New Hurt by Homebirth Blog

Amy Tutuer has started a new blog called Hurt by Homebirth in which women detail the deaths or injuries of their infants who could have been saved by hospital births:

Private websites run by homebirth advocates frequently and proudly delete comments unfavorable to homebirth, and there’s nothing more unfavorable than a homebirth story that ends in death.

Enough is enough. Hurt by Homebirth has been created as a safe place where women can tell the stories of the babies who died or who were left brain damaged or otherwise injured by homebirth. And though maternal death is far more rare, it is also a place where families can tell the story of mothers who have died at or in the aftermath of a homebirth.

It is an important site for women who might be considering homebirth, since so often homebirth advocates are not forthcoming about the risks involved.

Unfortunately, women contemplating homebirth don’t know the risks and homebirth advocates aren’t about to tell them. In fact, adding insult to injury, when a bereaved mother attempts to share her baby’s story with other homebirth advocates, the baby is figuratively erased out of existence. Homebirth websites delete homebirth tragedies. They don’t want women to know the truth.

Be warned.  The first story is tragic and very difficult to read.

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55 Responses to New Hurt by Homebirth Blog

  1. MumOfOne says:

    It’s very important for woman considering having a baby to know what the risks are.
    I agree that it’s also important for a woman to know the risks of having a home birth. What are the stats by the way? What percentage of babies die in home births as opposed to hospital births?

    • littlez2008 says:

      Here’s a post that covers that question a bit.

      Even studies that claim to show that homebirth is as safe as hospital birth, like the Johnson and Daviss BMJ 2005 study, ACTUALLY show that homebirth with a CPM has triple the rate of neonatal mortality of comparable risk women who delivered in the hospital in the same year.

      • HB midwife and HB mama says:

        This is all complete nonsense. Please do your homework. Homebirth has in a number of studies been shown to be as safe if not safer than hospital birth for low risk women and babies. I suspect Ms. Amy Tuteur is being paid by ACOG to spread the misinformation that she is so passionate about. The US is one of the lowest rated developed countries in both Maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality. That fact stands even with the enormous amount of money spent on healthcare and birth in general. We have a highly mechanized way of dealing with birthing women and babies yet we have a horrible record at keeping our woman and babies safe from harm in the process. Many deaths associated with the postpartum period are sadly missed and not even calculated into the mix due to poor record keeping (PP officially only goes up to 6 weeks when many deaths occur in the 3-6 months pp). It is obvious that the high rate of unnecessary interventions is not helping but is in fact hindering our collective birth process.
        Here is an article from amnesty international about maternal death in the US and U.S. has second worst newborn death rate in modern world, report says:

        Here is one from CNN about neonatal death rates:

        These are two examples of many reports so if you are not convinced by these two articles please do your own search. You will find this fact solidly shown in multiple places.

        Propaganda will always exist and women’s bodies will always be debated over with power and money. This is an historical argument that continues today. Midwives are powerful and daunting forces that abide with the power in women to naturally birth their babies in the ways that they want. There will always be those that are fearful and/or pissed off that this is true. The fact is that babies die sometimes when they are making their crossing into life. This has always been true. BABIES DIE IN THE HOSPITAL MORE OFTEN THAN WE KNOW! It is not reported on because it is accepted as fact in that environment. Sometimes it is unavoidable and sometimes it is not. If you have any desire to know the truth I urge you not to believe the propaganda and do your own research!

        Having said all of this, I want to say that it is deeply tragic when a baby or mother is lost or damaged during the birth process. I in no way mean to belittle that fact. My heart goes out deeply to any who have experienced this loss, at home or in the hospital.
        In addition, I also understand that home is not the place for all or even most births to take place. Although it may be a low risk birth women chose their birth settings for a variety of reasons and this I fully support and understand. The point is women should be choosing where and with whom to give birth, not policies set by others.
        Finally, I am very thankful for the technologies that help us when we need them. I am thankful for the hospital in being a safe guard in those cases. I am also thankful that it is a place that some women feel safer in having their babies. It is NOT the only safe place though as this blog might suggest and there are many cases where unnecessary interventions greatly hinder the process.

        Happy Homebirth Midwife and Homebirth Mama

    • Simon says:

      Thanks for asking for the stats in the first post, a voice of reason. As the other response shows Amy Tutuer has answered this for the US, and the stats are heavily in favour of hospitals.

      The stats are that way in the US, in part because of the two tier midwifery. In my part of the UK, the stats for home birth are excellent, because all our midwives are trained to a standard comparable to the top tier in the US and they can correctly advise women when a home birth is not advisable (and that is a lot of the time). We are also a much smaller and more densely populated country, so even when there is a last minute dash to a hospital that dash may not be terribly long by US standards.

      I completely understand and sympathise with the view that modern hospitals often aren’t the nicest of places to give birth, but that are the safest.

      Should also be noted when comparin relative risk, that whilst hospitals are a lot safer, the absolute risk of dying for mother or child in now quite low in either case.

      • Joey Vieira says:

        We just had an amazing homebirth and we were 2 and a bit weeks late. After just 1 week of being late our midwife had us see our Doctor. He monitored the heart rate and fluid on our visit and then advised us to make an appointment for a hospital birth for the end of the following week. He said if it comes before then great, but if not, he’d being seeing us. The day before seeing him again our little boy was born. Here’s a clip of the 65 hours of labor!

      • HoHum says:

        What are you expecting? A gold or silver in the uber natural mothering olympics for spending over two days in labor?

        Would you have posted a video if your story would have made it to the website that is the subject of this article? Really? Think about it.

    • L&DRNC says:

      Reply to HB midwife:
      Most of all babies that die in the hospital die from prematurity. An infant born at 23.5 wks has about a %50 chance of living, born at home %0. Midwives transfer their pre-term moms and babies to the hospital so you don’t count their deaths. Midwives generally don’t take patients with any co-morbid conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes. Sometimes you tell the patients that you do and then after you get paid you tell the patient at 37 weeks gestation that they are too high risk. This happened to a patient of mine a couple of weeks ago. We have patients that are morbidly obese. You don’t seem to take those either…could it be because you don’t want your mortality rates to increase? Of course patients with no history of medical problems with babies with no history of medical problems do better overall than patients with a significant history. Not to mention the fact that when something goes wrong at a homebirth or birthing center that the patient is transferred to the hospital. Sometimes the baby has already died but you don’t have to count those deaths because the baby was born in the hospital. I’m sure for bad outcome there are a hundred healthy homebirths. If your baby is the one in a hundred it wasn’t a risk worth taking. Midwives sometimes tell patients pretty crazy things about the hospital, like we are out to get them and harm them and their babies. We love healthy babies. My number one goal every day with every patient is a healthy baby. I feel God’s presence every time a see a baby born. I took an oath to Do No Harm. I take it seriously because if I don’t I couldn’t live with myself. Could you?

  2. The Nerd says:

    This issue is so difficult all around. I once considered home birth simply because I could not afford a hospital visit. Then I barely squeeked into the Medicaid program and my ass was saved (literally). I love the proper administration of pain-reducing medication SO MUCH.

    But you know what? It got more and more impersonal the more I needed to be nurtured. The nurses would talk about me like I wasn’t there, and I had to get rude in order to get any responses to my questions. I understand that it may be an emergency if I’m bleeding mysteriously, but it’s my fucking body, I have a right to be told that I’m bleeding because I won’t die in the 5 seconds it takes to communicate.

    Stories like that are all over the internet. Some hospitals are starting to listen to the demand for a more holistic approach to childbirth (by which I mean emotional care, not chakras and whatnot). But I get the feeling that costs more and is probably still off limits to the economically disadvantaged, who are the same people that are uneducated enough to see home birth as empowering.

    Now would be the perfect time to go into a rant about health care reform, but I’ll leave that up to your imagination.

    • The Nerd says:

      In response to the long rambling comments above…

      Now is a good time to point out that this oppositional model of “science OR home birth” is a dangerous one, because it shuts down rational conversation. When one side is accusing the other of trying to kill babies out of stupidity, or one is accusing the other of trying to diminish woman’s struggles, neither side is attempting to find an equitable solution to the root problems.

      We all know the facts: a home lacks the sophisticated resources of a hospital; a hospital lacks the intimate nurturing care of a home. Polarizing the issues as though one side trumps the other in any and all situations only drives people deeper into their world views. There can be no equitable solutions in an oppositional model.

      Maybe I should put that in bold.

      There can be no equitable solutions in an oppositional model.

      Much better!

      The one thing that will hurt mothers and infants alike is being ideologically cut off from considering options that may be of aid. Instead of talking at each other, we need to start listening to each other and integrating each other’s ideas into a new vision of childbirth care.

  3. Interesting, necessary, and yes, tragic.

    My son and I both would have died if we weren’t in a hospital. Medical approach, all the way.

    • Renee says:

      Yes, but if you had been planing a home birth, your birth would have played out the same. You would have called your midwife, and she would have told you this was an emergency that warranted being in the hospital.

      • Courtney says:

        Renee that is a very limited perspective that you have. Now I am not saying that some well qualified midwives would not have made a transfer. But there are plenty of children left injured because their midwife didn’t make the call to transfer at all, made it too late, or the problem was so severe and quick that a transfer would not have provided a solution.

        We have to remember that:
        - There are some good midwives who put the patient above the desire to homebirth.
        - That not all people have a hospital that is just right around the corner.
        - That many babies have died because of a delay in transfer, a failure of the midwife to properly explain the emergency situation regarding the transfer or to miss either fatal issues presenting before or after birth.

        To simply say that she would have transfered and had time to get whatever the treatment she needed was is pretty stupid unless you know personally what her complications were, her proximity to a hospital, and her midwife.

        It is those who act like home birth will always provide the preferable or safer option that are segregating this debate and causing the problems.

        People need a better understanding of fact vs. opinion.

      • L&DRNC says:

        Renee that only presumes that the midwife is trained enough to realize that there is a problem!

  4. Nurse OB says:

    Perhaps we should start a website entitled “Deaths and Injuries from Birthing in the Hospital”? At least that would be more fair because bad things do happen in the hospital environment and at least some of it is caused by medical intervention that would not happen in the home birth setting.

    I agree with the writer above that women should be allowed to choose whatever provider (MD, DO, CNM, CPM, etc) they want and the place they want without all this oppositional “crap” that is coming from physicians and hospitals. There are good studies re: homebirth and I do not know any midwife site that is not honest about outcomes. All midwives I know explain even better than the physicians I know about risks and benefits of homebirth or freestanding birth center birth. Let’s not be accusing someone of lying unless you can back it up with facts. Check out,,, and for more information on midwives and birth centers.

    • Mego says:

      MANA won’t release their death statistics. They have the largest data base of home birth with CPM stats and they won’t release them to you unless you use them to promote the cause of midwifery and sign a non disclosure agreement. This is at least my understanding. I personally can’t find the information given freely but I haven’t formally petitioned for it. However, I suspect that if it supported the safety of home birth over hospital birth it would be the center of quite a vocal PR campaign.

  5. Christy says:

    You are missing something in talking about how important this site is: it is almost purely an appeal to emotion. If you want to scare and depress people, nothing does it like dead baby stories! Then they’ll listen to whatever you want them to believe.

    My impression of Amy Teuter is that she’s an abrasive ideologue with a devotion to typical OB intervention that is just as irrational as the crunchy set’s devotion to home birth.

    From my reading, it seems that hospital birth is slightly more risky for the mother, while home birth is associated with a higher risk of death within the first 28 days of life for the baby. That is all interesting information that should be pursued in further studies.

    Note also that this doesn’t take into account the high rate of hospital interference with breastfeeding, which introduces further risk for both mother and baby down the line.

    Look, I think people who have unattended births, or home births with non-licensed midwives are taking an unconscionable risk (and do the home birth studies include such midwives? It would skew toward home birth being dangerous, when really having an unqualified attendant is the dangerous thing).

    I’m not a lentil-burger creduloid. But I don’t think this dead baby site is useful except as catharsis for the affected families. It’s not even poor science – it isn’t science at all.

    • Mego says:

      She has another blog that is dedicated more to the science of the matter. I think this new blog is a reaction to the fact that it is VERY difficult to find anything negative or even impartial about home birth. Almost everything out there is positive and anecdotal. This offers the other side using equally emotional appeals.

      • I am so sick of this nonsense being spread on the internet. Emotional manipulation, professional slander, and people expressing opinions that have no basis in fact. Disgusting.

        If all of you want to see the studies, go take a look and read carefully. Analyze for yourself every study you read for conflicts of interest, poor study design, and conclusions/findings (the headlines) that are not even representative of the actual facts proven in the study. This takes time and effort, but you will be a far more well-informed person as a result, and your opinions will actually be based on something real.

        Here is a start on education:
        There are links to several of the largest and most well-designed studies on this subject.

        Example of a lousy study: someone did a study in Washington state trying to show that out-of-hospital birth was unsafe. To arrive at that conclusion, they used birth certificate data (very sketchy and unreliable, with insufficient information available on the forms). They concluded that to be safe, births needed to be in hospitals, but to do this they lumped babies born in taxicabs and found abandoned in dumpsters together with homebirths attended by midwives and doctors! So their data meant absolutely nothing. Zero, zip, nada. This person’s name will forever be associated with one of the most unprofessional studies ever published. Recently another OB was similarly embarrassed by publishing a study with headlines about how home birth was associated with higher risks for baby. Read the study carefully and look at the numbers, see what they are based upon, and you will wonder how much the guy was paid to ruin his own name in such a manner.

        MANA stats are not retrospective, the mothers are signed up before the birth so it doesn’t matter what the outcome is, it gets reported. And MANA does not hide their data. They publish it each time they have enough data to make a statistically-significant study, and every time it is shown how effectively midwives keep mothers and babies safe, there is another attack from ACOG (whose own outcome stats keep getting worse and worse; just in California alone the maternal death rate in hospitals has tripled in the last decade). The simple truth is, midwives’ maternal and infant mortality rates and morbidity rates are lower. Instead of getting mad and lashing out, ACOG needs to think about what they are doing wrong to make their results so appallingly poor, and CHANGE IT. The truth is, they can’t beat us, and apparently aren’t smart enough to join us – they would rather act like petty bullies and keep making it worse all the time for mothers and babies. Why?

        Take a look at the study of over half a million mothers with home birth midwives in the Netherlands. Midwives who practice in states here that have good licensing laws (like Washington) have similar training and qualifications (and authority to use life-saving meds) to those midwives. Their stats clearly prove that the location of the birth is not related to safety, only to level of comfort and subsequent success in labor. What is related to safety is the quality of your care provider.

        Another thing I am sick of seeing is “my baby would have died if I hadn’t been in a hospital”. When you ask for details, it is often something like “after my epidural, the baby’s heart rate crashed, so he needed a c-section”. So the baby would not have even had the problem at all if they had not been in the hospital. Or while the mother was flat on her back being monitored, they lost the heartbeat and panicked. I have seen this personally, and once watched a nurse get a perfect heartbeat (the baby moved and it was just a monitoring error) and hide that fact because the OR was ready and the doctor was waiting to do the c-section, so they went ahead with a completely unnecessary major surgery and pretended to the parents that they had “saved” the baby. This is not a rare thing at all, so before you make such a crazy statement, question whether it is even true; otherwise your statement is about as unscientific, emotionally biased, and anecdotal as it gets.

        Why is anecdotal garbage OK if it praises the hospital which has a 35% c-section rate and high mortality and morbidity (“but they ‘saved’ me”), but not OK if it points out that your home birth went great when your midwives’ practice has a 0% c-section rate, super-low-to-zero morbidity rate, 0% death rate, stellar apgars, 100% breastfeeding, 0% perineal 3-4 degree tears and very few minor tears, etc., etc….. If one story is anecdotal, so is the other. The difference is, one story has a basis in fact for being truly representative of the practice, while the other is clearly suspect based on solid public health statistics.

        Regarding conflicts of interest:
        I do not think that midwifery is better because I am a midwife and am defending my territory and profession. I went back to school and became a midwife later, after I did a lot of research and my own children were born, because I knew that midwifery was better care. So I do not have a built-in conflict of interest; I have an understanding based on fact first, and only after the fact did I put my physical efforts behind my research, and joined the profession. Shills like “Dr.” Amy who get paid to manipulate, slander, and twist half-truths into whole lies, have a very warm spot waiting for them when they die. I do not envy them. I sleep well at night.

      • Courtney says:

        I agree I found hurt by home birth because when I was selecting a midwife/birthing center I was finding that through a google search that provided the overall review star rating and a synapses of the reviews that there were some negative ones for many midwives which is normal for any business. However when I tried to read those reviews they are removed and I couldn’t find them. So from reviewing a midwife and noticing that she had blocked negative reviews I got curious and started searching. I was so relieved to find somewhere that would give me the other side of the picture. Does it scare me that an OB has lost a baby, no, with an OB I am more afraid of their CS rates and I can readily find their mortality rates through third party sites. However what scares me about some midwives (not all, but most) is that they hide these negative reviews. Businesses will always have unhappy customers, as a consumer I deserve to see both the good and the bad of any service I accept especially in this case – talk about informed consent! So I am more leery of midwives not because of Amy or the Hurt by Homebirth website, but because they even hid their own negative outcomes.

  6. Christy says:

    . . . and of course I spelled Amy Tuteur’s name wrong as I held forth about all that I know of her. I am facepalming myself with great vigor.

  7. Mego says:

    Why can’t I reply to Happy Homebirth Mama? There’s so much to say!

  8. Ari Nave says:

    I am going to side-step the very protracted debate between Amy Tutuer and the midwifery community about what the statistics say. It has been debated ad nauseam. Regardless of what the statistics tell us about homebirth, it is a tragedy when any birth ends in a death. People should have opportunities to vent the tears in their hearts that result.

    Since this is a site about science-based skeptics, I just want to point out that these anecdotal illustrations are not helpful when one is trying to make a choice about birth. We are all aware the cognitive heuristics like anchoring and saliency that impact our choices in a way that deviates from the analytical. I am sure there are also sites about hospital birth that end in tragedy in turn.

    You really have to look to the data to decide what kind of birth modality is safest for your situation, given the available information on hand. My suggestion for anyone really concerned – avoid the advocates and look at the primary data yourself. Trust yourself to be able to conclude what the data does and does not tell you.

    • Thank you, Ari. I agree, being one of those logical skeptics. The anecdotal stories are only good for giving examples, not for assessing facts and risks. The two cannot be mixed, but often are by fear-mongers.

      I keep telling expectant parents over and over:

      1. Do your own research!!! Use the databases, not the newspaper!
      2. Analyze studies for yourself (complete data, not someone else’s conclusion about the data).
      3. Learn as much as you can about all of the various methods of birth, because each one has something good to offer that can often be used in a different setting.
      4. Interview many providers, of different types, before selecting one. Very important. Do NOT be afraid to ask for, and insist upon getting, their complete birth outcome data. Talk to other parents who have used them, and see what kind of situations arose and why, and how they were handled (not just personality issues like “he was so nice”, but real ones). Only then should you pick your provider.
      5. Get healthy, and stay healthy. Find out how from people who promote glowing health, not from those who only treat illness.
      6. Know your true risk factors, and which ones actually matter to your birth outcome, and how to improve your odds no matter where you birth.
      7. Never make a decision about your care out of fear or ignorance or perceived lack of options; only make your decisions from genuine personal preference after you have obtained sufficient knowledge upon which to base those decisions.
      8. Be flexible as circumstances change, but know what you are not willing to compromise.

      This is your birth. Own it. The time to step up and start being a good and effective parent is now. Good care is out there – it is your job to get it, and to avoid participating in anything that could be detrimental to your baby (so you need to do your homework and know what those things really are, not just believe whatever someone with an agenda tells you).

      If you do all of these things, you will be able to birth almost anywhere and insist on getting and doing what you want. The biggest difference is whether that will be a fight or not, so choose locations and providers carefully and things should go well for you.

  9. Mego says:

    I’m starting to notice a pattern of long tirades followed by an inexplicable lack of reply button. I won’t respond to you (Highland Midwife) point by point because you obviously don’t want to hear it and I frankly don’t have the time. If you read Aquila’s story and think that baby would have died in a hospital then I’m not the one operating outside the realm of fact.

    • Mego, the lack of a reply button must be an error on your system. On my machine, every post has a reply button.

      I’m not sure what responding to me point-by-point has to do with the story you mention. First, I could tell you many true and provable stories about babies and mothers who were damaged or died in the hospital, which would have had a far better outcome at home. One was my own patient that I sent in for a complication, and she would have been fine if I had handled it myself, but the doctor on call bungled everything so terribly that she ended up in critical condition with a dead baby. Where is the blog about that? For the rare bad home birth story, there is a far greater percentage of hospital-caused tragedies. Frankly, my post has nothing to do with anyone’s story, just the fact that as soon as home birth is the topic, these blogs get filled with a plethora of illogical nonsense.

      The last story I read that Dr. Amy was involved in posting (she re-posted it, linked to it, and promoted it, pretending it was from some innocent home-birth victim) turned out to be a fraud, so I no longer waste my time reading them. Ever. That time I frustrated her by logically analyzing the so-called “facts” about a bad home birth, and got her to post a reply without logging out and logging back in under one of her aliases, so she exposed herself. It was quite the scandal for those who were online and watching, to see firsthand what kind of tactics are being used to invent scary stories. Of course, when something like that happens, she’s quick with the delete button. She’s also quick to ban all of us from her blogs who ask the hard factual questions, or post studies that do not fit her agenda.

      So I already publicly proved that story was a fraud, and won’t be reading any more of them. Sad that after time goes by there will be new people online who are not forewarned about her (and/or are gullible enough), who will read new stories from the same source and just believe them. For my part, I won’t even read them.

      • Mego says:

        I’m sorry. I’m not going to discuss personal accusations about Dr. Amy or grieving mothers. The point of my original post was only that the pro home birth crowd provides plenty of opportunity to share positive personal stories but diminishes the negative. If there’s a website dedicated to giving women who had a negative home birth experience the opportunity to do the same, I think that’s fine. I looked at a couple of the studies on your web site and the first two refer to certified nurse midwives, not certified professional midwives. The fact that there’s any blurring of the two is what I personally think the problem is. Studies from other countries are also misleading as those countries have different licensing standards and a different health care infrastructure than we do. I think a home birth with a CNM and a well informed mother is perfectly reasonable.

      • Mego: The “anti-homebirth crowd” goes to great lengths to stifle opposing voices. Most of the home birth crowd welcomes both the hard questions and the opposing opinions, because we can easily answer questions and refute their fear-tactics with facts, and back up those facts. So I’m not sure what you mean, unless there has been a 180-degree reversal in the blogs since I last cruised them. Possible, but I doubt it.

        About this “blurring” that you allege between types of midwives, you need to do more homework, too. As a licensed midwife, I took 3 years of ob/gyn courses (after my pre-med degree) and had to do 100 births before sitting for my exams in Washington. Nurse-midwives take 18 months of ob/gyn courses and do 40 babies. My practice does not require physician supervision, theirs does. I carry and use all the same equipment and meds. So perhaps you are suffering under the misunderstanding that there is a significant difference in care between the two…but if there is, then I have to ask which direction you think that really goes based on the difference in licensing requirements and authority? :-) Do NOT make the mistake of thinking that this means that I am saying that CNM’s are not as good as LM’s, but you would be very uninformed if you imply that the reverse is true. I highly favor stringent testing for licensing. For states with lousy midwifery laws; they create their own problems, but midwives still manage to have good outcomes even in those backwards places.

        Studies all over the globe have shown that the route of training does not have any significant effect on the quality of care, as long as midwives are tested and approved as having the same skills and training – no matter how they got those skills and training. CNMs, CPMs, CMs and LMs all pass the same basic tests and require the same kinds of skills. While CNMs have nursing training that is useful in a hospital setting, CPMs (and LMs/CMs) have more training in what to do if there is no backup nearby and a serious complication occurs.

        And LIKE I ALREADY SAID, the training that the midwives in that study have is similar to what I have; no issue there, so your point is moot.

        What all of the studies do show is that (again, repeating myself) the location of birth is not relevant to safety. The quality of your provider is what determines the level of safety, and all well-trained midwives have similar good outcomes, no matter what the initials are after their name.

      • Courtney says:

        With about 1 percent of births happening out of the hospital currently, I wonder what the goal would be of producing scare tactics. Obviously there are plenty of pregnant women to go around and birthcenter/homebirth isn’t even large enough to be a threat so why would someone create fear when there is none? I would just like to know why you think this would be.

        Why also will MANA not release their statistics for CPM homebirths?

        Why is it that there is very little negative information provided by midwives? I have searched many a blog/midwife home pages and the risks are always downplayed or not there at all, only the positives. This does not provide informed consent. When I go to the doctor for a medication or procedure I expect to be told of the side effects and implications of that treatment. If midwives will not step up to that standard then there isn’t a place for them in main stream medicine.

        Good midwives who actually put the woman and her child over the desire to have a dream birth or the shame/fear of transfer please know this isn’t about you, I realize that not all people can be painted with the same brush. There are good midwives and bad ones, same token there are good hospital staffs/doctors and bad ones. What we really need is the ability to find these care providers in a consistent manner with factual information and without concealing the undesirable facts.

  10. staceyjw says:

    The only appropriate response to Aquilas story is “Im so sorry Liz (and family), that was a horrible tragedy and you are doing your best to make sure others know what happened.”
    Anything else is just mean, rude, and unthinking.

    There are LOTS of HB death stories, there needed to be a place for them where they wouldn’t be swept under the rug, or denied with the tiresome “babies die in the hospital too”. We all know babies die in the hospital, but they don’t die of preventable things like they do at HBs, unless there is major malpractice. I don’t see how anyone can really think being at home is as safe as a hospital, this defies common sense, unless the house has an OR and resuscitation equipment outside of oxygen.

    And to the MW who tells women to read papers and crunch data themselves- how many women are educated enough to do this in any meaningful way? Or have the time too? Even those that do, usually don’t come up with info people like you approve of. The FACT is that HB in the USA is 2-3x as dangerous, depending on what type of caregiver you have. Just because the internet has lots of websites hosted by NCB advocates and HB MWs, and they say it’s SO SAFE, it doesn’t make it so.

    Besides, MOST women ARE being responsible by getting care from a licensed, trained, experienced OBGYN or CNM. I don’t have the time, desire or expertise to try to learn every detail about labor and birth- not that I could in the 10 months of pregnancy- and thats why I hired an expert. I don’t do my own taxes, fix my lawn car or care for my animals health needs, why would I want less than the best for my BABY????

    Telling moms they have to be responsible for their outcomes is insane. The best a mom can do is find a professional they like, and do their due diligence as far as checking their background and experience. They may have opinions about whether they want to labor standing, sitting, etc, but other than these preferences, I don’t see how they can be expected to know enough to be responsible like you require.

    And about Dr Amy- she cares about women, and if you don’t know that its obvious you haven’t read her site. I have seen her BEG for MWs to debate her, but none ever want to. at least she posts facts, with links so you CAN check on if her conclusions are supported by facts, if you want. AND she supports CHOICE, informed consent, and accountability for birth professionals. ALL birth professionals.

  11. “MANA stats are not retrospective, the mothers are signed up before the birth so it doesn’t matter what the outcome is, it gets reported.”

    You seem to be confused. MANA is a private organization. It reports its statistics only if and when it wants to.

    And right now, it is HIDING the death rate of 18,000 homebirths attended by CPMs since 2001. MANA is quite up front about hiding its data. Their own website attempts to justify it by claiming that they represent the interests of midwives and therefore will not release any information that makes them look bad.

    I don’t understand why homebirth advocates, particularly professional homebirth advocates, are not demanding this information. Don’t women have a right to know how many babies died at the hands of homebirth midwives in the past decade? How can anyone make an informed decision about homebirth if homebirth midwives refuse to reveal the safety statistics that they collected?

  12. Dawn says:

    I’m glad that the site has been created. As has been pointed out, many home birth sites censor or delete home births with bad outcomes. Women considering home births need to know that bad things CAN happen – but they are not guaranteed to happen.

    I’m not going to comment on Dr Tuteur OR other midwives. As a CNM, I will comment on births. Babies die. Babies die at home births. Babies die at hospital births. Moms die at home births, moms die in hospital births. Moms die during c-sections, vaginal births, and post partum. In the USA. In big hospitals. People die. Yes, I have seen deaths in the hospital. Since I attended (as a viewer only) only a few home births, I have seen no deaths in home births.

    The first story Dr Tuteur posted IS very sad but is more a reflection of an untaught caregiver than a home birth. Yes, a hospital birth would have probably saved the baby. BUT, a CNM or educated CPM would have recognized that a maternal fever and fetal tachycardia were a problem that needed hospitalization. BEFORE the abruption. Period. A good, educated midwife knows when home birth is not appropriate and admits as such. Unfortunately, many women set up as midwives with little training then their statistics are all lumped together with the trained, educated midwives.

    If home births had the support that the European home births have (trained personnel, organized transport in place) then I think home birth statistics in the US would be much better.

    I also have to say to Highland Midwife that I doubt there is a midwife on earth with a 0% c-section rate. Even Ina May Gaskin had patients who needed C-sections and she would talk about indications for them in her talks. If a midwife boasts of a 0% section rate, I would personally run, and advise others to run, fast and far away.

    • Mego says:

      I think that is a really good point; that Aquila’s story is most exemplary of an incompetent caregiver. However the fact any one that incompetent could be licensed and still practicing is startling.

    • Amen.

      Let is be said, again…

      “The first story Dr Tuteur posted IS very sad but is more a reflection of an untaught caregiver than a home birth. Yes, a hospital birth would have probably saved the baby. BUT, a CNM or educated CPM would have recognized that a maternal fever and fetal tachycardia were a problem that needed hospitalization. BEFORE the abruption. Period. A good, educated midwife knows when home birth is not appropriate and admits as such.”

      Quality care and quality care givers DO make a difference!

      • Mego says:

        Here’s the thing. The difference between a CPM and CNM is not explained to people. The requirements for becoming a CPM are not uniform or regulated. If CPMs as a group of professionals want respect then you need to revoke the right to practice from such an incompetent caregiver. There’s no accountability. Therefore, that CPM is a reflection on all of them.

      • Courtney says:

        Any CPM that answers that putting garlic in a vagina to prevent Group B Strep (GBS), should have her license revoked – she is not using sound medicine in treating a medical condition. Any CPM that doesn’t require testing for GBS should have her license revoked as she is taking a risk that can cost life and that isn’t an acceptable risk. Any CPM that fails to require immediate follow up care for a child who has bluish tones, abnormal breathing, or scores less than a 5 on their APGAR should not be in practice.

        The whole point of birth isn’t to have a great experience it is to bring a child in the world and while the sad fact is that children and women don’t survive birth all the time EVERYONE should want the greatest survival rate possible and midwives who fail to promote that should not be in practice.

  13. staceyjw says:

    To HB MW and HB mom-
    Your ignorance is showing. I’m glad you GOT LUCKY, and so far so have your patients. I sure hope your luck don’t run out either, as I never want anyone to die over stupidity. If you are not a CNM, then you have NO BUSINESS attending births as a professional. If you are a CPM, you are not trained or educated enough and don’t even know what you don’t know. it’s scary.
    That you don’t even admit that HB is more dangerous shows me that you are ignorant. Why don’t you look at the stats in CO and WI, they are collected by the state and MW groups, and show a HORRIBLE death rate some 3-6x higher.

    BTW, I have no problem with HB, and support moms that choose it. I just think they DESERVE to know the facts, don’t you? Even with a 2-3x increase in deaths, the total # is still so small the chances of something really bad ARE low. It’s a risk many are willing to take, and I support that. I ALSO support UC if that’s what the mom wants.

    What I don’t support is under educated MWs, that aren’t up to the standards in ANY other advanced nation, telling mamas that it’s as safe or safer, and making OBs out to be evil while denigrating CNMs by calling them “medwives”. You know the countries that you hold up as examples of HB safety? NONE allow CPMs or their equivalent. (Of course, the study released Nov18,2010 from the Netherlands showed that mamas and babies there have LOWER rates of death with OBs than MWs, even though OBs only see high risk moms. and 65% of all neonatal deaths occur at HOME BIRTHS.)

    Also, how dare you try to tar Dr Amy as being a paid shill, thats the dumbest thing I have ever heard. she is a SAHM now, and isn’t paid by anyone for her opinions.
    DID IT EVER OCCUR TO YOU THAT SHE COULD THINK HB IS DANGEROUS BECAUSE IT IS???? amazing. There doesn’t have to be a conspiracy for people to realize having a baby at home is not as safe as a hospital.

    I DARE YOU to read Dr Amys site, go to the studies she links to, and actually READ THEM. and I don’t mean read one post, go through the whole site. you can use the search bar to look for articles that interest you. ONLY after you read her site can you go around talking shit about her. she knows more than you will ever know, why don’t you learn something? If you go to her site and post a comment, she will respond you know! It’s not MDC, debate is allowed there. you will see all kinds of disagreement in the comments,but she doesn’t censor like NCBers do.

    But I bet you wont, because you would rather stick your head in the sand and say “LALALA, HB IS SAFE, those mean ol doctors are just greedy, lalala”. I sure hops you don’t kill anyone with your ignorance.

  14. Why am I not surprised that Dr Amy is here?
    Have fun, folks.

    • Mego says:

      Again I am unable to reply to the other thread, but I find it extremely condescending that you keep telling me to do my research and that I am suffering from delusions. I have done my research. I know exactly the difference between a cpm and cnm. I have actually hosted a birth in my house so please stop acting as if you are here to educate me. That being said, why wouldn’t dr. Amy be here. Isn’t this a post about her blog?

    • L&DRNC says:

      To the Highland “midwife” The reason that CNMs work with physicians is called professional cooperation. I worked in a birthing center run by CNMs for many years. I have every respect for them. You are the reason that “midwife” has a negative connotation. People picture backwoods, uneducated people for a reason. IT’S BECAUSE YOU AREN’T EDUCATED. Your comments have made me want to learn more about how we can stop uneducated people from hurting mothers and babies. So I guess you can say that you inspired me.

  15. Highland Midwife, I’m curious as to what loss mom was found to be a fraud. I don’t know a single fraudulent loss in the homebirth world. I’m also curious as to why you won’t stick around now that Amy is here. Why is it that homebirth advocates go on and on about how wrong Amy is, but, they tuck their tails between their legs and run when she comes?? Prove she’s wrong, IF you can. I know you can’t though, so I’m not surprised that you are bailing from the conversation.

  16. HB midwife and HB mama says:

    I will not respond to direct personal attack from someone who knows me or my practice not at all and who is mixing up comments from myself and highland midwife. The internet is never a great place to discuss such emotional matters once they get to this point. It IS however a great place to spill anger and accusations, but this of course is only hurtful and does not help any of us arrive at our own truths. I will not participate in this.
    I will completely acknowledge that my post was not nearly as eloquent as highland midwife’s posts nor as well researched. I will also acknowledge that the main reason for this is that I don’t have a ton of time to spend on this discussion as I have a 2 year old and have nap time to write (and do everything else!). My intention has been only to have multiple voices added to this discussion as it is very near and dear to my heart.
    The facts stand very well on their own. I am happy to know that 2011 will see the first-ever summit on HB including ACOG, ACNM, MAMA and many others. I hope that we can all come together to listen and to do what is TRULY best for mamas and babies. In my mind this is collaboration with one another.
    Homebirth is not going anywhere, folks, no matter what regulations there may be.

    • Subversive MDC Member says:

      “Homebirth is not going anywhere, folks, no matter what regulations there may be.”

      No one is talking about “taking homebirth away.” We just don’t want people lying about the safety of it. That is what is happening here on this blog. “Studies say that it is safer.” No. Incorrect. Studies show that it is not safer and carries a 3x risk of death for the baby. Even studies that say in their conclusion that it is safer, if you actually analyze the study, it shows a greater risk to the baby.

      People should be perfectly free to choose homebirth. But they should be aware that their baby has a higher risk of dying if they choose that. For some, the experience of homebirth is desirable enough for them to take that extra risk. And that’s their choice. I am pro-choice. I am only against misinformation, convincing women that it is “safer” to homebirth when in reality it is not.

  17. Florence says:

    Saying that Aquilla’s story is a fraud is purely horrific! you must be ashamed of yourself!!!

  18. Mr.Mustard says:

    Anecdotes aren’t science. This web sites loses a little bit of my respect every time something like this gets posted.

  19. Poogles says:

    I’d like to say that I get really tired of people saying sites like “Hurt By Homebirth” or “Parents of Kids with Infectious Diseases” (PKIDs) are worthless because they’re anecdotes and based on emotion. If someone were trying to use these stories as a REPLACEMENT for science, then yes of course they are worthless. However, these sites are meant to complement the science-based sites that are out there. Not everyone responds to the science-based arguments. Some will never open their eyes until they hear a heart-breaking real-life story – and then it sinks in.

    I know, because that’s how it happened for me. I was very pro-HB (and UC) and anti-hospital/OB. I argued and argued with Dr. Amy, so sure the facts were on my side. The more I argued, the more I started to doubt myself. Then I read of a woman who was trying to figure out how to live in the house her baby had died in – how to stop the flashbacks every time she walked into her kitchen of her MW trying (in vain) to resusitate her child on the kitchen counter. That really hit home for me. I needed both the science and the emotional to realize how mislead I had been.

    We need many approaches, many voices in order to reach as many people as possible. We cannot expect to only try one message over and over and just hope it sinks in for everyone. Different people respond differently.

    I want to express my gratitude again to all those parents and families hurt by things like HB and anti-vaccine propaganda for sharing their stories. It is very brave and invaluable. Thank you.

  20. Christy says:

    I wish we could stop talking about “home birth” being dangerous, when it is unqualified caregivers that are dangerous.

    I also wish the OB community would stop their knee-jerk defensiveness and blaming of women who choose home birth, and ask what they could be doing differently to change hospital culture, make hospital birth safer for women and supportive of breastfeeding, and help support true freestanding birth centers with qualified CNMs.

    If we want to talk about inflammatory anecdotes, I can’t tell you how many stories I have heard, as a breastfeeding counselor, of mothers and babies being physically assaulted by hospital staff. And that is what it is when a nurse won’t take her hands off a woman’s perineum when the woman tells her to stop, or when a baby is given formula or sugar water against express directions, and certainly when a doctor performs an episiotomy without consent. These are all true stories, and these things happen all too often.

    The response by hospital staff is that they know better than parents, and laboring women are by definition hysterical and not competent to make decisions about their bodies and their babies. With this atmosphere, is it any wonder that more and more women feel driven to birth at home?

    • Mego says:

      If we are being anecdotal I could tell you about how many lactation consultants came into my house or my hospital room and grabbed my breasts without asking saying things like “hold it like a sandwich.” I could tell you about my child birth teacher (undercover le leche league leader) who told me inflammatory and baseless propaganda such as non breast fed babies are 80% more likely to die of SIDS and less than 1% of women don’t really make enough milk. Of course I believed this crap because I’d never had a baby before, I was going to breast feed fine so when I ended up being one of those women, I just wasn’t trying hard enough. I can tell you that my baby virtually starved for a week while lactation consultant after lactation consultant attached plastic crap to my deflated breasts and advised me to order unapproved drugs over the internet that could make a man lactate, all the while lamenting at how devastated I must be. So let’s not pretend that hospital staff has the market cornered in judgment and emotional manipulation.

      • SFangie says:

        So true. Its a cult and if you don’t believe in their “God” they will lie and intimidate you until the unthinkable happens.

      • Courtney says:

        That is so wrong! You shouldn’t be devastated at all, the ability to breast feed has nothing to do with your ability as a woman, mother, person, etc. You should have been supported and cared for.

        The concern should have been on making sure that your child was getting adequate nutrition, which would have meant pumping and measuring and supplementing what wasn’t enough with oh dare I say formula… watch out!

        Bless your heart! I had a friend who just didn’t produce, the baby was loosing weight and her husband desperately wanted her to breastfeed. His reason was the savings. It was horrible to hold my friend while she cried that she felt like a failure as a woman, mother and wife for something that was out of her control. With encouragement and love she worked up the courage to do what was right which in her case was formula. She is an awesome mother and you know I have never seen her as anything less in any way because of this, now her ex-husband is a much different story.

  21. germanskeptic says:

    Have a look on an other blog by Amy Tuteur and compare it with the content of this one: (you need to scroll down a bit for the sad birth story)
    I really wonder, will the new blog of Amy filled up by true stories or more “cheat” ones.

    • Mego says:

      I looked at those. There does seem to be conflicting stories but I don’t think there’s any intentional manipulation going on. The college friend and the sister in law don’t seem to have the same story though I’m not sure that has anything to do with Dr. Amy. Read the SIL’s remarks very carefully and you will see that they don’t really reveal much of the situation. They are carefully parsed which is interesting in itself. Though it’s very hard for me to read that blog with the copious amounts of god crap.

    • Stephanie says:

      Speaking of “scrolling down”, I had trouble finding the parts that were relevant in this blog post.

      Is there a point to all the religious meanderings in “Isaiah’s Journey”? Ritualistic prayer ma be comforting to the parents and family who believe in it, but it doesn’t help at all the readability of the relevant information for the general public.

  22. This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things says:

    I got bored reading all the emotional clucking from the quasi-hippie, crystal toting chicks and skipped to the end. I was wondering about something “HB Midwife HB etc..” said. She proclaimed that ” Midwives are powerful and daunting forces…”
    Really? COOL! So, can you gals fly? Or shoot lightning from your fingers? Can you turn into a car, or a badger, or invisible? Are you nigh-invulnerable with an adamantium skeleton? Can you breathe under water, or control stuff with your mind? Thanks, just curious. I’m a fan of powerful and daunting stuff.

    • None Ya says:

      I am too, unless their power lies in the ability to hide facts, dead babies, intimidate and alienate the women and family they harmed and then pull on emotions to promote their own agenda.

      Maybe they think they can magically make non-medically proven and medically dis-proven treatments work!

      Maybe its that they can convince most grieving moms who almost bled out on a table while their baby either passed or experienced brain trauma that this says nothing about the quality of care home birth provides.

      Maybe it is their power to remove and hide the risks and deaths of babies to continue promoting their agenda.

      Maybe they have some mind bending powers that convince women that what they really want after nine months of pregnancy is a birth experience and that a child is secondary to that.

  23. Midwife says:

    Oh, for pity’s sake.

    I am an RN. I am also a midwife, licensed by the Medical Board in the state in which I live. I am not a CNM. I have attended homebirths for 35 years now and have never lost a mother or a baby at any birth that I’ve attended. No one is buried in my back yard. I don’t claim mind-bending powers. No mother “has almost bled out on a table while their baby either passed or experienced brain trauma.” (@ None Ya and similar posters: Who are “they,” anyway?) I have a solid, evidence-based and usually uneventful homebirth midwifery practice. I enjoy a good reputation and generally very favorable relationships with our local hospitals. They are happy to receive our patients because we make transfers of care in a timely and appropriate fashion. We teach our student midwives to do the same in a three-year program that prepares them to be licensed and certified professional midwives. That educational program is approved by the Medical Board.

    You can argue that there are some midwives who are incompetent and that is certainly true. And I can give you stories right back about incompetent physicians with whom I have worked in hospital-based settings (L&D, PP, NB Nursery and Ambulatory Care). There are bad apples in *both* professions and we all know it. What is the point of arguing this further? This is a compelling reason for licensing boards– so that incompetent parties from both professions are eventually dealt with.

    The co-author of one study published years ago had a unique perspective on the matter of homebirth. I urge you to consider his words. I have in my possession a copy of a letter he wrote with regard to the study, which was published in a 1980 issue of JAMA:

    “Our study showed that home deliveries which were carefully screened for low risk, were attended by trained people, and had supervision and consultation readily available were associated with less neonatal mortality than hospital deliveries. The data show that home deliveries which might be hazardous are those which are unintentional, unplanned, and unattended by trained personnel.

    “Many comparisons are made between the relative safety of hospital and home deliveries. Home deliveries are made to look more dangerous only if data on the unattended and unintentional home deliveries are included. Some of these deliveries include those which occur on the way to the hospital or among women who have been turned away form hospitals, sometimes in the belief that they were not in labor and sometimes because of an inability to assure payment of hospital bills.

    “An appropriate interpretation of our study would be that childbearing among healthy, well cared for people is a happy and reasonably safe experience, but it is not free of risks. Some risks are associated with well planned home deliveries; different risks are associated with deliveries in hospitals. Women might best be well informed about both kinds of risks and be allowed to elect which kind they desire to assume.”

    Before anyone gets giddy over the prospect of re-igniting the CNM vs. CPM midwifery education debate that rages incessantly, please note that the “trained personnel” of which this doctor spoke were granny midwives who had ten or more years of experience attending women in labor. CNMs were not compared in this study and CPMs did not exist at that time.

    I have been around this track so many times over the last 3.5 decades and I am tired to death of it because it distracts us from critical issues. Home birth is not going away. Homebirth midwives are not going away. Home birth could be made safer in the U.S. So could hospital birth. I deeply appreciate the many OBs, CNMs, nurses and Peds who have helped make homebirth transports more seamless over the years, even when they disagreed over the woman’s original plan to birth at home. There have also been a few who have harassed me for transporting appropriately. A memorable example was the OB who called me while my patient was en route to the hospital to inform me that he refused to allow us to transport to “his” L&D unit. This client was 3 cm. when her membranes ruptured with evidence of thick meconium staining. He threatened to report me to the Medical Board. I asked him: For what violation of the midwifery standards of practice would you report me? And what would you like me to do with this patient? Wait until she is 6 cm. with prolonged late decels before bringing her in? Assist her at home as if all is well? Thankfully a hospital perinatologist intervened in our behalf and we had a good outcome.

    How about if we create malpractice reform that specifically holds receiving OBs and hospitals harmless for homebirth transfers of care? And let’s also consider a statute specifying that obstructing attempts to procure reasonable and timely medical attention for a patient transferring to the hospital is a “reportable” offense. Many midwives experience this type of problem.

    And isn’t it interesting that one frequently sees bitter contention on these boards and blogs over homebirth versus hospital birth (and why does it have to be “versus?”), yet freestanding birth centers generally get a “pass” in these debates? Having worked as an RN assist in an accredited birth center, staffed by CNMs, I can tell you that we homebirth midwives carry virtually the same equipment that the birth center has, with two exceptions. They have a large infant warmer and we don’t. But I have an adult and neonatal Masimo pulse oximeter, and they don’t.

    Some of the posts here are so insulting. Why can’t we work together to improve all aspects of maternal-infant care and quit the name-calling? Nothing will change until we all quit being so attached to being *right.*

    Would you rather be right or effective?

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