Regular readers are aware that I (Dr. Amy) repeatedly point out that most of what natural childbirth and homebirth advocates think they “know” is factually false. Moreover, the claim of being “educated” about childbirth is the surest sign of ignorance since most of the “education” comes from the websites and books of lay people or other NCB advocates who have no idea what they are talking about.
For example, Babble, itself one of the leading sponsors of a pregnancy blog riddled with errors and lies (Being Pregnant), has created its Top 50 Pregnancy Blogs. The list features some of the most egregious purveyors of mistruths, half truths and outright lies in the pregnancy blogosphere, and that’s quite an achievement because the pregnancy blogosphere is a virtual carnival of lay people spouting mistruths, half truths and outright lies.
I’d like to point out the 10 worst offenders from the Babble list. It was not an easy decision because it often seems like there is an ongoing competition among pregnancy bloggers to offer the most dangerous misinformation.
The 10 worst blogs vary, but they have some common themes. Most are written by lay people who have no education in science, statistics or obstetrics and have literally no idea what they are talking about. The remainder are maintained by childbirth “educators” most of whom also have no education in science, statistics or obstetrics and, amazingly, also have literally no idea what they are talking about. The blogs include outright lies, dangerous “advice” and, in may cases, sheer stupidity.
Without further ado, my list of the 10 Worst Pregnancy Blogs.
My OB Said What?
The website “My OB said WHAT?” is supposed to highlight “stupid” things said by obstetricians. It is a slick, professionally designed smear campaign, clearly requiring a fair amount of money to create and maintain. Yet the owners feel that they have something to hide — their own identities.
Apparently they are hiding their identities because they don’t want it known that a nationally prominent childbirth educator is behind “My OB Said What?”Teri Shilling, former president of Lamaze International.
At least the site makes no pretense of being scientific, evidence based or remotely true.
Science and Sensibility
Science and Sensibility, the blog of Lamaze International, does make a pretense of being scientific and evidence based, hence the name. Unfortunately, it is filled with the mistruths, half truths and outright lies that are the hallmark of NCB advocates. That’s not surprising from an organization that promotes 6 “Healthy Birth Practices,” the majority of which are not supported by scientific evidence.
S&S was previously edited by Amy Romano, CNM. She repeatedly presented her opinions as scientific facts, and routinely misrepresented the scientific literature. S&S is also the home of Henci Goer, who has staked her professional life on the bizarre claim that obstetricians ignore the scientific literature that they create and that only NCB advocates assiduously scour the literature and change their recommendations based on research.
Romano left S&S to join another NCB advocacy organization, and Lamaze was evidently forced to scrape the bottom of the barrel to come up with a new editor, Kimmelin Hull who is even more incompetent and less knowledgeable, and also censors physician comments.
What more can you say about a blog that includes a vaccine rejectionist blogger who fantasizes about the death of one of her children?
It is long past time for Babble to assign a technical editor (a doctor) to vet bloggers’ material for factual accuracy. It is wrong to allow women who are have no medical (or even midwifery) qualifications to make unchecked factual claims about pregnancy and childbirth. Babble must accept responsibility for ensuring that its readers are receiving scientifically accurate information about pregnancy and childbirth.
I like Jill Arnold. She seems like a smart woman whose heart is in the right place. The empirical data she provides on C-section rates is accurate and valuable. The opinion pieces? Not so much.
Help! Help! C-section is the work of the devil! Or of doctors who want to get to their golf game! That pretty much sums up ICAN.
Poor them. They had C-sections and all they got were healthy babies.
Scour the site and you’ll be hard pressed to find any facts about the dangers of breech or VBAC or the number of babies (and mothers!) saved each year by C-sections.
The Feminist Breeder
It’s pathetic narcissism to live blog your homebirth, but it doesn’t harm anyone. But advising women with group B strep to wash their vagina out with soap instead of using prophylactic antibiotics kills babies, and chiropractic for colic despite no scientific evidence of benefit and multiple deaths in the wake of pediatric chiropractic is glaring evidence that the Feminist Breeder offers patently ludicrous and inaccurate information.
Giving Birth With Confidence
Another Lamaze International Blog, long on opinion, and very, very, very short on scientific evidence.
Erin Ellis Homebirth Midwife
Hmmm, who is more ignorant, Erin Ellis Homebirth Midwife or Danielle Elwood of Momotics? It’s a tough call, but I’m going with Erin Ellis because she represents herself as a midwife, while Danielle spreads her misinformation under the guise of “childbirth educator.”
Erin’s disquisition on obstetric hemorrhage is a textbook example of what passes for “knowledge” among homebirth midwives and their terrible propensity to make stuff up instead of actually learning something. It would be funny if it weren’t so deadly.
Danielle Elwood is an example of why childbirth “educators” are dangerous. She is soon to be]Lamaze certified, and trained as a doula with the organization run by Terri Shilling of “My OB Said What.” She censors comments on her personal blog, but can’t do the same on Babble, where I and others have repeatedly pointed out her egregious factual errors.
I am flattered though to find out that I am a huge figure.
… Danielle’s post on the rise of pregnancy-related deaths spurred a heated debate in the comments between Ina May Gaskin and Dr. Amy Tuteur themselves, two huge figures in the birthing community.
Stand and Deliver
What more can you say about a woman proudly who posts a videodemonstrating how she nearly killed her own baby at an unassisted homebirth?
The video includes the immediate aftermath of the birth when baby Inga became profoundly blue and lost all muscle tone due to lack of oxygen. Ultimately Rixa was forced to provide mouth to mouth resuscitation and fortunately, the baby responded. When I first watched it, I was so angry I was shaking, but then I realized that Rixa Freeze has done obstetricians a wonderful favor. She has inadvertently produced the ideal teaching video for demonstrating how and why babies die in increased numbers at homebirth.
You’ve got to admit it’s a pretty impressive group of 10, although not for the right reasons. With the exception of a few certified nurse midwives on the Lamaze blogs, not a single one of the authors of these pregnancy blogs has ANY formal training in science, statistics or pregnancy and childbirth. That would be fine if they restricted themselves to presenting their personal experiences, but they are offering completely erroneous “information” unsubstantiated by scientific evidence or even directly contradicted by scientific evidence.
It’s also a very incestuous group. Many of them “trained” with each other, or were certified by each others’ programs. No wonder it’s an echo chamber. There’s nothing inherently wrong with an echo chamber, of course, unless what they are echoing is mistuths, half truths and outright lies.
Edited 8/14: Danielle Elwood is not yet Lamaze certified, but describes herself as soon to be Lamaze certified.
Dr Amy Tuteur is an Obstetrician Gynecologist writing The Skeptical OB Blog. You may read more of Dr. Amy’s postings at http://skepticalob.blogspot.com/
J. Kyle Mathews, MD
Plano OB Gyn Associates
Plano Urogynecology Associates