Really? She scares me. She is a physical therapist without a day's formal training in anything birth-related-- not lay midwifery, nothing. She is a 'childbirth educator' [which, I kid you not, is a 'credential' that can be achieved in a morning], and I think it's ludicrous for her to purport to write a book on the management of labor.
Huh. I assumed she was a midwife, since Bastyr's program is named after her. I read her Labor Progress Handbook a long time ago, and found it interesting. She's not too keen on epidurals - I know you disagree with that. She gives a lot of recommendations for positioning and low-tech comfort measures, remaining active while using an electric fetal monitor, doula stuff that strikes me as harmless and possibly quite useful. But now that I remember, there was a whole section about maneuvers for managing shoulder-dystocia and diagrams explaining pelvic exams and clinical interventions. This certainly does seem outside the scope of a PT/doula!
This is so upsetting . I can't comprehend how anyone could have the sheer arrogance to think they are capable of delivering babies without sufficient training. It is beyond my comprehension as to why any mother (or father , as they have an equal say) would put the life of their child in danger. Obviously they are sucked in by the philosophy, but natural homebirths are completely possible - but you need a qualified person there to assess the risks and make 'that' call. A friend of a friend had a baby a few years back, birthed by an unqualified midwife , the baby was born brain damaged and died a few years later - horrendous. These people need stopping. How can they life with the guilt? Or are they that narcissistic or deluded that there is none?
apologies for the terrible spelling and grammar, I was in 'Rant' mode ;)
I am no expert on this subject but I did spend some time looking at a few studies. Friend of mine got all cuckoo for home birth after seeing the Ricki Lake documentary and after 3 hospital births that produce beautiful healthy babies decided to go all natural home birth for #4. Long story short: midwife was very late arriving, baby was footling breech, baby was born safely, thank God, on the floor of her living room surrounded by several burly paramedics.
My friend said when the midwife realized the baby was footling, she yelled, "I can't do this!"
The whole thing made me wonder: why didn't they know the baby was footling? Is that something that happens during birth? At the very least, shouldn't she have known the baby was breech? And isn't that presentation contraindicated for a home birth?
My friend was very shaken up. Her husband described the baby's blue foot dangling out of her, and thought when he saw it that he was dead. For a few days she questioned her decision. Then she forgot the fear, like one does, and decided home birth was awesome and magical.
I don't know if her midwife was a CPM or not. And again, no expert. But from what I know about my friend's birth experience, the situation feels really hinky to me.
So I started researching home birth. I started with the Skeptical OB. Interesting website. But I have a rule where if I'm serious about learning about something I go beyond opinions. I don't want to be sold anything, or if I am sold I want to make the decision to buy.
I looked at a lot of the source material. I am not a physician or a medical professional but I can more or less ascertain whether the data supports the opinion. More or less.
I came away from my several months or so of interest in this topic feeling really disillusioned with home birth. Of course I think it's anyone's right. It's just such a first world problem to me. I think of the poor women around the world who'd give their right arms to labor in hospitals with first class doctors and medicine and machines that go "bing!" (Sorry, Monty Python reference!) And I sort of scratch my head at how we have swung from the 50s and 60s, when we were so enamored with our ability to make childbearing pleasant that women were all but unconscious, and fed their new babies from bottles wearing rubber gloves, to the opposite end of that pendulum arc: giving birth at home, our dreadlocks dangling in the patchouli scented water of our birthing tub, nursing little Indigo right away, eating our placentas.
I'm exaggerating a little of course, to make a point. And I think there is a lot to be said for respecting natural processes in many different areas of our lives. I am just concerned that too many women choose home birth without knowing the risks, and worst of all, without understanding their midwife might be a total quack.
My friend and I have kind of tacitly agreed not to discuss the issue. I'm
33 and struggling with infertility, and she's 29 and had 4 kids without trying. So it's hard for me to listen to her bitch about not having the right kind of birth experience, when all I want is a parenting experience. I don't care if the baby is dragged out of me with a team of oxen. As long as we come through it safe and healthy, I will be happy. And in my - I have to say, at this point - pretty informed opinion, a hospital birth is the best way to achieve a safe birth.
There should definitely be licensing requirements for midwifes. Rigorous ones. In every state. Too many women and children have been injured or died due to lack of information and gross incompetence. The blog Hurt by Home Birth is full of their stories, and they are nightmarish.
Missus, that hurtbyhomebirth website is really disturbing. I had to force myself to keep reading, because it made me feel so queasy. I don't know that home birth was the culprit in most of those cases, but negligent and pernicious midwives, who in many cases lacked proper training. I'm sorry to hear about your friend's experience. I wonder why her midwife didn't know the baby was breech! There are some midwives who advise against ultrasounds, but even then, she should have been able to tell the position from the fetal heartbeat I'd imagine. Either way, it sounds like she handled it horribly. So glad that the baby was unharmed after all that.
I live in PA and all the MW 's I personally have used fir each of my 3 HB's are properly trained, have a liscense, and back up ObGyn's when needed. I do know many who choose what I would call "a glorified doula who read 2 Ina Mae books and thinks she is qualified" and until something goes wrong, this handfull of "glorified doulas" will continue to practice, its all supply and demand, sadly. I paid out of pocket almost 3 grand for my one HB and the other 2 were covered by our insurance (Aetna one time, Blue Cross the other). The problem I see is that where I live you can either drive well over an hour to a birth center or deliver in one of the several hospitals and fight the whole time for a natural birth. (And while I may choise natural birth formyself, I am not suggesting this is how all are to givebirth) But I also hear of friends from around the country who are able to have "hands off unless it becomes an issue" labors and births in the hospital. So, that is where we are at here in my little pocket of the USA. We also have a high % of Amish and Mennonite folks who can and do support both industries (liscenced and non). While I have obviously chosen HB several times with providers who had what I felt the know how and experience to back them up, and I also did prenatal testing, US etc, I know others who either did not have the insurance or finances to do so.