The Nurses Brain

HomeMidwifeStart within the media: what's the issue?

Start within the media: what’s the issue?


Now and again, the media launch an assault on ladies, midwives, house start, easy start and/or the low-tech instruments that we’ve used to assist one another for tens and typically tons of or hundreds of years.

Often, such items are very one-sided. Related information are omitted. Knowledge are cherry picked to swimsuit the journalist’s or editor’s personal views.

Often, there’s no consideration of nuance, the larger image, or the downsides of interventions.

And that’s an enormous drawback for individuals who must make choices about their being pregnant and start journeys, in addition to for anybody who works in or round being pregnant and childbirth.

Everyone knows it’s taking place

All of us want to have the ability to look critically at data. To know the significance of not taking tales at face worth. To know the significance of issues extra deeply, so we will make the choices which are proper for us.

And I believe that these items are actually generally understood. Irresponsible and unhelpful reporting of start associated analysis, information and points isn’t a brand new drawback, and several other commentators (together with myself) have raised issues about this for a few years now (e.g. Newman 2003, Romano et al 2010, Newburn et al 2011, Wickham 2011).

Nevertheless it’s typically laborious to recollect, once we’re glancing on the thousands and thousands of items of data that go us through the course of a day, that there are completely different views on start and that some folks profit from fearmongering and attempting to make us deal with threat. I’ve written extra about that right here.

The denigration of the feminine physique

A typical tactic is to denigrate feminine physiology and assault a low-tech method by claiming that there’s “no proof of profit.”

Typically that’s true. Nevertheless it’s not essentially as a result of there’s something improper or dangerous with the method.

It’s necessary to recollect and remind folks that we’d like proof to justify intervening, to not justify issues that our our bodies will do if left alone. The latter is a ridiculous suggestion, and but some folks use gaslighting to try to persuade us in any other case.



Wouldn’t it be good to have higher proof?

In an excellent world, would we’ve higher proof for the low-tech interventions, resembling hypnobirthing and a few holistic therapies?

Completely. They’re nonetheless interventions. It could be a double customary to anticipate in any other case. And if issues don’t work, or work solely as a placebo, then folks ought to be capable of discover that out. They could nonetheless wish to use them, as a result of effectiveness isn’t the whole lot, however we will no less than supply data on which individuals can base their choices.

Nevertheless it’s necessary to know why we typically don’t have that proof.

Usually, there’s a scarcity of proof as a result of it’s laborious to get funding for analysis into issues that don’t make massive earnings for personal corporations.

It’s additionally necessary to know that the analysis strategies favoured and valued by western drugs are the strategies that are primarily based on a western medical method. As I clarify right here, they aren’t essentially the best strategies to measure the effectiveness of extra individualised therapies. The secret’s to match the analysis methodology to the factor being researched and to discover higher and extra various methods of finishing up analysis, to not attempt to make the whole lot match into the very slender western medical field after which assault it if it doesn’t.

It’s additionally ridiculous to counsel that we’d like proof to show that widespread sense issues we’ve accomplished for millennia are useful. There’s no precise proof that providing a chilly, damp washcloth to somebody who’s sizzling from laborious work is helpful. That doesn’t imply that we must always cease doing it.

One other necessary query

It’s additionally helpful to show the query round, and to place the highlight on the interventions and approaches that kind the established order.

The place’s the proof which reveals that the medication, applied sciences, assessments and interventions which are more and more pushed as routine are useful?

Why, as an illustration, are so many ladies being ‘provided’ induction of labour when there usually isn’t proof that it will make a optimistic distinction, and there IS proof that it carries dangers?

Why is it that midwives and midwifery providers are being denigrated, lower, and stretched past measure when we’ve a lot proof {that a} midwifery-led method is probably the most useful factor that we will supply ladies, infants and households?

Sadly, the reply is once more about politics and economics. If you happen to’ve learn my e-book ‘In Your Personal Time,’ you’ll know that the present state of affairs has a protracted and unhappy historical past which is all about sure teams looking for energy, and utilizing concepts like threat to be able to scare others into complying.

Is it any coincidence that concern and threat are a few of the important instruments that the media nonetheless makes use of to try to get our consideration and scare us into studying their tales, and clicking on their hyperlinks?

The excellent news

However all isn’t misplaced.

There are a few issues that we will all do which is able to assist us as people, and which is able to assist us to assist others and to deal with the broader drawback.

The primary is to know that this example exists, by studying and fascinated with how the media (and social media) works to attempt to get our consideration.

We can be open to pondering extra deeply about how data is offered, and by questioning what we’re advised, and what we’ve grown up believing, relatively than taking it at face worth.

I gained’t fake that’s all the time snug. It isn’t. However assist, assist and tens of hundreds of different individuals who have been on the identical journey can be found.


And third, we will all get higher at understanding how analysis works, which implies that we’re much less prone to be fooled by different folks presenting analysis findings in a method that fits them, or that sells their explicit story, service or standing.

You’ll be able to learn to method tales and ask the best inquiries to be sure you’re not taken in by another person’s presentation of analysis findings and statistics, or swayed by their interpretation of threat.

If you happen to’d prefer to know extra, a few of my books assist folks perceive the analysis in sure areas of being pregnant and start, resembling induction of labour, Anti-D (RhoGAM), vitamin Ok and group B strep.

I additionally extremely suggest Knowledgeable is Greatest for anybody who needs to deepen their understanding of analysis and the way it may be misrepresented. I beloved this e-book a lot that I wrote the foreword for it.

However whether or not or not you’re prepared wish to know extra, I’ve one easy message:

Don’t imagine the whole lot you learn. There’s all the time a much bigger image. 


Newburn M, Gyte G, Macfarlane A (2011). Why do medical journals get so het up about house start? EM 1(4):17-22.

Newman RB (2003). Our unrequited love for easy clarification. Journal of Perinatology 23(6):504-6.

Romano AM, Lythgoe A, Goer H (2010). They stated so on the information: parsing media studies about start. Journal of Perinatal Training 19(1):47-52.

Wickham S (2011). Media Mayhem. EM 2(8): 50-51.



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