Celebrity midwife Cara Muhlhahn—made famous by Ricki Lake's documentary The Business Of Being Born—is suing New York magazine for $1 million for libel, we've learned. This comes as Muhlhahn fields her own malpractice lawsuit, after a stillborn birth.
I can't speak for Ricki and Abbey, but in my view, they are not at all responsible for this outcome. The point of _The Business of Being Born_ was the fact that women have *choices*. The entire thing was about informed consent, not about manipulating women into one form of care or another. And it was very clear that the ultimate responsibility for women's birth choices rests with themselves. If someone makes an informed choice, they must deal with the outcome. No medical practitioner ANYWHERE can guarantee that there won't be some baby deaths that occur even when everything is done according to evidence based practice. We must all accept the fact that there is inherently RISK in ever choice we make; there are NO guarantees. All we can do is try to minimize the risk by our choices.
The sooner women take responsibility for their birth choices - and stop looking to medical practitioners as a guarantee of a favorable outcome - the better for medical practice everywhere!!!
I agree that things can and do go wrong. An area that must improve for the sake of mothers and babies is the relationship between midwives and obstetricians. We need both. Women must have the option of choosing low intervention birth and midwife care. A woman that chooses homebirth needs to have ready access to the hospital. The hospital has resources to treat a labor with problems. A solo provider that has no back-up is a risky situation. Ina May Gaskin did amazing work at the Farm. She also had good working relationships with obstetricians.
Can midwives and OBs communicate with each other, recognize the skills that each has and work together? How do we help this happen?
All I can say is that I support Cara 100% and I think it's wonderful that she's giving what probably amounts to the last chance some of these women have before they would be shipped off to an OR under an OBs care. She knows the risks and that a situation like this was possible and she continues to do it, good on her. :-)