A Question to Readers of FTB »« Not the Ducks – A Perfectly Natural Home Birth

Not the Ducks! – The Feminist Breeder Proves My Natural Birth Point

Yesterday I wrote about Natural Birth, it’s a contentious issue with regards to body autonomy. A lot of women defend the practice as “It’s not dangerous” as the stats in home birth are skewed by Home Birth advocates and in the name of patient choice, an inferior system of care is touted and pushed as superior.

I wrote about the complete unreliability of the Midwives who promote this and the testimony of women who support it (It is mainly women since the entire practice wreaths itself in the trappings and language of feminism).

This makes people unwary, this makes male doctors unwary of speaking out and utilising the bodily autonomy argument that we use for Abortions, the practice is defended by mainly women. A man commenting on this is told that “he cannot understand the mysteries of birth”.

There are a lot of husbands who complain after botched home births about how they could never voice their fears, about how they were more likely to find faults in Home Birthers (my personal favourite is the Comedian, Dara O’Briain’s response to a home birth midwife’s defence of “You don’t want to let a doctor near you with their knives, and anyway, a tear is better than a cut!” to which his response boils down to “Which is why the choice instrument for surgical incisions is a bear. Paging Dr. Bear to the OT!”)

You can pull your own teeth out with some string and a door. Won’t recommend it but cannot really stop you. But there aren’t people who call themselves toothiologists running around telling people that this method is SUPERIOR.

Women out there repeatedly claim that a home birth is superior. The fudged safety profile is pulled out. It’s okay! The Midwife has a foetal distress monitor.

So fucking what? You may have a tracheostomy kit but does that make you better than an ENT Surgeon in placing the tracheostomy tube? What’s she going to do? Call an ambulance? Then how long do you think foetal distress will last before foetal it becomes death?

How long can you hold your breath? Is it 10 to 15 minutes? The time taken for the midwife to recognise distress, the ambulance to arrive and transport you to the hospital at the best of circumstances.

What you have is a woefully under-trained, under-equipped and overtly confident person in charge of something that can go wrong and it’s not in their interest to call for help.

Up to 15% of Home Births require emergency services to call out. Let’s take it as 1 in 6 to 7 home births requires hospitalisation. Does that sound safe to you?

If you want to see why I consider this quackery? Then look at the dialogue here. A mother at severe risk of shock required medical intervention and that is regarded as a “well done Home Birth and well handled”. Never mind the fact that the lack of professional medical care nearly caused her death.

Comments

  1. sacharissa says

    A relative of mine had a home birth. At the time another relation was dating a midwife who said that she would never choose a home birth because she knew everything that can go wrong and a hospital is equipped to deal with those problems.

    My relative has now had two home births. All fine, thankfully. Last time she kept the placenta (in her Mum’s freezer). She was not sure whether to eat all of it or just half. She was told that she could have it dried and made into pills. When she goes through the menopause she can take those because the hormones will help with the symptoms. I think the fact that the baby was a girl might have been a factor but I heard this third hand so I’m not sure. I don’t know what she decided.

    Avi, have you heard of this? It sounded highly dodgy to me. Also is placenta eating a safe thing to do?

  2. summerblues says

    This is indefensible. Pure selfishness and disrespect for women’s lives, the health of the fetus (let’s be honest here, it’s a baby when it’s wanted) and the medical staff at the emergency room who have two lives suddenly forced on them to save. I used to ask “do you at least have Plan B as the emergency room?!”; no more do I ask this. Emergency rooms are for unplanned emergencies, not for planned stupid.

    I have no idea (or sympathy for) what fantasy these women are playing out in their heads but, to me, it skates too far into the position that antichoicers accuse us of: no respect for life. Pregnancy is out of our control, try as we might. That’s just reality. This doesn’t mean have every test done that the OB says. It does mean that as pregnant women we have the responsibility to do every thing possible to have the best outcome. Two lives, not just one.

  3. machintelligence says

    Also is placenta eating a safe thing to do?

    It is common practice in carnivores. The new mother needs all of the nutrients she can get.

  4. summerblues says

    Placenta eating? Why.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placentophagy

    Again, what fantasy is being played out in some women’s heads? Sure, some of our four legged friends eat the placenta. They are not, however, humans. We can get our nutrients from foods and from supplements. “It’s natural”. So? Arsenic is natural. “It’s normal” This is not the dark ages, no it isn’t normal. It’s considered biohazard material. “It’s safe” Again, why? And that is a questionable statement. Would you eat your own liver? Or kidney? What all does the placenta contain? Waste products from the fetus?

    Sacharissa, your relative can play out her midieval fantasies by dressing in costume and attending a RenFest, pretending to be a Lady Fair. That’s all this is. The reality of those times was completely different.

  5. dukeofomnium says

    “From General Mills: Placenta Helper. It’s not just placenta … it’s a meal! In original basil placenta tomato or new Sour Cream Stroganoff flavor!”

  6. Ysanne says

    summerblues,
    do you really think it’s necessary to be scared of one’s own (dscarded) body parts?

    “It’s considered biohazard material.”
    Well, so are used tampons and generally bodily fluids, still I’m not overly concerned about the dangers of swallowing my own saliva (or blood, or vaginal lubrication, or even boogers, though I do find the last one a bit disgusting).
    “What all does the placenta contain? Waste products from the fetus?”
    Nah, those waste products are transferred into the mother’s blood and filtered out by the mother’s liver; and the poop-like stuff is released into the amniotic fluid.
    “Would you eat your own liver?”
    Apart from the logistics of getting at it and not dying of the process… why not, how would that be worse than pork, beef or chicken liver, which are all widely consumed without any problems?

    In terms of uses, the placenta contains a bunch of hormones (popular ingredient in quack “medicines”, but they’re also claimed to help the uterus shrink & stop bleeding) and apparently also enough stem cells and stuff to be useful for research.

  7. Codi Johnson says

    This is an extremely biased article. It reflects the popular us vs them, left/right, etc., dichotomy that permeates nearly every issue today (purposely). When the home birth/natural childbirth movement gained popular acceptance in the ’60s, all this same hysteria was trotted out by the medical establishment. The half century before this, the medical establishment had taken over child birthing and standard procedure was to treat child birth like a disease or medical emergency. So it became standard procedure to hospitalize the mother, exclude all non medical persons, feed her drugs, and use medical instrumentation to ‘extract’ the baby as quickly as possible.

    The fact is, this, like most things isn’t black or white, left or right, etc., but the best path is somewhere in between. Yes, there are definite advantages to hospitals and doctors. But there is also a definite advantage to a low stress, non drug using, home approach. This compromise has been reached in many hospitals that now provide birthing rooms, use drugs very sparingly, allow the father and whoever else the mother wishes, to be present and participate in the birth, etc. This change of policy by much of the medical establishment would never have occurred without the home birth/natural child birth movement. Another thing that would never have happened is breast feeding. Who remembers the short few years ago when the medical establishment asserted that formula was the best way to feed babies?

    For years, the medical establishment has done things purely as an effort to take or retain control over things—not because it was actually sound medical procedure. In the US, we have a tendency to polarize every issue. You must put your entire life into the hands of medical professionals or take herbs and pray. Going all in on only one way is just plain stupid and in many cases, detrimental. There is no substitute for much of modern medicine and medical procedure, however, there are many herbs, dietary choices, and alternative treatments that work and cause less physical stress on body systems. The best approach is to combine the things that each brings that are better. The author of this piece alludes to the “skewed statistics” but doesn’t see fit to actually say what those statistics are. Perhaps pointing out that statistically, hospitals and doctors have a higher infant mortality rate than home births with midwives didn’t fit well with the narrative?

    If a potential mother has risk factors for a problem birth, has potential health problems that would make childbirth difficult, it is their first birth, etc., not having a home birth is a good idea. Like I said, many hospitals and clinics now have pretty decent birthing centers. But if these things are not an issue, having an experienced midwife and birthing at home is not the high risk, doomed to failure, hysterical undertaking the author claims. The best of both worlds is ALWAYS a better approach than ‘all one way or all the other’.

  8. dianne says

    Would you eat your own liver? Or kidney? What all does the placenta contain?

    I’m using my liver and kidneys, though I would give a spare kidney away if someone really needed it*. I didn’t and wouldn’t eat my placenta, but, OTOH, if there’s anything toxic or biohazardous in it, it’s not like I haven’t already been exposed to whatever it is. So I’m not terribly excited when other women decide to eat theirs. (Though I find “placental encapsulation” extremely dubious: how do you know that it’s your placenta and nothing but that they put in the capsules?)

    *Fun fact: The risk of being a kidney donor is now actually lower than the risk of completing a pregnancy.

  9. dianne says

    Who remembers the short few years ago when the medical establishment asserted that formula was the best way to feed babies?

    Not me. When my kid was born a few years ago, I was strongly encouraged to breast feed and discouraged from even supplementing with a bit of formula when I was dehydrated and not producing enough milk. I did it anyway (supplemented, that is) and then breast fed for >18 months. So much for “nipple confusion”, at least for my kid.

  10. says

    At no point in my entire life has there ever been a push where formula fed milk has trumped breast milk. We do however recognise that not everyone can produce the milk needed so have stopped placing pressure to only breast feed. Also? There are some babies who cannot breastfeed and need formula (Lactose Intolerance. Prior to that they just died of diarrhoeal diseases or had failure to thrive).

    I don’t recall a single doctor outside of maybe Nestle’s Pets suggesting that formula was superior to breast milk. Since the discovery of immune systems, breast milk is known as a protective.

    Unless you are on certain drugs that are excreted in milk, cannot produce breast milk or have an infection spread via milk you are advised to breast feed.

  11. sceptinurse says

    Who remembers the short few years ago when the medical establishment asserted that formula was the best way to feed babies?

    My children are all in their 30′s and I was encouraged to and did breast feed all of them.

  12. says

    Codi

    the medical establishment had taken over child birthing and standard procedure was to treat child birth like a disease or medical emergency.

    It’s a catastrophy waiting to happen. Look at the numbers in countries where they don’t have a back-up hospital to rush the proud homebirther who is slowly bleeding out to.
    I know way too many stories about women who suddenly found themselves in life-threatening situations. And that doesn’t even take into account all those who didn’t find themselves in those situations because modern medicine could handle their problems well in advance.

    Another thing that would never have happened is breast feeding. Who remembers the short few years ago when the medical establishment asserted that formula was the best way to feed babies?

    Ah yes, the breastfeeding fetish.
    Yes, there was defiitely a time when formula was hailed over breastfeeding. It’s was about 40 years ago. And now, based on weak to non-existing evidence, you get told about the HUGE benefits of breastfeeding (in the first world where clean water is easily avaible), women are pressured, punished (like nt receiving benefits when they don’t breastfeed) and shamed if they don’t breastfeed. Those who do choose to breastfeed are told lies and misinformation (You alsways have enough milk!!!) and suffer emotionally and psychologically when they fail.

    There is no substitute for much of modern medicine and medical procedure, however, there are many herbs, dietary choices, and alternative treatments that work and cause less physical stress on body systems.

    Citation very much needed.

    . This compromise has been reached in many hospitals that now provide birthing rooms, use drugs very sparingly, allow the father and whoever else the mother wishes, to be present and participate in the birth, etc.<

    One of these things is not like the others.
    Yes, I’m talking about the No Drugs! thing. Women are discouraged from receiving drugs that are safe and efficient. Scary claims are made with no evidence at all. Because we all know that birth should hurt. Women need to suffer for their babies and if they don’t they are cheating.

  13. says

    Had a look at the facebook convo and this stuck out as her response to someone asserting home birth is more dangerous –>

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/19624439/

    Study of half a million women in the Netherlands, result home birth is as safe as hospital birth… I assume given what has been said on here there is some flaw in this as it seems to totally contradict the view that home birth is inherently more dangerous.

  14. says

    Which was considered incomplete because if a woman became high risk during a home birth she was excluded from the stats. You can have a pregnancy turn from “normal” to high risk over the delivery itself.

    The transfer rate for patients is around 40%/15% for Primi/Secondary gravidae. As in 40% of first time mothers at home will require hospitalisation. 15% of second time will end up at the hospital.

    These are simply eliminated from the home birth stat. In effect you are seeing home birthers remove complications from their stats since they are dumped on the hospital system.

  15. says

    Found the full paper – a link to a PDF on the previous page so should have looked!
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1471-0528.2009.02175.x/pdf

    They seem to say that the stats are based on those that *planned* to have a home birth and it says nothing about excluding those that planned but in active labour had complications. I think the phase of labour is very important as pretty much everyone in the UK has most of their 1st stage at home anyway (Dunno about other countries). Midwives tell you to piss off if you turn up too early at hospital/birthing centre. So having a planned hospital/homebirth and getting meconium laced waters, for example, is no risk factor against home birth as it would occur in both and end up as a hospital based birthing. It does talk about people that had known complications or risk factors being excluded. But really that’s fair enough as it aims to look at the likelihood of problems in home births where there are no known risk factors and they have been properly screened.

    In fact they make a good point about previous studies having flaws if they took this approach.

    For example, planned place of birth was often recorded early in pregnancy, which resulted in women who were referred during pregnancy because of complications being included in the planned home birth group

    They shouldn’t be included if they planned to have one but subsequent screening led to them changing the plan and having a hospital active labour and birth. In fact they should, and appear to be, excluded from both sets of stats – hospital for low risk vs home for low risk. Looks like they accounted for these aspects pretty well, also other complicating factors such as planned home birth women being more likely to be multiparous and hence inherently less risky.

    What in there matches with your cherry picking as I cannot see it? As long as they dump the women with complications from both sets of stats and compare known low risk at home with known low risk at hospital then that’s a fair comparison.

  16. says

    In fact both sides would I assume agree with the conclusion of this study …

    In conclusion, this study did not show increased risks of perinatal mortality and severe perinatal morbidity, adjusted for known confounding factors, among low-risk women planning a home birth. Low-risk women should be encouraged to plan their birth at the place of their preference, provided the maternity care system is well equipped to underpin women’s choice.

    I assume the issue is with high risk women being encouraged to do it not being told of the increase in risk and even told home birth is still the superior option for them.

  17. Holms says

    Study of half a million women in the Netherlands, result home birth is as safe as hospital birth… I assume given what has been said on here there is some flaw in this as it seems to totally contradict the view that home birth is inherently more dangerous.

    Let’s assume for the moment that home birth is as safe as hospital birth. In either case, there will remain an equal chance for a complication to arise that requires hospitalisation. Advantage: hospital birth, since if said complication does occur, at least you are already in a hospital.

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