Big Medicine Plays Its Only Card: The Ace of Scaremongering

by PushGirl Friday on February 4, 2014

Big Medicine likes to scare you about birth

For those playing along at home, as soon as The Big Push for Midwives announced the “Largest US Study to Date Finds Home Birth to Be a Safe Option for Most Women” based on newly released research (here and here), Big Medicine played a card from its dark deck.

Goliath reached up its sleeve to flip the Ace of Scaremongering at millions of mothers, families, and babies across the US, in its desperate attempt to try to shut/shout down the truth, citing numbers that are neither published nor peer reviewed, and based on birth certificate data.

The good news is that the truth about the safety of out-of-hospital birth as published in the Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health is still available even if Goliath is teetering from the stone that hit his exposed forehead.

While it is beyond pathetic to see the turf war that Big Medicine continues is waging, it is sadly not surprising. Goliath doesn’t seem to care that:

  • Rural, uninsured, and underinsured women need more maternity care options.
  • States need to remove barriers that deny mothers, families, and babies access to high-quality, safe, and cost-effective midwifery care.
  • The US needs to get it in gear to significantly reduce rates of prematurity and low-birth weigh that are critical to reducing racial and economic disparities in birth outcomes, and reducing unnecessary costs to our health care system.
  • The US has one of the highest rates of both infant and maternal death among industrialized countries, and frankly, the US maternity care system is broken. Maternal and fetal mortality rates are worse than 40 other countries worldwide, and we spend more money than anyone else on maternity care. Where is almost all that care being delivered? The answer Goliath doesn’t want you to see through his 30%-c-section-tinted glasses is HOSPITALS. 

Big Medicine is NOT doing so great at birth in America, and Big Medicine’s problem with out-of-hospital birth is not that it isn’t safe. Rather, it’s that it is a safe option for most women and thus presents a threat to the Big Medicine status quo and the trade associations and state medical societies who control it. Goliath is deeply dependent on maintaining the status quo … so dependent that Big Medicine will sometimes tell bald-faced lies about out-of-hospital birth research on national television and in other media outlets and hope that no one notices.

Here are some other sensible voices on the matter:

Here at The Big Push for Midwives, we are ALL IN to knocking Goliath down. The powerful and strong are not always what they seem. David had only a stone and a slingshot to bring down the greatest warrior of his time. The Big Push has only the truth, courage, faith, and the amazing grassroots uprising of the PushStates who fight the good fight every day from where they are with what they have.

To see more on these dueling studies, visit the PushHeadlines page today.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Krystyna Bowman February 5, 2014 at 7:26 pm

THANK YOU! The biggest thing that jumped out at me from the “studies” is that they are neither peer-reviewed nor based on objective data. I appreciate the links to all the thoughtful articles on home birth as it actually is in the US. We love our midwives.


Stefanie February 6, 2014 at 4:02 pm

To be fair, David also had the Almighty God and a hefty dose of faith on his side, but we all have that luxury as well as we fight big medicine. Saying my prayers every day for all the mamas, babies, and health care workers out there!


Judy Slome Cohain, CNM February 10, 2014 at 6:46 am

The studies are published- all of them in the same journal- Amer J ObGyn. They do not appear to be peer reviewed beyond the most cursory agreement to publish anything that Grunebaum and Chervenak write. Grunebaum and Chervenak refuse to publicly debate me or any other homebirth midwife, and sadly, probably have never attended a homebirth. Anyone looking for facts about homebirth safety, feel free to watch Why homebirth in US is 100o times safer than hospital birth for low risk women.


Judy Slome Cohain, CNM February 10, 2014 at 6:53 am

I suggest that 10,000 hospital births be documented using video cameras focused on the birth bed or surgery table. I suggest this idea on at least 4 levels. One is that the only thing in the world that does not appear on YouTube is an example of a real live resuscitation. Using video cameras and having all the cases of resuscitation posted to YouTube, practitioners like myself could learn so much.
On another level, hospital birth is assumed to be safe, in much the same way, enemas, shaving, episiotomies, induction, forceps, cesarean, were all assumed to be safe and then slowly proven otherwise. I think that today’s technology including video cameras are a double edged sword that can and should be used infact to document hospital birth outcomes before the assumption that it is safe is made (based on corrupt birth certificate data.)

Thirdly, even without installing the cameras, the thought of videoing resuscitation, vacuum births causing brain damage, cesarean births in which the mother dies or almost dies may be enough for accountable doctors to admit that hospital birth is not so safe afterall. For anyone who actually works in hospital, the idea – that they will no longer be anonymous and all powerful, but they will have to be accountable for their actions. Without even installing video cameras, the threat of being accountable, is useful. It appears a more objective method of accountability than law suits.

Lastly, i suggest to video tape 10,000 births. I stated a large number, but if hospitals are so safe, start at 10,000 but perhaps bargain down to 1000 or 100 or even 10. If birth is so safe, how about filming 10 births? And when the hospitals refuse, then they have to provide a reason, correct?


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