Ten years of misinformation

Stuff reports:

Hospital bosses were warned about a childbirth educator’s controversial and dangerous teachings 10 years ago, but it appears nothing was done.

Antenatal teacher Adith Stoneman is being investigated after it was revealed she was teaching “old wives tales” to expectant mums, including advising women to use castor oil for induction, at publicly-funded classes at Waitakere Hospital in west Auckland.

It has now emerged other parents were alarmed by her non-scientific approach, which has strengthened calls for greater regulation of the childbirth education industry.

Auckland mother Jenni Hunter said she complained to Waitemata DHB in 2006 after Stoneman told her class that immunisations were linked to autism and Vitamin K caused cancer in children.

So for 10 years this midwife has been funded by taxpayers to give false information to pregnant mothers. That’s outrageous.

Hunter has joined calls for an overhaul of the way childbirth lessons are run.

“I want to know that all antenatal classes are checked so they provide balanced, evidence-based, practical information.”

Last week, a maternity health campaigner called for a national evidence-based curriculum, auditing of childbirth lessons and a single advice source for expectant parents.

The auditing is the key thing.

Parents have shared their own bizarre lessons from childbirth classes across the country on social media.

* “We should only have our baby in an environment we felt comfortable having sex in.”

* “We were told medical intervention pretty much meant that you had done something wrong.”

* “A c-section was the worst that could happen to our baby.”

* “Pain relief blocked the ‘love hormone’ from mother to child. Lucky I disregarded that when I went into hospital as I ended up having an emergency c-section.”

* “Talking about [caesareans] would be bringing on the negative side of birth.”

* “Rather than doing an internal exam of a woman’s cervix, a midwife should tell how far along she is by the look on her face.”

* “[Give] your baby untested remedies … ‘the [baby’s] body would take what it needs and excrete the rest’.”

* “You fail as a mother if you can’t breastfeed … [and] that natural birth is the only way.”

* “Don’t get induced, don’t have an epidural, don’t have a c-section … unfortunately [I] had to have all the above and felt like I had failed.”

Most are highly professional and excellent at their jobs. But there is a small minority who have a near religious view that childbirth should never involve any medical intervention, and they give misinformation to parents. As it is a taxpayer funded service, the Government and DHBs need to ensure that the advice being given is based on knowledge, not prejudice and opinion.

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