Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dr. Amy, aka The Skeptical Ob, Offers NO Value to Expectant Mothers

"A big complaint of women who birth in hospitals is they feel abandoned. They don't feel cared for..."

"Then they ought to adjust their expectations."
--Dr. Amy

The debate hosted at My Best Birth, "Dr. Amy, aka The Skeptical Ob, Has a Blatant Issue with Home Birth - My Rebuttal," reached 500 comments today. Wow!

While the debate was highly significant, it has reached a point of circling back to points already covered and roads already crossed. I am bowing out, but not without one final reflection.

Read the contents of this article to learn about my "final take" on this rampant discussion that has spanned over a month and a half and garnered over 500 comments. 

In short, what you will continue to conclude, as I have, is that Dr. Amy offers NO value to either side. Whether pro or anti-home birth, Dr. Amy simply does a disservice to all expectant mothers. Period.

Let's get started, shall we...

Dr. Amy, aka The Skeptical Ob, is a strong opponent of home birth and won't hesitate to let you know it. She advises women against home birth due to "grossly undereducated" midwives, (including CNMs, CPMS and DEMs alike). In her opinion, home birth is as selfish as it is dangerous, and she makes it clear - a woman's birth experience matters far less than whatever the outcome may be.

To Dr. Amy, birth is INHERENTLY dangerous. Even unnatural.

For well over a month, the online community for holistic mothers and families, My Best Birth, has been the host of a heated debate over home birth featuring Dr. Amy Tuteur. Dr. Amy, a well known anti-home birth activist on the internet (she retired from her work as an OBGYN well over a decade ago) and frequent blogger about the lack of education of home birth and natural childbirth advocates.

To date, the featured blog post, "Dr. Amy, aka "The Skeptical Ob," Has a Blatant Issue With Home Birth - My Rebuttal," has accumulated over 500 comments. 

It's more than a debate, it's been an ongoing discussion.

Several women have chimed in with their opinions, exasperations, personal experiences and questions. An overwhelming amount of information has been spread, making the debate incredibly worth while and value based.

Dr. Amy has been active to fire off statistics, name call and badger her opponents and naysayers.

Too bad. Having a heated debate on such a popular birth community as My Best Birth, one would think Amy would leverage the opportunity to shed positive light on her character, rather than the opposite.

Not that she hasn't been given the chance (several times, by several women) to provide information of value to her audience.

Questions such as, 

"What are your thoughts/views/suggestions on how hospitals could increase their standards?" were either completely ignored as she commented on something else or disappeared from the discussion altogether until several comments later. On one occasion she almost replied, saying, "home birth advocates keep spitting out the same myths, half  truths and lies over and over again."

More than half the discussion was completely diverted from the subject of home birth to the broader, "mother topic" of it all - birth!

Speaking of myths, half truths and lies, several topics of high interest were brought up which Dr. Amy replied to in the very way she has accused home birth and natural childbirth advocates. When fear and anxiety during labor resulting in the slowing down and sometimes halting labor was mentioned, Amy said it was baloney. Not true. Nothing but natural childbirth advocate lies.

When women shared traumatic hospital birth stories (experiences which lead them to choose to birth at an alternative location) she said not only were they lying, but the retelling of their stories were fabrications as well. 

Not once, during the entire conversation did she answer or address a concern about the 32% cesarean rate and how due to this, along with other unnecessary interventions so prevalent in hospitals today, women are curious about home birth. No solutions. Just silence.

Then, FINALLY, this evening, she answered one of the question so many of us have been waiting for...

I changed the way the question was asked, diverting attention away from hospitals to the women to be advised. Here's the question:

"What is your advice to pregnant women who have (are having) hospital births to ensure they have the best birth experience possible in that setting, (specifically) if their aim is to have a natural birth?"

Dr. Amy's answer: (drum roll please...)

"Most women are quite happy with the existing system. According to the Listening To Mothers II Survey:

"Mothers generally gave high ratings to the quality of the United States health care system and even higher ratings to the quality of maternity care in the U.S...

By law ... women are entitled to full informed consent or informed refusal before experiencing any test or treatment. Most mothers stated that they had fully understood that they had a right to full and complete information ... and to accept or refuse any offered care..."

The concerns of most women are very different from the concerns of homebirth advocates."

What a MAJOR disappointment!

Her answer was so typical of the way she responded to every other statement, question or sentiment throughout the debate. No real value, just cold, bland, reused statistics and surveys. I wondered during the debate, and am still curious now, what Amy has to gain from her anti-home birth tirade, especially if she is unwilling to give insight and advice to the women she scares out of birthing at home.

This evening, I've decided I have spent enough of my precious time talking to Dr. Amy. 

She's a hopeless cause. But, and this is a BIG but, I am so very grateful for the experience. Not only did I make some great friends, I learned so much from the women sharing their stories and advocating informed birth in any setting. I gave a lot too, and am really proud of some of the well thought-out comments that I left there.

So go over and read Dr. Amy vs. Home Birth and see for yourself (it might take a while, but skim through, it's worth a look) and become a member of the community. My Best Birth is a safe place to ask questions, share your thoughts and stories. It's full of non-judgmental women who believe in informed birth and pro-birth choice. 

You can find me advocating planned home birth for low risk women at my site, Bring Birth Home.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Home Birth Debate Rests (for now)

There has been a big debate going on over at My Best Birth regarding the safety of home birth. Within one month, comments have reached over 330.

For now it looks as if the conversation is at rest. But one can never know. It's a passionate subject and the numbers of women and their partners joining the community continues to grow daily.

Here is a full article about how this debate got started: Home Birth Advocates Triumph Over Opposition

Monday, December 14, 2009

Home Birth Advocates Take a Stand!

If you have been researching home birth on the internet, you may have come across a woman, a retired doctor, who calls herself, "The Skeptical Ob." She's got issues with home birth, and she's not afraid to tell anyone about it.

I recently took on Dr. Amy in an attempt to refute some of the fear-based claims she was making about home birth and home birth choosing women, in a blog post at MyBestBirth.

Within a week, 85 comments were made by home birth advocates and Amy - the conversation was intense with fact sharing, opinion hurling, defensiveness and a lot of clarity.

I highly suggest reading the article, which you can do so here.

The blog post got so much attention in fact, that part creator, Ricki Lake (director of the Business of Being Born and co-author of new book, My BestBirth), sent me a private email thanking and encouraging me forward on the movement to take a stand for home birth.

The amount of passion in the comments made by women in the community has made a lasting impression on me. I feel a deep kinship with the attitude and tone that was set during those days of battling our believe that home birth IS just as safe for low-risk women as birthing in a hospital.

Click to read the follow-up blog post, which highlights some great comments.

If you are interested in home birth, I, as well as my educated community of home birth advocates, encourage you to do your due diligence when selecting a qualified midwife to accompany you at home.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Top Twenty Reasons For Having a Home Birth

#1. Home birth is beautiful...

Women who choose home birth make up less than 1% in the United States. This is not the case in the rest of the world.

This coming year, 2010, insurance companies in the UK will be required to offer coverage to women no matter where they birth - including home.

There is a common misconception amongst American's that home birth is unsafe. In recent years, more outspoken Obstetricians have begun admitting home birth is just as safe for low risk women as hospital birth. And perhaps safer.

Yes, more and more people are realizing that home birth is just as safe, if not more safe than the conventional hospital setting when taken into account the rising rate of unnecessary interventions (such as our cesarean section rate of 30% - over 15% is considered doing more harm than good).

This is a list of the top twenty reasons why choosing home birth is a good idea for low-risk women (in no particular order).

1. Home birth is beautiful!

2. The germs in your home are safer than hospital germs and do not include sick people.

3. Your chances of having a cesarean section are reduced in HALF.

4. Price of a hospital birth= $14,000. Home birth=$1500

5. You can stay home; eat at home and sleep at home, before, during and after birth.

6. No strangers.

7. You can control the environment easily in your own home. Your own music, dim lights, candles, etc.

8. A home is a birthplace to cherish for a lifetime. There are memories created in each room where you labor, and especially the one where you deliver.

9. No disturbances or interruptions...it's quiet at home.

10. Your children can be present (your pets too!).

11. You don't have to ask where to go or what to do at a home birth.

12. No hospital gown. No ID bracelet. You can wear your own pjs. Or nothing at all!

13. You choose WHERE you want to birth - outside, birthtub, living room floor or bed.

14. You choose HOW you want to birth - on your hands and knees, on your side, squatting or laying down.

15. (this was a big one for me) Sleeping in your own bed the night you give birth with your baby by your side.

16. You can EAT! Ice chips don't count as food, i.e. protein shakes, yogurt, eggs and toast, whatever you want!

17. Cut the cord when you want to - you don't have to argue about letting the cord continue to pulsate. Just say the word ahead of time and that's that.

18. No IV, no internal monitoring.

19. No extra costs (like a heating pad for $50).

20. You will be left alone to labor in peace, with the strength and raw power of your body that you will learn to trust and admire, with as much or as little coaching as you want.

This list could go on and on. There are plenty of tiny, precious reasons why home birth is such an incredible experience.

You have the power - the choice, about how you want to bring your child into the world. Why not make beautiful memories? Why not do it your way? You don't have to wait until your second birth to have the kind of birth you want.

I say bring birth home. Whether that be home to your physical home, or home to your heart.

Take ownership of your birth, plan, and make the best informed decision for you.

Want to learn more about home birth? Visit my new site to learn more about your home birth options, preparation, what to expect during labor, delivery and more.

Best wishes on your journey!