A fine natural childbirth whine: don’t listen to Dr. Amy!

Lying Down

If you can, head over to Medscape to read the comments on an interview with me, OB/Gyn Wants Women to Stop Feeling Guilty About Birthing Process. How evil of me! Natural childbirth advocates are appalled and fall back on a rather nonsensical whine, the same whine I see whenever I appear in a major media publication:

“How dare you take Dr. Tuteur seriously:

1.Just because she is a Harvard educated, Harvard trained obstetrician-gynecologist?

2. Just because she has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The London Times, TIME.com, etc.?

3. Just because she has been invited to speak by a variety of physician organizations including ACOG itself?

4. Just because HarperCollins published her book, PUSH BACK: Guilt in the Age of Natural Parenting that highlights the fact that natural childbirth is a business and is a deeply sexist, retrograde philosophy.

You shouldn’t let her express her views; the natural childbirth industry despises her because we can’t rebut her factual claims so we are reduced to flinging ad hominems!”

You’d think after 10 years of ineffectual whining, natural childbirth advocates would give it up and try a different tactic, but apparently they can’t think of a different tactic.

71 Responses to “A fine natural childbirth whine: don’t listen to Dr. Amy!”

  1. May 26, 2016 at 11:20 pm #

    IOW, the usual loons are at it again. Don’t they bore themselves?

  2. Mrs.Katt the Cat
    May 26, 2016 at 1:05 pm #

    I posted an article of yours about the baby friendly hospitals and got the same response from a SIL. Nooooo, not Dr Amy!
    Once we got further into discussing it we agreed on almost everything and decided part of a hospital LC job should be to do pre and post feed weighing and offer formula when needed.
    How about a feeding consultant instead of lactation?

    • May 26, 2016 at 1:25 pm #

      I’ve gotten the same response on one of the feminist, atheist blogs I spend a lot of time on. My usual reply is something along the lines of Dr. Amy can be harsh and blunt and rude, but she really wants women to be informed, and she is beyond angry that women and babies are dying because of woo nonsense. That’s something to be angry about! We get upset when people tone-troll us “why are you atheists so angry? what have women got to complain about anyways?”, so lets not be hypocritical just because someone is angrily poking at your soft spot. Read what she says, not how she says it, then decide.

      • Mrs.Katt the Cat
        May 26, 2016 at 3:10 pm #

        Yes. I agreed that Dr Amy style is “not friendly or trying to engage the other side” but that does not mean her points are invalid. Her target audience is not the true believers, it is the rest of us

      • Felicitasz
        May 27, 2016 at 9:44 pm #

        This might also be a “doctor” thing – the OB I used to work with on a message board was the same, giving lots of invaluable information but not bothering with the process of sugarcoating.

        Cleaning up the mess resulting from ignorance or woo or both is a frustrating thing and it is always the doctors who are doing it and I can totally understand how they have little patience for saying it “nicely”. They want to say it _quickly_ and they want to give the most information possible within the time given.

        I got used to the doctor’s style and some of my work was actually the softening / sugarcoating part because I had the time and the sufficient interest and skills in nuances. After this, reading Dr. Amy feels pretty much the same. I totally agree with you, I read what she says and I do not care about how.

    • swbarnes2
      May 26, 2016 at 1:48 pm #

      It would be great if LCs could help with formals stuff like “no, you don’t have to boil the water” and “the brand name really doesn’t matter” and “unless you see these symptoms, stick with the regular kind, not the gentle, or soy, or anything like that” and “this is how long formula is safe at room temp, this is how long it’s safe in the fridge”…etc

  3. demodocus
    May 26, 2016 at 10:47 am #

    OT: it’s kind of weird that I keep getting these little sparklers in front of my eyes under any physical exhertion. (sp?). They’re not quite the occasional occular migraines I’ve gotten (those were more pinwheely)

    • Sarah
      May 26, 2016 at 2:28 pm #

      I’ve had those now and then. Not for a while though, but when I’m really exhausted.

  4. Tiffany Aching
    May 26, 2016 at 8:47 am #

    The way OBs are seen by the homebirth movement really strikes me as a moral panic as defined by Stanley Cohen. It has its “folk devils” (the money-grubbing who can’t wait to cut women open) and its general assertions that are widely held to be true but are never verified (“the c section rate is too high”, “breastmilk is always best”, “very few women can’t breastfeed”), and that are are repeated ad nauseam in the media. Even in medical circles I hear people saying that too many OBs will choose to perform a c section for their own convenience, and every time these people fail to give me a real life example. It is difficult to challenge that kind of belief.

  5. Tosca
    May 26, 2016 at 3:47 am #

    When I was pregnant with my first, the obstetrician took everyone’s schedule into account when deciding to NOT give me interventions.

    It was 5pm on Christmas Eve and I had pre-eclampsia. I was already in hospital on bedrest, and my blood pressure was hovering juuuuuuuust under the point where something would really have to be done. The obstetrician pulled a few faces of reluctance and said he didn’t want to try inducing me then, because if the induction failed I’d need a cesarean, and there was evidence that surgery carried out after hours (when there’s a skeleton staff) has a greater chance of complications than if it’s done when staffing levels are higher. He recommended continuing to monitor me closely until everyone came back on the 27th, with option of induction etc. if necessary. As it turned out I went into labour naturally on Christmas night.

    So he used scientific evidence to recommend AVOIDING interventions, and put himself at risk of being called in over Christmas. Would have been much easier for him to recommend a nice quick cesarian right there on Christmas eve and gone home to relax.

  6. Puffin
    May 25, 2016 at 5:16 pm #

    I used to be one of those commenters frothing at the mouth whenever you commented, hah. In fact I remember very clearly flippantly decrying you as only interested in the convenience of OBs and not caring about the wants of women because OBs only care about money.

    Now I comment semi-regularly here, and I’m leaning really strongly towards becoming an OB myself…

    • mostlyclueless
      May 25, 2016 at 6:08 pm #

      Admit it, you want to become an OB so that you can perform unnecessary emergency surgery on women at 3am (which you’re performing only to make your tee time).

      • Azuran
        May 25, 2016 at 6:20 pm #

        Night golf is just awesome, isn’t it?

        • BeatriceC
          May 25, 2016 at 6:25 pm #

          Man, now I want to become a doctor just so I can do unnecessary emergency surgery on women at 3am and then go play night golf! I’ve never liked golf before, but night golf sounds kinda awesome.

          • momofone
            May 25, 2016 at 6:31 pm #

            But think how much fun it would be if you did an unnecessary surgery on some unsuspecting woman first!

          • Azuran
            May 25, 2016 at 7:27 pm #

            It probably all part of the game. Like, before you can go on the golf course you HAVE to do a c-section and whoever convinces the unsuspecting woman the fastest has extra points.

          • Mishimoo
            May 26, 2016 at 7:39 am #

            Like how the police play snooker while pulling over drivers for random breath-testing (field sobriety tests) 😉

          • Roadstergal
            May 27, 2016 at 5:33 pm #

            I’m definitely tired at the end of a long week, because I just imagined a pregnancy-themed mini-golf-course. With holes of increasing difficulty, of course.

          • Monkey Professor for a Head
            May 27, 2016 at 6:58 pm #

            Is it cheating if you cut a new path through the side of a particularly tricky level?

        • sdsures
          May 25, 2016 at 8:35 pm #

          I remember playing mini-golf at night in Florida.

      • guest
        May 25, 2016 at 7:02 pm #

        So if doctors push surgery to suit their schedules, shouldn’t that also mean that some women who really need one are forced to wait? My induction began at 8 PM and I labored through the night. The timeline is fuzzy in my head, but at some point a c-section was recommended, I readily agreed, and at 7 AM my son was extracted from the incision. I don’t know what time shift changes are, but following NCB logic, this must have been timed by the…MFM? For…reasons? (I mean, it’s not like he did the surgery himself, but he made the call???) Maybe the night golf course closes at 6 AM?

        • mostlyclueless
          May 25, 2016 at 7:18 pm #

          Well, bars here close at 2am and really who wants to be golfing if you can’t drink?!

          In all seriousness though, my understanding is that there is something about doctors with different seniorities/levels of training…like at hospitals with 24 h staffed ORs, a resident is always around to do a crash c-section, but ideally they’ll call in the on-call attending even if it’s the middle of the night?

          This is something I’ve put together from reading the internet and watching Grey’s Anatomy though, so I really hope the actual doctors here come and correct anything I’ve gotten wrong….

          • guest
            May 25, 2016 at 7:30 pm #

            Oh, I know they have their emergency surgery plan all worked out. I was just joking about the whole “doctors schedule them so they don’t miss tee time” thing. If they were going to schedule mine, they probably would have done so at 8 PM, pushed for a section over an induction, you know? The whole thing was because my blood pressure was too high, so it’s not like they couldn’t have justified it.

        • May 26, 2016 at 11:11 pm #

          If shift changes are at 0700-1500-2300, 7 AM is a terrible time. Shift change is hectic as hell.

        • MaeveClifford
          May 31, 2016 at 7:49 am #

          My delivering ob stayed 34 minutes past shift change, even though her replacement had come on and was in the room with us. On Thanksgiving. And it wasn’t like she was even *my* ob, she was just the one on call. But I guess the courses are closed on the holiday, so she didn’t have a game to get to.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            May 31, 2016 at 8:41 am #

            My OB, who does, in fact, play golf, left his lunch to talk me through what to expect when miscarrying when I showed up at his office bleeding rather a lot at 6 weeks pregnant, as well as to make sure I was mentally/emotionally okay. He also didn’t charge me or my insurance a penny for that consultation.
            But, y’know, uncaring OBs who just want to get back to their golf game…;)
            Meanwhile, when a friend miscarried at the *end* of her first trimester, her homebirth midwife couldn’t bother to show up at the house, and just told her to come in the next day. Nice.

  7. Gatita
    May 25, 2016 at 4:55 pm #

    OT but I loved this: To the parents of kids who aren’t going to get an award

    There should be an award for the kids who have coped with surgeries, allergies, medications, conditions, tests, procedures, doctors’ appointments, measured diets, hospitals, braced limbs, and side effects as part of their normal.

    There should be an award for the kids who have survived hunger, sleepless nights, screaming, beatings, sexual advances, bruises, dad hitting mom, and fear, and fear, and fear.

    There should be an award for the kids who try so incredibly, fantastically hard to get right with 1,000 tries what other kids master with ease — zippers, math facts, the alphabet, behavior in the lunch room, geometry, how to make eye contact, ways to keep a friend.

    • FormerPhysicist
      May 25, 2016 at 5:03 pm #

      I love it.
      And there should be an anti-award for attendance. Here, for dragging yourself in sick and infecting everyone else in pursuit of this silly award, we give you the Typhoid Mary award.

      • AirPlant
        May 25, 2016 at 5:37 pm #

        OMG, I know, right? my immune system is kind of bullshit, so I end up catching pretty much everything. Like I am religious about the flu shot and I still get a freaking high fever body ache I swear I am not a drama queen this is the flu every year when it goes around the office. I have asthma and a deviated septum so it is never just a simply flu either, it is two months of asthma attacks and a week of sinus problems.
        It is 2016. We can all work from home in this field. Stop giving me your freaking flu.

        • Roadstergal
          May 27, 2016 at 5:36 pm #

          Our work changed about two years ago to a ‘no accounting for sick days’ system – that is, if you’re sick, you stay home/work from home, and if you’re well, you don’t. No maximum number of sick days. So far, the company has not founded under an epidemic of people taking bogus sick days. :p

      • Spamamander
        May 26, 2016 at 9:34 pm #

        I get SO ANGRY at the local schools giving away bicycles for perfect attendance. Not only are they encouraging sick kids to spread to the rest of the children, but what about kids who have a loss in the family, or mom ends up in the hospital, or a million other emergencies? Punishing them for not being there every single day is just wrong.

        • momofone
          May 26, 2016 at 10:11 pm #

          My son got sick just before school got out for the Christmas break. I took him to the doctor, very much against his wishes–“Mom, I have perfect attendance! And I’m not sick!”–and he had strep and Fifth Disease (?). Doc said he had to be out most of the week and wrote him an excuse, which I took to the school. One of his teachers actually challenged my following the doctor’s order, and said I should take him to school anyway (it was a testing week, so God forbid someone misses). When I told her quite clearly that he would be back when the doctor ok’d it (and by the way, YOU’RE WELCOME for your newborn not getting strep for Christmas!), she said, “Well, the secretary said he didn’t want to miss.” WTF?! He’s eight. Not up to him.

          • Spamamander
            May 26, 2016 at 10:16 pm #

            Just… GRRRRR!!!

      • KeeperOfTheBooks
        May 27, 2016 at 12:42 am #

        This is a periodic rant of mine.
        When I was in school, not so long ago (graduated in the first 2000s decade), the policy was that you could miss 2 days over the course of a semester without a doctor’s note; any more, and you’d get detention or suspension.
        This, of course, led to the place being nothing short of a hotbed of germ-swapping, because a) why would you pay quite a lot of money out of pocket to be told “congrats, your kid has a bad cold/the flu, have her stay home, rest, and drink lots of fluids” and b) you’d have to time the doctor’s visit just right–i.e., to coincide both with a busy rural doctor’s schedule *and* your needs, not to mention parent work schedules and the like. I was sick all. the. time.
        (And that’s all leaving aside what I suspect to be inflated levels of urinary and bowel issues for kids in schools like this. If you have all of 5 minutes between classes to get to your locker, drop your current books, grab the ones for the other class, and get to the next room, you don’t have time to use the bathroom, and if you’re shy or you have unpleasant teachers who don’t want to write you passes or both, then it can be near-impossible to use the bathroom except at lunch.)

        • FormerPhysicist
          May 27, 2016 at 4:42 pm #

          Oldest daughter is in middle school. They have 3 minutes between classes, and 6 bathroom passes to leave class a quarter. It’s insane, especially for girls new to periods.
          But dd is beautifully, wondrously snarky. When her English teacher told the class they could only leave class without a pass if they were barfing, bleeding, or had broken bones, she shot back “Does menstrual bleeding count?”

          • Heidi
            May 27, 2016 at 5:05 pm #

            High school is a nightmare I do not wish to relive! We had 5 minute to change classes but it was rarely enough time to change a pad or tampon! The one time I absolutely had to, I was late for class and my snotty English teacher made a scene about me being late and questioned me about why I was late. It was the one time the super plus tampon + super maxi pad combo wasn’t going to cut it.

          • Monkey Professor for a Head
            May 27, 2016 at 6:53 pm #

            I got locked in school once because I stayed back to use the bathroom and change my pad. Our school was a jumble of different buildings, and this day my last class was in an old prefab with two classrooms and a bathroom. By the time I got out, everyone had left and the building had been locked up. It wasn’t a big deal as I just hopped out the window, but it’s a funny memory.

    • Erin
      May 25, 2016 at 5:06 pm #

      I was 9 before I learnt the alphabet…the joys of swapping schools a lot with a Father who was either drunk or at work and a Mother who was an emotional mess.

      Currently writing an essay on the “Early Years” policies and it’s a shame my Tutor frowns on random stuff I find on the web being randomly slotted into my essays because this sums it up.

    • Irène Delse
      May 26, 2016 at 3:16 am #

      So true. I know kids like that. Heck, I was a kid who had to battle asthma without an inhaler, because they weren’t around at the time. I remember being terrified because I couldn’t breathe, and even more terrified because I saw my parents being afraid for me. All they had to help was some herb mixture that you burnt in a saucer. It had a most peculiar smell. I doubt it did anything but be a placebo.

    • May 26, 2016 at 7:26 am #

      Thank you for posting this. It was really refreshing. This time of year there is a proliferation of cranks complaining about soccer leagues in which “everybody gets a trophy” and how surely that 4-inch piece of plastic means the receiving 6-year-old won’t be able to hold down a job in 20 years. Or something.

      Sometimes just showing up, sticking it out for the whole season/school year, and doing your best is enough. Not everything is a race, not everything is a contest, and kids have their whole adult lives to toil in obscurity–give them the damned award and let them be proud of themselves for a little while. Like the author says, you never know what that kid who’s no good at soccer had to get through just to show up at practice.

      I really believe that if you look at life as a whole, most people are doing their best most of the time. Even somebody who seems to be phoning it in in one area is probably pushed to the limit in another.

  8. BeatriceC
    May 25, 2016 at 2:35 pm #

    But you’re MEEEEEAAAAANNNNN. *eyeroll* I have a pretty darned good medical knowledge for a non-doctor due to having complicated pregnancies, preterm babies and kids with a major orthopedic disease, but when it comes down to it, I’m gonna trust the lady with “MD” after her name.

    And actually, on that topic, my step-daughter was trying to argue against starting the process to get a second opinion for MK. I finally just threw my hands up and said exactly that: “I’ve talked with his doctor and a couple acquaintances who are also doctors and they all agree that it’s time. I’m gonna trust the people with “MD” after their names instead of the person who works in hospital administration.”

  9. Anonymous
    May 25, 2016 at 2:32 pm #

    Ok silly question. How do you view the comments over there? I don’t seem to get them.

    • Angie Young-Le
      May 25, 2016 at 2:59 pm #

      At the end of the article on the left side there is a tiny button that says “55 comments” (or however many are there once you get to it). It’s right underneath the word references. Hope this helps 🙂

  10. TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya
    May 25, 2016 at 1:58 pm #

    I don’t have a pubmed account but I’ll guess it’s the usual – “Dr Tuteur is wrong because FEELINGS!!”

    • Karen in SC
      May 25, 2016 at 2:02 pm #

      how do all the fake birth attendants get on Medscape?

      • Irène Delse
        May 25, 2016 at 2:52 pm #

        Anybody can sign up to get a Message account. For free. And a good thing too: even non-medical professionals can be interested.

    • AirPlant
      May 25, 2016 at 2:24 pm #

      A part of me is incredibly sympathetic. I like feelings so much better than science, and it would be super crazy awesome if life worked that way. Like if essential oils worked? and I could cure my debilitating allergies with nothing more than a nice smelling foot rub? That would just be the shit, man. I wouldn’t have to go to the doctor, I wouldn’t have to explain to anyone the details of my embarrassing medical problems, I would just google, place an amazon order, and be on my merry way.
      And childbirth in particular. In my heart I feel like the birth of your baby should be magical. It should be a freaking party of love and celebration and champagne where nobody dies or gets maimed and everyone highfives after. Instead we have a stupid, poorly designed messy biological process that takes forever and HURTS and has no guarantee of a good outcome.

      • Heidi_storage
        May 25, 2016 at 3:28 pm #

        I know, right? And wouldn’t it be great if turmeric cured cancer?

        • AirPlant
          May 25, 2016 at 3:59 pm #

          And if breastfeeding really did work easily every time and guarantee a perfectly well adjusted child with bonus super powers?

        • guest
          May 25, 2016 at 4:00 pm #

          I’d be psyched if local honey got rid of my allergies. Most delicious cure ever!

          • BeatriceC
            May 25, 2016 at 6:27 pm #

            That’s at least one thing that has a plausible enough mechanism that it was worth looking into. As far as I know it’s been shown not to work, which is kinda sucky because that would have been awesome.

      • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya
        May 26, 2016 at 2:52 pm #

        It’s about having the illusion of prediction and control in an uncontrollable and unpredictable situation. If you just believe hard enough, everything will be a-ok! And you must squelch any dissent while you’re at it! Don’t pester me with any facts, you’re harshing my vibe with mother nature!

        I guess I’m just too left-brained to muster up any sympathy.

  11. MLE
    May 25, 2016 at 1:36 pm #

    Hey, how about just because you’re right.

  12. Madtowngirl
    May 25, 2016 at 12:51 pm #

    I do enjoy watching the mental gymnastics of people who simply can’t accept that you just might know what you’re talking about.

  13. CSN0116
    May 25, 2016 at 12:47 pm #

    I love the claim that you should be dismissed because you’re an ACOG hologram more than any other 😉

    • May 25, 2016 at 1:13 pm #

      Yeah, that’s a special level of conspiracy theory cray-cray right there.

    • Roadstergal
      May 25, 2016 at 2:15 pm #

      She’s Arnold, Arnold, Arnold Rimmer…

      • Bombshellrisa
        May 25, 2016 at 2:17 pm #

        You are a Red Dwarf fan too? I knew I liked you.

        • Roadstergal
          May 25, 2016 at 4:50 pm #

          RD and Blackadder have a special place on my DVD rack. (DVDs are like magic! I have so many childhood TV shows now…)

          • Bombshellrisa
            May 25, 2016 at 6:35 pm #

            My husband got me into Red Dwarf. It was his favorite show as a teenager. He actually went to the local PBS station to man the phone lines during a pledge drive where they showed Red Dwarf : ) One snowy winter, we watched every episode and it was so cozy. The guy who plays Lister was on Coronation Street and The Cat is on a show I watch called “Death in Paradise”.

          • Who?
            May 25, 2016 at 6:39 pm #

            My husband loves ‘Death in Paradise’, known at our house as ‘The scantily clad detective’ in honour of the co-star’s work wardrobe.

            I tell you I wouldn’t go to Midsomer or St Marie (is that what the island is called?): the murder rates are something fierce!

          • Bombshellrisa
            May 25, 2016 at 6:40 pm #

            Haha, yes! I was thinking the exact same thing last week!

          • demodocus
            May 26, 2016 at 8:16 am #

            Or Cabot Cove, lol

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            May 26, 2016 at 8:30 am #

            I am currently reading an Icelandic mystery author. Iceland. 250K people. One murder in 2014. And somehow the protagonist of the novels has run into a good dozen or so murders in the past decade. If I were the Icelandic police, I’d investigate her. Or just follow her around.

          • CandiO
            May 26, 2016 at 9:03 am #

            I love that show too! I don’t know why the men wear SO much clothing. It’s hot and humid, make the boys be eye candy too!

          • Roadstergal
            May 27, 2016 at 11:26 am #

            I was watching a cutesy little documentary on the Goodwood (oh, I love the Brits) Festival of Speed, and Chris Barrie pops up in an interview to enthuse about being an attendee.

            A friend of mine took a model of a Duc 999 to Dimension Jump for me and had Barrie sign it. 🙂

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            May 27, 2016 at 12:45 am #

            Baldrick, you wouldn’t see a subtle plan if it painted itself purple and danced naked on top of a harpsichord singing “Subtle plans are here again!”
            My gosh, do I love that show. Is it odd that it’s on my playlist for watching at the hospital when Baby Books the Second makes his debut?

          • Roadstergal
            May 27, 2016 at 11:25 am #

            It makes all the sense in the world! Why, you might have a boy without a winkle!

          • Roadstergal
            May 27, 2016 at 11:27 am #


          • Monkey Professor for a Head
            May 27, 2016 at 6:55 pm #

            A boy without a winkle? It’s a miracle!

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            May 28, 2016 at 10:17 am #

            “And then Sir Thomas More pointed out that a boy without a winkle is a girl.” “Yes, he was a very perceptive man, Sir Thomas More.”
            Though going by the ultrasound photos in which Baby Books is proudly flashing his crotch at the world while giving the camera a thumbs-up, we’re pretty sure that a) he is a boy and b) he does, indeed, have a winkle…

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