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The Myths of Midwifery

Updated on August 7, 2011

15 Lies Your Midwife Told You

Myth #1: Informed Consent. Just because you spend hours reading the internet propaganda that circulates among Natural Childbirthers and watch a Ricki Lake documentary, DOES NOT mean you are actually informed of the RISKS associated with birthing outside of a hospital. Midwives downplay the risks of homebirth; otherwise, they would not have clients.

Myth #2: Orgasmic Birth. For those who have seen the documentary, 'nuff said. It is quite possibly the most selfish birth plan to date. Not only will there be candles, hot tubs, and new age playing quietly in the background, but you will find sexual gratification in birth. NOTHING about something the size of a watermelon emerging from something the size of a lemon is going to feel good- nor should it. Just the idea of this registers as child abuse in my book.

Myth #3: Your body won't grow a baby too large to birth vaginally. There are many indications to doctors that the baby is simply too big to fit safely through the pelvis. Lack of dilation, lack of progression, pushing with no results for hours- your body can only handle so much. And the risk of infection once your water breaks grows with each hour, as does the danger to the neonate. Thankfully, with medical technology, you may not get the birth experience you desired, but you will get a live baby.

Myth #4: When the fruit is ripe, it falls. Midwives use this proverb to convince post due mamas that induction is not necessary for the health and safety of their baby. It is an absolute lie. In most cases, babies are usually born close to their due date. But in others, lack of dilation after the due date can be an indicator of many dangerous things, including a baby who has grown too large to fit through the pelvis, or a malpresentation in which the baby is not correctly applied in the cervix. Babies post due are at a higher risk of meconium aspiration and mortality than babies who are moderately pre term.

Myth #5: Home is cleaner than a hospital because you are surrounded by "your" germs. Riiiight. Not just your germs, but those tracked in by your pets, your shoes, the air, your midwife and her attendants. NOTHING is sterile about your home- not the clothes your midwife is wearing, not the sink she is washing her hands at, not the bed you are lying on. The hospital is under very strict sanitation codes that allow them to operate on patients safely- one of the cleanest places besides the O.R. is the nursery and maternity ward.

Myth # 6: We have a physician on back-up in case of emergency. It's comforting, isn't it? Too bad it is a lie. Physician back up means there may be a sympathetic doctor meeting you in the E.R. to help speed up the admission process when you transfer in an emergency. What they fail to tell you is they still have to get you to the hospital in an emergency- a process that can take as long as thirty minutes- or longer.

Myth #7: We have a Plan B with the local hospital. Again, comforting, but not true. The hospital is the dumping ground for a homebirth gone awry. The hospital will not deny you care- if you get there in time. But there is no plan, other than drive like a bat out of hell to the emergency room. From there, your midwife may act as a doula, but in most cases, she simply leaves.

Myth #8: A Doppler is better than an Electriconic Fetal Monitor (EFM), because it safely monitors the baby and you are free to move as you please during labor. An electronic fetal monitor keeps track of your baby's fetal tones and the length/strength and time between your contractions. With a Doppler, you can hear fetal heart tones if you know the location of the fetus, but you aren't going to know if there is a deceleration in heart tones without monitoring for a certain amount of time. Also, with just a Doppler, you run the risk of not knowing the true position of the fetus.

Myth #9: Castor Oil/Acupressure/Acupuncture/Walks/Sex/Yoga/Spicy Food/Stripping Membranes/Prenatal Chiropractor/Tarot Cards/Toe Readings/Lack of Fear/Patience will start labor. It is a tragic irony that the midwives who convince you to put so much faith in your body will drive you to such extreme and unfounded measures to simply avoid an induction. There is not a single shred of evidence that any of these actions will influence labor.

Myth #10: Meconium is normal and nothing to fear. Meconium, while common in roughly 12% of labors, is an urgent indicator that the baby needs out. NOW. Every second the baby stays in is a greater risk of meconium aspiration. Babies at the highest risk of meconium aspiration are post due babies. Meconium in the lungs of a fetus prevents oxygen from passing through to them and can cause chemical pneumonitis, pneumothorax, fetal asphyxia, and death.

Myth #11: Group B Strep can be effectively combatted with garlic and Hibiclens. There is absolutely no evidence of this whatsoever $6, and believing in such a regimine can cost LIVES. If you are Group B positive, you have a heavy colony of bacteria and the only thing to prevent your baby from contracting it at birth is antibiotics every 4 hours during labor until delivery. That. Is. It. Nothing else to it. No getting around it. Shoving garlic up your vagina will not work. Douching with Hibiclens will not work. Antibiotics are the only method analyzed and statistically proven to prevent your baby from contracting GBS and dying. If you want a live baby, you must have antibiotics.

Myth #12: OBs would rather cut you open because it saves them time, energy and effort. Even planned c-sections are somewhat stressful. They require precision and expertise. That's why OBs have years of college, med school, internships, and residencies while your midwife may not even have a highschool diploma. Anyone can catch a baby.

Myth #13: Water birth is the most gentle way to be born into the world. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists does not recommend water births, and who can blame them? It's not sterile or safe for human babies to be put at risk at drowning, inhaling water and fecal matter. Humans- we don't live in water. We shouldn't birth in water.

Myth #14: Placentas should be eaten to ease PPD. Despite the ew factor, there are no studies that suggest if you ingest your placenta, you won't have the baby blues. None.

Myth #15: If you birth in a hospital, you will be confined to a bed, forced to labor a certain way, forced into drugs, forced into immunizations, forced to formula feed, and forced to circumcise your son. In the hospital, nurses actually encourage you to move around if that makes you more comfortable, some have walk in tubs you can labor in (LABOR, not birth), you will have to sign consent for interventions like the epidural, the adult pertussis and Hep B vaccines, breastfeeding is encouraged, and circumcision isn't performed in most hospitals any more.Labor and Delivery nurses are very attentive to your needs- while most hospitals do require a certain amount of time of electronic fetal monitoring, you will be allowed- even encouraged to move around during labor and all measures will be taken to make you comfortable. You will be allowed water, ice chips, even food in early labor. It is what YOU want. Make your wishes known to the hospital staff, be it through a doula, your partner, a birth plan, or simply yourself.


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    • profile image

      Your Crazy 

      4 years ago

      Girl, your crazy.

      Half of your midwife quotes are based on crazy back alley midwife stuff from ages ago.

      My wife had our two kids born in a real birth center, one of which was born 2 days ago.

      At no time were we told tarot cards would start birth, or toe readings... so don't add BS to a list of things that SANE midwifes say will help induce labor.

      Ohhh and sex does work for induction. How do I know this you say... because during sex is when my wife went into labor. This waw done intentionally to get her to go into labor.

      The midwives also have a certain cut off for overdue before they induce.. if your a high risk birth they won't allow you to give birth in their rooms or at home (btw, their rooms are just as clean as a hospital as they follow the same standard for surfaces and cleaning).

      Yeah the orgasmic birth video is a joke to me... lots of the old school midwife stuff is hokey pokey. We aren't talking ancient times here lady... we are talking about modern respectable midwives and birth centers.

      The fact that your rant had so many failings in accuracy so short into it... I won't even bother to comment on your further failings because it's not worth my time. Going to get back to my completely healthy family born in a birth center... those desiease ridden, fly by night, miss Cleo tarot card reading birth centers...

      LOL, you crack me up lady.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Obviously another one-sided argument that has not effectively looked into the multitude of validly published scientific studies that defy these "myths" that you have posted. You obviously had a traumatic experience in your past and should probably seek some professional counseling instead of posting all of these misinformed fallacies about homebirth and midwives. I have worked in the hospital setting for 12 years in labor and delivery and have also worked in the homebirth setting. The atrocities in the hospital far outnumber the ones at home. Do your research. Just because you may find one source that proves your point doesn't mean that there is not a multitude of information that proves the other side (and credible reference as well). Everyone will find what they are seeking. You need to do your research with an open mind.

    • WryLilt profile image

      Susannah Birch 

      5 years ago from Toowoomba, Australia

      I'm sorry that you live in a country where midwives are not properly trained. I live in Australia and all midwives here do about 5 years of medical training (either training as a registered nurse then doing midwifery or doing an extended midwifery degree.) Over here, the majority of public births only involve a midwife, unless there are complications. We also have recently had studies from several years of 9 large hospitals supporting homebirths, which indicate homebirths, supported properly and in low risk second or subsequent pregnancies, are much lower risk than a hospital birth.

      I do agree with some of your information - however I believe that there is a midway point. Many people are TOO obsessed with over medicalising birth or TOO obsessed with how the birth is experienced. Personally I think the best thing is for the mother to have as much choice as possible, birthing how she wishes WITH good backup IF it is needed.

      I think you are a little misinformed on waterbirth - babies do not breathe under water (they are in amniotic fluid in the womb after all) and do not lose this reflex till up to six months of age. In a waterbirth, the baby is usually underwater after birth for no more than a few seconds. They also DON'T need to breathe if the umbilical cord is free - and it should not be cut for at least 5-15 minutes after birth anyway.

      There is a good read on this site about large babies:

      There are times when intervention is required. However, using active management of labour instead of expectant management can lead to many early interventions with many risks.

      Drugs such as pitocin and cytotec are even warned against by the manufacturers in many cases.

      Cytotec isn't even allowed in Australia for live births, due to the associated risks. It isn't even a birth drug - it was designed for ulcers and states on the packet that it should not be given to pregnant women!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Zero facts...all fearmongering. Doctors and nurses these days work for the machines in the hospital rooms. They wouldn't know their head from their arse if faced with helping a woman give birth outside of a hospital. Pitiful. Modern medicine = More C-sections

      The Flexnor report ruined medicine in the west. Very sad. Learn about it!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I know you wrote this a long time ago but you sound really ill informed and somewhat bitter. If you weren't woman enough to home birth just say it.

    • profile image

      Not Enough 

      7 years ago

      Myth #1: Informed Consent.

      The midwifery group I delivered with has stringent guidelines on who is allowed to deliver at their free-standing birth center. If you do not fit within the parameters that keep you “low risk”, you are unfortunately unable to deliver there. Some risk factors that would exclude a woman, previous c-section, maternal age is too young/too old, twins. If risks arise during pre-natal care that do not resolve, then the woman is still cared for by the midwives w/ specialist assisting. The birth is planned for the hospital with an OB & the midwife assisting to make the birth as much as the woman’s desires are respected as possible while keeping safety at the forefront. They are also a non-profit, so while they still need clients to keep operating, there goes that theory!

      Myth #2: Orgasmic Birth – Yup, I think we’ve all seen the videos & the documentaries. I don’t think a single one of these women planned for that to happen. I think it is spontaneous & heck if you can accidently have the sensation of something other than the rim of fire… lucky you. My births – rim of fire, both times. Good thing that’s the shortest part. Oh, and my midwives never-ever mentioned this to me. So – strike this one of your list, it is just plain silly to associate it other than a few very optimistic moms not midwives. They’d be out of business FAST promising this one!

      Myth #3: Your body won't grow a baby too large to birth vaginally. Again, heard this touted this touted by many a mom, nary a midwife. There may be one of two outspoken ones that believe this but and I sure you will be shocked to believe this – most midwives use scientific medical tools just like doctors!! Gasp! Yup – ultrasounds & all that kind of jazz. My group had a portable machine right in their office. But for the high res stuff you had to go to the MRI & scanning facility that that. Know where it was located… in a hospital. Uh huh. Same one as used by a hospital. I know. Crazy talk! I should probably go back to them, tell them to read your blog so they know they can just use their hands & maybe draw pictures on bellies to guess sizes. It will save a lot of time & they can get MORE CLIENTS!

      Myth #4: When the fruit is ripe, it falls.

      Refer to Myth #1 & risks. The midwifery group gave mom’s an allotted “safe” window. In which they could go over their due date. As in hospitals, due to miscalcs of LMP, differing cycle lengths, some babies considered “past due” have been induced only to be found premature due to miscalculated dates. Therefore, even OB’s give this same “safe” window. Which is the guidelines the midwives follow. Most women do go into labor in that window. The same standard non-stress tests & bishop scores are conducted in the interim of “watchful waiting” but once you cross the “safe” period – it’s over to the hospital you go. Except – you get to go WITH your midwife who will facilitate your comfort as much as safely possibly under the guide of the OB. Needless to say, if any problems arose from those tests – you’d be over to the hospital much sooner.

      Myth #5: Home is cleaner than a hospital because you are surrounded by "your" germs.

      You really ought to look up hospital born infections on this one before you finalize your thoughts on hospital cleanliness. I have numerous nurses in my family that practice out of hospitals who may disagree. However, again. Have you NEVER heard of BIRTH CENTER? EVER? Oh, and they are cleaned like a hospital. Okay, enough said.

      Myth # 6: We have a physician on back-up in case of emergency.

      Yup, they really do. He’s on their board of directors. His picture is in the waiting room. Luckily I didn’t need to meet him. Oh, and the rest of the staff at neighboring hospital is very familiar w/ the midwives. Oh, but be warned, if your toddler accidentally presses the alarm button in the elevator (it only goes up the small building’s step area for preggo mama’s) it DOES contact the police dispatch immediately to get an ambulance there if needed.

      Myth #7: We have a Plan B with the local hospital.

      You do have drive a whole 1 min or a block and a half. You might be able to walk it faster to get there. The midwives have magnetic keycard access to a private door that leads up to the maternity floor. The nursing team at the hospital is ready & acquainted with the as needed transfers though they don’t happen often.

      Myth #8: A Doppler is better than an Electriconic Fetal Monitor (EFM), because it safely monitors the baby and you are free to move as you please during labor.

      Can’t speak for whether it is better & admit to not be super educated on this one. Can only report that the monitoring was done every 20 mins for several mins the nurse or midwife would be holding it, she’d record it, she check my pulse, record & I can’t remember what else. Every 20 mins! But, I recall that because it was all portable, it didn’t matter if I was walking, in the Jacuzzi, on the birth ball, in a rocking chair, they could check it. Because it was frequent & charted they could tell if it was decelerating. And it wasn’t a pop-on pop-off Doppler listening either.

      Myth #9: Castor Oil/Acupressure/Acupuncture/Walks/Sex/Yoga/Spicy Food/Stripping Membranes/Prenatal Chiropractor/Tarot Cards/Toe Readings/Lack of Fear/Patience will start labor.

      I dunno about this as I went into labor on my own both w/ an OB my first time & a midwife my second time. They only advised staying hydrated & walking & adequate rest so when I did go into labor I’d be in good shape for it.

      Myth #10: Meconium is normal and nothing to fear.

      There was a small bit of meconium when I delivered my son w/ the midwives. They were concerned as was I. Although it is just my own theory, I believe this is why they ended up recommending he get the eye ointment I had written to decline in my birthplan (I am negative of diseases, group B & HPV). I thought their recommend sensible so I agreed. I further think that as he seemed to have a higher than normal respiration in the hours immediately after his birth & higher heart rate (the room was super hot) that this is why they decided to transfer us to the hospital for follow-up instead of discharging to home after the waiting period. Interesting, after the brief walk from center to car & car to hospital in the January air – everything was normal by the time he was checked-in 15 mins later at the hospital. We checked out the following morning.

      Myth #11: Group B Strep can be effectively combatted with garlic and Hibiclens.

      No idea who purports THIS theory. Garlic is good for a lot but I wouldn’t trust it with the birth of my child. Neither would my master degree holding midwife group (the catching midwife held her degree from an Ivy League school). Standard of care, if you test positive, you get antibiotics. But you get a hep-lock. You don’t not need to be hooked up when you are not receiving the antibiotics & since you are not further hooked up, you can move w/ wheeled pole while getting them if you choose.

      Myth #12: OBs would rather cut you open because it saves them time, energy and effort.

      I don’t know if they would “rather” but they do tend to be overly cautious as I think they feel to need to prove “every effort was made” so they don’t get sued. Ex) Baby #1 – born naturally in hospital w/ OB. Her heartbeat went into decels which sent nurses & OBs running into the room. They must not have been crashing as it was only a – “if it doesn’t pick back up soon, we are going to have to take you in for an emergency section” speech. I asked if there was anything else to try first. The OB told me I could try drinking more, taking oxygen & she could tickle my baby’s head to “see if the baby fell asleep”. Well, we did this & the heartbeat picked back up right away. Seems my girl fell asleep when I was working hard. I don’t know about you, but my heartbeat slows when I fall asleep. What if I didn’t ask? I would have had a C-Section and why… because my baby fell asleep?!?!

      Myth #13: Water birth is the most gentle way to be born into the world.

      Well, I can see why they don’t recommend it. They can’t deliver that way & aren’t trained

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Your argument about Midwives having no formal education is just ignorant.

      "In the United States, midwives are not all the same, and the requirements for certification have changed over the years. Again, there are 3 types of midwives:

      *Certified Professional Midwives (CPM) have no degree requirement. They are certified through the North American Registry of Midwives. Certified professional midwives are “regulated” in 26 states by various methods through Departments of Health, Boards of Medicine and Boards of Midwifery.

      Certified Midwives (CM) must hold a Master’s degree and have graduated from a midwifery education program accredited by the Accreditation Committee for Midwifery Education (ACME) to be eligible to take the certification exam offered by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB). Certified midwives are currently legally authorized to practice in New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island and hold prescriptive authority in New York.

      Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNM) are registered nurses, with a minimum of a Master’s degree and have graduated from a nurse midwifery education program accredited by the ACME. They must pass a national certification exam offered by the AMCB to become licensed by the state in which they practice. Nurse-midwives are also licensed by their states and the federal government to provide prescription medications. Nurse-midwives are authorized to legally practice in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. About 11,000 certified nurse-midwives in the United States delivered more than 317,000 babies in 2006, a 33 percent increase over 1996, according to the American College of Nurse-Midwives."


    • profile image

      Jaime Wessler 

      7 years ago

      I know of no midwife who would ever commit to a woman 100% any of these things that you state. I had a midwife with my second and was never once 'promised' any outcome at all. What I was promised was a chance at delivering on my terms. I was informed on every single risk of the hospital AND out of the hospital. I was also made aware in what kind of sentiments I would received if we hit the hospital in the end. There was never any feeling of any myth that I wouldn't end up in the hospital or face complications. Additionally, she was very hands off. She never once tried to push anything.

      You do no service to either side of the birthing fence - surely there are midwives who misinform their clients, just as there are doctors who are very likely to let you labor in a wonderful calm environment. There is a place in birthing for both - it's no better for you to slay midwives than it is for a midwife to slay a doctor.

    • SkeptiMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Congrats on your little one! Very glad that you had a good hospital experience and I'm so happy for you and thankful there was a NICU very close to your birthing environment. What a bundle of joy!

    • profile image

      Common Sense 

      8 years ago


      Rebecca Joy was born at 3:44 am on Saturday. She weighed 3 lbs 2 oz. She is doing very well in the NICU. What an overwhelming experience!

    • profile image

      Common Sense 

      8 years ago

      Just popping back in here. Debi, I appreciate all of the arguments that you brought forth, but most of them I would feel redundant addressing after everything I have researched and put together. You jumped in and took the a position as if I had been debating back and forth with YOU this whole time, and I really don't feel like opening up another can of worms with you. It seemed to bother you that I used "personal" stories in my arguments, but I'm not writing a thesis here. I am curious as to why, after all your thorough rebuttals, you address the WHO statement on infection and error.

      Well as much as my debating instincts are kicking in, I'd actually rather you not respond to anything I'm saying. I honestly don't have the energy to get into anything. The reason it's taken me so long to respond is because I'm actually IN the hospital right now, after going into preterm labor, which ironically I stated in my last quote was my biggest worry. I am copying and pasting my story which I have been sharing (there might be a it of repeated information), as I've had to keep a lot of people updated as to what's been going on. I'll keep you posted Elizabeth. I figured my story is pertinent to what our whole debate thread is about. Take care. Laura

      (((((( I've been on bedrest since 17 weeks for unknown bleeding. I had two ultrasounds and both couldn't detect anything wrong. I had my suspicions that I have a sub chorionic hemmorhage. One of the side effects of this can be preterm labor, and I know any bleeding can cause preterm labor because it causes contractions. But after three perfect home births, I never thought it would happen to me. Ironically, after discovering that there was a doctor in my town that was very supportive of home birth and everything that makes it special, I was struggling hard with whether or not to birth in the hospital. Even if I made it to term I was at risk for placental abruption or hemmorhage. My husband and I actually prayed for an answer as to whether or not we should choose the hospital route the day that I went into labor. Needless to say I received a clear answer.

      I had been having braxton hicks all day on Tuesday but in the evening they started becoming really frequent. From 11pm until 4am when I arrived at the hospital I was contracting 3 minutes apart for about 30 seconds. The thing that kept me from going in was that they really didn't hurt, and they weren't getting worse in pain or longer in duration. Around 2:30 am after doing every natural to stop them I figured I'd better go in. (We're an hour away from the hospital, which is why I didn't get there until 4) When I got there I had dilated to a 1 and was 60-80% effaced. I am so grateful that I went in when I did. I was contracting at 1-5 minutes apart Wednesday until around 4 pm, despite being on magnesium and another drug to slow contractions. Around 4:15 I received a glimmer of hope, when they started feeling a little further apart. At ten pm on Wednesday and I was having hardly any contractions, and their intensity was way down. I am so grateful that things are working.

      Obviously we have decided to pursue a hospital birth because of what has happened, but I am feeling good about it. The staff here has been extremely supportive and respectful. We were never made to feel weird for having home births, everyone respected our choice about that. Even the social worker said she felt so sorry for me that after having wonderful home births everything had gone down the tubes that was planned. The high risk doctor I saw from Salt Lake said that if by chance I made it to term, I would be able to decide if I still wanted to birth at home,(though I won't) even after going into preterm labor and bleeding. He did state that he has serious doubts that I will make it to term, and very humbly told me that the safest place for me to deliver before 37 weeks was the hospital. He was never commanding about it.

      I don't have any complaints about any of my treatment in this hospital, of which I will be honest I was fearful. Tomorrow I will be taken off the IV meds and monitored on some pills. If I do well I will be checked in the evening. After contracting for another 12 hours since I arrived at the hospital, everyone is wondering how much labor was able to progress during that time. If I didn't go past a 3, I will probably go home on strict bedrest. However, if I'm a 4 or more, I will have to stay here until I deliver. A baby as small as my girl is right now could slip out through a six centimeter cervix so we have to be really careful. Thanks so much for all your support and I will keep you guys updated as things progress. Your prayers and thoughts are greatly appreciated...))))))

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Informative hub.People really don't seem to understand the risks involved with home birth.All women should be concious in this sense.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Hi! Jumping in here:

      "More babies don't die from unpreventable measures at home in PLANNED births. There is no data to support that theory."

      There would be if MANA would release their data. But they won't - so we have to use the best available and most current data. That can be found in the tracked perinatal death rates from Colorado and Wisconsin. They show a clear increase in risk for homebirth (2x or 3x) compared to homebirth, which is extra troubling since in theory they should only be low-risk moms. I'm not the pregnancy police - I don't actually care if you choose to jump your risk of your baby dying from .03% to .07% or .09% or whatever, but can we please, PLEASE stop lying to moms and telling them homebirth is safe? It's false, and it is also idiotic. Which is safer - getting into a car accident right next to a hospital or 10 minutes from one? Obviously right next to the hospital is better. Emergencies are not able to be predicted.

      "You obviously did not read the extensive Medscape Critique of the Wax-Analysis or you would not have quoted it to me again, telling me it's something I just "don't want to hear". Their findings were totally flawed! You should really take a little time to read the critique written by completely unbiased PHD's from Medscape's OBGYN and Women's Health Board? I'll post the link again...."

      I don't care about the WAX study. It had flawed methodology. NO methodology is perfect of course, but we don't need it because the evidence shows again and again that choosing to go through a risky biological process away from medical care is more dangerous than doing it with medical care. Again, not sure why that's ~ever~ been debated.

      "The Johnson and Daviss study compared PLANNED LOW RISK home births with PLANNED LOW RISK hospital births. Of course it wouldn't be accurate if they compared the low risk home births to high AND low risk hospital births. Did you read the whole study or are you basing your opinion on the SBM post?"

      I read the entire paper - are you sure you did? I'm also in a research class right now that teaches how to analyze papers. (And you would be dissapointed, or at least I was, at how many peer reviewed papers come to conclusions that are not supported by your data.) This isn't just a Davis thing, it seems like a quiet epidemic as people get caught up in publish or perish. My own, independent reading of the Davis and Davis paper supports what SOB says. (Well, a couple minor quibbles, but I agree that the conclusions Davis and Davis come to are in no way supported by presented data.)

      "The idea that doctors DON'T commit error is completely preposterous."

      No one said that. What you just did there? It's called a strawman. You should stop doing them - they only muddy up reasonable discourse. Thanks.

      "Babies ONLY die in hospitals when "all measures to save the life have been exhausted." ??? So you're telling me that babies don't die under the care of a doctor because of their error or negligence?"

      Can you go back and read this again? Do you see what you did? You changed her words around to say something that she didn't say. No sane person would claim that doctors don't make mistakes. However, it is not contradictory to say both that "doctors make mistakes" and "when babies die in the hospital, all measures of care have been exhausted." Hospitals are team environments. There are multiple trained staff who are all there to make sure the baby is well. So if the doc screws up, there is another set of eyes to catch it. And in worse case senario land where no one does, there is an M & M round (morbidity and mortality round) where people go through what happened step by step so it never happens again. If enough mistakes are made the doctor loses their license and the hospital ward can even be closed down. This is ~not~ what happens when a DEM / CPM loses a baby.

      "If your baby had died during your 3 hours of pushing (under the complete fault of your midwife), lets say from lack of oxygen, would it have been because there was no high tech equipment around to use? Of course not! It would have been because of the gross negligence of your midwife!"

      Personal statement, not mine to address.

      "Did you read the recent article about a woman named Maria Gallardo? The hospital staff ignored obvious signs of fetal distress and had her push for 1 1/2 hours, encouraging her to even hold her breath. Her baby is severely brain damaged for the rest of her life.

      My own 3 year old niece went into the ER in Cedar's Sinai in Los Angeles, which is considered one of the top hospitals in the country, with flu symptoms. 3 weeks later, having contracted staph infection from a catheter she was administered that wasn't even necessary, she left the hospital, alive thankfully. During her 3 week stay she had to have major surgery to clean out the infection to save her hip where the staph had manifested, and was on antibiotics for months. That's what she got for going to the hospital with a fever."

      This is irrelevant. Plural of antidote is not data. These are lots of words designed for maximum emotion with minimum logic, all to kill a strawman you errected earlier.

      Everything else is personal and not mine to respond to. If you do choose to respond to me, can you try to keep it dialectic? Thanks.

    • profile image

      Common Sense 

      8 years ago

      I don't have a screen shot because I didn't expect my comment to disappear. I tried to include most of the information in my last comment. Thank you for your effort to maintain healthy debate. I am sorry for accusing you of unfair moderation. I was just shocked that my comment had disappeared.

      More babies don't die from unpreventable measures at home in PLANNED births. There is no data to support that theory. You obviously did not read the extensive Medscape Critique of the Wax-Analysis or you would not have quoted it to me again, telling me it's something I just "don't want to hear". Their findings were totally flawed! You should really take a little time to read the critique written by completely unbiased PHD's from Medscape's OBGYN and Women's Health Board? I'll post the link again....

      The Science Based Medicine site is not anti-homebirth. The person who wrote that post and purportedly fudged around with the statistics from the CDC wonder tool (which you still haven't addressed) is OBVIOUSLY anti-homebirth.

      The Johnson and Daviss study compared PLANNED LOW RISK home births with PLANNED LOW RISK hospital births. Of course it wouldn't be accurate if they compared the low risk home births to high AND low risk hospital births. Did you read the whole study or are you basing your opinion on the SBM post?

      The idea that doctors DON'T commit error is completely preposterous. Babies ONLY die in hospitals when "all measures to save the life have been exhausted." ??? So you're telling me that babies don't die under the care of a doctor because of their error or negligence? If your baby had died during your 3 hours of pushing (under the complete fault of your midwife), lets say from lack of oxygen, would it have been because there was no high tech equipment around to use? Of course not! It would have been because of the gross negligence of your midwife!

      Did you read the recent article about a woman named Maria Gallardo? The hospital staff ignored obvious signs of fetal distress and had her push for 1 1/2 hours, encouraging her to even hold her breath. Her baby is severely brain damaged for the rest of her life.

      My sister's little boy died because her doctor failed to recognize the signs of severe infection and sent her home with a baby that had a fever, triggering a cascade of other problems. He may have survived were it not for a lung infection caught in the ICU a few weeks later, which his already damaged body couldn't fight off. He caught the infection when was placed in the same area as very sick people. This isn't just her perception either. She was awarded a mal-practice settlement after it was determined her doctor was at fault.

      I'm not saying hospitals don't have their place. ABSOLUTELY THEY DO! You needed to be transported and you needed to have a C-section. Many women (though the percentages are low) experience GENUINE emergencies and need medical intervention. This is why having a proper transport system in place is so important, and pursuing care under a qualified and experienced midwife is equally important.

      Birth is not a disease and women are not sick. They shouldn't be treated as such. In my opinion, there is no reason for low risk moms to birth in a hospital because the risk of intervention, infection, and long term complications (even death) outweighs the odds of an emergency occuring. Let's simply talk about the risk of an infection...

      From a Reuters article, July 2011-

      "Millions of people die each year from medical errors and infections linked to health care and going into hospital is far riskier than flying, the World Health Organisation said on Thursday.

      "If you were admitted to hospital tomorrow in any country... your chances of being subjected to an error in your care would be something like 1 in 10. Your chances of dying due to an error in health care would be 1 in 300," Liam Donaldson, the WHO's newly appointed envoy for patient safety, told a news briefing.....(MY NOTE: And their not just talking about hospitals in developing countries).......Each year in the United States, 1.7 million infections are acquired in hospitals, leading to 100,000 deaths, a far higher rate than in Europe where 4.5 million infections cause 37,000 deaths, according to WHO. "

      Check out the article yourself here:

      My own 3 year old niece went into the ER in Cedar's Sinai in Los Angeles, which is considered one of the top hospitals in the country, with flu symptoms. 3 weeks later, having contracted staph infection from a catheter she was administered that wasn't even necessary, she left the hospital, alive thankfully. During her 3 week stay she had to have major surgery to clean out the infection to save her hip where the staph had manifested, and was on antibiotics for months. That's what she got for going to the hospital with a fever.

      Why any healthy low risk mom would want to birth in the hospital "just in case" is beyond me, but that's my own opinion, which I am entitled to. I can make my own choice, just as you can. I'm not "gambling" with the life of my child by birthing at home. Based on the statistics of death caused by hospital error, are you "gambling" with your life or the life of your child by choosing to birth in the hospital? Of course not. That very idea is insulting to both of us. You're simply making an informed decision based on what you feel is best for you and your baby.

      I am on self-prescribed bedrest because of unknown bleeding since 15 weeks. I have had two ultrasounds which were completely normal, one of them was performed in a hospital by a specialist. Baby's growth is ahead of schedule, placenta is unaffected, cervix is closed and long, amniotic sac looks great. One OB told me it's possible I'm bleeding because my placenta is growing so quickly, almost like a tumor, and it never completely attaches around the edges. Another possibility is an undetected SCH(subchorionic hemorrhage). The biggest complications that could arise from SCH are preterm labor and placental abruption. Most abruptions happen when there is a visible blood clot that is lodged between the placenta and the amniotic sac. Preterm labor is a risk because blood irritates the uterus and can cause contractions, setting off labor early. Even though an SCH hasn't been detected, I put myself on bedrest just in case. I am the cheapest incubator around, and our family has accepted that. If I were to go into labor before 37 weeks, I would deliver in a hospital. If I were to exhibit signs of placental abruption, I would go to the hospital. I am comfortable having a home birth when I make it to full term, and my midwives are also. Even the OBGYN I saw to talk about the bleeding was not concerned about my delivering at home. The possibility of going into pre-term labor is what has me a little freaked out.

      Thanks for the well wishes. I am glad you had a healthy baby boy as your story could have ended very badly...=( Your crusade to protect the future clients of your midwife is definitely justified. If you respect the decision of well informed mothers to birth at home with qualified caregivers, in spite of your bad experience, then I applaud you. That's what this is all about. Well-informed mothers making the best decision for their own health and the health of their babies.

    • SkeptiMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Do you have a screenshot of the comment? If so, please email it to me,, so that I can flog the admin of hubpages, because I didn't delete anything and I'm sorry that you feel I unfairly moderated your opinion. I am no stranger to debate and welcome the opposition- without both sides, how can an opinion be truly informed?

      First of all, I don't have hatred towards my midwife, homebirth, or other women who choose homebirth. I do, however, have extreme disdain for care providers who echo misinformation to women in order to profit from their births. I have empathy for birth loss mothers who could be holding their babies had they birthed in a hospital. I do not tell my story because of my feelings, but because remaining silent is a disservice to my midwife's future clients.

      Also, unlike you, I don't condemn you for your choice of action. I do feel sorry that you had an experience like mine, you continue to gamble and you've won so far- fortunately for you and your babies. The difference between our births is that while your body did suffer abuse, you didn't almost lose your baby. When life and death hang in the balance of who you choose as a careprovider, and you're lying on an operating table, not wanting to believe the nurse who said your baby is born because you don't hear him cry- you don't hear anything- you just lie there and squint your eyes shut in prayer to every god you can remember from Comparative Religions, until after the longest 15 minutes of your life, you hear the most beautiful howl coming from the other side of the room- that will shake down every single fiber of your current belief system.

      I didn't say that phsycians don't lose babies, so rethink your simplifications. I mean that, yes, sometimes, babies are stillborn or die close after their birth. However, MORE babies die from absolutely preventable situations at home. When a baby dies in the hospital, all measures to save the life have been exhausted. At home, no measures have been taken because of ideology or lack of technology. When a baby dies at home, the mother is left to wonder for a lifetime, "What if...what if I had chosen a different birth place?"

      Science and Sensibility is a BLOG, not any form of a scholarly source. And while your reading any blog, including mine, obviously things have been written for a reason. I have no more of an agenda than anyone else writing articles about birth- unlike Ricki Lake, Ina May, etc- I have reason and factual evidence to back up my claims.

      These are a few of the issues I have with the Johnson and Davis study: It is unfair to compare the death rates of LOW risk pregnancy candidates and that of ALL risk (gestational diabetes, preterms, post dues, pre-e, etc, etc) that occur in the hospital. No morbidity figures are known. This is not a randomized study. There were 5 intrapartum deaths reported; proof that LOW risk pregnancies do not guarantee low risk birth. The intervention rate bw homebirth and hospital will always weigh heavier on the hospital side because midwives cannot accept high risk patients nor can they actually perform interventions. While it suggests that only 1.7 deaths per 1000 planned home births, among the 94.5% reported subjects, 1.3% had Apgar score below 7 at five minutes, and 2.4% were placed in the neonatal intensive care unit, moreover 0.5% of the newborns need urgent transfer to hospital. Homebirth doesn't just result in death- it results in permanent disabilities that can cost thousands of dollars over a lifetime.

      On the Wax analysis: "Of concern, this investigation identified a doubling and tripling of the neonatal mortality rate overall and among non-anomalous offspring, respectively, inplanned home compared to planned hospital births. This finding is particularly robust considering the homogeneity of the observation across studies. It is especially striking as women planning home births were of similar and often lower obstetric risk than those planning hospital births. The planned home delivery group commonly exhibited fewer obstetric risk factors such as excessive body mass index, nulliparity, prior ce-sarean, and previous pregnancy compli-cations." You just can't refute that because it's something you don't want to hear.

      On Science Based Medicine, "Science-Based Medicine is dedicated to evaluating medical treatments and products of interest to the public in a scientific light, and promoting the highest standards and traditions of science in health care. Online information about alternative medicine is overwhelmingly credulous and uncritical, and even mainstream media and some medical schools have bought into the hype and failed to ask the hard questions." If you interpret that as an antihomebirth agenda, so be it.

      Best of luck at your birth, from the bed rest comment, I'd assume you are at a substantially higher pregnancy risk than most midwives would accept.

    • profile image

      Common Sense 

      8 years ago

      I totally posted a very thorough comment that I VIEWED on the site, after I posted it. I received the message that my comment had been submitted, though it may not appear until approved. Whatever happened, only God knows now I guess. I spent a lot of time on that last comment (I am on bedrest with my 4th pregnancy, so it's not like I have a shortage of time) but it was disheartening to have what I compiled disappear. I read every bit of the Wax Study, including a thorough examination of the tables. He used that birth certificate study as I said (which only cited place of birth and not PLANNED births) among other outdated (some going back into the 70's even though there are far more recent ones) and discredited studies. He also claimed a transfer rate of 37% in first time moms? That was completely out of the ballpark. It's more like 12%, and included in those are simply "failure to progress" and moms that wanted pain meds or were exhausted. Regardless, those are just the things that jumped out at me from reading it, but people more educated than myself have taken the time to really analyze it.

      Please check out the links I have included. Telling someone that their baby is 3 times more likely to die in a home birth than in a hospital birth is something pretty serious and it had better be thoroughly backed up, not just by one guy's meta-analysis that was put together in an extremely flawed manner.

      On the Wax Meta-analysis:

      (There are seven pages to the medscape article above, be sure to check them all out or you can download the PDF here:


      Your comment about the fact that there are no credible studies based on the Midwives statistics. Yes, there is:

      The Johnson and Daviss study. Please read the whole thing. It's actually a great study even though that anti-homebirth post on "Science Based Medicine" claimed it proved that neonatal death in homebirth was 3 times that of hospital birth. The Johnson and Daviss study clearly stated in it's conclusion that neonatal mortality rates in home birth in low risk women were similar to those in low risk hospital births, but with far fewer interventions. 3 fold death rates are not "similar". Wherever that website got its data to say that the death rate for MD's was .63 compared to 1.4 for DEM's, I have no idea. I dove into the CDC wonder tool they linked to and the numbers I found were completely different, and I know it wasn't just me. Other comments on the SBM blog indicated they had found different numbers as well. One of the things I noted in my lengthy last comment was that I was disappointed that after all of my research into the links you posted, and my encouragement for you too look at the numbers yourself, you simply threw back the Wax study.

      My original comment on your hub may have seemed out of place, but I was so overwhelmed by your agenda to completely discredit homebirth and midwives, I figured there was little point in addressing your myths. You obviously carry a deep hatred because of what happened to you during your birth, and that's a shame. I posted my story on one of your other hubs. I too had a horrible experience with my first midwife, and she was a state licensed professional with over 1000 births under her belt, and not a single death. Because of the methods she used (powerbirth), I suffered uterine prolapse, ruptured blood vessels, symptoms of PTSD, hemmorhage, the list goes on and on. BUT, that didn't change my beliefs in the capabilities of midwives in general. My subsequent births, one with a CPM, and one with DEM's, were wonderful.

      I don't have an "everyone loses babies, so what?" attitude by the way. There is no "so what" about it. When a baby is lost, it is a complete and utter tragedy, no matter where it happens. There is no way to guarantee, even in the highest tech of settings, against human error or negligence. It happens in hospitals under the care of doctors and nurses, and it happens at home under the care of midwives. That's reality. If you really believe that doctors DON'T lose babies, then maybe you should rethink your ideas, because it's just not true.

    • SkeptiMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Also, Common Sense, I feel as if you've no common sense at all- your original comment wasn't even related to the actual article- you simply saw something that threatens the "sanctity" of homebirth and instead of acknowledging that the current system is flawed and full of misinformation, you show your Ricki Lake sheeple mentality by echoing everything I was once told when I was looking into homebirth, myself. It's a grave disservice to women, especially when you admit you really know nothing about it. Thanks for giving me more writing material. ;)

    • SkeptiMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      I didn't delete anything, are you sure that you submitted it correctly? There is a comment above about your opinion on the Wax meta analysis, is that not the one you were talking about? Or did you submit another one for the sake of redundancy? If I were in the habit of deleting comments, there wouldn't be so many on this thread that disagree with my views.

      I find it ironic that someone such as yourself would ridicule me for something I didn't do, had this been on a Natural Childbirth forum/blog/thread/website, your first comment would've never have been seen.

      Also, I feel like a lot of your opinions are in the state of "foreclosure;" you've developed your opinion without first experiencing a crisis involving the issue. I've had a midwife who only had experience- of course, she took a test and passed it and was allowed to practice on me (as all registered DEMs), but her ignorance left my body permanently damaged. The OB who had not only experience but formal education (I think you don't understand the commitment and experience that comes with formal education- particularly nursing and med school) saved my life. All my midwife had to do was fly to a 3rd world country, catch some babies, come back, take a test and viola- she is now licensed to cause some serious damage.

      I'm tired of seeing you try to cite over and over again European countries- once again, their CNMs (not CPMs or DEMs) have the education that you deem unimportant, work alongside physicians and OBs- it's ignorant to think our current legislation regarding midwifery is on the same playing field as theirs.

      Your "everyone loses babies, so what?" attitude is absolutely appalling.

    • profile image

      Common Sense 

      8 years ago

      I am absolutely shocked. You removed my comment entirely that exposed the Wax study. Amazing. Why not go ahead and remove all the comments that disagree with your ideas? After reading all of your hubs I had developed a degree of respect for you. Even though we disagreed, you sounded like an intelligent human being that cares about the quality of research and study. Needless to say, my opinion has changed. Did you happen to remove your comment that there are no credible studies based on the midwives statistics? Of course not.

    • SkeptiMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Actually, I've done quite a bit of reading on the topic- I trust you'll take the time to read this study:

    • profile image

      Common Sense 

      8 years ago

      I thought I should clarify how far off the results of the CDC wonder tool turned out from MY search, as opposed to the Science Based Medicine's findings, which you, Skepimommy, linked to in your last post.

      You can do your own search here, as I did:

      These results are from the 2003-2006 Linked Birth/Infant Death Records linked records. I did the following searches:

      Babies delivered NOT in HOSPITAL, BY A CNM (Certified Nurse Midwife) 27 deaths out of 10,582 live births, or 2.57 out of 1000, or .25%

      Babies delivered IN THE HOSPITAL, By a CNM (Certified Nurse Midwife): 872 deaths out of 306,630 or 2.84 out of every 1000, or .28%

      Babies delivered NOT IN HOSPITAL, by "other midwife": Suppressed. From the website "Rates are suppressed when there are fewer than 20 deaths in the numerator, because the figure does not meet the NCHS standard of reliability or precision."

      I didn't have an exact number out of every 1,000 births, because the data was suppressed, but I added up the numbers from the census and got the following:

      44 deaths out of 12,380 live births or .36%

      Babies delivered IN THE HOSPITAL by a DOCTOR OF MEDICINE:

      25,783 deaths out of 3,695,505 live births, 6.98 out of every 1000, or .69%

      Deaths at the hands of DOCTORS in HOSPITALS are almost DOUBLE the "other midwives" results and closer to TRIPLE the CNM's results.

      You do the searches yourself and tell me what you come up with, if it's anything different.

    • profile image

      Common Sense 

      8 years ago

      I find it funny that you completely ignored my comment about the 2009 study in the Journal of American Obstetrics and Gynecology. The link you posted to the science based medicine site, is obviously anti-homebirth. Ironically, the tools that it's citing supposedly prove that a baby born at home is 3 times more likely to die, doesn't state that at all. Did you check out the CDC Wonder tool yourself that they supposedly got their numbers from? On all of the searches that I did, the deaths that occurred under the care of an MD were WAY higher, than either the CNM or "other midwife" as it says in the drop down menu. There is no "lay midwife" option, as they put into the table they created. Also, the study that they quoted as agreeing with their results, is a GREAT STUDY. If you actually read the study as I have done, you will see that it found that low risk home births produced similar neonatal outcomes as found in low risk hospital births, but with FAR LESS INTERVENTION. These interventions, as I've said before, come with short and long term risks to the mother and baby.

      Here is a paragraph that summed it up from the study they quoted. (I find it so silly that they would link to this study as it clearly states that home birth has mostly positive outcomes for LOW RISK mothers)

      "Our results for intrapartum and neonatal mortality are consistent with most other North American studies of intended births out of hospital and studies of low risk hospital birth (table 4). A meta-analysis and the latest research in Britain, Switzerland, and the Netherlands have reinforced support of home birth. Researchers reported high overall perinatal mortality in a study of home birth in Australia, qualifying that LOW (emphasis mine) risk home births in Australia had good outcomes but that HIGH (emphasis mine) risk births gave rise to a high rate of avoidable death at home. Two prospective studies in North America found positive outcomes for home birth, but the studies were not of sufficient size to provide relatively stable perinatal death rates. None of this evidence, including ours, is consistent with a study in Washington State based on birth certificates. That study reported an increased risk with home birth but lacked an explicit indication of planned place of birth, creating the potential inclusion of high risk unplanned, unattended home births."

      -From the Johnson Daviss study here:

      Quite simply, their conclusion is, and you can read it for yourself on the web page: Planned home birth for low risk women in North America using certified professional midwives was associated with lower rates of medical intervention but similar intrapartum and neonatal mortality to that of low risk hospital births in the United States.

      That "science based medicine" blog you posted proving that home birth is 3 times more likely to have a neonatal death than hospital birth isn't science based at all. In fact, the ONLY study that coincided with this theory was a meta-analysis of 12 various studies performed by Dr. Joseph Wax. Even Time magazine, in an article which isn't pro-home birth at all, used independent experts in meta-analysis that concluded that it was weak and methodologically flawed. Other critics say some of the studies included are outdated or misleading, thus limiting the conclusions of the review.

      Read more:,9171,2...

      In many of the studies, simply the "place of birth" was included, not taking into consideration whether the birth was a planned birth with a midwife, or simply an unplanned emergency where home birth was the only option. This is just one of the flaws. Look into the analysis yourself.

      The largest and highly regarded studies prove, as I said before, that planned home birth for low risk moms, attended by a skilled midwife, with access to emergency services should the need arise, are no more dangerous than hospital birth, and have the benefit of fewer unnecessary medical interventions.

      And by the way, in my personal opinion, I would much rather use a midwife that packed experience under her belt than simply a formal education. The doctor that sent my sister's baby home to die had a formal education, and it really doesn't mean as much as you think. In the end hands on experience is what makes you most qualified. It's easy to forget all the stuff they cram into you during medical school. You pass the test and they give you a piece of paper, and say good job. I'm sure there are plenty of amazing midwives that yes, have never graduated college, or even high school. CNM's lose babies, doctors lose babies, and lay midwives lose babies too. All of the above also save lives.

      If only you would campaign against world hunger or poverty, child abuse, even environmental destruction, the way you do home birth and midwives.

    • SkeptiMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      I not only blame the lies that are echoed between homebirth advocates and midwives, I also blame myself for believing them so easily. Also, I don't accept wikipedia as credible source; it's not accepted by academia and it's not accepted by me. While it can be a place to get started to research a topic, it can also cesspool of reader controlled misinformation. I find it very interesting that you use the CDC to quote a ceaserean rate (which is high for a number of reasons- prior csections, elective csections, etc) when the CDC holds the evidence that homebirth is TRIPLING the risk of infant mortality. (MANA also holds this evidence, but they won't release to anyone without the promise it will be used to promote homebirth).

      It doesn't take just common sense to interpret statistics. It takes the knowledge of fundamental statistics.

      And I'm sorry, but who actually profits from FEAR tactics? Midwives. "Don't fear birth and your body, but do fear the hospital! They'll take away your rights! They'll force you to labor in a supine position, you'll have to take drugs, you'll have to have a csection and your baby will be circumcised before you see him!"

      Also, I find it interesting that although you admit to know nothing about the education required to become a midwife in other countries, you still use other countries model's of care as a justification for homebirth in the US. That is not common sense. To become a midwife in the Netherlands, you must be accepted into a four year school where you work alongside physicians, OBs, etc.

      In the US, a DEM isn't even required to have a GED. That's an incredibly significant difference in educational requirements.

      Another thing- why is it, and I've seen this many times, even with homebirth loss mothers, that when we speak up against homebirth, we're always told, "That was just YOUR story. Just because that happened to YOU doesn't mean anything about homebirth or midwives. That's ignorant." Are hospital mothers told the same thing when they share a bad experience? Absolutely. Not. It's what homebirth advocates profit from- they use a bad hospital experience to justify birthing at home.

    • profile image

      Common Sense 

      8 years ago

      The figures I quoted are from the 2011 revision of the United Nations World Population Prospects report. What exactly do you know about the "education required by other models of health care in other countries?" I certainly don't know much about it, but I can use common sense when interpreting statistics. The fact that 99% of US women birth in hospitals hasn't helped our infant mortality rates.

      Another thing to think about is the fact that almost 32% of US babies born in hospitals are born via c-section.

      The US ranks 3rd in the world for c-sections. You can't tell me that US women are simply predisposed to require c-sections. With this major surgical procedure come complications including post-operative adhesions, incisional hernias (which may require surgical correction) and wound infections. So in addition to our poor rank with infant mortality rates, we have the extremely high incidence of c-sections and the risks to mother and child from that procedure. C-sections definitely are a blessing in emergencies, but the following is undeniable. When you have a planned low risk birth in a hospital your risk of ending up with a c-section increases significantly; this is not a myth.

      I'm not trying to simplify things, I'm just using my common sense based on facts and statistics. There is no shortage of information out there about the "terrifying risks of home birth", but most all of it is put out by the people that profit the most from hospital birth.

      You've stated that you don't accept Wikipedia as a credible source, but Wikipedia is simply a compilation of credible sources. Do a Wiki search for "Home Birth" and scroll down to the bottom to see all of the sources that are cited. Here's one: A study of 529,688 low-risk planned home and hospital births was reported in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2009. The study concluded:

      A home birth does not increase the risks of perinatal mortality and severe perinatal morbidity among low risk women, provided the maternity care system facilitates this choice through the availability of well-trained midwives and through a good transportation and referral system.

      I know you had a bad experience with your home birth and your midwife, just as MANY other women have had a bad experience with their hospital birth and their doctor. Putting the blame solely on home birth and midwives is ignorant.

    • SkeptiMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      I'm sorry, but I don't accept wikipedia as a credible source. Also, I think you simplifying an issue. Ponder the education required by other models of health care in other countries.

    • profile image

      Common Sense 

      8 years ago

      In the United States, only about 1% of babies are born at home. Strangely enough, the U.S. ranks 46th in the world for its infant mortality rate, with 6.3 babies dying for every 100,000.

      Then take a country like The Netherlands, in which 30% of their babies are born at home. If your assumptions are right about the evils of home birth, it would make sense that The Netherlands would have a FAR HIGHER infant mortality rate, correct? They should be ridiculously higher, babies should be dying left and right if 1/3 of them are being born at home. Well, that's not the case. The Netherlands has a far lower IMR and ranks 26 on the list, with 4.73 deaths per 100,000 live births. Ponder on those numbers.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great article! People really don't seem to understand the risks involved with homebirth. So many sites, films, books, ect. cherry pick the information they give... It just makes me want to tear my hair out. You can't be educated about your birth if you are not getting ALL of the information. Seriously, the info you get from most home birth resources leaves out so many important facts that it's like watching a movie without the sound or with half the screen covered.

    • SkeptiMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Keeley- exactly. Where are the statistics from midwives? Other than the ones conjured up while they are interviewed by potential clients, I have not heard of a single study analyzed by an unbias third party statistician, nor has any research been released to the public. As for neonatal deaths, just look at DORA. I too, would LOVE to see the real numbers compared to OBs- especially since DORA will only investigate crimes of negligence in midwifery if a client files a complaint. Hard to do that if you are dead. Also hard to do that after burying a child. However, every injury and death is investigated should it occur in a hospital setting. I am saying that women choose homebirth because they are poorly informed- you hit the nail on the head, sister! It's impossible to consider yourself educated because you read articles on the internet- "ME" is confusing reading with research. Keeley, I wouldn't have the opinion I hold had it not been for the data that has been presented to me. I am so thankful you had a good experience. But that experience in no way justifies the risk- as you said, you need to tell the whole story, not just yours. It's a bit like going up to a lung cancer victim, smoking a cigarette and saying, "Sorry for your experience, but you need to tell the whole story! I'm fine!" In response to being guaranteed an orgasmic birth- your words. Not mine. If you read the myth, it simply states Orgasmic Birth. Of course no one can promise sexual gratification during labor- midwives can't even promise a live baby. As for being "scared that there is an army of hippy birth professionals running around causing harm," I just have to smile at the irony because once again, those are your words, not mine. Another myth you yourself are perptuating? I feel your true reason for responding isn't out of concern for women and their babies, but out of worry for your own profession. If more women know the true risks of birthing outside of a hospital, you will have fewer and fewer clients.

    • profile image

      Mama Tao 

      8 years ago

      Great question about the stats from midwives. MANA has a study that was supposed to dispell the rumors that Homebirth was not dangerous. When they had the data looked at they suddenly refused to release it. I wonder why an org of non-nurse midwives would sit on the "proof "that homebirth was not dangerous? Seem like if they had proof they'd shove it down our throats. Guess they must not have gotten the results they wanted.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Both sides have risks. You educate yourself and decide which risks you are willing to take - what is important to you, and what you think is a gamble you are willing to take. You do your own research so when the time comes, you and a partner are prepared to deal with such situations as an obviously incompetent midwife or a doctor who is not listening to your wishes. You make lists and lists of questions to ask you potential doctor or midwife and talk to past clients.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      First of all, I'd just like to say, as a doula and future midiwfe, that BoBB did not impress me, nor does it represent all homebirthers and advocates. That being said, let's get on with the show.

      I don't know you from Adam, but it seems as if you had a really unpleasant experience either with just birth in general, or midwife. If so, I'm so sorry. I also appreciate that you are trying to save other birthing families from either your fate or what you perceive as the fate of those who choose a midwife for their care outside of a hospital setting. You've backed up your opinions with some facts and statistics in a very concise manner.

      Where are the statistics from midwives? You can find statistics taken by people who work with the natural birthing community and you can also find them taken by sources that you might find more credible, such as the AMA. You claim your state has TRIPLE the neonatal mortality rate because of 54 midwives? I would love to see the numbers compared to ob care given deaths as well as what caused the deaths of those under midwifery care.

      That's not my reason for responding. The way you present your information implies that women who choose to birth at home or use a midwife for care are making an uneducated or poorly educated decision. Originally, I was going to take each of your points and break them down and "dispel" the myths from my own point of view, but I think that would be a waste.

      I'm trying to understand where you are coming from, and where these myths came from. Do you honestly think that every midwife spreads these myths? Where these things you were lead to believe during your own pregnancy?

      Let's look at orgasmic birth. It happens to some women, I'm sure, but it isn't something the midwifery community as a whole is telling birthing moms. Why? Because it's not a standard in midwifery care. You are not promised an orgasmic birth. Are there midwives who tell their clients this? I'm sure there are, just like there are doctors who tell their patients it's perfectly fine to be induced if you feel like it. Not all doctors say this not even most, but it happens.

      If you are truly trying to be an advocate for women, then you need to tell them the whole story, not just what you've experienced. I had a great homebirth with my last birth, but man, they are not for everyone.

      If you want to educate women, and "save the innocent" that is really great. We need more birth advocates, and people who feel passionate, but all I'm getting from your post is that you are angry, and you feel wronged, and you are scared that there is an army of hippy birth professionals running around causing harm. You are spreading myths at the same time you think you are dispeling them. There is a place in the birthing community for both doctors and midwives, providing they aren't evil, Midwives are also needed and provide an important choice for those who fit the criteria, or just want the power to choose.

    • SkeptiMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      All midwives are supposedly "specially trained to deal with uncomplicated births." One of the problems is that complications can arise suddenly and unexpectedly. While they only except low risk patients, low risk is not no risk. Please note that this hub is not "The Myths of Nurse Midwifery." I chose to dispel the misinformation that I have seen, read, and heard by CPMs, DEMs, laymidwives, doulas, and homebirth advocates. You asked for sources and I gladly gave you credible research. Science can't be cherry picked- you either have all of it, or none of it. The data cannot be denied- it would be a disservice to my readers and expectant mothers to lead them down a rosy path of uncomplicated, unmedicated, natural, orgasmic empowering birth. Also, in my state, Nurse Midwives DO NOT make up a good size bulk of health care workers- DEMS do. My state's neonatal mortality is triple the national average (what would normally shut down a hospital) from the mere 54 registered DEMS here. It would be wrong, slightly immature, and an oversimplification to assume I am calling health care workers names by dispelling the myths surrounding their work- it is in the name of protecting the innocent.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I understand that you had a pretty horrific experience, and that there's a lot of terrible misinformation out there from the other side. But there's a whole other VERY qualified side to midwifery, that is not reflected in this post, and I think you're doing your readers and yourself a disservice not to acknowledge that. Please don't be quick to lump unqualified charlatans in with the hardworking and educated Nurse Midwives who thankfully make up a good-sized bulk of healthcare workers, who are specially trained to deal with uncomplicated births. We need more of them, not for them to be unfairly grouped with hippie dippy laypeople.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great article! And thanks for the citations. Too bad the BOBB doesn't have any for their drivel!

    • SkeptiMommy profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Absolutely. I planned on running into this. It's honestly disheartening that someone could watch the Business of Being Born or read Spiritual Midwifery and believe they are truly informed, so I appreciate the fact that you think for yourself, although I hope you see through the "absolutist statements and accusatory language" of homebirth advocates as well. Unfortunately for them, science is not on their side.

      For Cephalopelvic Disproportion (CPD), Meconium Aspiration, Group B Strep, and Electronic Fetal Monitoring: Mayo Clinic Guide To A Healthy Pregnancy. Harms, Roger W., M.D., et al.

      For the risks and maintenance of Group B Strep:

      For the risks of Meconium Aspiration Syndrome:

      Hospital Sanitation:

      Risks of Water Birth:

      As for placenta eating, the reason it is misconstrued as effective is because of the National Institutes for Health 2002 statement release, of research "“Chrousos and his team, showed that sudden cessation of CRH production may also result in the depressive symptoms of postpartum depression. In response to CRH produced by the placenta, the mother’s system stops manufacturing its own CRH. When the baby is born, the sudden loss of CRH may result in feelings of sadness or even severe depression for some women.” Laymen's terms- Our pituitary gland regulates hormones, but when we are pregnant, our placenta takes on a lot of that work, particularly with CRH. Of course, that is thrown for a loop when we birth our placenta and it takes some time to recover. There is NO research/studies/etc conducted anywhere that prove ingesting the placenta will make up for a lack of CRH.

      Contact your local hospital for their policies on electronic fetal monitoring- the duration required for EFM vary from hospital to hospital.

      I don't believe I have to cite the requirements of becoming an OB- it's pretty well understood the amount of school, time, education, etc it requires. Please see Midwives Alliance of North America for the types of midwifery and education required. There you will see that a direct-entry midwife is an independent practitioner educated in the discipline of midwifery through self-study- aka absolutely no formal education required.

      Also, no research, randomly assigned studies, or meta analysis on Castor Oil/Acupressure/Acupuncture/Walks/Sex/Yoga/Spicy Food/Stripping Membranes/Prenatal Chiropractor/Tarot Cards/Toe Readings/Lack of Fear/Patience to start labor. It is a myth, ergo it is on this page.

      The reasons this is titled "The Myths of Midwifery" is because none of these mantras repeated by NCBers can be proven, but as for the voice of reason dispelling these myths- the evidence can be cited. And please note that these are legitimate studies, not BhuddaDoula'

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Do you have any sources for your information here? I'm reading a lot of absolutist statements and accusatory language here, but it would be nice to see some evidence-based research to support your arguments.


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