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.