Looks like the Today Show has gone and done it again
They’ve warned their viewers to be cautious of birth doulas, who run the risk of “getting in the way” of the hospital staff during labor and delivery.
They’ve given ample air-time–and little fact-checking–to Hanna Rosin’s inane comments about the “weak” science regarding the “supposed” benefits of breastfeeding. (My comments–and citations of the relevant research–on that inanity are here.)
And just yesterday, The Today Show aired a segment entitled “The Perils of Midwifery” in which they not only exploited the pain and grief of a couple and their tragic experience with stillbirth during a homebirth but also had the audacity to describe homebirth and those who choose homebirth as “extreme,” “hedonistic,” and part of a celebrity culture in which women seek a birth akin to a “spa-like experience.”
Many of my favorite birth bloggers have already written incisive, pointed, and even witty critiques of this piece (of bullshit):
- Science and Sensibility’s Amy Romano criticizes not only The Today Show’s characterizations of women who seek homebirth (citing research both from Rixa Freeze and from the Childbirth Connection’s Listening to Mothers II Survey) but also the hospital policies that deprive women of what Lamaze International considers to be The (Six) Healthy Birth Practices.
- Rixa at Stand and Deliver writes a funny (yet pointed) critique of the segment. She also provides inks to and quotes from some other excellent analyses of and responses to the piece, including one from the American College of Nurse Midwives.
- Reality Rounds has an extremely witty take on the segment, illustrating one of the many ways in which humor can be one of the best forms of searing criticism. (My favorite comment of hers is in response to that ridiculous spa-treatment comparison, in which she writes, “Yes, I will have my full body avocado massage while I am crowning please.” HA!)
- And It’s Your Birth Right, the Enjoy Birth Blog, and The Unnecesarean (among others) all point out the “coincidental” timing of The Today Show’s piece–for it aired on the very same day that ACOG released the results of a survey in which the respondents reported that “as the negative state of the medical liability environment continues, ob-gyns across the US are forced to make changes to their practice that ultimately hurt patients.”
I must say that the sensationalism of this story–its doomsday rhetoric, its exploitation of a grieving couple’s tragedy, its blatant avoidance of any relevant research on homebirth and midwifery–has once and for all revealed The Today Show’s to have an utter lack of respect of responsible journalism.
But–for the sake of argument, let’s just assume that they have some strange attachment to consistency–perhaps they should commit themselves wholeheartedly to sensationalist and irresponsible journalism on birth. Across the board. On all fronts.
Perhaps they should air an equally doomsday, exploitative, and under-researched segment on “The Perils of Epidurals” in which they look at the recent death of an Ohio mother who died after allegedly contracting meningitis from the anesthesiologist who was present her child’s birth. (This physician allegedly infected an another mother as well. And while the stories I have read have not elaborated on the circumstances much, I am assuming that the anesthesiologist must have come in contact with this mother in order to administer an epidural or spinal for labor or for a cesarean section.)
Matt Lauer could refer to epidurals (which, admittedly, do have rare but serious risks) as EXTREME DRUGS that mothers should only take when they want to FLIRT WITH DANGER just so that they can have a SPA-LIKE EXPERIENCE DURING THEIR LABOR! Really, women who get epidurals must have some sort of DEATH WISH!!! And the only reason that they are signing up for epidurals in record numbers is that KATIE HOLMES HAD ONE!!! And don’t all the women of the world make their birthing choices based on what celebrities do?!?!?!?!
As I’ve said before (and I’ll say again), PLEASE. A little more respect!