Debunking Denialism

Fighting pseudoscience and quackery with reason and evidence.

Tag Archives: natural birth

A Scientific Skeptic Watches “Born in the Wild” (North Dakota Episode)

Born in the Wild

“Born in the Wild” was a short-lived television series that ran on Lifetime during 2015. They followed several natural birth quacktivists who wanted to give birth in extreme locations, from the wilderness of Alaska to the snowy winter of North Dakota, often without properly trained medical personnel present. They demonize doctors and hospital births, while praised “natural” birth because humans used to do it in the past. For many science advocates, this is clearly just an appeal to tradition fallacy, but many homebirth activists does not see the problem. The show was essentially a combination of alternative medicine quackery with extreme narcissism of mothers who fantasize about the kind of “natural birth” that kills 300 000 mothers per year according to the WHO (see previous installments in this series).

The common intro for each episode involves a narrator explaining that “modern parents giving birth in the wilderness like their ancestors. No hospitals. No surgical intervention. No drugs. Just a choice. To return to the primal roots of humanity.” The show heavily features a very romantic view of a nature and the past. So far, episodes covered by Debunking Denialism has given birth in the Alaskan wilderness, the mountain plains of Utah and a blueberry farm in Georgia.

What is in store for this episode? Read more of this post

A Scientific Skeptic Watches “Born in the Wild” (Georgia Episode)

Born in the Wild

Lifetime ran a short-lived television series during 2015 that focused on extreme natural birth activists who decided to give birth in extreme environments, far form any hospitals and often without properly trained medical personnel. These activists wrongly think that giving birth in a hospital is harmful and dangerous, but that giving birth in the wilderness of Alaska or in a windy plains near mountains is much better and safer (even though medical help might take at least 30 minutes to get there).

Although hailed by natural birth activists, the show only ran for a single season that consisted of six episodes in total. It was in many ways a perfect storm of anti-medicine pseudoscience and self-absorbed narcissism of privileged mothers who had no idea about the dangers that are potentially involved in giving birth. For instance, WHO puts the number of mothers who die during or shortly after pregnancy and childbirth to around 300 000 per year. Most of these occur in “low-resource settings” and likely could have been prevented. It is precisely these settings that many natural birth activists attempt to emulate.

Each episode has a common intro. Text appears on the screen explaining that the crushing majority of births in the United States occur in a hospital, but also that “Some women are choosing to have a very different experience. This shows document their journey.” A male voiceover lays out the point out the show by stating that “modern parents giving birth in the wilderness like their ancestors. No hospitals. No surgical intervention. No drugs. Just a choice. To return to the primal roots of humanity.” This show is a celebration to the ignorance involved in romanticizing nature and the past. Previous episodes giving birth in the wilderness of Alaska and the mountain plains of Utah. What happened in this episode?

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