Yet another homebirth death and yet another wall of denial

Pushing someone away from contact

No one seems to learn anything from the endless parade of preventable homebirth deaths.

There’s been another:


My beautiful son R Was born on May 9th. He only lived 31 hours…

It happened “suddenly.”


I was in labor for about 35 hours and pushed for about 6… My midwife checked the heartbeat after every time I pushed and the baby sounded happy and healthy. Until he didn’t. All of a sudden the heartbeat sounded off so she called the paramedics… I ended up giving birth in the ambulance … R. was not breathing and he didn’t have a heartbeat. They started to resuscitate him in the trauma room. He needed to be put on machines to breathe … But his condition got worse and worse. They told u s that he had no chance of survival and there was no brain function. So we let him go …

R’s mother is reeling:

…This was my first pregnancy and I had so many high hopes for a home birth. I had no fear. No doubt in my mind that everything was going to be perfect… I felt him moving until the very end. What happened? Also, apparently my placenta had a huge blood clot … could that have something to do with him passing.

Why does it sound so familiar, practically a routine homebirth outcome?

Maybe it’s because it sounds exactly like this homebirth disaster, But the baby’s heartrate was fine right before it dropped nearly dead into the homebirth midwife’s hands.

Or these: So many homebirth deaths I can barely keep track.

Or these: Homebirth death watch.

Maybe these: Homebirth hell, 5, no 6 dead babies in one WEEK!

Perhaps these: The cult of homebirth kills babies; 5 deaths in the last few weeks.

Why did this happen? It happened because R’s mother chose homebirth with undereducated, undertrained, ideologically brainwashed midwives.

It happened because magical thinking — positive affirmations, having no fear — has NO impact on the incidence of complications and death.

It happened because intermittent Doppler monitoring is not as accurate as electronic fetal monitoring.

For example, this tracing shows a baby in serious trouble:


Surprised? You might be if you thought that a fetal heart rate tracing supplied the same information as intermittent auscultation (listening) with a doppler. But electronic fetal monitoring provides a wealth of information that cannot be obtained by listening, and that allows for a more comprehensive view of fetal well being.

This is a tracing with limited beat to beat variability and subtle late decelerations.

Notice what you don’t see:

You don’t see a bradycardia, a sustained period of abnormally low heart rate. That’s because bradycardia is often a terminal event. Most babies can tolerate long periods of significant oxygen deprivation before they die, and they may not have any bradycardias until immediately before death. On this tracing, there is never a single moment when the heart rate is outside of the normal range, but the baby is nonetheless suffering from serious oxygen deprivation.

This is almost certainly what is happening in hours before a dead or nearly dead baby drops into a homebirth midwife’s hands. The midwife may be intermittently listening to the baby’s heart rate, but unless she is listening for long enough AND frequently enough AND exactly at the right times AND can distinguish subtle changes in heart rate, she will be blissfully unaware that a baby is dying right in front of her.

Homebirth advocates and their midwives who insist that the baby’s heart rate was “fine” until just before delivery are almost always completely wrong. The baby’s heart rate was not fine; they just couldn’t tell what was happening because they only listened intermittently.

And because they couldn’t tell, the baby died.

Most of all, these entirely preventable homebirth deaths keep happening because homebirth advocates construct a wall of denial around every death, insisting that even though their family, friends, and doctors warned them that EXACTLY THIS TRAGEDY was more likely to happen at homebirth, the fact that it happened is just an amazing coincidence!

Like this one:


…My story is similar to your. We heard a healthy heartbeat shortly before birth and baby was making strong movements an hour before. My sweet E was born sleeping at home with no warning that anything was wrong.

Or this one:


I attended a birth where the baby passed in labour, (their first baby), it was terrible and shocking! … Life has some really tough lessons. We can grow and learn and use these experiences for positive change.

Apparently not.

No one seems to learn anything from the endless parade of preventable homebirth deaths.