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.


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