Media scaremongering surrounding home birth.

A truly awful piece in the news this week about a lady who passed away following a disastrous labour. My heart goes out to the family and children of this poor mother.

I can’t help but notice the constant negative publicity surrounding the home birth. The headlines in various newspapers read “mother brainwashed over home birth”, “mother dies as result of home birth”.

It seems that barely a week goes by without the British media using scare tactics and misleading headlines when referring to these cases. Let’s be very clear, that this lady died as a result of a privately-hired midwife not caring for her correctly. She should never have been put forward for a home birth due to her complicated obstetric history. She died because the midwife did not use sufficient care in her 3rd stage of labour, leaving the placenta partly in place thus causing the fatal bleed. It was the action of the reckless midwife which caused this, not a home birth.

The media are seemingly very anti home birth and will use inaccurate headlines at the drop of a hat, thus scaring people away from what can be a great experience for low-risk women. If I were an NHS midwife carrying out home labours, I would be so disheartened to constantly have this negative portrayal.

There are some brilliant midwives out there, excellent community care, allowing low-risk women to labour at home with super back up. Thus leaving those with more complicated histories access to the best of the obstetricians and hospital care.

As I’ve said before, this is all about choice and we should be accurately informed and educated, not bombarded with such mistakes in the media.

Let’s not confuse the dreadful actions of one reckless midwife to overshadow the great work of the competent home birthing service provided by both the NHS and independent midwives. It’s time that the media stopped this scaremongering and gave us the facts.

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4 Comments on “Media scaremongering surrounding home birth.”

  1. We just had a scandalous media portrayal in our own town, too. An apparently healthy pregnant woman lied to her husband about the health of her pregnancy, telling him her fetus was dead. She later gave birth to a LIVE baby girl (while her husband was at work) in her apartment and wrapped the newborn in a plastic bag, then a pillow case, and then put the baby in her laundry room dryer!! She then called her husband, telling him she had given birth to the dead baby and a doctor came and collected the body. The husband came home and in the midst of cleaning up the apartment, heard what he thought at their cat, in the dryer, only to find the baby, alive and crying inside the plastic bag & pillow case. He immediately called their family pediatrician, who alerted the authorities. The mother has been charged with child endangerment, child neglect and attempted murder.

    The MEDIA immediately titled their online articles, “Henrico woman faces attempted murder charge after home birth”

    After numerous complaint comments from the home birth and midwifery community, that this horrible incident is NOT about home birth or midwifery care, but IS about child neglect, abuse, and attempted murder, the same media outlets have subsequently re-titled their article, “Police: Henrico woman left newborn in dryer”

  2. Mia Scotland says:

    I completely agree with you that this is a chance for the media to jump on homebirths, but it’s also a chance for the media to jump on midwives. We don’t know that what you write about her is true – that is what a grieving father (who would you lay the blame on?) and a prosecuting lawyer are saying (using inflamatory language for example, that is what they do). Midwives have been blamed in the past for things that weren’t their fault – let’s keep our minds open about this midwife. It may not have been her fault.

    • Good point and I’ll be following the case with interest. I guess it’s just important that the facts are reported accurately and without emotion, despite the hideous consequences for the family.


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