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Looks like the Today Show has gone and done it again

September 12, 2009

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):

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!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 12, 2009 11:30 pm


  2. September 13, 2009 12:21 am

    I found you on twitter and appreciated your post. Thought you might like to read mine: an open letter to NBC critiquing (with links to studies) their lack of research on the topic.

    I keep hoping that someday, if we just keep working to get the word out, people won’t be able to get away with such journalistic travesties.

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