Your Body, Your Birth, Your Baby

OB, doctor, pregnancy, birthI do not know where women got the idea that doctors are a “knight in shining armor” here to rescue them. Actually, the AMA has been incredible at making themselves fit that role. Regardless, it’s a lie.

When I hear a mama say, “They are going to let me…” I cringe. I absolutely want to vomit. Since when do they own you?! IT IS NOT UP TO THEM how and where you birth. It is up to YOU!

You have been deceived. Your doctor is not a knight in shining armor here to save the day. You do not have to just be happy with what they will and will not let you do. You do not need saving.

If you are educated and know all your choices (truly know them) and are 100% happy with having an induction or a surgical birth, then by all means, I respect that. But do NOT let an OB in a white coat tell you how your body can and can not birth. Due dates are an estimate. You can birth a healthy baby at 42, 43 and even over 44 weeks (I have). Your body can birth vaginally after one or more c-sections. You can birth a breech baby vaginally. You were made for this!

There are many OB’s and midwives out there. Find another one who will support you to birth how YOU choose to birth.  There are always choices. You just have to decide what you are comfortable with. Your doctor isn’t going to come and grab you at one week past due date and drag you to the hospital. You don’t have to show up until you are pushing (if at all).

You are not a victim. You are not helpless. You are not broken. You are a mature, beautiful, responsible pregnant mama that can choose to have a c-section 1 week post dates or choose to wait until your baby and body decide to start labor!


  • Marixa

    I wish all women knew this, it would change the way birth is seen and done dramatically in this country/world! If women knew the strength they possessed it would be incredible!

  • Carla

    One of the best things I ever heard on the subject: ask any birth professional you’re considering this question, “will you be delivering my baby or will you be attending my birth?”

  • mom

    I do think that a post like this is creating more fear than anything else, you are telling women that they were decived, that they should watch out, their nice OB might be a evil person waiting for the perfect time to abuse them, force intervention on them ,lie to them…. You should be careful, while you think you are empowering woman, some might find this kind of posts more disturbing than anything else.

    • Birth Without Fear

      This post is hardly creating fear. It is to make women open their eyes. I think doctors can be helpful in a true emergency situation. However, doctors are not perfect. They are human. They all have their own opinions and biases and many of them do not educate themselves further than what they’ve been taught, which isn’t always truth. This goes for midwives too. It really goes for anyone.

      I never said anything that you are saying. That is what you are getting and reading from it. I am very careful, but I will not censor myself. Too many women have had traumatic experiences and learn all of what I have said the hard way. If I can help one woman not experience trauma surrounding her birth, then it was totally worth it.

      • Mychel

        The worse thing you can do when trying to save someone from the horror you have seen or experienced is to censor yourself. If someone feels fear about something you say it is probably because they had a similar feeling or thought. Out of 11 providers I seen with my last pregnancy, i could not trust 1. And because of my fear from what happened to me 7 years ago, I empowered myself by being educated, enough to know that they were all looking out for number 1. Suggesting a c-section because Medicaid would not cover it when I was a perfectly good candidate for VBAC, induce me at 39 weeks just in case I have a rupture when Pit increases the chance of rupture, as well as it being 39 weeks, or suggesting form no more than my surgical report -no exam – that said nothing about my pelvis that I have CPD and probably can’t have a baby vaginally when my first was born vaginal just because they wanted to keep my business, they don’t do VBAC’s. or comparing me to a heart attack patient as a need to justify all the interventions they wanted to do… Fear can be a good thing if you want to look at it that way but what made the difference for me was that I trusted birth, my body and my baby and I had him at home unassisted and will never go back to a place that uses fear and scare tactics to get mediocre outcomes at best.

        • mom

          Mychel you have an excellent point, we should never censor ourselves to try to save someone from the horror we’ve seen or experienced!!! you nailed it on the head, that’s why I think a preggo mom should hear all kind of birth stories, as long as they are told the most objectively possible. That’s how you make your own opinion,idea, desire of birth, when you hear the good and the ugly, not all OBs are great (thx BWF!! ;0) ), and not all birth stories end up well!

      • Heather

        I actually agree with her. There are some medical reasons that a doctor may be needed during a birth. If your at home and your baby comes out blue and not breathing then what would you do. Some women do not like pain. I gave birth to a healthy baby girl with an epidural and it was the best choice I ever made. I don’t find being in extreme pain very enjoyable I liked that I could relax and enjoy my birth and not remember it for the awful pain. I also progressed so much faster after the epidural. So don’t go saying that doctors don’t know much either because where are you to say you know everything about how a womans body reacts to birthing a child. Some women’s bodies can not handle it and some have died from child birth. I hate it when people always try to make doctors look so evil your just creating more harm then good

        • Mrs. BWF

          I did not say doctors were evil, I said they were human and on a regular basis intervene too much. That is truth. You must not follow my blog or FB page much, b/c if you did you would know that your comment is not a true representation of who I am, what I say and what I stand for. This is ONE post of many. I invite you to learn more. I have had 2 cesareans myself, an epidrual with my VBA2C baby that I do not regret, then 2 homebirths. I think every situation is different. Furthermore, I feel sharing info and letting women know they do have choices is important, but it is just as important to support the women in her choices/needs.

    • Birdflippin'

      If there were no evil doctors waiting to abuse us there would be no need for posts like this. There would be no need for websites like The world would be full of empowered birthing mommas if it were for the scare tactis used by OBs or any birth attendant.

    • Sheva

      I think (based on my own and others’ experiences) that the women who find this disturbing are the women who have been mistreated, but didn’t realize the extent. They have a vague discomfort when recalling their birth memories, but don’t (or can’t) verbalize it because of fear of invalidation.
      It’s not fear that this post creates.
      There’s a name for the feeling that comes when you hear something and know it to be true, and it scares you because it is the opposite of everything you thought was true before. It’s called cognitive dissonance.

  • mom

    Another thing that I think is also important to mention , while it is perfectly possible to give birth to a healthy baby at 44 weeks, you should have mention that the risks of stillbirth exponantially increase after 42 weeks. I agree that it is important to tell woman that it is possible, but you shouldn’t say it’s been done, I’ve done it , it WILL be fine for you too!
    Outside that I have enjoyed your blog!

    • Birth Without Fear

      I think we hear about the ‘risks’ and ‘dangers’ all the time. I am here to speak up about the safety of birth when left alone! It can be and is safe to let your baby start labor and birth when ready. Due dates are an estimate. You have to be 42 weeks pregnant to even truly be considered ‘past due’, not 40 weeks. Each mama has to be responsible in educating themselves. Women are told all the time that babies need to be born by 40 weeks and before, so I am going to be the voice to say different. It’s then up to them.

    • Coops Mama

      I don’t think she’s trying to convince women if they have a baby past 42 weeks that their baby WILL be fine. She’s trying to empower women to educate themselves on the reality of the situation rather than to just ‘take the OB’s word for it’. Something else I’d like to just toss into the mix is that most women seem to forget that an OB is a SURGEON. Delivering babies vaginally, well that’s just a requirement in medical school in order to become an obstetric SURGEON. In my experience most OB’s don’t become OB’s because they love letting women’s bodies do what they do naturally, it’s because they like to cut – and thats great when we NEED it. But it’s absolutely NOT needed in over 30-40% of births. That’s ABSOLUTELY INSANE. BWF I applaud you for speaking your mind and I believe that instilling fear in women who let others make decisions for them is called for in some sense.

    • Racheal

      “you should have mention that the risks of stillbirth exponantially increase after 42 weeks”

      THAT is a scare tactic & would create unneeded fear! When I went past 40 wks with my first born my doctor ‘warned’ me of the risks of going ‘past due’, specifically the risk of still birth… now for me, don’t tell me & my husband some scary shit like that & not give us details. So I asked for the numbers… the doctor, the man telling us how our BABY COULD DIE didn’t even know the numbers. Now he did go and look them up while I waited (he wasn’t a bad man or doc, just had the crappy ass training OB’s get in America). At 44 wks gestation the increased risk of stillbirth was roughly 1%. In other words… less risk of stillbirth post dates then risk of death or serious harm to mom and/or baby from many of the interventions that are pushed on women, including the induction & cascade of other interventions that usually follow, in order to avoid that dreaded ‘increased risk’ of being post dates.

      So before you start talking about the extreme dangers of this & that, please do your research, because I promise you that the women behind birth without fear has. Passing on the ‘hearsay’ that is passed around, without researching it & learning the facts is a big part of how birth has become so misunderstood & mistreated in this country.

      • mom

        I will be posting( as soon as I get home) a graph from a study done by John Hopkins hospital I think(don’t quote me on that one), regarding the incidence of post date ,past 42 weeks, on the percentage of stillbirth. Now there isn’t a “expiration date” on a pregnancy we agree on that of course, but the is undeniable that the “risk” of bad outcome increase with every day passing. It is not a scare tactic , it is just a fact. When an OB says ” if you go pass 42 weeks your baby has increase risk of stillbirth” isn’t a threat, he is just informing you of potencial risk,that’s it! After ,the decision you make regarding your pregnancy is all yours!

        • Birth Without Fear

          I will take a look at your study. I will also take a look at who it was done on, what the circumstances were, etc. I don’t put much stalk into studies. They are usually very biased and not done right. I guess with your line of thinking it’s a ‘risk’ just to be pregnant.

          • mom

            Well, you know what, I will save myself time, why bother backing up a idea with a reliable study( oh I forgot doctors do the study, since they are evil the study must be also..) when you already say that you don’t put much “stalk into studies”.
            I have 6 six children, all of them born at home, I am a fierce supporter of Homebirth, and deeply believe that birth is a normal, natural thing!I do not think pregnancy is a risk at all.
            This is your blog you say what ever you wish, I just wanted to point out that you tone was a bit “harsh” for lack of better word, and that antagonizing doctors, and telling woman they have been deceived was counter productive, I understand you are trying to make people react and think for themselves, but putting a fear or distrust in place of another might not be the best route. Telling them to trust themselves, and always question medical opinion is another thing all together.
            I have enjoyed this blog but I wish it wasn’t so one sided.
            anyway , this is your turf , delete my comments if you feel they were disruptive, and negative.

          • Racheal

            Mom – no one is saying doctors set out to screw us, but yes, even the good ones deceive us, even if they don’t know it. My first born was an unneeded c/s (even the ob I consulted with this time said that he certainly would not have cut me open based on the OP REPORT completed by the doctor who did it. ) Was my doctor evil? No… he was a wonderful man & I know he truly did have my best interests at heart & all along he thought he was truly helping me (many, in hindsight, unneeded interventions & insane hospital policies, after labor started). He was doing EXACTLY what he was trained to do… the current ‘standard’ of how the medical world today views & treats child birth. Had I been questioning EVERYTHING through that pregnancy & educating myself then I wouldn’t have ended up on that operating table. I wouldn’t have this scar that will ALWAYS be something I have to worry about in future pregnancies…

            So this pregnancy I was educated & I did learn & I hired a midwife… even though my doctor & the OB said that was a HORRIBLE idea for a VBAC… but the facts don’t lie… VBAC at home is actually safer than in a hospital, given that all those interventions a hospital feels they have to use increase the risk of rupture & having to fight to not have all those things decreases your chances of success. Most women aren’t like BWF & the feminist breeder… these 2 ladies took on the world will in labor with the help of great hubbies & support teams. However most women would not be able to TRULY FIGHT in the middle of labor & would end up getting screwed over by the medical ways of doing things. (notice I said the medical ways, not the doctors themselves)

            And yes, a doctor informing you of the increase in risk isn’t a scare tactic… I was saying YOUR statement of “risks of stillbirth exponantially increase after 42 weeks” was a scare tactic.

            : expressible or approximately expressible by an exponential function; especially : characterized by or being an extremely rapid increase (as in size or extent)

            RAPID INCREASE… that says that it gets REALLY dangerous… when that is not the truth. There are greater risks & greater chances of problems with induction than with waiting for the body to go on it’s own. And also keep in mind that doctors don’t wait till 42 weeks to start talking about the dangers of going past dates… they start talking that crap at 40 wks (because that is how they are trained).

            BWF is right to say she would gladly look at that study & ALL THE CIRCUMSTANCES around it. With pregnancy & childbirth studies you have to look at all the details, not just the official results. If you look at results on VBAC studies, some show a higher risk of rupture than it actually has… why? b/c they used induction… so, the result isn’t that VBAC is dangerous, it’s that INDUCTION in VBAC is dangerous. This is the type of ‘grain of salt’ she is taking it with, not one that says ‘oh, they are all evil & out to get us’, but rather their views & thinking is flawed therefore their work often is too (and don’t tell me the medical way of thinking isn’t flawed, b/c my 1st labor was handled textbook medical style & after 2.5 hrs of pushing ended up getting cut when I shouldn’t have been. My VBAC was at home & treated like a natural event (and not interfered with when the medical world would have – doctors don’t like erratic contraction patterns that never develope a rythm – I know this b/c that is exactly what started the cascade of interventions with my oldest) & it was a total success, no scalpals needed.

          • Mychel

            I personally don’t put all my faith in studies done either. You have to look at the details which sometimes are not there… for instance, all the VBAC studies done that create the low rupture rate of roughly 1% – who’s to say it’s not actually lower because how many of the test subjects included in the study had the use of Pitocin, which I firmly believe leads to higher incidence of uterine rupture. With 80 some % of labors augmented with Pit, I guarantee some of those women that had a rupture, had Pit. It’s good to look at studies but you really have to dig deeper. From my experience above, I know there are those that do things for self propelling reasons and some studies are done just for that reason. I feel that this gives me a realistic view on what’s going on. One question I would have for the post dates study would be how many women had something going on that could hinder the placenta from working or holding out, if that info is not in the study then how can it hold much weight. I think that’s the concern with studies.

        • Angie

          Check out the study: Savas M. Menticoglou, Philip F. Hall. “Routine Induction of Labour at 41 Weeks Gestation: Nonsensus Consensus”. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Vol: 109 Issue: 5pp: 485-491 PII: S1470032802010042. 2002. You may find it on Gloria LeMay’s site.
          Basically an MD was tired of the extra staff and costs related to induction and the resulting c-sec, so he re-checked the data that was used to “prove” that post-dates lead to higher fetal mortality. Seriously flawed! Our entire nation is basing treatment of post-dates women on a flawed study. But it was first and loudest and will probably take a long time to change. If women don’t refuse then it never will.
          btw i don’t get the impression anyone here is against intervention if medically neccessary, but rather against intervention soley based on routine care and lack of shared-decision making / informed consent.

  • Leonie

    You’re absolutely right. What we don’t hear about often enough is how broad experiences of normal birth can be and that many options are perfectly safe and possible for most births and most women.

  • Pregnant Mama

    I have to agree with “mom” here on some aspects that posts like this can be empowering but also create some fear that our doctors are not educated enough to do what’s best for us. My friend is using quotes from this blog to enforce her idea that going into labor earlier than your body will naturally, could be dangerous for your baby, because apparently doctors don’t know what they’re doing. And she has not even been pregnant before and doesn’t have any children and has no experience in this area. I am a responsible. mature, EXPERIENCED pregnant mama who CHOOSES to trust my doctor because I find my doctor trustworthy. That does not make me a victim. I also understand that I have a say in how my birth process goes. It would have been nice if you had covered both sides instead of painting women who trust their doctors as victims and helpless.

    • Birth Without Fear

      I did say, “If you are educated and know all your choices (truly know them) and are 100% happy with having an induction or a surgical birth, then by all means, I respect that.”

      Also, I have stated NUMEROUS times on the BWF FB page and on other posts that my main thing is that women be educated and make the choice that is best for them. Which you are doing and I absolutely think is wonderful! 🙂 Unfortunately though, most women don’t.

      As far as your friend goes, I can not control what people do and do not do with information. That is up to them. However, I do agree that inducing labor early is dangerous, unless there is an absolute proven reason for it.

  • Anna

    Okay, I will say it. I could have died. I had preterm labour with my first at 28 weeks. The hospital gave me nitro patches and then transfered me to a hospital that had a NICU with room for a 28 week baby. That hospital gave me nitro pills. She said, “We’ll give you another set of pills in a few hours.” the hubby asked, “Do the patches she has on count for one of the sets of pills?” She said, “What patches?” She hadn’t read my chart. My bp plummeted to almost nothing. I passed out. DH heard the doctor out in the hall, telling the nurse that he had prepped the OR and was going to perform a cesarean to “save the baby”. He stood in the doorway and refused to let them take me. He said she’s still alive, if you cut into her she’ll bleed out. He told them they could not do a cesarean as long as I was alive. I walked out of there the next day, still pregnant. 🙂

    You CANNOT blindly trust the medical staff. They are human and they make mistakes. My nurse was a very kind lady with great bedside manner, but she made a mistake and did not read my chart or ask me what meds the other hospital had given.

    I had my second at home, with two wonderful midwives. I now can’t imagine doing it any other way.

    • Karen

      Wow!! Well done to your husband! Yes, docs are not God, and need to realise they are only human and take responsibility when they make mistakes. But too many don’t and then close ranks to support each other, not just in maternity but in all fields, and then they act all surprised, horrified and offended when the ;activists’ dare to take responsibility for their own bodies. :/

  • Pregnant Mama

    I appreciate your answer. And I also agree that induction without good reason is a bad idea. I’m just so tired and I’m sure other moms are too about other people coming to us with biased opinions telling us we are victims or bad mothers or putting our babies in danger because we don’t educate ourselves as much as a midwife or our OB about our bodies and the birthing process. I am as educated as I know how to be and I imagine that is still not enough for me to make the best and safest decision for myself and my baby without the guidance of a doctor who is far more experienced than me. I believe that the best way is to know your options and feel freedom to speak up when you disagree with your OB, but not to be so stubborn that you won’t let your doctor do his job if he says that what you are doing is truly putting your baby in danger. But that is just me and whatever other women want to do within reason, I also respect that.

    • Katy

      Obstetric surgeons know lots about surgery. They know lots about rare pregnancy complications. When emergencies arise they are great. However, if you ask the majority of doctors, and a large proportion of midwives when they last watched a completely physiological birth you will find that they haven’t seen one in a long time, some have never seen a birth which started on its own, continued without any intervention or narcotic drugs and ended in a peaceful birth… It skews their judgement and they see things wrong in normal, because they don’t really know what normal looks like and they don’t feel safe unless they are ‘doing something’ to the process. When that happens they create emergencies that weren’t there to start with…
      I have seen more normal births than the senior consultant at my local teaching hospital, he has never seen a home birth, he has not attended a labour from start to finish for over 20 years.
      I support many women each year to make birth choices and I am honoured to support about 8 births a year (I won’t book more than that because I will never double book a woman and risk leaving her unsupported) I am a doula. Some years I don’t get any births with intervention, usually there are one or two, sometimes surgery is necessary, but it is rare in the women I support.
      When I speak to women about their choices and how they feel about birth and what they are planning I can tell how their birth will be, and with about 95% accuracy I can predict who will end with a section.
      I once heard a very wise home birth midwife say, “Consult your consultant if you want his opinion on a problem, but don’t ask him if you can give birth, your body is in charge of that. After all, you wouldn’t ask a barber if you needed a haircut.” It sounds flippant, but true. Obstetricians are primarily surgeons, they do surgery, they feel safe there. They do tend to make a hash of normal though if they can’t keep their hands in their pockets… If you want a normal birth (which is the safest for mum and baby) then a home birth with a good midwife and an experienced woman companion to support you and your partner gives you the best shot at it.
      Posts like that should not make a woman feel unsafe, but the majority of women who trust their surgeon to support their normal birth will end up with a heap of intervention they didn’t need…

    • Coops Mama

      Pregnant Mama, I don’t think you are quite following what BWF is saying. You are not expected to know as much as your OB because you didn’t go to medical school for 8+ years. What you SHOULD know is how YOUR body works, what is best for YOU in labor and birth and WHY your OB is suggesting certain procedures, etc. You are not in danger if you choose to labor with an OB, that is not what she’s saying. OB’s are amazing surgeons and when there is an emergency we absolutely NEED them to help us. I completely disagree with your comment about being as educated as you know how to be but that it’s not enough to decide what’s best for you and your baby without the guidance of a doctor. The whole point of this blog is to help women understand that BIRTH IS NOT A MEDICAL PROCEDURE. You DO NOT NEED a DOCTOR to have a baby. Doctors are needed when there’s an emergency in birth however in completely spontaneous labors (low-risk, healthy pregnancies), natural labors – the risk of there being an emergency is less than 5%. When you start adding interventions your risk of emergency skyrockets to over 50%!!!!!! The best way to know your options is to educate yourself enough to know that your doctor was trained to perform SURGERY (obstetrician), they were trained to help women who have some level of high risk pregnancies and interventions in labor and are trained to watch the monitor – not the woman. I can’t say this for all OB’s but there are only a HANDFUL of schools in the U.S. who put OB residents through midwifery clinicals.
      And we aren’t telling women to be stubborn – we are telling them to educate themselves. That means doing your own reading and research and if/when your OB says there’s an emergency then you will know how/why it occurred and how to fix it with the least intervening of your baby. You don’t need to go to medical school to understand how a woman’s body works. It’s not rocket science when you let nature take it’s course. Start adding chemicals etc.. yes then it gets tricky.
      Lastly, I did not attend medical school but I am extremely passionate about this subject and spend nearly every day reading and learning and have found that MOST of what your OB THINKS you should do is incorrect.

    • Colleen G.

      But how do you ‘know’ that his med school training is scientifically accurate?? Medicine through out time has made grave mistakes even when those errors are founded on the ‘science’ of the time. I have grown into a think outside of the box kind of person. What I have found is that deep seated unscientific bias is EVERYWHERE including in the medical profession. While doctors and other medical pros may be nice people who mean well they are not perfect and their education is not perfect either. My question about the whole doctor knows best for pregnancy & birth is why are there so many procedures, interventions and management going on for the general healthy population of women??? They way birth is hyper medicalized one would think the human race teetered on the brink of extinction due to birth deaths(mom & baby) for millenia until the advent of modern medicine. Yes birth can have risks, people can be malformed or have chemical imbalances but most women have normal shaped bodies, with average chemicals levels and average health. Why are pregnancy & birth still treated as a toxic disease akin to cancer that we need to be delivered & saved from???? My experience giving birth in a hospital revealed a mix of good modern medicine and archaic dark ages thinking. My one hospital birth cascaded into interventions solely because I was not encouraged to eat in early labor and my body simply ran out of energy.

  • Trebor Sutler

    Perfectly worded.. I am a mom of 2 (preventable C/S) 1 challening hospital which I changed a consent form for my O.B. to sign…,not happy about but he did. I still have, never turned it in. Have had a homebirth since then. I too, hate the words Let Me….I prefer LET BE,.. because “Birth if let be.. is a beautiful and natural process of bringing life into the world in the most peaceful, gentle and loving way.. It has taught me, empowered me, and changed me forever.” Trebor Sutler

  • Meg

    I have told a few women (when told about how their dr is going to “let” them do stuff) that they’re the ones in charge. They’re the one paying the bill. If they hired a plumber who said “sorry Madam, we will only install a toilet in your loungeroom, your bathroom is too high risk” you would FIRE THEM ON THE SPOT! Why put up with it for a birth?

    Yes, the risk of stillbirth goes up slightly at 42+ weeks, but there is more risk at 37 – 38w of having a stillbirth. The real problem is basing decisions for babies and women on arbitrary dates instead of basing them on the health and well being of the woman and her baby. POST DATES IS NOT A MEDICAL INDICATOR FOR INDUCTION.

    I recently had an hba2c, and a stillbirth. I was 44w. It was a great birth! but ONLY coz I stayed home and hired a midwife.

    • Birth Without Fear

      @Mom, I can’t reply above, so I will here. Like I said, by all means, give the link to the study. You spent the time to write this, so might as well. I don’t mind. I just told you how I personally feel about studies.

      I think it is absolutley wonderful you have been blessed with 6 amazing children and home births! That is awesome! I really mean that with all my heart. I have not and it has humbled me greatly.

      Tone can be read differently depending on who is reading it. Not every single post I do is going to be cushy and gooey. I work hard to be supportive and not get too fiesty, but I felt this needed to be said. And for every person who did not like it (b/c I can’t please everyone), 40 more DID like it. I do not feel what I have been doing or that this post is counterproductive at all. You are entitled to your opinion. You can not take one post and define me and what I stand for over all. Well, you can, but you will be way off base.

      I think telling women to trust themselves and question medical opinion is EXACTLY what women need to hear and I won’t stop saying it. I am glad you have enjoyed the blog and I have had no problem in letting you express how you feel. I won’t be deleting anything, you never were nasty, we just disagree on this.

        • Birth Without Fear

          In glancing at the report, their methods and computing of figures were confusing. Different states have different requirements in what they do and do not have to report. The information gathered is in other countries and not consistent.

          What I found the most interesting was this:

          “The prospective fetal mortality rate is useful in identifying two distinct peaks in fetal mortality risk: early fetal mortality (less than 23 weeks), and fetal mortality at 40 weeks of gestation or more. These two peaks suggest etiological differences. Early fetal mortality may be more related to congenital infections, anomalies, utero-placental insufficiency, and underlying maternal medical conditions (39). Fetal mortality at 40 weeks or more may include the previously mentioned conditions, but may also be related to problems that manifest around the time of delivery, such as placental (abruptio, previa) and cord (prolapse) problems, or other problems in the labor and delivery process. However, investigations into late fetal deaths have found that a substantial number are of unknown cause (26, 39–41).”

          *Basically they NEVER say that the infant mortality goes up b/c of post dates. They admit it includes complications at birth. So this includes any woman 40+ weeks and is BIRTHING, not just miscarriages/stillbirths. That can include interventions at births, induced births, etc. Get my drift?*

          And it was only slightly higher. But how fair is to compare women that miscarry or have stillbirths at 20-39 weeks to women who are birthing and have complications from their births???

  • Cowgirl

    Great blog BWF.

    After recently being told I ‘can’t’ have a HBAC and it’s ‘not possible’, I began to doubt myself, yet again you’ve picked me up, given me a mental shake and pushed the fight back into me to stick with my supportive midwives and fight for my HBAC.

    Thank you!


  • Elizabeth

    I love your posts their so inspirational and I like how you don’t put people down that are getting induced or getting a c-section just informing them that it’s their choice and not to let OBGYN’s or doctors push them around with inductions that are not medically necessary.

  • Birth Smart

    great post. i have a client who just declined an ultrasound at 27 weeks that was recommended based on a large belly measurement (with all other indicators normal). with her insurance, she was going to foot the bill and determined that any information she got would not change her course of action. her decision was not well-received by the all knowing appointment clerk, who nearly had her in tears with guilt trip. it’s strange how the definition of “proceeding with caution” has evolved into performing procedures rather than leaving things alone!

    • Talia

      Why do people turn down sonos? From my knowledge, they are a very safe procedure. I always enjoyed seeing and or hearing my baby.

      • Mrs. BWF

        They are not proven to be safe and there have been some studies that say the opposite. Personally, I feel they CAN be a good tool, but are VERY overused.

  • Claire

    Thank you for another great piece of writing! So many times I get women in class saying “am I allowed…” or when I discuss different options with them like, you can refuse to be induced…this creates alot of unease.

    When pregnant with my 2nd and going for a VBAC (which I had to have the ‘permission’ of my consultant) I was being pressured to agree to an induction as I was 40+ weeks. To get the medical staff off my back, I agreed to them booking me in but not to expect me to turn up. So it got to the date of my induction and I got a furious call asking where I was. I explained that I had agreed to be booked in but under no circumstances would I arrive! I was also told that I had to contact them immediately upon the onset of labour as I was under a ‘trial of labour’ (by the clock). I did 36 hours at home (as I knew my babe was posterior) before contacting them so that I could be left alone. They weren’t to know when my labour started.

    My little one then decided to challenge the system further by presenting not just her head, but an arm came through right up to the elbow! The team were going a bit ga-ga at this point as they said there would not be enough room.

    I explained that it was my birth and that I would do it, my way. I also requested (in words that I won’t use here) that under no circumstances was the consultant on duty to come into my room or be anywhere near me again as he was too negative and was getting in the way of what I needed to do.

    When my waters broke there was meconium, but it wasn’t fresh. I took one look at it and said to the midwife that I wasn’t concerned that my baby was in distress and she had to agree to me. (Many women don’t know that babies are known to open their bowels before labour even starts and isn’t anything to do with being in distress!)

    A challenge really from start to finish and one that could have been so much smoother had the medical profession not tried to control everything. I was seen as ‘awkward’ and ‘stubborn’ when not agreeing to lay on bed during monitoring and the midwife getting a bit fed up with having to slip the transducer back under the belt time and again because I was upright and mobile by the machine. Or when they ‘agreed’ that I could go to the bathroom rather than using the bedpan, and then disappearing for ages because I decided to go for a walk!

    As women, we shouldn’t have to be so challenged in a situation which warrants nurturing and encouragement.

    Thank you for letting me share.

  • Luann

    i would like to speak to what was said about someone’s friend who’s never been pregnant before and has no experience. THIS. this is maddening. why- HOW does that disqualify her or anyone (note: i am not debating the issue/concern regarding the subject matter at hand) ?! how does being pregnant not qualify her? i mean, how many times would one have to birth to then be qualified to ‘know’ their body?

    i get this a lot. my stance is dismissed because i have not had the joy of being with child yet. i am a woman preparing for that very thing. what does that not qualify me? my research is still valid whether i ever get to be with child or not.

    and how many times did i just read in the comments here alone that a big part of what we are doing here is for women to trust , know and allow their bodies to do what they are to do. that’s not diminished by it being one’s first pregnancy.

  • Kris

    Being educated about birth is one of the most important things a woman (and men) can do, there is nothing that annoys me more than a woman saying “I didn’t know that” about her body and birth.
    BFW I commend you on your blog and ability to speak out and help women empower themselves by getting educated. For Ignorance is not bliss, it is Stupidity on your part.

  • Vicki

    I am a midwife, childbirth educator, doula and L & D nurse. I have helped thousands of women deliver their babies and have been at some deliveries of stillbirths-there is nothing more tragic. I do know and believe that the AMA has power and welded it mightily, it is less than several decades ago, now the insurance companies have the power and they are tying your MD’s hand as well as your Midwives. If you want to own your own power then you own all of it, the great beautiful, joyous outcome as well as the challenging, different from what you expected or wanted, even the loss of your child, Working with all forms of practitioners has made me realize that the greatest percentage do this work because they love what they do and feel they can make a difference. I have also witnessed the tragic delivery of a baby who developed severe CP, Cerebral Palsy. I know the debate about the occurrence of CP-before or during delivery, but this woman wanted her delivery her way, she was strongly advised to have a Repeat C-Section at the 39 week mark, the 391/2 mark, the 40…she wanted to make her own decision despite her MD’s advice and continued to decline a C-Section. This is fine, I admire her for following what she felt was right. She was rushed to the OR when she came in one night and we got a fetal HR in the 60’s-despite having her baby within 4 minutes there was damage to this beautiful baby. She went on to sue the DR and the hospital, and despite overwhelming evidence that she took matters in her own hands, won a settlement. This, my friends, is where I feel strongly about taking full and complete responsibility for yourselves. You cannot have it both ways-but in our society that is what we have grown to expect. Stand up for your rights by demanding that the courts stop handing out million dollar settlements unless there is very clear evidence that there was negligence. We are putting ourselves into a precarious position here which may be difficult to recover from-experienced, loving, good-hearted practitioners (MDs and Midwives) are choosing other fields due to the risk of litigation. The toll that this takes on all involved is immeasurable, I personally know of wonderful, competent midwives, physicians and nurses who have chosen other paths after having to justify their actions in a court of law.
    Birth is a complex process and so are the attitudes and beliefs that surround it, it is not the same for every woman and not every woman wants the same thing but we all have the responsibility to educate ourselves and others as they would like us to. ‘You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink’.
    Blessings to all women, blessings to those who support birthing women spiritually, emotionally and physically, and blessings to all you who take your time to open up a forum for us to share and share of yourselves.

  • V. Savage

    I hate when people argue “but they went to medical school, not you. How could you possibly know more than a doctor?”

    And if you argue that you can learn everything needed about a normal natural birth (which is all you can be expected to do, no one expects you to do your own c-section or induction!) But there will always be someone who insists you will never know more about giving birth than a doctor (who may or may not have given birth themselves) will ever know.

    It’s a shame. I went into my 1st birth thinking this. Everyone gives birth in the hospital, so it must be the thing to do. Doctors do this all day long so they must know best. But I quickly saw that they were not looking out for my best interests at all. They were trying to get me in and out as fast as possible, with as little fuss as possible. They wanted me monitored nonstop and augmented as they saw fit so I could fit their schedule and idea of a proper birth.

    I’m very thankful nothing went seriously wrong and my son was born healthy despite them. When I chose to have another child, I always knew there was no way, no how, I was going to a hospital unless there was a true medical emergency, where I would actually need the expertise of doctors.

    They do wonderful things, they save womens and infants lives every day, and I cannot argue against that fact. But most women & infants don’t need saving, they don’t need augmentations, they don’t need surgery or drugs or someone putting them on a countdown to c-section time clock. They need to follow their instincts, be confident, and understand if they had a healthy pregnancy, there is a very good chance they can have a healty natural intervention free birth, inside or outside a hospital.

  • OGmama

    I am an empowered mama who was lucky enough to hear this information for my first birth, I have had three successful underwater home births in manners and with assistants of my own choosing. I made my own birthing tubs each time out of horse troughs from the farm equipment supply. It is essential that this information get out. If someone feels that it is scary to hear that you cannot always take your doctor at face value, then they have a lot of learning ahead.
    Ladies, it is our right to biorth in the way we choose and our responsibility to make sure we know what we are doing, how we are doing it and who we are doing it with. Just simply walking into a hospital and assuming they will take care of everything is quite frankly shirking that responsibility. Your baby desrevs you to be present, from conception onward. Its not easy, but it is what we have signed up for.


  • Colleen

    wow – i love this, site – in spite of the ignorant women who won’t let go of tradition since they haven’t been hurt enough ” YET” by the ignorance of the medical profession – and i am not just talking about natural birth – i’m talking about the ignorance of prescription drugs,- and any other drugs – i’m talking about immunizations + vaccinations – we need to shine a whole lotta light on so many life threatening practices that continue to plague innocent victoms – and their family’s and their precious children constantly – this world is a very scarey place and we need to use our brains to research every little thing. – ever so sincerely –

  • Elizabeth Flora Ross

    I see this is an older post, but I just came across the link on FB. I absolutely understand why women feel this way, and I respect those feelings. I have friends who had extremely traumatic birth experiences at a hospital. I do, however, resent when some women treat me like I am a terrible person b/c my child was delivered via c-section. I don’t mean you, Mrs. BWF. But I have had women say terrible things to me about it.

    I ran out of amniotic fluid at 37 weeks. I didn’t need a doctor to tell me. I saw the ultrasound w/my own eyes. I watched the technician search in vain for any evidence of fluid. I could feel – and see – the entire outline of my daughter’s body through my skin. My uterus was a deflated balloon.

    Even under those circumstances, my OB was reluctant to perform a c-section. He hated the idea of delivering my daughter that early. The medical community considers a baby “full term” at 37 weeks, but he knew that was not what nature intended, and there were risks for my baby if she was born early. We sat in his office at length and discussed it. I was not forced into anything. He wanted me to be aware of my options and lead the decision making. The risk of greatest concern was that the umbilical cord could be compressed, cutting of oxygen to my baby. The best outcome, if that happened, would be brain damage. Death was also possible. I didn’t bother asking him to look up statistics. They meant nothing to me. I was not willing to risk my child’s life. Period. I chose to have the c-section that day and I have never regretted it. My daughter was born healthy, with no complications.

    My doctor believes my placenta simply stopped functioning properly. I suppose they could have done tests. I never asked. I didn’t plan to have more children, so I didn’t feel it mattered.

    I support and admire what you do to support women. But please try to consider there are reasons for a medically assisted birth. And the women who have them deserve respect, too.

    • Mrs. BWF

      Thank you for sharing your story! I would have made the same choice as you. No doubt about it. I completely understand there are reasons for medically assisted births! I’ve had 2 c/s myself mama. 😉 (((hugs)))

  • Danielle

    WOW, LOVE this!! Especially right now! I keep getting a lot of…are “they” going to let you go longer, how long will “they” let you go, will “they” induce you…Guess what folks, I’M in charge (and obviously God and the baby) and WE are the ones making the decisions ♥
    AND guess what else, YOU CAN DO IT TOO!!!! Women of Earth – Take Back YOUR birth!! (ok, ok, I stole that last line!)
    THANK YOU for writing this moving piece!!

  • Elizabeth

    While I am an advocate for doing things on the timing of your body sometimes there are very valid reasons for doing in a different way. My son was stillborn in 2010 and because of this and a few recurrent medical issues I have with every pregnancy my doctor and I decided together it was better to induce early then end up with another dead baby. Am I wrong in thinking this way? I don’t believe I am. At this point I just want a healthy baby and if that means inducing labor a few weeks before my due date to insure that outcome I will do it. That being said I am very strict as well in the sense that I have my own way of doing my labor. Even if I am induced my experience is still tailored to me and what I want.

    • Mrs. BWF

      You are absolutely NOT wrong. You are doing what you need to do as it is still your body, your birth and your baby and I would never tell you otherwise. I am so glad you have a supportive Doctor and sounds that you both will do what you need to along the way to have a great birth and healthy baby! I am so very sorry for your loss.

  • Saren

    Love this! I was completely devastated when I had to have an emergency C-section with my first after a full placental abruption at 36 weeks. When I found out I was pregnant with my second I went into my OB and the first thing I said was “I want to try for a VBAC” His response was “Good! You’re an excellent candidate and we can certainly make that happen.” I Love my OB. He is so incredibly supportive and was wonderful. My husband at first didn’t want me to because he was being influenced by his mother who told him it couldn’t be done, since she had two c-sections. At 36 weeks (again) I had a successful VBAC (in the hospital, I do have a terrible fear of not having that immediate medical back up just in case). The nurses loved me for it too. I feel terrible for those who don’t have the full support of their doctor. You definitely do have the choice!!

  • amber m

    It’s not just the doctors. It’s the nurses and staff the day of. I was getting pitocin before I knew it. I was so very frustrated about it. My doctor hadn’t even came to see me yet. They just wanted to hurry up the process for them. My water broke and I went to the hospital thinking it would only be a couple hours. When it passed the couple hours mark, they decided to hurry up the process by giving me pitocin without telling me about it. At that point, I was in so much pain because the pitocin makes labor harder, I was not fully “there” to tell them to take it out. SMH.

  • heathermcc

    i wish i would have known about the way doctors really are when i had my now 2 year old. i am a bigger woman and he was estimated to weigh over 12lbs and they convinced me he was too big for me to have and that i needed a scheduled c-section. my doctor was trying to screw the medicaid that i had and i also had well over 7 sonograms for an extremely healthy baby, i know so much more about birth and the over all well being of a child and pregnancy now than i did back then and i am thankful for sites like this one that encourage me to do right by my body and my baby!!! thank you for being such an inspiration for all different types of mamas out there!!!

  • Heatamomma

    I just have to comment here. Doctors and nurse midwives are practicing defensive medicine. It is practiced everywhere in America. Our health care is part of the insurance/litigious paradigm and much of what doctors have to do in a hospital setting is what is covered/indicated/policy/insurance driven. Obstetrics is the hardest to get liability insurance for….so in that vain, they have to tell you the risks. Whether small risks or not. They have to do it, document it and then continue to follow the paradigm of American medicine. I don’t have time to read all these posts, they are good arguments. In the end, we must understand that birth choices are based on multiple factors in a woman’s life -ecoinomic

    • Mrs. BWF

      They don’t have to break waters without consent or put a ‘husband stitch’ in when repairing a tear. Just 2 examples of how insurance and liability do not play any role in how women are treated.

  • Heatamomma

    I just have to comment here. Doctors and nurse midwives are practicing defensive medicine. It is practiced everywhere in America. Our health care is part of the insurance/litigious paradigm and much of what doctors have to do in a hospital setting is what is covered/indicated/policy/insurance driven. Obstetrics is the hardest to get liability insurance for….so in that vain, they have to tell you the risks. Whether small risks or not. They have to do it, document it and then continue to follow the paradigm of American medicine. I don’t have time to read all these posts, they are good arguments.

    In the end, we must understand that birth choices are based on multiple factors in a woman’s life -economic, emotional, social and spiritual. We just have to accept that. No one person can decide and everyone should have choices. Thank goodness we have choices.

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