Thinking about homebirth? Think about this difference between obstetricians and homebirth midwives.

Time for Accountability Words Clock Take Responsibility

Babies die.

The most critical difference between obstetricians and homebirth midwives is their response to these tragic deaths:

When faced with a dead baby obstetricians ask, “How can we prevent this from ever happening again?”

In contrast, homebirth midwives ask, “How can we avoid responsibility?”

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“I want a bumper sticker that says, ‘Babies Die’.”[/pullquote]

Don’t believe me? Consider the irresponsible, self-serving blather from Jan Tritten, Editor of Midwifery Today.

Remember Jan? She’s the one who presided over the hideous spectacle of homebirth midwife Christy Collins crowdsourcing advice as baby Gavin Michael died.


In the wake of the baby’s death, there was no soul searching about the entirely preventable death of a baby. There was no reflection on what was done wrong and how future tragedies could have been prevented. There was nothing; Tritten simply deleted the multiple posts and comments concerning the tragedy from her Facebook page. She and the presiding midwife tried to bury Gavin Michael twice: first in a small coffin in the ground, then from the memory of anyone who had followed the story.

Her current column gives insight into her ugly fatalism and repulsive lack of concern for anyone but herself and sister midwives.


I remember Marsden Wagner once saying, “I want a bumper sticker that says, ‘Babies Die’.”

Ha, ha, ha. Are you laughing yet?

Although that sounds awful, he was reflecting his experience of frequently appearing as a witness in cases where midwives were being prosecuted for the death of a baby at a homebirth.

Why did Wagner have to appear frequently? Homebirth deaths ought to be vanishingly uncommon — as they are in Canada, where homebirth midwifery is tightly regulated.

He knew full well that many more babies die in hospital birth than homebirth, but these were not the cases that got the attention. The authorities—opposed to homebirth—would bide their time and wait for a baby to die under the care of a homebirth midwife. Then they would pounce on that midwife. It was another great way to deal with “the midwife problem.”

Pro-tip: when comparing the safety of two groups of providers, we look at death RATES, not absolute numbers. The death RATES at homebirth in the US are up to 800% HIGHER than comparable risk hospital birth. The death RATES at homebirth in the US are up to 800% HIGHER than homebirth in Canada.

Are midwives in Canada smarter, better educated, more extensively trained than homebirth midwives in the US? Yes on all counts.

That’s relevant if you care about protecting babies and mothers. Jan is only interested in protecting providers.

Life is a circle. Some babies live only a few months and may pass in utero… Some babies live 10 years, some live 80 years, but all will pass into the next world.

Ho, hum, babies die. How dare anyone try to hold homebirth midwives accountable?

Tritten’s lackadaisical attitude toward dead babies isn’t merely a betrayal of homebirth clients, it’s a betrayal of the long, proud tradition of midwifery.

There have always been midwives. Ever since our ancestors acquired the ability to walk upright, human childbirth has been fraught with extreme risk to both mother and baby. The first midwives were those who recognized that assistance in childbirth can minimize those risks.

Above all, ancient midwives were empiricists. Their very existence was predicated on the inherent dangers of childbirth and everything they did was devoted to preventing death and injury. They abjured magic incantations in favor of empirical observation. They noted what worked and what did not and faithfully strove to incorporate those scientific observations into practice. They didn’t simply throw up their hands and declare, “Babies die.”

Why would Tritten and other homebirth midwives betray the ideals of midwifery? Because they aren’t really midwives; they are women who can’t be bothered or lack the intellectual ability to complete real midwifery training. They are birth hobbyists who want to be paid as if they were real midwives, who want to be respected as if they were real midwives, but absolutely refuse to be held accountable as if they were real midwives.

It’s no different than if your neighbor decided she was qualified to declare herself a surgeon because she watched multiple seasons of the TV show Grey’s Anatomy. It’s no different from that neighbor insisting — each and every time someone died from botched surgery — that patients died from surgery in the hospital, too.

Which would you prefer, a real surgeon who cared whether or not her patients died and tried to prevent future deaths, or a self-proclaimed surgeon whose chief concern in the wake of a preventable death was to avoid blame for it?

Thinking about homebirth? Which do you prefer, a real midwife who cares whether or not her patients die and tries to prevent deaths, or a self-proclaimed midwife who cares only about avoiding responsibility?

Yes, sadly, babies die, but the critical difference between obstetricians and homebirth midwives is that obstetricians are desperately trying to reduce infant deaths while homebirth midwives prefer to pretend they’re inevitable.

Whom do you trust with your baby’s life?

59 Responses to “Thinking about homebirth? Think about this difference between obstetricians and homebirth midwives.”

  1. demodocus
    July 8, 2019 at 9:50 pm #

    God knows I tend to be fatalistic but egad, that’s going too far for me. Of course babies sometimes die but we should and normally do what’s in our power to make it as unlikely as currently possible

  2. mabelcruet
    July 8, 2019 at 5:00 am #

    OT a little, but I think I’ve found my new career-placenta reading!

    Having examined about 10,000 of the damn things I can safely say that I’ve never had a placenta attempt to communicate with me telepathically, but maybe that’s because they are fixed in formaldehyde by the time I get them-I’m sure chemicals like must affect the placenta’s psychic and fortune telling communication abilities.

    • StephanieJR
      July 8, 2019 at 9:31 am #

      Welp, that’s enough internet for now.

      • mabelcruet
        July 8, 2019 at 12:27 pm #

        Despite being dressed up in woo-speech, there’s actually a few accurate facts in there: from a pathological point of view, examining the placenta does tell you something about the pregnancy and birth, and can give you hints about maternal and fetal health, and sometimes we see conditions that may impact on future maternal health or future pregnancies, so in that sense it may predict the future.

        But the way she’s wrapped up basically true information with absolute gobblegook makes this so typical of the woo crowd, the ‘pregnancy is a sacred, spiritual journey and the mother earth goddess will help you fetch your baby’s soul from the stars and bring him earthside’ nonsense they spout. There’s just enough sensible and reasonably accurate information for a gullible person to think that maybe what’s she saying is believable.

        • StephanieJR
          July 8, 2019 at 3:56 pm #

          Placentas are pretty neat. Not only can a pregnant person grow an entire human being, they also make a temporary organ to support the growing baby. Doing something with it, like planting it with a tree to commemorate the birth of your child, sounds like a good idea to honour it and what it did, but making art, capsules, reading it like tea leaves, that’s getting into the woo crowd, and all the crazy that goes with it.

          • mabelcruet
            July 8, 2019 at 6:04 pm #

            Absolutely. I’m generally very pragmatic and not prone to woo, but to me, just chucking it out after delivery seems a bit ungrateful considering what an amazing bit of biological kit they are. Planting it in the garden is quite nice, and it’ll be good for the roses. In the Islamic faith, the placenta is considered part of the baby, not the mother (which is completely accurate-they knew it was the baby’s hundreds of years ago). The body is a gift from Allah and should be respected and cared for (so no abusing it through smoking, drinking or taking drugs!). Some Muslims will bury the placenta in a special placenta garden so that its waiting to be reunited with the rest of the body when the person gets to Jannah (the Muslim heaven, which translates as ‘garden’)

          • mabelcruet
            July 9, 2019 at 11:18 am #

            And apropos of people keeping organs, in every pathology lab I’ve worked in, there has been a policy about how to deal with cases where the person wants their tissue returned. Very occasionally a patient will ask to have their tissue or organ given to them after examination-not that often, but often enough that we have to have a policy for it, so returning placentas isn’t such an odd thing to do.

            We had one case where a chap wanted his amputated leg returned and he was going to organise cremation and keep the ashes, except he had to ask the pet crematorium to cremate it for him because in the UK, its not legal to cremate an organ in a human crematorium (only bodies can be done). I also had a man who asked for his toes back-he had Buerger’s disease where his toes went gangrenous and every so often one dropped off. He insisted he wanted to keep them all so he popped into the department occasionally to collect the most recent black digit. We had at least 2 women in the last couple of years who wanted their uterus returned too. People are just odd-I’ve given up questioning it. We give them a letter with advice about how to handle it-the organs will be formalin fixed so they are told not to handle it without gloves and not to breathe in the fumes, and that formalin is potentially carcinogenic, and not to leave it anywhere a child could get access to it. But its legal to bury your bits in the garden if you really want (although its recommended that you have it recorded on the house deeds in case some dog in the future digs up a femur or whatever and the police start looking for the rest of the body! )

          • EMT2014
            July 16, 2019 at 11:57 pm #

            In Japan (where I gave birth to Thing 1 (not US military), a small piece of the umbilical cord is preserved by sprinkling it with some unknown (at least to me) substance and presented to the mother in a special box. It’s a very sweet reminder of the connection you shared with your baby. I asked to see the placenta, which threw the nurse-midwife for a minute, but she gamely went and got the thing to indulge the weird American lady, and even pointed out the main bits of it, before taking it down to the incinerator.

            When Thing 2 made her appearance here in the States, I asked for a piece of the cord but I didn’t know what they used in Japan to keep it from rotting, so the staff at Kaiser (who were totally unfazed by the request, if a bit puzzled) just stuck it in a cup of ice and we hustled it home. She’s 9 months old now, it’s still in the freezer, and I’m not quite sure what to do with it. :-/

          • mabelcruet
            July 17, 2019 at 7:13 am #

            It’ll come to no major harm in the freezer, but it will start to dessicate eventually-a bit like the freezer burn you get on meat that’s been left in there. It’s very like cartilage-kind of rubbery/firm mucus texture when it’s fresh, so as the tissue dries it’ll get more rubbery. There’s actually very few cells in it compared to other parts of the placenta, but if you defrost it it will decompose. If you want it out of the freezer, you could defrost it and preserve it in alcohol (clear alcohol like gin or vodka, the strongest you can get your hands on). How about burying it in the garden? I’ve occasionally recommended that to people who have taken tissue home-if you use a heavy planter for a rose bush or similar, that means you’ll be able to take it with you if you move house.

            I wonder if the substance they used before was some sort of salt-meaning no disrespect, but the texture of cord means it’s very like a pigs ear, that sort of rubbery cartilaginous texture, so salting it, or drying it, could be done in the same way they are preserved. Once it’s dried or salted it shouldn’t be an infection risk

          • July 8, 2019 at 9:13 pm #

            I really liked the one I had with Spawn until the placenta and my liver declared open warfare on each other.

            At that point, one of them had to leave – and I needed my liver 😛

          • demodocus
            July 8, 2019 at 9:53 pm #

            Every time I try to read my tea leaves, they always say “made in China”

    • MaineJen
      July 8, 2019 at 11:19 am #

      Good god. People really will believe anything.

    • Russell Jones
      July 8, 2019 at 3:51 pm #

      Yes, that’s probably it. An all-natural placenta, as opposed to one soaking in a ghastly toxic slurry, would no doubt be jabbering uncontrollably (and psychically, of course).

      • mabelcruet
        July 8, 2019 at 5:56 pm #

        Imagine if you did a placenta reading on a lotus birth placenta, the ones that are dragged around on the end of a rotting cord and decomposing slowly. The poor thing will be screaming internally ‘I smell so bad, bury me now, let me die…’

        • Russell Jones
          July 8, 2019 at 8:01 pm #


          Or, if the decomposition were sufficiently advanced, the placenta might go all Marlon Brando at the end of Apocalypse Now and whisper, “The horror … the horror.”

  3. Russell Jones
    July 7, 2019 at 10:42 pm #

    “I want a bumper sticker that says, ‘Babies Die’.”

    Yeah, well, I want a bumper sticker that says, “Birth hobbyists masquerading as midwives make bank and blow off every bad outcome as ‘Shit Happens.'” A bit too long for a bumper sticker, I know.

    For what it’s worth, sites like this one can make a difference. Awhile back a younger guy I played basketball with and his wife were expecting their first young ‘un. Mom-to-be was looking into homebirth and dad-to-be was skeptical. I send him a link to Dr. T’s The Doubtful Father’s Guide to Homebirth, which got them both reading and ultimately led them to opt for a hospital birth.

    • GeorgiaPeach23
      July 9, 2019 at 12:51 am #

      These sites do make a difference.

  4. cedrics
    July 5, 2019 at 11:50 pm #

    Her page about why she started it makes it out like she was a mover/shaker in bringing ‘midwifery to Nebraska’. Um…its always been here, just legally.

    • Ozlsn
      July 6, 2019 at 1:07 am #

      So if I’ve got this right homebirth in Nebraska is illegal with anyone (CPM or CNM) acting as a midwife? (That quite probably explains the doula covering her arse with both hands in the story about the charges).

      Was there any reason this woman couldn’t have trained as a CNM and then opened a birth centre? I mean other than money, legal oversight, insurance etc?

      • PeggySue
        July 7, 2019 at 11:51 am #


        • July 7, 2019 at 11:33 pm #

          Don’t forget effort. Becoming a CNM takes honest-to-God work….over years! It’s so much easier to become a CPM (which seems to take less training than my husband gave to his herdsmen managing cow births) and become an immediate birth junkie.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            July 8, 2019 at 9:16 am #

            Bah, you underestimate it all.

            Why bother “studying” to be a CPM when you can just 1) declare yourself a doula for a while, and then, when that gets too boring, 2) declare yourself a midwife.

            Who needs any actually certification?

      • MaineJen
        July 8, 2019 at 11:20 am #

        School is haaaaaaaard

    • rational thinker
      July 6, 2019 at 10:43 am #

      I think a couple people reported this to go fund me already hopefully they will stop the fundraiser for this monster.

      • andrea
        July 6, 2019 at 10:47 am #

        Not yet. Someone donated half an hour ago (1015am ish).

    • Russell Jones
      July 7, 2019 at 10:22 pm #

      Campaign Not Found

      Thank goodness and whoever at GoFundMe made the call to pull the plug on this abomination.

      • rational thinker
        July 8, 2019 at 4:53 am #

        thats great news thanks for the update

  5. Karen in SC
    July 5, 2019 at 4:29 pm #

    There is no understanding of rates, as noted, nor of the difference in IUFD (intrauterine fetal demises) and intrapartum demises. The second which is almost solely the domain of lay birth attendants. They are “experts” at killing babies that were healthy and alive at the beginning of labor. A few years ago, SOB posted a year-end tribute to those babies lost that year from their pictures you could see they wanted to be born and live.

  6. Sarah
    July 5, 2019 at 2:45 pm #

    I want a bumper sticker that says Arseholes Gonna Arsehole.

  7. July 5, 2019 at 2:19 pm #

    Your blog has also highlighted some other differences:

    1) obstetricians have several years of training and standards of practice;
    2) obstetricians can be sued and lose their licenses if they commit malpractice, whereas midwives can slink out of state and set up shop again with no legal or financial accountability;
    3) obstetricians work in settings that have the equipment needed to save mothers and babies in all kinds of trouble;
    4) obstetricians have seen many many many more cases than midwives and are much likelier to recognize rare and semi-rare adverse events

    • Ozlsn
      July 6, 2019 at 12:42 am #

      I think “several years” of training is an understatement. Just looked up RANZCOG’s training requirements – 6 years on top of your basic medical degree (5 years undergraduate roughly, or 4 years after a 3-4 year undergraduate degree). It’s a little bit more involved than your typical CPM training. Basic midwifery courses here (equivalent to CNM) are either 12-18 months on top of a 3 year nursing degree or a 3 year midwifery degree.

      Also got to say I am so sick of the “more babies die in hospitals!” trope too. Firstly, as pointed out, rates are important but also seriously – what proportion of the babies who died in hospital would have been fine in a homebirth situation and vice versa? Also what are the morbidity rates in homebirth versus hospital? I seriously wonder if women giving birth at home here have fully thought through why midwives are uninsured for the birth and the hour following birth – that, more than anything else, shocked me when I realised just how dangerous the actuaries regard giving birth and being born at home as being.

      • rational thinker
        July 6, 2019 at 6:29 am #

        Sadly home birth is not about the safety of the baby. It is about moms ability to brag about having a vaginal birth, and when their are more risks to the baby like breech or vbac then that means they have even more to brag about. Home birth is about ego not safety.

      • July 6, 2019 at 6:55 am #

        You have also realize what sort of hospital one is talking about. About 20 years ago I participated in testing an EMR program in two different sites. One was a major academic teaching hospital which specialized in the highest of high risk pregnancies and deliveries, the other was exactly the opposite. Both institutions, however, had to be prepared for absolutely everything; that’s the nature of obstetrics.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        July 6, 2019 at 3:50 pm #

        More sober drivers die in car accidents than drunk drivers. Clearly, drink driving is safer.

      • July 7, 2019 at 11:31 pm #

        The way I explain it to the occasional home-birther I run into is that one allowed me to survive a pregnancy disorder that put me on the verge of multiple organ failure at 26 weeks. A connected children’s hospital kept my 26 week white male preemie with less than 48 hours of prenatal steroids alive.

        IOW, my pregnancy with Spawn went f***ing horrible before he was anywhere near ready to be born – but we’re both alive and kicking.

        Homebirth, on the other hand, starts with healthy moms and term babies and manages to kill one or both.

        You do you – but seriously – why put yourself in the team that manages to kill healthy moms and term babies ALL_THE_TIME?

    • attitude devant
      July 5, 2019 at 3:22 pm #

      Breech babies scare me, and I’ve delivered about 30 of them, always under controlled circumstances, with thorough informed consent, and only on proven pelves. Even with all my planning I am sweating until that baby is out. The blithe attitude of homebirth midwives toward breeches is confounding to me. On a FB page I monitor there were about a dozen comments expressing support for the midwife in this case….and finally someone asked “How is the baby doing?” All I can say is their values are truly different from mine, in that I think the loss of a child is the worst thing that can happen to a parent, and they think that hampering a birth experience is the worst.

      • BeatriceC
        July 5, 2019 at 3:29 pm #

        “How’s the baby?!?!?!” The baby’s fucking dead, you morons. (not you, the idiots.) The whole article is about the midwife being charged in the baby’s death. These people. Their reading comprehension really is that bad.

      • July 6, 2019 at 7:01 am #

        I’ve delivered 6 multip breeches in my career (all with MDs standing by) and afterwards, went off to somewhere quiet until my trembling stopped.

        • attitude devant
          July 6, 2019 at 10:29 am #

          The New York Times says this was mom’s second baby. The first was a c/s for…wait for it….breech. Anyone with half a brain would say “Gee there must be something odd about your pelvis if your babies are always breech” and counsel for c/s, but this gem of a midwife took a breech course so she felt she could handle a breech vbac at home.

          • July 7, 2019 at 11:41 pm #

            Back when I was teaching and ran into this website for the first time, I heard about the Canadian OB/GYN assoc.’s guidelines for in-hospital vaginal breech births. Somehow, I ran into a guide that included pictures of how an OB can maneuver the baby out during a vaginal breech birth.

            Now, this was before I was married and long before I was preggers – but seeing how blue-ish the baby’s hands and feet were during birth and reading a line about how the baby’s APGAR scores were always going to be lower after a vaginal breech birth because of the compression of the umbilical cord by the cervix for multiple contractions as the head was delivered….that’s the moment I decided I was all in favor of a C-section if I had any breech babies.

    • cedrics
      July 5, 2019 at 9:49 pm #

      I went to college with her husband. Evangelical, pro non taxes, etc etc. His Facebook post about this trying to elicit sympathy is a shit show enabling comments. It’s all thoughts and prayers for her and how she’s being villified. Nothing about the mother.

      • Ozlsn
        July 6, 2019 at 1:13 am #

        Do you have any insight into why homebirth is so popular in this group? Is it medical costs, leaving it up to God, sticking it to the Man (in the form of the state), an assumption of more control, something I haven’t thought of? I just find it bizarre.

        Do they do this with dentistry and surgery too, or is it just birth that’s considered super-natural?

        As for the poor woman who lost her baby and was chopped with scissors by an unqualified moron (and with what anaesthetic I wonder) to boot… I know she made a really poor decision. Even so though… ouch.

        • July 6, 2019 at 6:58 am #

          Ever read much in the “romance” genre? It’s sooooo beautiful. Idiots who think that’s the way life really is, also think that babies just pop out, cooing “good morning!”

          • Ozlsn
            July 7, 2019 at 6:23 am #

            I… well, no. Gotta say the romance genre isn’t one I’m really into. I did read a lot of science fiction – I hadn’t thought of that as being more grounded in reality until now!
            I also read a lot of historical non-fiction, which may be where I get this apparently fantastical idea that chilbirth is actually quite dangerous from.

        • fiftyfifty1
          July 7, 2019 at 9:40 am #

          “Do you have any insight into why homebirth is so popular in this group?”

          I grew up in a religious+ homebirth subculture and I would say it can be all of those things and more:
          1. The conventional world is tainted and ungodly whether it is music, or movies, or the schools or medical care (those doctors who deliver babies are the same ones placing IUDs and prescribing birth control pills that “abort babies” and encourage promiscuity.)
          2. Trust God
          3. Sometimes lack of money. Wife doesn’t work outside the home, husband runs his own (failing) business. No insurance.
          4. The sort of mindset that is drawn to fringe religions is drawn to fringe anything.
          5. Sometimes hiding from child protection. One of my mother’s close friends had ~8 children she had at home typically unassisted delivery. Her husband beat her, the kids ran wild and were “unschooled”, she had undiagnosed untreated mental illness (episodes of mania and psychosis that focused on religious themes.)

        • fiftyfifty1
          July 7, 2019 at 9:47 am #

          “Do they do this with dentistry and surgery too, or is it just birth..?”

          I would say it is more birth than with other aspects of medicine, but you can see the effects in other areas too. For example with dentistry it is pretty common to avoid fluoride and believe it is a government conspiracy.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks
          July 8, 2019 at 5:00 pm #

          Ozlsn made a lot of good points there. I grew up in a similar environment, and wanted to add a couple:
          The lack of money factor is often a big one in part because the wife is expected to stay home, husband is expected to work–but in the wackier areas, you’ll see that both were homeschooled, if rather badly, and totally unsocialized. The result is that the husband can’t get or hold down a normal job because while he’s been brought up to be the Head Of The House et all, he’s been given no real tools to, well, BE one, aside from constant assurance that that’s What God Wants. This is a dangerous combination, especially with the arrogance factor of The World Is Evil, And If People Don’t Appreciate Me, It’s Because They, Unlike Me, Aren’t Good Christians. (Please note that I’m not dissing homeschooling as such. Done well, it’s fine. Done badly, it’s disastrous. Ditto Christianity.)
          In these circles, women’s biggest ambition can’t be to do anything outside of the home sphere. As such, they can only be recognized for excelling in something relating to having kids. So, homebirth, being a bit dangerous and nervy and unmedicated and all that jazz, is often a big deal because it’s the only kind of big deal you’re allowed to have. Plus, you’re saving the family money, should your insurance situation be such that the 3K or so out of pocket is cheaper than a birth at a hospital, so yay, you! *deep sigh* And yes, of course, OBs are yucky because birth control and abortions and whatnot. Some might even be, gasp, EDUCATED WOMEN. The horror.
          The corollary to all that, though, is that midwifery is one of the very, very few careers a woman in that world can consider. In fact, it’s seen as rather honorable, keeping things Natural and As They Should Be, and keeping the womenfolk safe from those nasty OBs with their birth control and abortions. So if you’re intelligent and frustrated, hearing that you do have one area of education (I use the term loosely) open to you wherein you can get lots of accolades from people who matter to you means you can get very, very invested in it.

  8. mabelcruet
    July 5, 2019 at 12:23 pm #

    Babies who die in hospital are investigated. Admittedly, the investigation may not have been of the best quality, which is one of the main points highlighted in various stillbirth enquiries in the UK, but most hospitals would have designated a stillbirth, intrapartum stillbirth or neonatal death as a significant adverse incident. There have been huge improvements in the last few years about how we standardize the investigation to ensure that every baby is looked at, and every family is kept as involved and informed as they want to be.

    We’ve learned from past mistakes, we’ve got national programmes rolled out (national perinatal mortality review tools and the like). All incidents are collated and overall national trends are widely publicised. In my last hosputal, the stillbirth working group looked at every single fetal and infant death from 22 weeks gestation onwards. Each month we met up, went through the notes and the team produced a report shared openly with the family. The team usually comprised at least two obstetricians, one of whom was a fetomaternal specialist, and at least 4 very senior midwives (proper degree level midwives), and the pathologist. It was essentially half a dozen expert opinions on causation.

    If there was fault, or if the care was suboptimal, in the opinion of the panel, that was shared with the family. They could attend or be represented if they wanted-if not, they got the report and a lay interpretation and then met again with the obstetrician and a senior midwife to go through everything. It was a time consuming process, it involved a lot of work, but it was done because real professionals, like my highly educated midwife colleagues and my obstetric colleagues, want to make things right when things go wrong. They want to find out what went wrong, and why, and could we improve. That’s what professionals do, we don’t shrug our shoulders and say ‘Some babies aren’t meant to live.’

    • mabelcruet
      July 5, 2019 at 6:01 pm #

      Where I used to work, we didn’t have termination of pregnancy available for babies with lethal abnormalities, so some of our stillbirths and early neonatal deaths were babies with complex anomalies, and basically were a group of babies who were expected to die (it meant we had a far higher stillbirth and early neonatal death rate than other comparable regions in the UK, a fact that some people struggled to understand and which occasionally got splashed in the local news scaremongering about our awful stillbirth rate). And we still investigated those deaths looking at all aspects-dealing with a pregnancy that we know is going to end like that brings its own challenges, and its important to get that right too, and see if we provided the support that the parents needed. Absolutely NO baby was written off as ‘meh, next please’ like these homebirthers seem to be doing.

      The more recent national programme for stillbirth investigation (done by the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch) mean that stillbirths will be reported to a separate independent body who will assess the local investigation and if necessary, carry out a separate one. This is particularly important for intrapartum stillbirths-it means the parents get the reassurance that the investigation is going to be neutral and unbiased. It costs a lot of money, it takes senior staff, midwives and obstetricians off the front line for a while, but its what is needed to maintain confidence in maternity services. We will never get the stillbirth rate down to 0, but at least we are trying. No obstetrician or properly trained midwife dismisses infant deaths in the same way some homebirthers in USA and Australia seem to do. How can you call yourself a healthcare provider when you’re not willing to look at the standard of care you provide? I genuinely cannot get my head round how these people can be so uncaring, dismissive and contemptuous of parental grief. They are appalling human beings and shouldn’t be in charge of delivering gerbils, never mind humans.

      • EmbraceYourInnerCrone
        July 8, 2019 at 4:44 pm #

        I think most non-medical people have no idea of all the ways a pregnancy or birth can go wrong. And most people actively don’t want to hear about it because if things can go wrong even if you do everything “right” then life really can be random and “unfair”. The only reason things don’t still go as wrong as they used to is because of advances in medicine and obstetrics and in the way OB patients are treated (try to head problems off before they become bigger problems)

        • mabelcruet
          July 8, 2019 at 9:25 pm #

          Yes, there does seem to be an attitude of ignoring anything that could go wrong, and this appears to be based on a fallacy of ‘if I think with all my might about the pregnancy, then nothing will go wrong’. You can’t overcome maternity problems with the power of wishful thinking, no matter how you dress that up with candles, sacred spaces and intuitive guesswork. We are only a few generations away from appalling stillbirth and early neonatal death statistics, but we could be heading back there again.

          • Ozlsn
            July 11, 2019 at 6:29 am #

            Yes – this seems to come up a lot, especially with people who want to get past their first, traumatic hospital birth with a beautiful all-natural healing homebirth. I seriously don’t understand thinking that things like PPH, breech etc are going to not happen and/or will be better at home if it’s already happened in a traumatic way in a hospital setting. I mean yes, you could get lucky – but you could also end up much, much worse off.

  9. MaineJen
    July 5, 2019 at 12:15 pm #

    She published this column recently??

    AFTER Gavin Michael?


    • Sarah
      July 5, 2019 at 2:46 pm #

      I mean, why wouldn’t she? She doesn’t give a fuck.

    • Anj Fabian
      July 5, 2019 at 6:40 pm #

      The only thing she learned from Gavin Michael was not to consult openly on the internet. Don’t leave a data trail.

      Angee Hock learned that lesson. Her testimonials are fairly vague with almost none of the details that are often included like how far along the mother was, how long she labored and pushed and anything at all about the baby. It’s all “Angee was so supportive and skilled. She helped me to have the best birth experience ever.”.

      • Kate Mathews
        July 5, 2019 at 8:29 pm #

        The newest article from her arraignment said that the mother had a breech birth for the first homebirth and was transferred to the hospital. The mother also stated this on a comment thread in a local natural parenting site in December that she attempted a homebirth with Angee during her last birth and said herself she transferred. How sad that she didn’t realize that homebirth was dangerous, especially with a history of breech birth.

    • PeggySue
      July 7, 2019 at 11:54 am #

      I knew I had heard the midwife’s name before. This is horrible.

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