! This micro propaganda is beyond ridiculous

  13. Kate
    September 18, 2014 at 7:47 pm #

    So, I’m curious: I was delivered by C-section, so clearly my microbiome is permanently damaged. I delivered my son vaginally, however. Does this mean his microbiome is fine, or did I pass on my ebil C-section germs anyway?

    • jenny
      September 18, 2014 at 8:01 pm #

      Evil c/s germs, sorry. Your family is ruined to the seventh generation. But maybe if you do GAPS diet you can fix it.

    • Cobalt
      September 18, 2014 at 8:57 pm #

      I have some special microbiome infused fabrics sheets I can send you. Feel free to use them to slap anyone who disputes the necessity of your mother’s cesarean.

    • Trixie
      September 18, 2014 at 9:03 pm #

      I’d suggest a colloidal silver enema, homeopathy, and perhaps past-life regression therapy.

    • Amy M
      September 19, 2014 at 7:54 am #

      His microbiome MUST be messed up. Remember how these midwives are convinced that Cesarians ruin everyone’s health for life and future generations? There’s no turning back, once you’ve opened that door—really, you should have been sterilized to prevent you from breeding your screwy epigenetic mess into the gene pool. 😉

    • Sara
      September 19, 2014 at 10:42 am #

      Yes, definitely a multi-generational dynamic. You and your offspring are doomed unless you get therapeutic-grade microbiome intervention. I know a certified practitioner if you need a reference.

  14. September 18, 2014 at 6:36 pm #

    What about “Psychobirth” how the psychological manipulation of women harms their long-term health and well being that is often sacrificed on the alter of motherhood. Examine post-natal PTSD, postpartum depression, birth trauma, the mommy wars, and how we’ve gone so far off track that how we handle birth in the current century is a strange Orwellian reality…

  15. Dr Kitty
    September 18, 2014 at 6:14 pm #

    Is the research on microbiome going to control for antenatal and postnatal exposure to antibiotics, detergents, antifungals, disinfectants and dirt?

    Maybe you can undo the harm of a CS by washing all your clothing on the cold cycle, only changing your bedlinen once a month and telling your kids they can eat food that falls on the floor.

    That is assuming you can quantify the harm that a change in commensal microbial flora actually causes…

    • Elizabeth A
      September 18, 2014 at 7:12 pm #

      Maybe you can undo the harm of a CS by washing all your clothing on the
      cold cycle, only changing your bedlinen once a month and telling your
      kids they can eat food that falls on the floor.

      I try to change the sheets more often than that, but otherwise, uh, yeah, that’s what things look like in my house. Cold-water laundry, and the five second rule. ‘S how we prepare for Peak Oil.

      Also, how we keep my handknit socks from felting up into Christmas tree ornaments, but no, it’s the environment! And their precious little microbiomes.

      • Young CC Prof
        September 18, 2014 at 9:49 pm #

        Doesn’t everybody?

      • me
        September 22, 2014 at 8:47 am #

        LOL. I was gonna say – I kinda already do those things. Okay, bedlinen every 2-3 weeks, but otherwise? And my kid didn’t have a clue what hand sanitizer was until she entered kindergarten; that’s more because the alcohol content kills my skin so I can’t imagine what it would do to their skin. I do tend to think we are antibacterializing ourselves into oblivion, but c-sections causing “microbiome issues”? Not so much.

  16. Ellen Mary
    September 18, 2014 at 5:48 pm #

    Just anecdotally, my protracted vaginal birth ending in vacuum extraction earned my baby 3 days of Gentamycin & one other Abx. My Cesarean birth involved ONE dose of IV antibiotics, during surgery only, in my IV. My baby’s exposure was under 2 minutes.

    Guess who I think started his life with a more ample Microbiome?

    And to quote my DH, when people were texting me about my baby’s flora after my C: ‘eh you are only so so @ handwashing, the baby is going to get plenty of flora’.

    I make Sourdough enough to know that flora is nothing if not dynamic . . . Saying flora is inexorably determined from birth is a microbiological spin on motherblame.

    • Elizabeth A
      September 18, 2014 at 7:22 pm #

      No kidding.

      My son had a vaginal birth, during which I spiked a fever, for reasons undetermined (possibly related to pushing for five and a half hours, who knows), and was snuggled up to a shirtless parent immediately after. I’ve discussed my daughter’s non-vaginal birth pretty extensively here – it was Not Optional, and there was no question of “seeding her microbiome”. That baby went straight to the NICU, and stayed there for 32 days.

      One of these children gets a cold or a stomach bug once or twice a year and went to the ED with flu once. One of these children has never, since coming home from the hospital, been sick enough that I felt moved to call the pediatrician about it.

      Whatever may have happened to their microbiomes as a result of birth, the results don’t appear to have played out as predicted. Also, the results seem incredibly inconsequential – both kids are generally healthy and doing fine.

    • Amy
      September 19, 2014 at 11:56 am #

      Oh my goodness, yes! I make my own bread, yogurt, and cheese, and the results are SO variable!

  17. Gretta
    September 18, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

    This makes me angry. So now the claim is women will be responsible for the downfall of mankind if they don’t birth the way these people want them to??? Really??? Hate women much??

    • Allie
      September 19, 2014 at 2:07 am #

      Come on. Women are clearly already responsible for the downfall of mankind (Eden… Eve… apple… ring a bell?). I guess we’re at it again ; )

  18. yentavegan
    September 18, 2014 at 4:51 pm #

    In order to spread /share the l healing biome of the vagina mother ought to occasional attempt to reinsert the baby into the birth canal, preferably before taking a post-coital shower. It is time for the world to acknowledge that the vagina is more intuitive than any other organ and educated mothers have the ability to alter the epigenetics of her offspring by sharing the vital vaginal flora….

    • Belle
      September 18, 2014 at 10:54 pm #

      Did you see Deborah’s post above about the post-C/S woman rubbing down her baby with gauze she had inserted into her Va-JJ??? Unbelievable.. (sigh and head shake)

  19. Sara
    September 18, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

    Our entire species is facing total devastation because of Western medicine’s arrogant suppression of microbial truth?


  20. Dr Kitty
    September 18, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

    Completely OT question for the OBs…

    Let’s say an episiotomy or perineal tear repair breaks down and opens up along the entire length of the sutures.

    When would you repair and when would you (if ever) cover with Abx and allow to heal by secondary intention?

    • Deborah
      September 18, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

      Only ever had it happen ONCE in all these years, and on a third degree to boot. I let it heal by secondary intention and only put on abx when it started to look infected. It healed really well and she even had perfect fecal continence. I was going to do a c/s for her next baby if it was bigger but it was smaller, and she delivered with no tear at all. Afterwards, I told her she was lucky, and she told me she’d been starving herself the whole pregnancy to keep that second baby smaller.

      • MLE
        September 18, 2014 at 8:46 pm #

        OH NO!!!

      • Dr Kitty
        September 19, 2014 at 4:18 am #

        I’ve seen several perineal wound infections with dehiscence recently (no CS wound infections in the same period of time, oddly), healing by secondary intention and oral Abx seem to be in favour.
        The outcomes have been…let us be kind and say “variable”.

      • MaineJen
        September 19, 2014 at 5:20 am #

        Say whaaaaaaat?

  21. no longer drinking the koolaid
    September 18, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

    Thank you for addressing this. The Michigan affiliate of ACNM is sponsoring a viewing shortly. They refuse to believe that it is propaganda for their friends the lay midwives.

  22. Jocelyn
    September 18, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

    OT: This was just posted in the Facebook group. “The Complicated Home Birth (HBAC) of Harlow Taylor…and Why I’m Glad I Wasn’t At A Hospital” http://thewayofthewarners.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-complicated-home-birth-hbac-of.html

    • Jenny_from_da_Bloc
      September 18, 2014 at 2:12 pm #

      Good grief, seriously?

    • Belle
      September 18, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

      Wow, that woman is totally brainwashed.. I’m just glad her baby is OK…(shudder)…

    • Guestll
      September 18, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

      Hands up if you’d rather have an episiotomy to you than a broken clavicle to your newborn.

      • Elizabeth A
        September 18, 2014 at 4:33 pm #

        She could quite possibly have gotten away with neither – the standard first maneuver for shoulder dystocia in hospital (besides “call for help”) is McRoberts – basically, putting the woman’s knees by her ears. That’s faster than Gaskin for a patient laboring on her back (as this one was). After that there’s a bunch of maneuvers that all go better with extra trained hands to help. Episiotomy is on the list, eventually, but it’s not step one, or even step two.

        This woman’s midwife misinformed her patient about hospital procedures. Seems like someone should be mad about that.

        • Guestll
          September 18, 2014 at 4:36 pm #

          I know all that and I didn’t say it was. The point is, she thinks she would have had an episiotomy, and prefers her newborn’s fractured clavicle.

          The first rule of SD is to ask for help. This midwife didn’t do that, either. She couldn’t do McRoberts with suprapubic because that takes several people. There’s a lot the midwife did wrong. Including breaking the baby’s clavicle when the Gaskin didn’t work out, and resorting to the Gaskin as a first line intervention.

        • Belle
          September 18, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

          And, she thought “turtle sign” is when the baby’s head is descending and visible at the vaginal opening during pushing but “retreats” back.. but it’s actually when the head has already delivered and the head settles back onto the perineum.. classic sign of shoulder dystocia..

      • Jenny_from_da_Bloc
        September 18, 2014 at 7:51 pm #

        But it was only a minor fracture! *Ugh* Seriously cut me wide open to spare my newborn any type of pain! I wonder how they determined it was minor w/o an x-ray?

        • Belle
          September 18, 2014 at 10:24 pm #

          Quite the piece of work, isn’t she? And she is so qualified to determine her C/S was “unnecessary”. Oh, my bad, her midwife probably told her that so it HAS to be true..

        • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa
          September 18, 2014 at 11:21 pm #

          But it was only a minor fracture! *Ugh* Seriously cut me wide open to spare my newborn any type of pain!

          I know. I’d do anything I could to keep my kids from hurting. If I could take the pain to prevent my kids from having it, I’d do it in a second. I’d gladly have my clavicle broken to prevent it from happening to my kids.

          And I’m no different from most parents, I don’t think.

          (then again, after reading the responses to the Adrian Peterson story, maybe I overestimate other parents)

        • Staceyjw
          September 19, 2014 at 12:33 pm #

          I had a “minor fracture” of that same bone and it really HURT. For weeks. I didn’t want to be hugged for over a month and I was 12.

          The baby can’t tell her, in words, that it hurts, so Im sure she’s in la la land thinking it NBD.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc
            September 20, 2014 at 9:35 pm #

            Yeah, I’ve broken a lot of bones my vertebrae in my spine, left femur, left arm, nose, face bones and like all my left ribs in a car accident and it hurt bad, but pain meds helped a lot. But when I broke my collar bone a few years later let me tell you no pain meds in the world could make me comfortable or feel better. I whined for 5 weeks.

        • Liz Leyden
          September 19, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

          How does she know it was a minor fracture? Did the midwife do an x-ray? Did the baby get *any* pain medication?

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc
            September 20, 2014 at 9:32 pm #

            Of course not because x-rays and pain meds are unnatural. I’m not 100% sure because she never said how they treated the fracture but if the midwife knew it was broken it was probably not minor or slight

      • MaineJen
        September 18, 2014 at 7:58 pm #

        I thought that was *the* most awful part of this whole story. “My baby had a teensy weensy broken clavicle…but look at meeeeeeeee! I didn’t tear and I outsmarted those doctors by not submitting to an episiotomy.” If my baby had a broken bone I would be a little more concerned than that.

        • Mishimoo
          September 18, 2014 at 8:35 pm #

          That was one of my biggest concerns about having vaginal deliveries. I can cope with injuries to myself, but that? Just no.

        • Elizabeth A
          September 18, 2014 at 9:18 pm #

          Calling something a “small fracture” strikes me as a lot like calling a procedure “minor surgery.” In both cases, what you probably really mean is that it happened to somebody else.

          But to be fair – I had a small fracture once. Just about the tiniest fracture possible. While horsing around in martial arts class, I jammed a finger and wound up with a volar plate fracture. It hurt like the dickens.

          Babies feel pain! I’d rather have the episiotomy myself – yeah, it would suck to be me, but at least I’d understand what was going on.

          • Young CC Prof
            September 18, 2014 at 10:08 pm #

            How does she know it’s a minor fracture if it wasn’t x-rayed or examined by a doctor?

            And yeah, I had a minor fracture in my tibia once. It was incredibly not awesome.

        • Jam
          September 18, 2014 at 9:58 pm #

          She brings up the broken clavicle and in the same breath proclaims victory since her vagina is still intact. Whaaat?! Could she be a little more concerned and sympathetic about your baby’s broken bone? I mean, I’m glad her vagina is in one piece, don’t get me wrong. But it becomes irrelevant when your child is hurt. Don’t even mention it. It pure birth-vanity.

          • Belle
            September 18, 2014 at 10:33 pm #

            Well, she had a HBAC, (“It’s all about me, any injury the baby suffers is minor compared to my birth experience “) so she was obviously not too concerned about her baby’s welfare.. can’t expect any better from the HB crowd..

        • Allie
          September 19, 2014 at 2:19 am #

          If my baby had a broken bone I would have been devastated, especially if it was completely preventable. I have a friend whose LO had to have open heart surgery shortly after birth, and I have no idea how they got through it. It must have been so hard seeing him suffer with needles and tubes and surgical pain. (He’s fine now, BTW – great kid!)

          • Who?
            September 19, 2014 at 2:43 am #

            In that world view, it was unforeseeable, unpreventable and impossible to deal with other than they did. Therefore nothing for mum to feel bad about, and okay that she feels good she didn’t have an episiotomy, which, in that world view, wouldn’t have helped.

            You can see her point-if something is unforeseeable and unpreventable, and everyone does their best on the night, then it is okay to not be upset about it.

            Challenge though is one of the doctors above mentioned a procedure that could have avoided the break if the midwife had known about it, and that could have been done with her on her back rather than requiring her to move, but that apparently wasn’t offered.

            Perhaps the occasional broken clavicle is the cost of doing business in that world.

            And mum is blocking comments that don’t endorse her world view. So no one reading that will know there were alternatives.

            Hopefully no one dies or has permanent damage next time.

      • MLE
        September 18, 2014 at 8:48 pm #

        Granted I was a postpartum mess, but I bumped my baby on the head very slightly a few hours after birth, and I wanted to jump out the window.

      • Trixie
        September 18, 2014 at 9:15 pm #

        Who diagnosed the baby with a broken clavicle? Did they take it to the hospital after? It doesn’t say.

      • Kelly
        September 19, 2014 at 10:23 am #

        Plus the baby could have had other damage to the nerves and have a life long disability with lots of doctors in the future. The baby is a newborn and is in a lot of pain. Poor thing. She is such a narcissist.

    • Guestll
      September 18, 2014 at 3:28 pm #

      I’d like to propose a moment of silence to meditate on the failed Gaskin maneuver…

    • GiddyUpGo123
      September 18, 2014 at 3:48 pm #

      I enjoyed the paragraph where she claims that OBs don’t know how to handle vaginal birth because the only thing they ever learn how to do is a c-section. Because she’s actually studied the curriculum for an OB at med school I guess. Would love to know how many more vaginal deliveries the average OB attends than the average midwife. I’ll bet it’s at least 10 to one.

      • Amazed
        September 18, 2014 at 4:05 pm #

        What do you know… Normal birth is a vaginal birth without any evil interventions, with pain with good purpose, and a midwife holding your hand, basically acting as epidural.

        What, you thought normal birth just meant a sage baby finding the right opening? Foolish Giddy.

      • Kate
        September 18, 2014 at 7:46 pm #

        LOL, I must have imagined my OB-attended vaginal birth then. AND the med students who were present learning how to handle deliveries.

        • Young CC Prof
          September 18, 2014 at 9:52 pm #

          I hallucinated my OB giving me the dish on VBAC options before my c-section even happened. Because OBs would never say that!

      • Belle
        September 18, 2014 at 10:45 pm #

        I got a kick out of that one too! I’m sure her midwife fed her that prize piece of information..

      • rachel
        September 19, 2014 at 12:40 pm #

        I do 200-220 deliveries per year with a ~10% primary C-section rate and ~25-30% total C-section rate. I think that’s pretty average for a busy community-based private practice in the US.

        • GiddyUpGo123
          September 19, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

          I’ve heard some people brag that their midwife has attended “over 100 births.” That’s in her whole career. Meaning that in one career, she’s seen about half as many births as you see in six months.

          • birthbuddy
            October 17, 2014 at 5:50 am #

            As a med student in the 80’s I was expected to attend 50 deliveries in the vacation between 3rd and 4th study year.
            Them was the days.

    • Dr Kitty
      September 18, 2014 at 5:35 pm #

      Love the way the MW told her she was 8cm, when she was really 6cm, so as not to “discourage” her.

      Is this relevant to all the HB transfers where the MW told the woman she was complete or 8cm, and then the hospital staff find out that progress is several cm behind where the MW claims it to be?

      To me this is the SINGLE best example of how some midwives are infantilising women and denying them accurate information, literally telling them that they cannot handle the truth.
      Not ethical, not justified, not right ladies.

      I’m in particularly bad form today because I had to have one of those very, very hard conversations with a palliative care patient.
      It would have been “nicer” of me to lie, but you know what, it would have been the wrong thing to do. Telling the truth (as nicely as possible) was horrible, but not as horrible as lying would have been.

      • Sue
        September 18, 2014 at 6:46 pm #

        “Love the way the MW told her she was 8cm, when she was really 6cm, so as not to “discourage” her.”

        A strategy also known as “lying”.

    • MLE
      September 18, 2014 at 8:51 pm #

      We knew this was all about her when she showed up to someone else’s birthday party with contractions five minutes apart.

    • Jam
      September 18, 2014 at 9:48 pm #

      Mrs. Warner swiftly deleted my “negative” comment asking her where her conscience was. They must teach that in the School of NCB – get rid of any damning evidence or “negativity” that doesn’t support the cult belief. She also urged me to edumacate myself on SD. I mean, why bother replying to her? How could someone so ridiculous be reasoned with?

      • Belle
        September 18, 2014 at 10:37 pm #

        Well, you know the old saying, “you can’t reason with unreasonable people”… after reading the posts from the crazy woman wanting to go on the cruise at 32 weeks, and her total denial and refusal to listen to reason, I just can’t read posts from these folks anymore.. too frustrating..

    • Stacy48918
      September 19, 2014 at 12:54 am #

      Ok, so the real reason for her “unnecesarean”:
      “You were born on Monday, April 11, 2011 at 11:31 p.m. You were 7 lbs 13 0z and 20 inches long. You had red hair and a cone head! I was in labor with you for 21 very long hours. When you were born, you also had a fever, so you were immediately sent to the NICU for a blood culture and antibiotics. It turns out that mommy had a pretty serious infection called “Chorioamnioitits” which is an infection of the amniotic fluid and placenta. The doctors wanted to be sure that you didn’t contract my infection, so you had to be in the NICU for at least 3 days while the blood culture was being done. Because of this, mommy didn’t get to hold you until 24 hours after you were born because I had surgery and couldn’t get out of bed and walk to the NICU. This also makes mommy VERY sad.”

      That doctor is TOTALLY knife-happy. Wow the denial!

      Found on the mother’s inactive other blog:

      • Jenny_from_da_Bloc
        September 19, 2014 at 2:44 am #

        Wow, I knew this story was out there somewhere! That c-section was totally unnecessary, said no doctor ever.

        • MaineJen
          September 19, 2014 at 5:22 am #

          Come on, now. A little chorioamnionitis never hurt anyone.

          • Amy M
            September 19, 2014 at 7:58 am #

            At least she recognized that its a serious infection. She also recognized that shoulder distocia is dangerous. But, despite that, she did not recognize that trained OB professionals could handle both of those in the hospital, much better than some quack at home.

      • Young CC Prof
        September 19, 2014 at 10:20 am #

        Cone head, 21 hours, chorio, obvious signs of the unnecessarean.

        • birthbuddy
          October 17, 2014 at 5:43 am #

          The cascade of ‘non-intervention’,

  23. Amy M
    September 18, 2014 at 1:34 pm #

    Let’s say we find out, in the next 15yrs or so, that some of the vaginal microbiome is beneficial. (I’m ignoring the obvious, that not every woman’s vaginal microbiome is the same) Wouldn’t it be possible to culture the bacteria/viruses and then administer them to all newborns, (or newborns born via Csection?) Either a swab from the mom shortly before due date/induction date, or a commercially produced culture containing the most beneficial stuff? I mean, we have immortalized cell lines which all started as primary cell cultures, it shouldn’t be hard to cultivate the beneficial vaginal microflora in vitro. There’s no need for a stupid movie here—research, which I am sure is already occurring, would be helpful. If we’re doing propaganda movies about what is beneficial for newborns, let’s do one about Vit K shots and pertussis vaccines.

    • Roadstergal
      September 18, 2014 at 2:46 pm #

      It’s already an area of active investigation for autoimmune/inflammatory conditions of the gut (CD, UC, etc) – trying to seed diseased folk with ‘beneficial’ microbes. It’s been shown to have efficacy in clearing up really problematic C. difficile infections, but beyond that, it’s a tough area to work in. There’s a lot of variability in the microbiome according to heritage, where you life, what you eat, etc etc. And although you can find differences, it’s very difficult to tell what the differences _mean_. And even when you find differences associated with pathology, it’s hard to tell what is cause and what is effect. Even when you’re working with mice, results vary greatly according to strain (genetics) and housing conditions (environment).

      Not that any midwife/NCB advocate is going to note or care about any of this.

      • Amy M
        September 18, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

        Totally. I do research, but not in the microbiome area, so I understand what some of the limitations are. And even with my lack of knowledge in them microbiome, I could have told these midwives what you said: there’s variability among women. The fact that they don’t seem to understand that key piece of information is enough to convince me (and hopefully most other people) that they have no idea what they are talking about and aren’t worth listening to.

    • Smoochagator
      September 22, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

      “If we’re doing propaganda movies about what is beneficial for newborns, let’s do one about Vit K shots and pertussis vaccines.”

  24. alsmph
    September 18, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

    Oh boy, let’s “seed” the baby with Group B Strep! And Genital Herpes! And whatever skin rash she might have! As if the preschool age sibling and the family dog weren’t enough.

    • Cobalt
      September 18, 2014 at 2:08 pm #

      Come to think of it, my dog is never sick. Maybe I should have had the dog in the delivery room to lick the baby clean, thereby “seeding” the baby with my dog’s super immune microbiome.

      • alsmph
        September 18, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

        You have a point. ER folks are way more worried about a human bite that breaks the skin than a dog’s.

      • Smoochagator
        September 22, 2014 at 1:06 pm #

        A few years ago I saw an article that said kids who grow up in homes with pets (especially dogs) have lower instances of asthma and allergies. I feel SUPER sanctimommy about our six-pet household now. My kids will have the best respiratory health EVER.

    • MaineJen
      September 18, 2014 at 3:30 pm #

      That’s what I immediately thought, too. This obviously does not apply to women who take those evil abx during labor for group b strep…we obviously did something wrong from the beginning. Maybe we didn’t eat enough kale…

  25. Amy M
    September 18, 2014 at 1:09 pm #

    With the “Microbirth” title, I keep thinking it should be about preemies.

    • Belle
      September 18, 2014 at 2:00 pm #

      My thoughts exactly!

    • September 18, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

      I confess I had a mental image of a hospital L&D staffed with midgets…

      • Belle
        September 18, 2014 at 6:02 pm #

        oh, that is so bad.. lol!

        • deafgimp
          September 20, 2014 at 1:07 am #

          You think that’s bad? My mind went to microcephaly.

          • Belle
            September 20, 2014 at 11:47 am #

            Well, that does happen sometimes..

      • AmyP
        September 19, 2014 at 3:57 pm #

        Tiny hands!

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