Twelve most popular posts of 2017

top 12 on red

It’s time for another year end round up. These were the most popular posts of the year, starting with the most popular:

Ten Month Mamas cheer a mother to her baby’s death

Homebirth, like most of alternative health, is about two things. Not mother and baby; don’t be silly! It’s about defiance and denial.

Homebirth especially is about defiance. Women routinely risk their baby’s lives — the greater the risk, the better — while flaunting their transgressiveness before their peers. That’s why there are so many Facebook groups built around the specific complication they are defying. Groups like Ten Month Mamas and its secret section…

Melissa Cheyney and the Midwives Alliance of North America finally acknowledge their hideous death rates

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Pseudoscience is deadly![/pullquote]

I’ve been writing about homebirth for more than a decade. For most of that time, the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) and Melissa Cheyney, the Director of Research for MANA have insisted that their data show that homebirth is safe.

In every category — with risks or without — homebirth increases the risk of fetal/neonatal death substantially and often enormously.
In the meantime, the publicly available data on CDC Wonder has made it possible for me to demonstrate that homebirth deaths rates have been 3-7X higher than comparable risk hospital birth. Amos Grunebaum, MD and colleagues have published several papers using the same data and confirming my analysis. The most comprehensive analysis of homebirth death rates was performed by Judith Rooks, CNM MPH for the state of Oregon. Rooks found that homebirth midwives had a perinatal death rate 800% higher than comparable risk hospital birth!

Now, MANA and Cheyney have finally relented and published their own data that shows that PLANNED birth at home or in a birth center (generally just a rented home without special equipment) in the US has death rates EVEN WORSE than we imagined…

If stop signs work, why should my refusal to stop hurt you?

If vaccines work, why should my refusal to vaccinate my children hurt your children?

In the world of anti-vax, this is supposed to be an incisive, penetrating question. Of course, in the world of anti-vax, there’s not a whole lot of thinking going on. To understand the foolishness of the question, it helps to think about a similar issue.

Joe has done his research and decided that stop signs don’t work.
If stop signs work, why should my refusal to stop hurt you? …

Modern Alternative Mama and the ugliest parenting post I’ve ever read

…Kate seems to have forgotten the most monumental parenting mistake she ever made. Six years ago, when her daughter was only 3, her son was todder and she was expecting her third child, she wrote the ugliest parenting post I have ever read. It put her on the map, garnering national attention.

It was a vicious attack on her little girl, titled Mom Confession: I Think I Love My Son a Little Bit More, published on the parenting website Babble. The title, while bad enough, does not convey the full repulsiveness of the piece…

Babies die because lactation consultants lie

…[P]eremptory treatment of mothers by lactation consultants — ignoring their concerns about starving babies, in particular — has been going on for decades, but everything changed when Jillian Johnson shared the story of her son Landon’s death from dehydration due to insufficient breastmilk (If I Had Given Him Just One Bottle, He Would Still Be Alive). The issue rose to public consciousness in a way that it never had before, prompting new attention and hopefully a wholesale review of relentless effort to promote breastfeeding…

Alternative health, Dunning Kruger and the Tuteur Corollary

I’ve spent the last few days wrangling with anti-vaxxers on the Skeptical OB Facebook page. I wasn’t arguing with them since a doctor can no more argue immunology with anti-vaxxers than a mathematician can argue calculus with a four year old. Neither knows enough to come to grips with the actual subject.

Most four year olds would be quick to tell you that they don’t understand calculus, but most anti-vaxxers aren’t nearly so self aware. As victims of the Dunning Kruger effect, they actually think they know what they are talking about…

Pity The Milk Meg, whose self esteem resides in her breasts

… For all we know, Meg, you might be an abysmal mother, regardless of the fact that you shove your breast into your child’s mouth on a regular basis. Ask any child, teenager or adult; I’ve yet to meet anyone who thinks infant feeding has anything to do with good or bad mothering.

Please, Meg, find another source for your self-esteem that is more realistic and less fragile. Resting your self esteem on your ability to lactate makes as much sense as resting your self esteem on your blood count. It’s not merely foolish; it’s pathetic.

Breastfeeding can reduce SIDS risk nearly as much as pacifier use can

…[F]or every 10 non-breastfed babies who were going to die of SIDS, five of them would survive if all of them used pacifiers.

Breastfeeding your baby is nearly as good as a pacifier!

New mother commits suicide over breastfeeding pressure

…Postpartum depression, like all clinical depression, is a multifactorial problem. No one can say for certain what causes it. But we can say for certain that bullying makes it worse. And contemporary breastfeeding advocacy is BY DESIGN a form of bullying.

Yet another homebirth death and yet another wall of denial

…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…

Autism, bleach and pre-rational beliefs about illness

Yes, this woman is dosing her autistic daughter with BLEACH. Why? Because a quack declared that autism is caused by parasites and that ingesting bleach and bleach enemas can kill those parasites. This was posted in a Facebook group that has thousands of members dedicated to treating autism with bleach.

You don’t need to be a physician to know that bleach is toxic and these parents are literally poisoning her daughter. This is the worst kind of medical child abuse imaginable and sadly her ignorant parents are abusing her not because they don’t care about her but because they do…

Ina May Gaskin and the racism of natural childbirth advocacy

…[T]his is just the latest effort in which natural childbirth advocates in general and Ina May Gaskin in particular engage in medical colonialism, expropriating the tragedies of Black women to advance a philosophy created by and for Western, relatively well-off white women.

Natural childbirth advocates in general and Ina May Gaskin in particular engage medical colonialism.
It goes all the way back to Grantly Dick-Read, the founder of the natural childbirth movement, who was a racist and a eugenicist …

If there’s a theme that unites these twelve posts, it is this: pseudoscience is deadly!