Monday, August 31, 2009

Homebirth-Friendly OB Needs Your Help

An OB of a very rare breed, a homebirth, VBAC and vaginal breech supporter, Dr. Stuart Fischbein, who actively collaborates with midwives, needs your help.

He is currently being threatened with disciplinary action by his hospital for, in essence, doing his job to the very best of his ability: supporting informed consent and evidence-based medicine. His practice maintained a primary c-section rate of just 5% (as opposed to the hospital rate of 20%) and a total rate of 12% (compared to 29% for the hospital rate). Over the past few months, he has attended 3 vaginal breech birth and 3 VBACs which all ended positively. The hospital has already suspended the privileges of the two CNMs he works with, and he's next on their list.

To find out more about Dr. Fischbein's case and how you can support his cause, please visit his blog.

Here's more on how you can help:

1. Contribute to Dr. Fischbein's Legal Aid Fund. Make Paypal Payment to or mail a check payable to Alan J. Sedley, Attorney at Law to: 1234C Westlake Blvd., Westlake Village, CA 91361

2. Write a Letter to: Mr. Michael T. Murray, President, St. John's Regional Medical Center, 1600 Rose Avenue, Oxnard, CA, 93030 and copy to: angelfischs at

3. File a complaint with the Joint Commission.

4. Network. Share his story with forums, blogs, newsletters, or start a letter-writing campaign. This issue is larger than him - it impacts birthing women everywhere.

5. Enroll in our Online Childbirth Classes. 10% of all tuition payments received in September will be donated to his Legal Aid Fund.

His hospital currently supports aggressive, non evidence-based policies which compromise patient rights, autonomy, bodily integrity and overall well-being in the interest of limiting professional liability.

For example, they ban VBAC patients, not from VBAC, but from receiving epidurals, which should always be a choice, whether or not a woman chooses to elect it.

They also have strict policies on homebirth transfers, limiting women in their choice of hospital, which could even be a violation of EMTALA, which states that no woman in active labor can be turned away from a hospital without treatment.

I strongly urge you to support Dr. Fischbein in any way you can - whether monetarily or otherwise. By supporting him, you are advocating for women's rights to quality, evidence-based care for themselves and their children. The consequences of inaction could be far reaching.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

ACOG Steps Up the Anti-Homebirth Game

If ACOG were a dog breed, it would be a pit bull - tenacious and aggressive when threatened.

Their latest tactics include soliciting failed homebirth stories, with or without negative outcomes, via their website. It speaks volumes about their commitment to impartial, evidence-based policies backed in rigorous research evidence, doesn't it, that they aren't also asking for statistics on successful homebirths. It's a one-sided petition that suits their politics perfectly.

From the ACOG site:

Reporting of Unsuccessful Attempts at Home Delivery with or without Adverse Consequences

In 2006 there were 24,970 home deliveries reported in the United States[1]. Obstetrician-gynecologists and other members of the medical community may be faced with the presentation of an obstetrical patient who has attempted home delivery unsuccessfully. The need exists to quantitate the frequency and information of these events. The goal of this registry is to attempt to quantitate when home delivery is unsuccessful and what the outcomes are. To be HIPPA-compliant, no identifying information will be requested. Data points include the state of occurrence, as well as the month and year of delivery, maternal and gestation age, gravidity and parity and obstetric or neonatal complications. An attempt to identify the home attendant type if known will also be useful data.

ACOG appreciates your recognition of this issue and your utilization of this registry to assist us in data collection.

In a backlash they never saw coming, ACOG got data - just not the data they expected.

Their collection form was instead flooded with the positive homebirth stories of mothers nationwide who've had enough of their unfounded attacks on homebirth, midwifery and women's rights in general, and decided to fight back.

After this outpouring of positive homebirth support, ACOG put their submission form on a members-only, login page:

Maybe they'll take the hint and put their self-interested policies locked far, far away from women, right where they belong.

If they do make the form public again, rest assured that the positive flood of homebirth stories will resume - they'll get the message one way or another, eventually.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mayim Bialik "Blossoms" into My Kind of Woman

In the early 90s, Mayim Bialik was the teen icon of the show "Blossom", wherein she lived with her two brothers and spent time with her best friend, Six.

I must admit that although I've heard of the show, I never saw it, mostly in part to strict parents and a strong preference for books over television.

But it seems that Mayim, who took 15 years off after the show to earn a Doctorate and start her family, grew into my kind of woman - a homebirthing, breastfeeding, cosleeping, anti-vaxing, ec-ing, baby-wearing, homeschooling, more-than-just-a-little-crunchy mom.

You can check out a recent interview with her here:

I wish there had been more time for her to discuss her choices and why she and her husband made them. It really makes a powerful statement on the mainstream when public figures share their "unconventional view" about parenting and birth.

If only this would happen more often, eventually the tide could shift to make the current mainstream the unconventional ones.

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