The Childbirth Connection report, like the movie Microbirth and The Alpha Parent’s book, is a spectacular scientific flop!

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The new Childbirth Connection report, Hormonal Physiology of Childbearing, like so much that is produced by the natural childbirth industry, is a spectacular scientific flop.

Real science is reviewed, evaluated, discussed and argued about in scientific journals, at scientific conferences, and by professional organizations.

Dr. Sarah (“our culture’s discontent come[s] from the traumatic loss of our first possession: our placenta”) Buckley and The Childbirth Connection, the lobbying organization who hired her to write the report, have breathlessly claimed that they have elucidated how the hormonal physiology of childbirth “works best,” which is rather remarkable, since no one really knows how the hormonal physiology of childbirth actually works.

Many endocrinologists and obstetricians have been working on various aspects of this for the past 100 years. A discovery of the endocrinology of labor, how it begins, what supports it and what interferes with it, and how it goes wrong, would be a scientific discovery of the first order. It would likely be presented at a major national or international conference on endocrinology, obstetrics or both, meant to highlight the publication of the multiple forthcoming scientific papers that would required to fully explain and prove Dr. Buckley’s hypotheses.

Everyone who was anyone in the world of obstetrics and the world of endocrinology would be weighing in on it. Yet no one outside of the natural childbirth industry has paid the least bit of attention to The Childbirth Connection report. There is no scientific conference; there are no scientific papers; there are no endocrinologists publicly supporting it; there are no obstetricians publicly supporting it; there are no professional endocrinology or obstetric societies backing it. It’s a spectacular scientific flop!

Why? Because it’s not science. It’s propaganda meant to fool potential clients into purchasing the services of midwives, doulas and childbirth educators. No one else is paying the least bit of attention.

It’s just like Microbirth, the movie that supposedly explains the all important impact of interventions on the neonatal microbiome. No professional microbiology associations endorsed the movie because it was pure fantasy, reflecting the natural childbirth industry’s reflexive demonization of interventions.

It’s just like The Alpha Parent’s Book, Breast Intentions. Allison Dixley’s book has not been supported by any professional breastfeeding organizations, any lactivism programs, or, any major authors in the field whether they write for lay people or for other professionals. The book is just Dixley’s (rather repulsive) opinion and, therefore, has been ignored.

The Childbirth Connection report is being heavily publicized within the natural childbirth industry and among natural childbirth advocates. Facebook pages and Twitter feeds are buzzing with it, because it confirms everything that natural childbirth advocates want to believe. That’s not surprising; it started from the bedrock natural childbirth axiom that interventions are bad and cherry picked scientific studies to support that conviction.

Natural childbirth advocates should stop navelgazing for a moment and take note of the fact that no one else is paying the least bit of attention. Hormonal Physiology of Childbirth is not science; it’s a glossy brochure designed to be waved about by the natural childbirth industry to improve their employment prospects.

Hormonal Physiology of Childbirth is a scientific flop. Only time will tell if natural childbirth advocates are gullible enough to make it into a marketing success.

  • A colleague’s wife is expecting their second child. He’s caucasian, she’s a petite asian. There first child resulted in an emergency cesarean and was somewhat traumatic. The wife is currently a couple days past due. They’ll let her go 10 days past due before they’ll do a repeat cesarean. My boss (older woman, never had children, never will have children) in casual conversation: “Well there are risks to cesareans.” Meanwhile, I know that one of the performance measures in our health system is the number of “attempted VBAC’s” or TOLACs…and can’t help but think it’s performance measure centered care that is being delivered. Are we pushing VBACs and harming the health and wellbeing of women in BC? I just want to face-palm.

    • I am also hoping that everything winds up okay…really, healthy and happy is all that ultimately matters.

  • Sue

    Has anyone checked out the “fact sheets for clinicians”? Hilarious! More like stories for children…

  • Dr Kitty

    OT: I had to fill out some paperwork today, prior to an appointment.
    “Have you had a previous CS?” Yes
    “Would you like to discuss VBAC?” NO. Do not want TOLAC, for ERCS in case of SOL..

    I’m absolutely going to be upfront that I am not on board with playing this by ear.

    My anatomy is a wonderfully weird variation of normal, and based on the fact that I have had potentially fatal allergic and idiosyncratic drug reactions I have every reason to believe my physiology might be similarly at the end of a bell curve. Definitely not going to leave things alone and hope for the best.

    • theadequatemother

      Is this a pregnancy announcement? If so congrats!

      • Dr Kitty

        Yep, we’re expecting an addition to the family in the summer.
        I’m “enjoying” daily vomiting and copious anti-emetics at present.

        • Allie P

          when? I’m due in July.

          • Dr Kitty

            Date TBD.

          • Sonia

            I’m August also. Good luck with everything.

        • Gwen Bazzrea

          Way to go Dr K! Quick question~ why are they asking about birth choices when you’re still so early and throwing your toenails up?

          • Dr Kitty

            Because they want to know whether you’re for midwifery led/ shared care or obstetrician led care.
            A lot of people with no other complications other than previous CS who want a VBAC opt for MW led care.

        • luckymama75

          Zofran? I lost 23 lbs in my first trimester from throwing up so I totally sympathize! Congrats on the baby!

    • Burgundy


    • Elizabeth Neely

      Roger that…. when my midwife kept telling me that I would not need an epidural..waving her hands like OBE won Kenobee, I headed straight over to the OB and scheduled my repeat C section….

  • guest
  • I was disturbed to find AWHONN promoting this report and Childbirth Connection all over their Facebook page today. I was under the impression that AWOHNN is a widely respected and professional nursing organization. What gives?!

    • Samantha06

      I’m disturbed too! AWOHNN is a very respected nursing organization.. good grief, the woo is infiltrating everything..

    • manabanana

      When I saw this on the ACNM’s Facebook page, I had to wonder who was responsible for managing the FB page. Maybe somebody’s teenager? They should know better.

      Was unaware that AWHONN had promoted this as well.

      Let’s hope it was just an oversight. I expect more of these organizations. (And usually, they deliver!)

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      As I’ve pointed out, this would be the equivalent of the AMA endorsing a report from Joe Mercola on cancer treatment in the US.

  • Cobalt
  • Margo nz

    So….everything in that report is incorrect?? Wow. Really.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      What good is a report if every claim in it has to be verified independently to determine if it is correct or not?

      You might as well just spew random words and let the reader put them in the right order.

  • anne

    OT but there has been a lawsuit filed in Portland regarding a water birth in a hospital where the baby was injured.

    • I read the article. I don’t think we are getting the whole story. If the hospital maintains that water birth is ONLY for “low risk” patients, and the mother was “high risk” [in precisely what way is not described], then either the hospital blithely disregarded its own policies, or the parents pressured the hospital to do so, in which case they cannot be entirely absolved of blame.

      Of course, I am of the opinion that water birth is nothing more than a dangerous gimmick, and ought not to be allowed at all. IMO, it isn’t an “alternative” method of giving birth at all, any more than hanging upside down with bungee cords attached to the mother’s ankles.

      • Roadstergal

        Interesting that one of the claims of the parents is that they weren’t informed of ACOG’s statement on waterbirths. That seems like an informed consent issue. I had naively assumed that this statement would have been part of any IC for waterbirth in the US…! I am now wondering if there even is an IC required for waterbirth? That would be hideous, if not.

        • Guesteleh

          I knew before reading the article what hospital was involved. For background: Legacy Emanuel is the most NCB friendly hospital in Portland. They bend over backwards to accommodate the crunchies in the hope that they will persuade some of them to birth in the hospital rather than at home. They take in the homebirth trainwrecks and don’t report the midwives in the hope that transports will happen before a disaster strikes. The results are entirely predictable.

          • T.

            They will soon stop if the results are more lawsuits…

        • I can’t state unequivocably that there was real informed consent or not, obviously — but in a hospital setting, one would certainly assume so.
          The problem is that so many people only hear what they want to hear, and some people will sign anything, and tune out explanations as tedious.

  • GiddyUpGo123

    Every now and then I check up on “Breast Intentions” on Amazon. To date it has 9 one-star reviews. Apparently Allison can’t even get her buddies to sign on and say something nice about her book.

  • GiddyUpGo123

    My daughter likes to pretend that she has her own restaurant. She writes out her menus by hand and passes them out at the table, and then she brings out the drinks and silverware and patiently waits to take our orders before dinner, even though we’re generally all eating the same thing. These people remind me of my daughter, pretending like they’re scientists and writing out their pretend reports and pretending like they’re helping people. It would be cute if it wasn’t so dangerous.

    • Young CC Prof

      That’s why they call it cargo-cult science. They’re imitators who don’t really get what science is actually about.

      Actually, it’s a bad comparison, since your daughter is serving actual food to actual people. It’d be more like NCB science if she was serving toy food.

      • NoLongerCrunching

        Also I’m guessing none of the patrons end up bleeding out or suffocating to death. /rage

      • mostlyclueless

        Thank you, I’ve been looking for a term to describe the phenomenon that is apparently “cargo-cult science” and wasn’t sure how to find it. I am glad to know I wasn’t just imagining that phenomenon.

    • My granddaughter does the same thing, but she tells the “patrons” that whatever they’ve ordered has just been sold out, and they are going to get something else instead [a dish of her choosing]. She’s not quite 4.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        That is totally awesome.