Gwyneth Paltrow says steam your vagina, an OB/GYN says don’t

Dr. Jen Gunter

paltrowOn today’s episode of ask the experts we pit the gynecologic advice of Gwyneth Paltrow, a consciously uncoupled actress and self-professed lifestyle expert who dabbles in vaginal health, against that of yours truly, a board certified OB/GYN who has completed a 5 year OB/GYN residency and a fellowship in infectious diseases and is an expert in vulvovaginal disorders.

Ms. Paltrow, recommends a V-steam. Her words:  “You sit on what is essentially a mini-throne, and a combination of infrared and mugwort steam cleanses your uterus, et al. It is an energetic release—not just a steam douche—that balances female hormone levels. If you’re in LA, you have to do it.”

My response: Don’t.

Here’s why.

The vagina (and uterus and vulva for that matter) should be viewed as self-cleaning ovens. We know that douching is harmful, heck, even seminal fluid can be harmful (exposure to multiple partners without condoms is…

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Sometimes doulas are scary as well

A doula calling herself “rosie posie” on facebook (which is obviously not her real name) got into some trouble in a birth worker’s group recently (the group has everyone who identifies as a birth worker, from photographers to nurses and possibly some OBGYNs). A birth worker was discussing a mother with risk factors and what she should do. Rosie Posie suggested Unassisted Childbirth, or Freebirth as it is sometimes called. Someone sarcastically replied “sure, and we could just start a donation website for their child’s brain damage!” Rosie’s response is below:

UC doula

“Brain damage? I’ve attended over 20 successful unassisted home births as a home birth doula, and I had mine unassisted. She could esaily find an affordable and experienced doula whose able to recognize signs of distress if needed.”

This is, of course, rubbish. Even home birth midwives are notoriously poor at spotting fetal destress outside of brachycardia (low heart rate). All the other people in the group call her out on it. The next claim she makes it horrifying:

“I have experienced a stillborn death. You openly discuss with the client that you are not a midwife nor are u responsible for anything that happens. Homebirths are 100% on the parents and they also need to be aware of signs. The doula is there for extra support, help with the kids help with theh usband help around the house and gentle guidance. Its not illegal unless you are impersonating a midwife. Im surprised at the lack of faith in homebirth in this group”

So she says she has seen “over 20” unassisted childbirths and had her own. Let’s be charitable and say it was 29, and hers made a 30th. That would mean the death rate she has observed is 1 out of 31 babies born unassisted dying. That is *astronomical* in the world of perinatal mortality statistics, even more horrendous than the 1/200 breech home birth mortality rate that gave MANA pause. Of course that didn’t make MANA condemn home breech attempts or anything, but they at least knew it was a terrible statistic that they would have to say something about, even if it was just weasel words.

Rosie goes on to explain more about her theory about her responsibility for her clients (in light of the outlandish safety claims she makes about freebirth):

uc doulah

“Meh. I’ve heavily discussed with a lawyer. my contract is pretty solid and ive never ran into these issues. If youre firm about the amount of support you can and cannot provide and the families sign on the dotted line they dont really have a case. Theres no harm in encouraging anyone to learn how to recognize the signs in labor. Ill keep doing me and attending awesome homebirths. There are doulas offering home abortions for christs sake you dont see anyone suing them when something goes wrong (again something i have experienced)

Another poster calls her out on her craven indifference to the lives of women.

It was refreshing to see people being called out in an NCB space about a lack of safety and concern for clients. The thing is that Rosie’s past and future clients will likely never see this exchange, and since she used a fake name there is no way to let anyone know about it beforehand. How many doulas and midwives have said something equally outrageous online without their clients knowing?

Everyone is so eager to put the blame on parents and families that hire a doula or midwife, but almost no one in their ranks is willing to make a system to hold them accountable.

Rosie quit the group later because she thought it was too closed minded.

It was hard to tell if a post had been deleted, but there seemed to be multiple responses to Rosie about the specifics of a doula performing abortions, they all mentioned purchasing Cytotec off of the internet and administering it to moms who were miscarrying early. I assume Rosie deleted a post in order to absolve herself of being investigated for practicing medicine without a license because the responses I saw do not make sense without such a comment. Leave a comment if you have more information.

Rosie has the kind of attitude that I imagine Rowan Bailey did before they were arrested for the death of a child during a home birth. She too had no idea what she was doing but was confident enough to stay a fatal course anyway. That is what is so disarming about natural child birth types- the confidence. It is hard to think of someone being so confident about if a child will live or die without being on the right side of things, but they aren’t. They are too stupid to know they are too stupid to be delivering children. The dunning kruger effect is alive and well in NCB circles.

midwives threaten a loss parent because an unrelated blogger talked about his loss

A new low. WeMidwives has threatened to report a loss parent to their employer. Did he say something horrible that his employer would care about? Was he threatening or inappropriate? Nope!

In fact, they are reacting in such a way because a totally different person, blogger Dr Amy Tuteur wrote about his loss.

Shame on all of you.

There is a reason the home birth fatality map has been neglected for so long

I have been making updates to the map because some people have taken it upon themselves to personally email me home birth fatalities and I felt compelled to update the map in a timely manner. I have also started to look for more documented accounts that have the year and location of the deaths so they can be recorded on the map, and its exhausting.

This is one of the worst ones I have found. This midwife managed to kill 2 babies within a 6 month period by taking patients with multiple dangerous risk factors and then did not transfer for footling breech presentation. twice. Her name is Kristina Zittle and you should be afraid if she can jump ship to another state and start delivering babies there.

Another case on findlaw details a long history of negligence from a home birth midwife that is also a nurse. She continued to practice after her license was suspended because hey- you don’t have to be a nurse to deliver babies in most states. Abigail Odam should never be allowed to deliver babies after the things she has done.

It is hard to read about so many deaths, especially ones that lack enough details for me to place them on the map anywhere.

If you know of any deaths I may have missed please email me at skeptifemblog@gmail

How the Pro-Vaccine Side Lost Me

anti-vaccine moms: basing health care decisions of their children on how mean other people are to them about it. We are all supposed to be much nicer about this whole “you are killing people by not vaccinating your kids” thing, apparently.

Moms Doing Better

Two schoolboys are fightingWhen did it become okay to make fun of anyone? When as a society did we start to accept people making fun or belittling each other? It isn’t okay for children to bully each other at school nor is it okay for adults to bully, make fun of, or belittle each other through their Facebook account.

It does not matter if you love or hate vaccines. I was taught growing up if you do not have anything nice to say then you do not say anything at all. I am not anti-medicine, science, or vaccines. I am however very anti-bullying, making fun of people, and bashing others because they have a different opinion.

We are all parents trying to make the best decisions for our children. Parenting is hard enough the way it is without parents making fun of each other.

I know the vaccine issue is a hot topic…

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I never thought in a million years I would ever have to string together the words “DO NOT TRIP ON MUSHROOMS DURING CHILD BIRTH”, but here we are. The lunacy of natural child birth “professionals” has hit a new high today (see what I did there?):

trip on mushrooms when you give birth

“Does anyone have experience/knowledge about the use of psychadelics in labor? Small doses of psilocybin (mushrooms) in early labor. (Also curious about the use of peyote, ayahuasca, LSD, and DMT.) I’m info-starved on the matter. Please PM me with info if you would not like to share publicly. Thanks.”

A pregnant birth photographer is posting this inquiry to a birth professionals group. I hope she does not plan to use illegal drugs during labor.

Someone replies “Gals I wish we would distinguish known potential harmful synthetic or planet based products from plants etc… we are missing it all and it is becoming very confusing”.

There are deadly plants and harmless synthetic chemicals. Since all of these substances are illegal in the USA it is literally impossible for consumers to know what they will be getting when they decide to trip. This isn’t discussed at all. What is discussed, however, is mandatory drug testing in hospitals and how that would make it a bad idea. I wish I were making this up, but the same women who believe that epidurals and ultrasounds cause autism and c-sections decided to have a lively chat about how super it would be to take illegal drugs to enhance their labor experience.

Another poster writes “Check out this interview with midwife Katsi Cook, she speaks about the use of peyote in childbirth by Native American women, and how this use is traditionally not spoken or written of.” She goes on to say how using peyote has caused people to have really “great experiences” while giving birth.

It is hard to quantify what percentage of hallucinogen experiences are considered to be positive (or what factors cause drug users to view the experience that way). It is easy to demonstrate that its a gamble by reading experiences from drug users themselves on websites such as erowid. You could have the most horrifying experience of your life, a great time, or something in between when experimenting with these drugs.

If anyone reading this is seriously contemplating using hallucinogens during their labor- please don’t. It could harm you or your baby, or cause them to be taken away by CPS while you get charged with a crime. This is quite possibly the worst idea I have ever heard of in my life.