The Sorry State of Homebirth Midwifery in Oregon

If I want to wash your hair in the state of Oregon, I’m required to complete 1450 hours of training, 150 hours of safety and infection control training, and 100 hours of career development training. I must also pass both a practical and written examination. If I want to deliver your baby, I just have to tell you that I’m a midwife.


And it’s not just Oregon. All across the country, there are lax standards for homebirth midwives. Like Oregon, Utah offers voluntary licensure, and fifteen other states offer no regulation at all. There are some states where lay midwifery is illegal, but in almost all cases, midwives flout the law and are rarely prosecuted. Even in states where it’s amazingly easy to become a legal midwife. In fact, there’s even a book that brazenly describes how to do it and get away with it. Unfortunately, there can be tragic consequences when a woman chooses a poorly trained “midwife,” but under the law, there is little that can be done.
  • Since licenses are not required, they can’t be charged for practicing without a license.
  • Because licenses are not required, there are no standards of practice they are bound to follow; they can take on high-risk patients with impunity, among other questionable practices. There are no penalties for violating reasonable standards of practice, as there are for OB-GYNs or CNMs, because there aren’t any standards!
  • There are no standards for the use of the term “midwife”, so they can’t be charged for falsely representing their skills.
  • There are no educational standards — When it comes to homebirth and the eyes of Oregon law, midwives with doctorates in Nursing are equal with those who’ve taken a weekend seminar in midwifery.
  • There is no insurance required, so these midwives are judgment proof, even if by some miracle gross negligence was proven.  No attorney is willing to take on a malpractice case when there is no insurance involved. Just in case, though, there are online resources for midwives explaining how to brainwash your clients to keep them from suing you or reporting you to the police.


So what about those voluntarily licensed midwives? The requirements are hardly stringent. In order to get licensed, you have to attend 25 births as a midwife — only 10 of which need to have been in the past two years — take a written exam, write a plan for how you’re going to transport a mother who needs it, and obtain a CPR certification. In contrast, a CNM or OB/GYN will attend hundreds of births before receiving their licensure. LDMs in Oregon could be anywhere from completely incompetent to excellent caregivers.


So just do your homework, right? Like Mothering and Birth Without Fear are always telling us, just make sure your midwife is one of the competent ones and nothing bad will happen to you! But how can you tell? Unfortunately, the Oregon Health Licensing Agency, the entity that regulates direct entry midwives (DEMs) in Oregon, has done a terrible job of protecting consumers.  Thirty percent of licensed Oregon midwives have complaints against them pending before the Board. Which ones are they? You won’t be able to tell from the OHLA website, since even midwives currently on probation have no special notation regarding their status on the Board’s searchable database. There is no malpractice database, as there is for OB/GYNs and CNMs, so you can’t easily find if a midwife in whom you’re interested has been sued. Why not? Because licensed midwives aren’t required to carry malpractice insurance, either, so even in the most egregious cases there has not only been no compensation for the victims, but there is no warning for future victims either.


But the state or SOMEONE has a searchable database of outcomes, right? Maybe you could look at the stats from an area and ascertain if the midwives working there have good outcomes? Wrong again! The state legislature charged the OHLA to keep records of outcomes of home births, but they’ve failed to do so. Because of this, we have no official database on direct entry midwifery in Oregon. Melissa Cheyney, Ph.D., at Oregon State University does have a registry of Oregon homebirth outcomes, but has absolutely refused to release it to anyone outside the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA), of which she just happens to be the research director. If fact, in order to gain access to the data, you must pledge to use it to the benefit of midwifery. Oddly enough, no one has been able to get their hands on it.


So what do you do if you want to find a competent midwife in Oregon? Ask her? Of COURSE any midwife will be completely honest about her record and give you references from parents who have been harmed by her lack of skill. Just ask Bambi Chapman.


Not only this, but licensed midwives in Oregon actively fight any attempt to regulate their practice or report poor outcomes. In the last couple of years, Oregon has seen several deaths during attempted home breech deliveries. Because of this, the legislature considered making it illegal for licensed midwives to attend breech births at home. However, as with any birth-related legislation discussion in this state, they raised such a stink (and shouted down their opposition), that nothing was done. When a hospital in Portland attempted to report poor outcomes dumped on their doorstep, they and the OHLA were sued, and it was framed as “Look at this big bad hospital harassing these poor midwives.”If I were queen of Oregon, how would I handle this? My goal would not be to take away the right of women to have a homebirth (I bold this because I know I will be accused of just that); I just want it to be SAFE.  [In every case where there is regulation of midwives, there are no restrictions on PARENTS. If you find a unicorn to attend your birth in a cave, that is, and should absolutely remain, your right. However, if that unicorn claims that it will help you birth safely and then gores your baby? It should face repercussions for that.] There are several things I would do…

  • Require that those advertising themselves as homebirth midwives meet truly stringent educational and clinical standards, comparable to those of CNMs
  • Mandate the reporting of outcomes for every birth and keep a publicly accessible database of this data
  • Require malpractice insurance for anyone advertising themselves as a midwife
  • Provide both criminal and civil punishments for those who practice without meeting the standards, even without poor outcomes

I don’t understand why so many midwives are willing to put up with negligence and incompetence in their midst. Any other profession would be chomping at the bit to throw the bums out, not circling the wagons! Is it because they care more about advancing the cause of midwifery than they do about the women for whom they are providing care? This shouldn’t be the case!

How can Oregon turn it around and stop these tragedies from taking place? How would you fix this?

81 thoughts on “The Sorry State of Homebirth Midwifery in Oregon

  1. This is just a wonderful summary of everything that is wrong with our midwifery licensing program in Oregon. Heather, you my new hero!

  2. On top of all you said, here’s something I posted on Dr. Amy’s site that will shock readers further: The State of Oregon also doesn’t care if a midwife has had to stop practicing in another state due to malpractice and licensing problems. In 2009, I contacted them about multiple acts of gross malpractice by Portland midwife Laura Erickson. In preparing my complaint for state officials, I discovered that Erickson had been investigated by the Minnesota atty general in 1999. She was basically forced to stop practicing in MN, but months later she showed up in Oregon and got licensed without so much as a hiccup. In fact, when I spoke to licensing board investigators, it was news to them that Erickson had ever had problems in another state! One of the sites I found has been taken down since then but you can still see it on the Wayback Machine:

    Another site:

    And yet, despite this, despite Erickson having failed to mention these legal troubles to Oregon officials, and despite her ongoing negligence and malpractice in the state of Oregon, despite her refusing at first to turn over relevant records when requested by investigators…not only is she still practicing, as far as public record shows the case was closed without even so much as a reprimand. In fact, as her bio on her current practice’s site shows, she was even an instructor and director at the big midwifery school in Portland:

    I know of two losses that happened under her care and how do I know of them? Because she BLABBED about them to me! She has no regard for patient privacy, and if a mother rubs her the wrong way she may mishandle her care or abandon her with no referral and, because of Oregon’s insane midwifery laws, no recourse. Ultimately, after verbally abusing me over the phone, that’s what she did to me–dropped me like a hot potato at 29 weeks into my second pregnancy through Alma, not for risk factors but “personality conflict.” She did not transfer me to another practitioner.

    Erickson fudged my records to make it look like she did her job but the reality is that if a vital came out “bad” she would say “let’s just forget that one” and not write it down. I was discouraged from testing for GD and GBS in case I turned out positive. I was discouraged from transferring care to hospital when it was appropriate. She is very clearly practicing with an eye toward not getting caught again, and not toward serving women and keeping us safe–not to mention the poor babies.

    There are NO consequences. It is nuts and absolutely disgraceful to my state. And yes I am posting variations on this comment everywhere I can think of because there is just no other way to get out the word about unsafe midwives. Women I have talked to in Portland who had a bad experience with Alma Midwifery and Laura Erickson also report being shunned, shut up, and disbelieved. Review sites like Yelp or Citysearch will sometimes purge negative reviews out of cowardice. It is so hard to get the word out and frustrating that someone can physically injure you and your baby and traumatize you and is judgment proof…but there is nothing, NOTHING you can do to effectively warn others to steer clear of them.

      • I’m curious what you mean specifically and where I can see the link on facebook. I’m still networking trying to find others who have had bad experiences as there is strength in numbers.

        • I linked this article to alma midwifery, her facebook page. Last I checked it was still there. I’m hoping potential clients will read this and find another caregiver. I’m also hoping she personally reads this.

        • My friend had a baby July 24th. Her name is Margarita. she had 2 midwives in attendence, Laura Tanner and Darby Partner. Both are unlicensed. They left her laboring for 8 days. Around the 6th day they started asking attendees to leave. One by one they sent her friends and those that were planning to be present at the birth away, saying that Margarita needed peace to progress. I suspect that since Margaritas water broke and was green in color (some of the friends questioned that), they wanted to get them out of the way. This was to be Darby’s first solo birth and she certainly didn’t want anything to interfere with her big moment. Once they got the others to leave they locked the doors and would not let them back in to see Margarita. They also never told Margarita that her friends had come to the door. After a while even phone contact was cut off. Even Margarita’s husband who was stuck in India could not reach his laboring wife. Both midwives would not even answer their phones, but would send out occasional text to report Margarita and baby were doing fine. On one occasion Margarita begged to go to the hospital but they re-assured her that all was good and she eventually said ok. Another time she begged to be taken and they stayed in the other room and ignored her crys for help. The 7th night Margarita got hold of her phone and quickly texted she was dilated 8. By morning of the 8th day still no baby,and still no contact with Margarita. I for one was frantic and even wondered if in fact Margarita was even alive. I live several hours away from Eugene. As a registered nurse I felt panic because of what I call “the red flags”. Margarita was pre-eclamptic( Darby told her the high blood pressure readings were high because the blood pressure cuff was too small for her arm).makes everything okay!. A situation the midwife refused to acknowledge. She was over due. Her water had been broke for greater than 48 hours. I have known Margarita since her childhood and did not believe that she wanted her friends and loved ones excluded after all the preparation for the birth plan. In desperation I asked several people to attempt to get in the house and have Margarita call me. The doors were kept locked and were only opened a crack by the midwives. they were sent away. I finally called the eugene police at 11:51 AM. I explained that I was a registered nurse and was concerned about her and the babies safety. I explained it from a medical perspective to show the seriousness of them doing a safety check on Margarita. My request was denied. I also left several messages on Darby’s cell phone. While she never returned my calls she did text my daughter and my sister to re-assure them that Margarita was 9.5 cm and her and baby were doing well as evidenced by his heart rate. That was only an effort to keep me from bringing the police since I threatened in my message was my next step if she did not let us speak with Margarita. I then attempted to call adult protective services. They refer you back to law enforcement on week-ends. I then called Eugene PD again at 1:41 PM and reminded them that I was a mandated reporter and that I need them to go check on the safety of Margarita and the baby. They finally agreed to send someone. Shortly after 4:00 PM I was notified by Margaritas husband via e-mail that Margarita was at the hospital and the baby did not survive. The midwives did not even have a nasal syringe with them to attempt remove the meconium. No oxygen. According to Margarita they argued on how to even do CPR on the baby.
          This baby did not have to die. The medical examiner determined he was a healthy full term baby. The need to license midwives in this state and every state is critical. These woman willfully practiced bad medicine, ignored standard practices and cast a ugly shadow on competent skilled midwives.They held this poor women hostage and according to a detective in the Eugene police department broke no laws since unlicensed midwives in Oregon are not regulated. Imprisoning her was considered void because the one time she agreed not to go after they convinced her that the baby and she were both fine. That is barbaric! I have given birth 5 times natually and can tell you that at some point the pain can be so great that I could not be expected to make a good decision let alone advocate for my self. That is what you trust your birth team to do for you! Whoever they are. they robbed her of her team and made all the decisions. ALL THE WRONG DECISIONS!! Before they deleted their web sites the information posted gave the strong impression that they both were more than capable and experienced. I am not against midwives by any means. I would have even used one myself but never had the opportunity. I believe they knew they did wrong because Margaritas birthing journal and medical records disappeared from her house while she was at the hospital. they did return them when Margarita insisted they be returned but Margarita saw both women writing in them and the one returned had only one midwives entries. I will leave that assumption up to you all and what it could possibly mean! Birth is a natual process but even prudent Doctors will call in help when they find a situation turning bad. We have to raise up and demand that the people we entrust to our care are held accountable and have more than a store bought certificate and a fancy web site. I am willing to stand up and do what needs to be done to protect the babies from monsters like this. You can count me in.

          • Renee, I am devastated for Margarita and her husband’s loss, and also for the pain and anger you must be feeling now. You tried so, so hard to protect your friend.

            Thank you for your courage in sharing this. There are many women working to ensure that travesties like this are no longer allowed to happen. I’m certain they will welcome your support.

          • This is truly horrifying. I am so, so sorry for Margarita and her husband. I can’t even imagine how this must feel, and after such an awful ordeal!

          • Renee, thank you for coming here. I cannot believe there is nothing that can be done! I can’t believe the police refused to help! These “midwives” make me sick. I wish I had the words to express just how angry I am on Margarita’s behalf. Hopefully this will ruin Darby and Laura’s career’s. I wish more residents of your state cared about the babies that are dying preventable deaths and the parents suffering. If there is ANYTHING we can do, please just say the word!

          • Renee, If you search on facebook for ‘fed up with natural childbirth’ you will find a lot of people who are fighting for this too. I hope to see you there.

          • It’s truly unbelievable that our state will just let these women walk away with NO accountability. At the very least, we MUST make licensing MANDATORY.

            I’m so sorry for your friend’s loss, and the shock and anger you must be feeling on her behalf because of this gross injustice.

          • Thank you for coming here! I knew this is what had happened before you said anything! Some people were questioning why her friends hadn’t called the police and I said they probably did, but the police refused to help. The police are pretty worthless in this situation. I hope you got the names of every single person you talked to because I would and then I would call each of them back and let them know the baby died. They could have at least come with you and asked some questions.

      • I have been trying to figure out just what Erickson’s reputation was in Minnesota. I felt like I had been punched in the stomach when I found out she had been run out of there, she had said nothing about it and made it sound like they just wanted to move to OR because it would be fun or something. Of course I’m sure she sees it as having been persecuted but it would have been nice to know as a client!! Through the medical board I can look up and see that my childhood doctor had a lot of malpractice suits for misdiagnosis, and a former OB of mine was under supervision 20 years ago for an alcohol problem…why no such transparency for midwives?

        • *******, I had a complaint against me in MN in 1997. The family was 100% happy with my care. The baby had mild MAS. No death or injury. The AG office chewed on me for several months. I stopped working as a midwife because it scared me. Liam. my youngest was a nursing newborn. When the investigation was complete and no wrong doing was discovered, I was sent a letter saying that after a thorough investigation , no wrong doing was discovered. I then worked as a midwife 3 plus years before moving to Oregon. I wasn’t fleeing anything. I had been homeschooling and wanted a Waldorf highschool for my kids. I had one loss in 14 years of prairie Midwifery. That baby girl died from major anomolies at 30 weeks gestation. If you want to speak with me about your care please call Alma. I have nothing to hide. I have now been a Midwife for many happy years. I have an excellent record. You could hire 100 private detectives with sharp spades and they couldn’t dig up anything. I have no deep secrets. Bless you Mama, Let’s talk soon so you can parent without the distraction of the story you have spun about me! It will be liberating! I know it is you because you are my sole complaint in my 10 years in Portland. – warmly Laura

          • Oh, one more thing. When the pediatrician made the complaint against me in MN. The family and the rest of my clients fund raised to fund my attorney’s fees. If you are curious about my MN Midwifery practice please contact me directly. It is sad that Anon made it sound like I was Bonny and Clyding it out of Minnesota. Nothing so crazy romantic in my life. In fact I had a kid with the runs as we drove cross country. Amazing how few rest stops there are in Montana. That’s the only “running” I recall.

          • Regardless of who you believe me to be, Ms. Erickson, you just shared a patient’s real life name on an internet forum without her permission. That’s GOT to be a heinous violation of privacy laws, and if it isn’t (I’d be VERY surprised if it is not) then it is surely a violation of your professional ethics as a midwife and any possible interpretation of basic professionalism, period.

            It doesn’t matter what a patient says about their experience, how wrongheaded you think she is, how much you want to argue that she’s done you wrong. YOU RESPECT HER PRIVACY. And her story is HERS to tell, at her discretion, wherever she wants to, whenever she wants to, as anonymously or not anonymously as she wants to. That kind of SELF DETERMINATION is supposedly what midwives are all about. Have you at last no sense of decency?

            You may have noticed that my screen name here forms a click-through link. There’s an email address there and if you really wanted a warm, fuzzy heart-to-heart you could have contacted me privately that way. The fact that you instead chose to name a name publicly and violate a former patient’s privacy says VOLUMES about who you are as a person and as a midwife and is more damning than anything those “100 private detectives” could dig up, right off the bat.

            If you’re such a fantastic, first rate, problem-free midwife, why bother harassing a former patient online? Why not just keep your mouth shut and look professional and restrained and keep on doing your job well? Shouldn’t all the glowing reviews you garner out-shout the discontent patients, if there’s so few mistakes in your past and so many successes? Clearly you are scared that if I tell the truth about you, other women will come forward too. Otherwise, why bother? Getting bad reviews now and then is part of being a professional. Most of them cope with it. What’s YOUR deal?

          • Wow, did you seriously just use a person’s first name to out them when they are posting anonymously? That is an amazing lack of ethics, whether or not it violates privacy laws. Actions like that are rapidly undermining the professionalism of midwives. Not to mention the patronizing tone, and the sheer teeth grinding sickly sweet endearments.

            A home birth midwife once asked why I didn’t even bother trying to home birth (since I’m so crunchy in every other way) – it’s actions like this. Lack of professionalism, forced intimacy, emotional coercion and a total lack of ethics. Not to mention the convenient misuse and abuse of statistics (use them to promote home birth as safer for low risk, but ignore them for everything else).

  3. The recent tragedy in Eugene is so very, very sad. I have lost several nights sleep thinking about how this could happen in my state. As some of you might know, during the last legislative session in Oregon, a bill was introduced, House Bill 2380, which would have made midwifery licensure mandatory rather than voluntary. That part of the bill was stripped out. The Oregon Midwifery Council lobbied heavily to get it defeated and it was removed in committee. (It doesn’t help that the wife of one of the representatives on the House Health Committee had a recent home birth). The recent incident is exemplary of why licensure should be mandatory. I think a bill could be reintroduced next session. It is time for like-minded people to organize.

  4. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Mitch Greenlick who is the co-chair of the House Health Committee. I went to listen to part of the hearing. The room was packed with home birth supporters. Two people testified in favor of manditory licensure, a nurse and an Ob from OHSU. About 16 peole testified against (midwives, mothers and dads.) The medical community had written a letter and got over 150 signatures from MDs, RNs and concerned citizens. The letter was pretty much ignored – they already know what the medical community thinks. (To see the letter google: Randy Everitt February 13, 2011.) I think politicians respond more to constituents in their district. I plan to write a letter to Rep. Greenlick and maybe try to get an appt. to meet with him. If a similar bill is introduced in the next session, we need to get a letter writing campaign going, and find people to testify.

  5. When I was poking around online last night I found out that the Oregon Midwifery Council employs a lobbyist to promote their cause. That’s what we’re up against, here. Their newsletter was passing the hat around to raise funds to keep the lobbyist paid.

    One thing we could do right away is make sure that someone, preferably several someone, representing our group was present at every.single.meeting of their board in Salem. Looking at the minutes from past meetings, they are almost exclusively attended by hb midwives, even though they are open to the public. We can start by making our presence known consistently and firmly.

    • I started going to the board meetings last September. I’ve been to most of them. I keep a low profile. The official minutes of the meetings are not published until they have been approved by the full board, so there is usually a several months delay. In truth, the meetings are pretty boring but I usually learn some interesting tidbit. I hate the drive from Portland to Salem, and would love to have some company. The next meeting is August 24 (I think) and I am sort of planning to go. (Not 100% sure if I can.) It is a committee meeting, not the full board. They are working on Informed Consent brochures for high risk births. They were supposed to have them completed by now, but had to extend the date. The next full board meeting is sometime in September. I do think there is a way to listen to the full board meetings on line but I never tried it.
      Yes, the OMC does have a lobbyist. The medical community also has lobbyists from Oregon ACOG, Oregon Medical Assoc., and OHSU. The Oregon Medical Association was able to get a provision introduced into HB 2380 to prevent Obs from getting sued after a home birth transfer. This may improve the transfer process. The legislative hearings can also be heard on line.

  6. In Australia, ‘midwife’ is a legally protected term like doctor. To call yourself a midwife you have to meet minimum education standards set by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council. These standards basically amount to a nursing degree with additional postgraduate study or, more recently, direct entry Bachelor programs (4 years) at a university. These courses have both an academic and clinical component.

    Midwives then have to be registered with the same national board that registers nurses – the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. This board is overseen by the same national agency that reviews all other health practitioners and enables you to check the registration of your midwife (I just found my hospital midwife, pleased but not surprised to find she has no suspensions or reprimands). To become registered and remain registered they need to follow certain practice guidelines. I am not entirely clear on the insurance requirements – they’ve been the subject of some activity over the last couple of years and I’m not sure where it’s wound up.

    One thing these guidelines cover, that I think is particularly important in homebirth, is consultation and referral protocols. There is a list of basically everything that can crop up antenatally and during labour and a notation about whether a midwife should attend to it herself, consult with a colleague, consult with a medical practitioner or transfer primary care of her client to a medical practitioner.

    The website for the board is here

    The board endorses the position statement of the Australian College of Midwives on homebirth. I haven’t read it fully yet, but it can be found here

    What can also be found here that I haven’t had a chance to look at yet, is a literature review on homebirth in the Australian and international context.

    Finally and anecdotally, what you see with such a system in place is a bit less pseudo-science and, I believe, safer homebirth options. Of the three friends I know of who have planned homebirths one delivered so fast her midwife didn’t have time to get there, one was found by her midwife shortly before her due date to have concerning blood pressure and was transferred immediately for a c-section for preeclampsia, and the third was transferred during labour because the midwife had concerns about the fetal heart beat. All mothers and babies were well.

    This is surely not a panacea for homebirth safety, but it still boggles my mind that anyone would consider it acceptable to see women birthing at home with anything less than these protections in place.

    • A midwife in Australia not only told my friend that blue babies are normal, but that babies need resuscitation all the time, and that is normal too. Not to mention a few other things in labour that would have home birth advocates screaming birth rape if they happened anywhere else, but since it was at home, and it saved my friend from a section, it was okay.

      Oh, she’s also anti vax and unvaccinated herself and counsels to avoid vax, as well as most other ‘interventions’ like vitamin k, GD testing and still managed to do more VEs than my obstetrician in a private hospital.

      • That’s terrible. Certainly our system isn’t a silver bullet – I’ve come across some pretty woo-tastic midwives myself – but at the very least there’s recourse and a general acceptance of what the standards should be.

        I hope your friend and her baby were alright.

        • Yeah, they were fine. And still insist that their birth experience was better than mine in every respect, and I should have a home birth next time.

  7. Renee, I am sorry and horrified to read what the Eugene PD did (or more accurately, refused) to do.

    I worked for a police department in another state. I don’t know what the laws are in Oregon, but I would strongly suggest that you contact the state police and the FBI (if they locked her in and refused to let her out….how the hell is it NOT kidnapping? Haven’t they ever heard of “Stockholm Syndrome” in the Eugene PD??)

    Trust me, the last thing the Eugene PD would want is to have another agency sniffing around and bugging them about how they dropped the ball on this case, especially if it is coming from the Feds.

  8. I failed to mention last night that the Eugene PD never did do the welfare check. The next call to emergency services was the 911 (sometime after 3:30 or later) call after the midwives were unsuccessful in the rescusitation efforts. Thank-you all for the support. I know it will mean a lot to Margarita and her husband. They are good people and wanted this baby more than anything. Right know all I feel is rage to know they had to come home empty handed.
    I think one of you made a wonderful point- Why is it that the competent midwifes protect these others? It just makes the whole home birthing scenio look bad. Surely a competent midwife would have recognized all the danger signs. I have some experience with L&D, but I am no expert. Even I knew that they were taking too many risks. I Thank God that Margarita is physically ok. I only wish there was a way to ease their pain. I know if what happened to them can help change the future for others,they would be able to know that their sons life had purpose and he did not die in vain. I for one, would sleep better at night! Thank-you all again.

  9. Renee, I would really like to pursue the inaction of the police. It is just not ok that they didn’t follow through on that welfare check. Could you contact me through Heather, the admin here? She has my email address.

  10. Why is it alright to use my first and last name and be dishonest about my history? Using a clients first name is done in every waiting room in every clinic. You are free to tell any version of your birth stories. That is sacred ground. It is also fine to accurately report the history of a midwife. I liked the links you posted because it reminded me of a hard time, in which friends, family members and clients gave me sustained support. Those articles aren’t damming. The doctors from Paynesville were my favorite, supportive back up doctors. All that is cool. What isn’t OK, TM, is to be dishonest and say that I had malpractice or deaths in Minnesota and was forced to leave. I left my practice to my assistant. It continues to thrive to this day. Be honest and accurate.

    • While first names are used in waiting rooms, they aren’t given with details of what the patient is having done. What a ludicrous argument. Your accusations that people are lying about you are just far-fetched. What motivation could a patient have to tell lies about a bad experience? What do they gain from this? You have a much greater motivation to lie, however, to protect your precious career. I’m much more inclined to believe the people who have the least motivation to be dishonest.

    • Have you heard of HIPAA? It applies to healthcare providers, with regard to their patients. Not to patients with regard to their providers. You might want to look into what HIPAA is like, about 9 pm yesterday, but since you probably don’t have a time machine, now would be the next best time to start figuring out HIPAA and exactly how professional ethics work.

      I don’t know how many deaths you had in Minnesota, if any. If you go back and read my original comment, I was talking about the two babies who died while I was receiving care at Alma, THAT YOU TOLD ME ABOUT. 2006 and 2008. I won’t go into specifics here online about how those babies died, though you told me details, because doing so could very well be a further violation of those women’s privacy. I’m sure you don’t think either one was your fault, or you think that they don’t “count” since they happened after you transferred to the hospital. But it’s still pretty awful for someone attending to “low risk” women to have that many losses in that span of time. Pretty suspect.

      Or did you lie about those deaths? Are you sick enough that you actually made up stories about babies dying in your Alma practice just to SCARE me? There’s that possibility too. But I know what you said and there are witnesses so don’t even TRY to lie about it.

      And you are STILL referring to me by initials. What is wrong with you? This isn’t a waiting room or a lobby. This is the WORLD WIDE web. Calling my name out here is more akin to taking out ad space on a billboard by the freeway than saying my name in your office. You are violating federal law, shamelessly. What other laws might you think don’t apply to you because you just don’t feel like obeying them? I can’t say I’m surprised because I found out ALL about your lack of professionalism when you chose to verbally abuse and dump me at 28 weeks into my second pregnancy rather than either address my concerns about my first birth or transfer my care to another professional like even the village idiot midwife would even know you’re supposed to do.

      • You know you have a case against her. See what you can do to pursue it. Anyone who holds themselves out as health care professionals yet breaches patient confidentiality so egregiously needs to have consequences.

    • Lady I’m horrified you claim to be a midwife! You are a nasty, vindictive person who is completely ignorant of the laws you should adhere too! I’m so glad we are able to share information about you in our communities to protect ourselves and others!

  11. Actually, Ms. Erickson, even using names in a waiting room is a violation of HIPAA. Last I heard it was around $53,000 per occurrence. Sounds like you’d be in for quite a chunk of cash.

  12. Thanks for this post. I wish everyone was aware of this information, and it is shocking that MWs can get away with such negligence.

  13. I believe these comments are a perfect example of how hard it is for a lay person to tell who is going to be competent. For example, you might think that a midwife with the lowest transport rates (not emergency transports) would be better. However from my years of experience with home birth midwives in Eugene, Oregon, there is a reluctance to transport to the hospital when things don’t look quite right. In fact, a midwife who does transport as soon as she thinks it’s a good idea, may get backlash for doing so from some other midwives. Home births are safe because moms are given lots of one on one care, so the possibility of problems are identified before they become emergencies.

    A couple of suggestions: Ask an experienced nurse midwife in the area. It is frequently impossible for nurse midwives to do home births, even if they want to – but they may be able to recommend a couple of providers. Or if you can find a Labor and Delivery nurse who isn’t negative about home births and lay midwives, they may be able to suggest one or two midwives for you to check out. Be careful about relying on what you hear. A lay person may believe that her care was perfect when in fact it was dangerous.

    One of the problems with malpractice insurance coverage for home births is that it is so expensive that it has forced many nurse midwives out of the home birth practice.

  14. As a mom to a baby who almost died due to negligent care during a home birth in Texas this year, I applaud this.

    This is what HAS to happen in EVERY state where midwifery is legal if we want to keep mothers and babies safe while also protecting the right to have a home birth.

    • Something must change. After my best friend in Portland watched The Business of Being Born, she made a decision that she wanted a home birth. Fears of OGYN’s, pitocin, epidurals, and c sections took hold, and she hired a team of midwives to be her birthing assistants. After two days of labor and no progress, she wanted to go to the hospital and one of the midwives told her she “shouldn’t give up so soon” and to “channel her inner birth warrior”. By the evening on day two, she sensed something wrong and decided to go on ahead and go to the hospital. After getting there, the baby’s heart rate was in decels and she was rushed in for a c section. The baby was in distress and there was a presence of meconium. Luckily the baby was fine and so was mama.

      The thing is, some of these “midwives” do not take meconium seriously. Why? And why must they try and persuade a woman from following her intuition like that? They say, “trust your body, trust your baby” Right? But when the mama does this, and says “Something is wrong” the midwives shake their heads and say no…

      I’m not saying ALL midwives do this, but I’m seeing more cases where midwives try to talk a woman out of transport, especially if meconium shows up. Just read a story the other day where a woman said she had meconium coming out of her and the midwife laughed about it and said the baby was just getting ready for birth. Really?

      Underground midwifery, lay midwifery, should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. There are too many liars and birthing addicts out there who will do anything to catch the baby and the birthing high.

      I had my first baby in the hospital. Pitocin with no drugs. It was an 8 hour labor, uneventful, and my baby came out healthy and after one hour I was up roaming the halls. I sure didn’t get to do that with my home birth transport/emergency c section/ and baby fighting for life in the NICU. Our experience was so traumatizing, my husband and I don’t want another baby. We planned for 3, but have decided to stop at 2. I feel very sad about it. I will always feel as if something is missing.

  15. I know that it has been a while since you posted this but thank you. I think that you are spot on with wanting to advocate for being able to research the safety of the midwives that are advertising their services. Can I be the devil’s advocate for a moment and bring up on other point. Many midwives are falsely accused by OBs in terms of malpractice. There is still a vicious witch hunt that is occurring. I think this is why you see the “circle of wagons”. Do I think that anyone should be able to print a certificate off of their computer and call themselves a midwife? A big fat NO! As someone who is working hard through an accredited institution to get my degree in midwifery I can tell you that I don’t want just anyone defacing what I am doing by doing harm to mothers and/or babies. But the witch hunt is real. Many lies are made up which makes it hard for parents. Not only do they have to research but they have to discern between truth and fiction. Thanks for letting me comment.

  16. My baby almost died, due to the ignorance and lies of a practicing “lay” midwife in California. Her name is Cecily Arenas. She is such a great actress, she should have went to Hollywood instead of taking up her hobby of midwifery. I had a completely healthy and uneventful pregnancy until the very end. I was 42 weeks and getting worried and Cecily told me not to worry, that I was going to give birth any day. She wanted me to take Black Cohosh and other concoctions to get labor going. I did, and all of her remedies made me ill. After that, she insisted we re-calculate my due date, even against a sonogram taken at a nearby hospital to get a more accurate due date. She insisted that the sonogram was wrong and extended my due date by two more weeks. This is when I knew she was crumbling. I wanted to go for a bio physical profile and she told me I would not need one, and to trust my baby and my body. When I started to suddenly lose meconium one morning at 42 weeks and 2 days, I didn’t know what I was seeing, and she told me it was a vaginal infection and to place garlic in my vagina and wait it out. If it hadn’t been for me and my husband’s intuition that something more sinister was going on, our daughter would not be with us today. When things took a turn for the worse, Cecily Arenas turned her back in a flash, and distanced herself completely. A huge change from the 8 months of her treating me as if I were her best friend.

    I trusted her. She gained my trust. She acted her part very well as a “wise woman”. She helped me and encouraged me to have trust in my body, and in the end, when things did not go well, she bolted.

    As my daughter lay in the NICU fighting for her life, and I laid in my hospital room fighting for my life after an emergency c section with complications, NOT ONCE did Cecily bother to call me, come see me, or so much as contact my husband to see what was going on, after he called her to inform her of our transport. She must have known that things were going bad and she panicked.

    This “wise woman” didn’t give a damn about me, my baby, or the trauma that I went through. On the 3rd day of my hospital stay, a social worker and a well known midwife who worked at the hospital came to see me, to get the story on what happened. You see, all I could do was cry non stop. I was a mess. I was worried sick about my baby, who had meconium in her lungs. As it is she was born not breathing and they had to resuscitate her. My husband watched this happen through the tiny window of the surgery unit. He STILL cries to this day about all of it. We will always be traumatized by this. I thank God every day that He stepped in and guided us and protected my baby.

    In the end, when Cecily was contacted, she pretended that she was just a friend to me, and not really a midwife. Just a friend who was passing me guidance about the pregnancy, but that I was apparently going to have my baby unassisted. Nice huh?

    And after all of that, what did Cecily do? She went back to college so she could become a nurse practitioner and work with families. I sometimes wonder if she ever thinks about me, or what happened. I wonder if she still practices her “wise woman midwifery” under ground.

    I never talk about my story anymore, because there is always a nasty hateful midwife out there who will tear me to pieces and tell me that it was ALL my fault. That I am totally responsible for what happened with my birth. I refuse to accept that I was all to blame. I hired and paid for a midwife to give me that counsel, and that midwife failed.

    • first off Tabitha let me say that i am very happy your baby survived the madness and horrific situation your midwife created. i am so disgusted to hear of yet another birth botched by a know it all no nothing useless woman!

      i was not so lucky. my baby was killed due to the negligence of not 1 but two midwives and a doula. it was thanksgiving weekend and they didnt want to work so they delayed me so much… so many mistakes were made after the initial delay out of panic, poor training and lack of medical knowledge/professionalism. my story is here
      they too walked away immediately after we were sent to the hospital (which was supposedly 5 minutes away but was infact over 20 minutes)
      they disappeared. changed their whole website. ran me in circles when trying to obtain my documents from them. just disgusting behavior. this was November 28, 2011.

      when this happened and i finally was able to break my story online and share photos and words about my nightmare, i thought i would be greated and held by warm loving hands and enraged thoughts for the midwives involved. instead i was accused and still am accused of being the one at fault and completely to blame, by those die had natural birthers (one of which i thought i was when pregnant) . if there are bad midwives out there why cover their ass? why not weed them out and expose them???
      in all my studies during pregnancy, when i read about all the facts and percentages of the cold evil hospitals, not once did i think i should question the birthing center and the midwives what their death rates were. why are hospitals legally forced to show all their percentages when midwives aren’t?
      and why do these women stand by the ones that kill, damage or almost come very close to destroying an entire family ??? it is a sick thought indeed. they always say its a witch hunt against the midwives anytime someone complains of death and mistreatment. and they are right! it is a witch hunt. because they are evil witches!!?? who else would support someone who killed a baby just out of pure stupidity or ill will??? the more i hear about midwifery the more i really question everything about it. i am on my own personal witch hunt. i would rather have a robot deliver my baby. they truly made me fear child birth. i hope you can take sometime to read my story about my daughter Vylette Moon. it is purely tragic. but necessary to know about.

      please feel free to message me any time, i am open to talking about anything. I’m sorry this happened to you but i am so very very happy your baby is ok now <3

  17. I wanted to say, thank you for commenting. I went over and read your story and all about your sweet Vylette. I am so incredibly moved by your story and I know I will not forget it. I left a message for you there.

    I want so much to be able to DO something. For many years I have pretty much stayed quiet about my experience and have not reached out to others. Lately I have felt as if I need to talk about this, and get a conversation going about midwives who are dangerously inept.

    I feel that there are many, not all, but many women who want to be Ina Mae Gaskin. They have an preoccupation with being a baby catcher, and idolize Ina and the midwives at the farm.

    The problem comes from these women who are uneducated, who spend maybe a year or two assisting births or traveling down to Mexico and shadowing a midwife, then come back and hang up their shingle, proclaiming that they are “wise women”. Some read “The Red Tent” or “Spiritual Midwifery” or “Baby Catcher” and a stack of books on natural birth, and feel prepared to put the life of a woman and her unborn baby into their inept and ignorant hands. It is a frightening truth that so many want to sweep under the rug.

    Before I continue, let me say, I have a lot of respect for Ina Mae Gaskin and the midwives that work with her. They are extremely intelligent, experienced, skilled, and they would not go into a situation ill-prepared. Ms Gaskin herself has said many times over that a red flag is a transport to the hospital. With so many of these wannabe baby catchers listening to Ina and reading her material, and traveling to see her at conferences, why would they not listen to what she teaches?

    We have women who are hanging their shingle, proclaiming themselves as educated and able, but the first sign of trouble comes, and they duck out and start crumbling. These women pretend and believe in their own lies that they can handle any situation that comes up.

    The fact that some of the “wise women” or “midwives” support these other women who have acted wreckless and dangerously, will stand on a street corner with signs and SUPPORT them is absolutely confounding. They are so afraid of losing their “baby catching” business, that they will support a woman who should be locked up in jail for causing the death of a child or mother. They don’t really care, they just don’t want to lose their own freedom to go off and be just as dangerous and wreck-less.

    I’m certain that there are very good midwives out there, who are very qualified, skilled, and experienced. But for every midwife who is like this, there are at least 20 more who are not and this is why we need laws to protect women and babies.

    It is time that all women have proper education, training, and licensing IF they want to be responsible for the life of mothers and babies.

    Let’s remember that a lot of these women are obtaining oxygen tanks illegally, cytotec, pitocin, and other medicines that should not be in their hands. My midwife explained to me once how she obtained her oxygen. This should have been a red flag to me right there, but I trusted in her. I was stupid.

    So many women watch Business of Being Born, or More Business of being born and see starry eyed Ricki Lake visiting with Ina Mae, completely engulfed in a high. You see her eyes and face on camera during the interview. It is nearly frightening. She even stated that she loved Ina Mae so much, she wanted to crawl up into her uterus and live there. Sure she was joking, but this is an example of how enamoured many women are with the whole midwife and birth experience.

    On Business of being born, we see Ricki’s friend having to transport, but the documentary just glosses over this. In fact, it glosses over many facts that are true because the message is… “Don’t go to the evil hospital. Don’t go to the evil OBGYN. Don’t have the evil Pitocin, and don’t get the evil epidural”.

    It seems to me that these ignorant “wise women” midwives, will gloss over the dangers as well, then turn tail and run when trouble erupts. They will spend months on end pretending to be your best buddy and confidant, then when YOU or your baby gets into distress during the birth, they flee and distance themselves. This needs to stop.

    I haven’t even touched on the trauma that the mother feels and has to face, and the abandonment she feels when the midwife runs away. I know that I felt a lot of abandonment and depression.

    What will level this playing field, and weed out all of the women who want to play wise woman and avoid formal education and the trouble of getting licensing, will help contribute to safer home birth in the future.

  18. You know what scares the hell out of me? A midwife who would not know what meconium is or looks like. She told you to put a piece of garlic in your vagina and wait for it to go away. This is why we need regulation, people!

  19. I just started reading your site. I so wish my daughter had read it. She labored hard for over 12 hours at Alma. She opted to go to the hospital. She got an epidural. Labored more and then gave in to a c-section. The surgeon said, while her up, that the baby’s head would never have come through her pelvis. At Alma, she had been told that no woman’s body would make a baby too big for it! So, they took the baby out and took him away. He had meconium problems. Both mother and baby needed to stay in the hospital on antibiotics for five days. We nearly lost them.

    The same night our daughter went to the hospital, at the time she was preparing to leave for the hospital, an ambulance came for the baby born downstairs, who did not breathe or have a heartbeat. Emanuel/Randall Hospital saved them all.

    I hate the people at Alma who mislead mothers to be and jeoperodize their lives and babies.

    • I am the grandmother of an innocent newborn who died due to the incompetence and negligence of a midwife in Oregon. I have asked the moderator here to send you my email so that we might chat. We need to tell your story and all the other bad outcomes so that the public knows what is really going on.

  20. Licensing doesn’t compensate for a persons compassion and ability to function in an emergency. If a woman chooses home-birth she does so for many reason’s. For it to be successful she must have complete trust in her body’s ability to birth and needs to hold accountability of herself for proper care of herself during pregnancy and labor. This includes good nutrition and exercise and RESEARCHING the midwives or birth center they are considering and educating themselves about birth. Not all midwives are good, but unfortunately many bad comments are made about good midwives because of a bad experience when the mother is unwilling to take personal accountability. I had great experience’s with midwives, as most women do, but I also took exceptional care of myself during pregnancy and labor, took preventative measures and had complete trust in my body and my midwives. Please don’t persecute all home-birth midwives because their are a few bad apples, as their are in any field…would you stop going to a doctor just because a few have been found to be bad practitioners? Would you say all doctors are bad and verbally persecute them because you had a bad experience? Probably you would just find a different doctor.

    • You’re kidding, right? Homebirth midwives in Oregon (and everywhere in the US) have terrible track records because they lack the education and oversight to give proper care. Did you go to the hearing on the mandatory licensing bill last Friday? If you did, you would know that Oregon direct-entry midwives (i.e., those who are not nurse midwives) have a death rate of 6-8 times that of hospital births. And those hospital births are including HIGH RISK births. Absolutely disgusting.

      • Thanks for the link, it is informative. I have read articles on the lack of hospital reporting concerning the death of infants and mothers related to birth, especially when it occurs after birth and is not termed as birth related when it is and on the huge rate of death resulting from unnecessary cesarean…where are these statistics? It is sad when any baby or mother dies, in most cases it is no ones fault,as was with the loss of my second child, but where are the stories/statistics of an MD or OB who acted negligently or with haste and caused a pour outcome or death? For the record I don’t support uneducated midwives, it is essential for a midwife to have proper training and provide exceptional care. It is disgusting to read the stories of midwives who waited too long to transport and abandoned their client after transport. Those don’t follow the professional guidelines for CPM’s and put a dark cloud over all midwives. I haven’t decided if I personally feel licensing should be a requirement for midwives, but I do feel they should be required to follow the professional guidelines and meet educational and experience requirements before practicing as a midwife and be held accountable by law when they fail to do so, it may be that licensing is the only way to ensure this.

        • “I have read articles on the lack of hospital reporting concerning the death of infants and mothers related to birth, especially when it occurs after birth and is not termed as birth related when it is and on the huge rate of death resulting from unnecessary cesarean…where are these statistics?”

          What do you mean where are those statistics? You are the one that made the statement, it’s your job to provide proof that such things happen. I have seen no such proof and without that proof your reply has no merit.

    • Interesting take…. I need to go talk to several women I know that had home births that didn’t have the happy outcome you are talking about – ranging from personal clientele to friends to women I’ve met on the internet. Who knew, if they had just taken better care of themselves (even though, they took remarkable care of themselves – clearly not good enough though), if they had just done their research to hire “good” midwives (even though they each did thorough research to make sure they hired the most educated, well-trained midwives in their area – clearly, not good enough though), and even though they trusted their bodies and trusted birth as much as any other home birthing mom I know…. but obviously, they didn’t trust it enough and it’s THEIR fault. They didn’t do enough, according to you. The fetal distress, the transfers, the babies that have DIED… all preventable b/c they didn’t take better care of themselves and didn’t trust birth enough.

      I’ll be sure to direct them all to your comment, just so they know how simple it all really is and how much it’s all actually their own fault.

      • I didn’t mean to imply that taking good care of yourself and choosing a competent midwife would ensure a good outcome, just that those are steps to take for the best possible outcome. All the bad things happen in hospitals with MD’s and OB’s too, and often can’t be avoided or changed their either, but I believe those stories are swept under the rug or hidden in malpractice suits settled out of court so the story is not allowed to become public. I also feel we are so culturally trained to believe MD’s and OB’s will do everything right and everything possible, so when the bad happens their we are more excepting and less accusatory or likely to question.

  21. “For it to be successful she must have complete trust in her body’s ability to birth and needs to hold accountability of herself for proper care of herself during pregnancy and labor. This includes good nutrition and exercise and RESEARCHING the midwives or birth center they are considering and educating themselves about birth.”

    WOW “BirthedatHome”, it’s doesn’t get more self-fulfilling that that comment. How about those of us that did “do our research”, did eat well, exercise, and “educated ourselves”…yet our babies died due to negligence? You see there is something called professional standards that guide practices and educational standards for a reason. OOH midwives don’t have those, at least not in MI. Choosing a midwife should mean something, not just luck of the draw and hope you get a good one. It’s great that things worked out for you and that you were “successful”. I trusted my body. I researched my midwives and hired the “best” in the state. My baby died and he didn’t have to. Don’t even try to tell me about “trusting birth”. You have a long way to fall from the pedestal you’ve put yourself upon.

    There are far more than a few bad apples out there. How about data to prove it? You can’t make your argument in the face of data, or in a state like mine that doesn’t even bother to collect data on outcomes. This is a crisis that people like you choose to ignore because you live in the fantasy that if you just believe, magic will happen. I’m living proof that isn’t true. Women deserve more reliable, professional options in OOH birth instead of playing roulette with their care providers.

    • All CPM’s are required to have certain education, training, and experience under supervision before they are licensed and once licensed are required to follow standards of practice guidelines, when they don’t, at least in Oregon and most states as far as I know, they are subject to review and disciplinary actions, from loss of license to jail time.
      When a women chooses a lay midwife, which it is only legal to practice as in very few states, she is quite likely playing roulette and I don’t agree with this either.

      I am truly sorry for your loss, and did not mean to imply you didn’t do enough. I am very curious as to what happened if your willing to share.

      • I’m sure Sara will reply for herself but I know that she was under the care of CPMs and CNMs… no “lay” midwives attended her birth. A credential and education really don’t mean anything. Philosophy is the real danger. And without any insurance or guidelines or standards, there is nothing to protect women like Sara.

        Her negligent midwives can keep right on practicing even though they are criminals. CRIMINALS.

  22. BirthedAtHome – wow, you really think that you’re a super-special snowflake, don’t you? Because the implication is that if everyone did exactly as you, they wouldn’t have lost their babies during homebirths. You don’t seem to grasp that pregnancy/delivery can go from low risk to high risk in a matter of minutes, and you’d better hope that your provider is educated and experienced enough to 1) diagnose when things aren’t normal anymore, and 2) have the skills to save your life and that of your child’s. It’s awfully hard to determine whether or not your midwife is competent given the lengths to which the homebirth movement will go to support negligent providers and scrub out stories of bad outcomes. The only competent midwives in this country are CNMs, but CPMs and DEMs trade on the good reputations of real midwives to get their birth fix. These are sham credentials, and women and their babies deserve better.

    • ” It’s awfully hard to determine whether or not your midwife is competent given the lengths to which the homebirth movement will go to support negligent providers and scrub out stories of bad outcomes.”

      This happens with hospital and doctors too, with more efficiency do to the aid of high paid lawyers and insurance companies.

      Again, I didn’t mean to imply that if everyone did as I, as many do, they wouldn’t have lost their babies. All loss is sad, sometimes it was preventable making it even that much more tragic.

  23. Wow, “Birthed at home”… maybe if I educate myself on finances, invest a penny in my piggy bank every day, and research my gas station attendant based on
    the number of winning tickets he happens to have sold, maybe I will win the lottery!!!! (And yes, Einstein, I’m saying you’re kidding yourself and just got lucky.)

  24. How did I just get lucky when I did what women have been doing since the beginning of life? If I was just lucky than the human race should have died out thousands of years ago as we’ve only been using doctors and hospitals as the majority in the US for about 70years, with very pour outcomes and extremely traumatizing experiences still happening, although thankfully not as much since the medical profession is starting to recognize the benefits of a natural birth process and a more hands off approach. In many places, it is uncommon still for a woman to birth outside of the home, with better outcomes than we have in our hospitals, in non-impoverished places. In areas of impoverishment birth outcomes are generally very pour no matter where they birth do to malnutrition and lack of good prenatal/postnatal care, but amazing clinics have been being established over the last 10+years in these areas, exponentially improving outcomes. Who mainly started them, runs them and works at them mostly on a volunteer basis…midwives.

    • They also have volunteer naturopaths, acupuncturists etc… very few MD’s, OB’s, if cesarean is needed most have to transport to hospital, but this is rare.

      • “If I was just lucky than the human race should have died out thousands of years ago as we’ve only been using doctors and hospitals as the majority in the US for about 70years, with very pour outcomes and extremely traumatizing experiences still happening, although thankfully not as much since the medical profession is starting to recognize the benefits of a natural birth process and a more hands off approach.”

        Bullshit. You do realize that nature tolerates a very high wastage rate, right? Plenty of women can die giving birth and yet the human race will persist. You do realize that childbirth was the leading cause of death for women prior to the advent of modern obstetrics? (If you need proof, check out the maternal mortality statistics in the developing world).

        I find people like you to be quite tiresome and in some cases, dangerous. I had a “natural” birth in a hospital with CNMs (you know, REAL midwives). My midwife actually described the birth as textbook, up until the moment that I started bleeding out from a cervical laceration. I was totally low risk, had zero interventions, pushed in different positions, the whole nine yards, yet I still would have died had I not been in the hospital. Even with prompt care, I narrowly avoided a blood transfusion. No one could have predicted that this was going to happen. According to your line of reasoning, I should have just let the natural process of birth take its course and leave my child motherless. Forgive me if I hold you in disdain.

        • You wouldn’t have died out of hospital with a midwife that is truly trained, as they are as fully trained as a CNM to deal with and prevent lacerations…all kinds of hemorrhage causes for that matter.

          What’s tiresome is a lack of real evidence or statistics that are unbiased, for either side of the debate. What’s dangerous is anyone attending a birth with arrogance, ignorance, or lack of experience.

          What’s sad is anyone trying to take away a woman’s right to choose.

          • No one is trying to take away anyone’s right to choose. They are simply trying to make it a safe and truly informed consent. Not every state required homebirth midwives to be licensed and therefore what is it they have to lose should something go wrong? Nothing. Making it far easier to cover things up than in a hospital setting since as you say there are cover ups there. And on what planet does a midwife carry around typed blood to save a woman from hemorrhage? How are they going to prevent it from happening? It is just this kind of dangerous talk of if you just trust your body enough and trust birth everything will be fine that makes people speak out. Because trust or lack there of is not what causes the body to do things that it wouldn’t normally do. And it’s lines like that which are used to shame women for not having the birth that you think is ideal. That’s not choice, that’s manipulation.

          • Her, thanks for your expert opinion regarding my obstetric crisis. Do you have any idea how insulting it is to have some Monday morning quarterback claim that I would have been fine at home with a well-trained midwife? While my midwife was trying to discover the source of the bleeding, nurses were administering pitocin and cytotec, running an IV, and getting the attending OB to prepare for surgery. Most HB midwives can’t suture more than a 1st degree tear, let alone diagnose and suture anything as complex as a cervical laceration. Do you not understand that the bleeding was not going to stop until I was stitched up, that even being in the hospital where I was in the OR within minutes it was still an emergency? Do you think I’m exaggerating? Other than calling in Life Flight, what exactly could a HB midwife do for me? And don ‘t tell me that a cervical laceration was preventable – I was fully dilated and didn’t push until I had the urge. This complication is extremely rare.

    • “How did I just get lucky when I did what women have been doing since the beginning of life?”

      You know that 1 in 8 women died in childbirth before medical interventions, right? Women have been having babies since the human race came into being, and it was the number one killer of women. What did we do before medicine? Simple, they died young.

  25. BirthedAtHome, what on earth leads you to think that you have the right to parachute in to this discussion and disrespect mothers who have lost babies due to the negligence of ‘Midwives’ who live in a complete fantasy world? The idea of you turning up here and being pious about ‘taking exceptional care of yourself’ is, frankly, nauseating. Did you even think about the implications of that statement? Did you wonder, for the smallest moment, how that would sound to a mother who has lost her baby? A baby lost, I might add, through absolutely no fault of her own? No, you didn’t because fundamentally all you care about is your ‘birth experience’ and your uneducated ideology.
    If others on here feel I have been too blunt I am sorry. I am very, very angry indeed.

    • I am sorry for offending any mother who has lost her child, or any family that lost the mother do to women calling themselves midwives when they are really not trained or experienced. They are a true danger to mothers and babies and put a bad name on real midwives.

      This will be my last post. It was brought up that I needed to site where I’m getting my information and explain what it is a midwife does to prevent and treat hemorrhage, so that is what I will do now.

      “CNMs are educated in two disciplines: midwifery and nursing. They earn graduate degrees, complete a midwifery education program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME), and pass a national certification examination administered by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) to receive the professional designation of CNM. CMs are educated in the discipline of midwifery. They earn graduate degrees, meet health and science education requirements, complete a midwifery education program accredited by ACME, and pass the same national certification examination as CNMs to receive the professional designation of CM.
      CNMs and CMs must demonstrate that they meet the Core Competencies for Basic Midwifery Practice of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) upon completion of their midwifery education programs and must practice in accordance with ACNM Standards for the Practice of Midwifery. ACNM competencies and standards are consistent with or exceed the global competencies and standards for the practice of midwifery as defined by the International Confederation of Midwives.1 To maintain the designation of CNM or CM, midwives must be recertified every 5 years through AMCB and must meet specific continuing education requirements.” (
      “…In the US anually 277 young healthy women bleed to death among the 1,386,000 cesareans performed each year…the 277 women who bled to death from cesareans would be alive today if they had chosen attended home birth.” (Landon et. al. 2004)

      “Maternal mortality and postpartum hemorrhage due to the overuse of cesarean are increasing quite dramatically in the US with increasing cesarean and induction rates” (Knight et. al. 2009)

      From M.D. Michael Odent…”Knowing the vulnerability of oxytocin release, particularly environmental factors, we must wonder what kind of environment can influence this special hormonal peak just after the birth of baby…I am influenced by the lessons of clinical observation, which are supported by the lessons of modern physiology. The first positive factor is that the mother has given birth to the baby through an authentic fetus ejection reflex…After the birth, one of the conditions is that the mother is not cold…Another condition is that the mother is not distracted when discovering her baby. The mother needs to feel the contact with the baby’s skin, to look at the baby’s eyes and to smell the odor of her baby. Any distraction can bring her ‘back to our planet’ and inhibit the hormonal peak. One cannot make a list of the countless distractions that can interfere during this phase of labor…During the six months I spent as a medical student in the maternity unit of a Paris hospital in 1953, the routine for the midwife was to immediately cut the cord and to give the baby to a help nurse. I never heard at that time of a women trying to establish body-to-body contact with her newborn baby–the cultural conditioning was too strong. Everybody was deeply convinced the the newborn baby urgently needed care given by somebody else. This is how one can explain that most postpartum hemorrhages, and therefor many maternal deaths , have been for thousands of years the consequences of inappropriate cultural interferences.”

      On hemorrhage from CNM’s and CPM’s….sorry but I won’t disclose their names on here.

      “Midwifery is not a set of three rules (or however many) to follow blindly, Basic critical thinking is essential for identifying problems, identifying most likely causes, identifying and prioritizing solutions, implementing and evaluating solutions. For postpartum hemorrhage an all other emergencies, each of us should have a list of causes and their most likely solutions, then practice with our teams to implement them smoothly. Knowing how to sequence the various solutions is important. If a woman is bleeding out, I’m going straight to bimanual compression and Pitocin or whatever else is legal an available…”

      “I keep meeting midwives (and docs, too) who feel helpless about third stage bleeding because for some of them, the only tool they have is Pitocin. It can be a long time waiting for that to take effect–meanwhile mom is bleeding like the sink. They were taught that it is dangerous to touch the uterus and, therefor, the most effective technique available is off limits for them. When the placenta is out and mom is happy with her baby and suddenly starts to gush a waterfall would any od us hesitate to rub her uterus? The uterine response to massage is so strong that it can even be used to augment and/or induce labor…Waiting for Pitocin to work can be the longest three to five minutes of your lifetime! Almost always, a hand on the uterus can cause an immediate contraction…. The Brand-Andrews maneuver is helpful for stopping a bleed. The technique is similar to the type of massage used after birth to tighten the uterus. Use a broad hand, not fingers or knuckles. Gather the uterus into a firm ball as it contracts and keep it there. The bleeding will stoop. The next big contraction or or the second will finish the separation. The uterus changes shape under your hands and you can feel the placenta slide out…”

      “Determine where the bleeding is coming from. If uterine, make contractions with breastfeeding/nuzzling/nipple stimulation or use herbs like cotton root bark, blue cohosh or trillium If you think the placenta has separated, have mama blow or cough to loosen and expel. Use Yunnan paiyao for wound tears. Pitocin or manual removal can be used as a last resort.”

      “I had a mom once who lost nearly 700 ml of blood from an anterior vaginal wall laceration. This is why I teach all my students how to do a figure eight stitch really, really fast and also why I have a small clamp on the birth tray that I can grab to clamp off a bleeder”

      “An important factor with regard to hemorrhage is poverty, which leads to poor access to food and lack of access to skilled obstetrical care (this is worsened by a low status of women is society). Another factor is early, late and frequent childbearing. Here at Teso Safe Motherhood in Soroti, Uganda, we bring skilled professional antenatal and intr-partum care to women whose lifetime risk of dying in childbirth is estimated at 1:30…” If this is the ratio now, in an underdeveloped, malnourished country, how could the ratio have been 1:8 in US before modern obstetrics?!?!!! “…Women who lack good food will have fewer red blood cells, which are carriers of bital oxygen to all parts of the body, than women who are well nourished. When there are not enough red cells in the blood, the woman is anemic. She cannot tolerate blood loss like a well-nourished woman because she has less reserve. We emphasize antenatal care, checking a women’s hemoglobin, and giving out rice and beans during pregnancy and prescribing iron and folic acid as needed…This is one way that expert care in pregnancy prevents death by hemorrhage. Good work to Teso Safe Motherhood! The other vital factor is attendance at birth by a skilled person. In poor countries, women often have poor access to skilled care at all levels. Pesponse to hemorrhage must be astute and immediate. When hemorrhage occurs with the placenta still inside, controlling it requires delivering the placenta in the most expedient manner. When the placenta has been delivered, removing clots, applying direct pressure to the uterus, maintaining circulatory volume and using antihemorrhagics will stop most hemorrhages. In cases of severe hemorrhage, surgical intervention, itravenous support, administration of blood, and/or correction of blood dyscrasias (disorders)can succeed if obstetrical care is accessed in a timely manner. Knowing when to consult and transport is part of the midwifery skill set that may save a mother’s life.”

      “Over the years I have learned more about herbs and placenta uses for hemorrhage. The Herbs rarely fail, but when they do, I have more tricks up my sleeve. One is to use the same massage therapy techniques that stimulate contractions in order to stop the hemorrhage. Another is to cut off a small chunk of placenta an d place it in the buccal cavity (in mouth under tongue), where the oxytocin in the placenta piece is rapidly absorbed. It usually stops the flow within five minutes. Then take another piece and whiz it into a smoothie or protein shake for mom to drink for a more sustained effect. There was one time when nothing worked. This mom was losing so much blood so rapidly that I had used all my herbs. I did a manual exploration and found a partially accreted placenta. I had the emergency squad there within six minutes of the birth! She was a VBAC client who had refused an ultrasound. I thought I was safe since I didn’t hear placental sounds over the scar. I was wrong! It turned out the inner and outer scars were not identical. The very front edge of the placenta had dug into the very back edge of the scar; it was over so far to the side that I couldn’t hear it. Now I make all my VBAC clients get an ultrasound. I did ask the doc if he thought a shot of Pitocin would have helped. He said that no, it might only have delayed appropriate care. The care she needed was a surgical separation of placenta from scar tissue.” The woman lived and this was a more serious emergency than a cervical laceration, thanks to a quick acting, well trained CPM

      “Some uterine hemorrhages are visible; some are hidden. Some can be prevented; some require prompt action. Some happen to the women we care for; some happen to us. some are once-in-a-lifetime events; some are monthly visitations. Some give us time to deal completely; some scare the living daylights out of us. We are never powerless when there are green allies (herbs) to aid us.”

      • I’m glad you’re done posting here, BirthedAtHome. Your “knowledge” of postpartum hemorrhage only displays your ignorance. If you really believe that herbs and eating a chunk of my own placenta would have saved my life, you are an idiot.

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