A Kiwi doctor has slammed former Bachelor Art Green and Matilda Rice for sharing their "dangerous" decision to have a homebirth on social media.
Another day, another "celeb" takes to the Internet to tout their faux health advice.
Remember when that guy from My Kitchen Rules told us we should feed our babies bone marrow juice instead of actual mothers' milk? Yeah, oh my God.
Well, it would seem former reality TV stars #Matootles and Art Green are here to fill the void and promote home births!
Let us all squeeze our stress balls and hope this doesn't trickle down into the lesser minds of the Instagram-using public. (Spoiler alert, it will).
Now let me get one thing quite clear at the outset – I have no issue with Art Green and #Matootles.
They seem to be living a generally blessed life replete with paleo diets and Colgate sponsorships and that's just fine.
What I take massive issue with, however, is when such people trade in sponsoring the latest detox tea for promoting some actually quite dangerous and stupid stuff. Yep, I'm talking about home births.
Again, what Art and Matilda choose to do with their own #baby is nobody's business but their own. Wanna have a homebirth? Go ahead. Do not, however, post on Instagram about how it all went fine.
Anecdotal evidence is the number one tool for stupid people, so I guarantee this will have an effect.
"But," I heard you cry, "women have been doing this since the dawn of time, surely it's safe to have my baby at home! If #Matootles can do it, so can I."
Well cherub, were you aware that in the US alone, in the last century maternal mortality rate has declined from a whopping 900 per 100,000 births, to below 15?
You didn't' know that ay? What you did know was that #Matootles got married on Waiheke Island and has recently been using some salt of the earth oil extract to prevent stretch marks. K.
Could it be that the decline in the death rates for both mums and babies during that time is linked to the advent and progress of western medicine?
The increasing number of women delivering their babies in a safe setting (in hospital surrounded by doctors and nurses) correlating to a declining death rate? Huh? I'm bored. This is too sciencey. Show me more photos of Art Green's abs please.
"Even in a pregnancy without complicating factors, the level of risk to mother and baby with home birth is at a level that is unacceptable." Those aren't my words. Those are straight out of the statement written by our Australia/New Zealand College of Obstetricians. You can find similar cautionary tales published by colleges of obstetricians across the globe.
Now, when it comes to actually quantifying the risks of home birth, there are no high quality randomised trials to give evidence.
This is quite simply because it's not ethical to randomise pregnant women to birthing at home, which we know is clearly riskier than birthing in a hospital.
What we do know, however, from observational studies, is that having a home birth is associated with higher rates of perinatal death - put more simply, it is more than twice as likely that your baby will die.
Delivering a baby can go catastrophically awry, and therefore no doctor would ever recommend it being done far from emergency medical attention, should it be required.
Never mind though, cause it all went fine for #Matootles so nobody should worry, right?
It's simply not good enough to, as a person with influence, post online about the dangerous thing she did. It will encourage others to do so and inadvertently spread misleading information.
There currently isn't enough material out there warning people of the dangers of home birth, so it certainly will not help to add another easy breezy "It went fine for me" celebrity stunt to the mix.
It really is for the best that Art's baby was delivered okay, because "Omg baby got stuck on the way out and now my wife and new baby are both in ICU" just isn't a very peppy Instagram caption now, is it?
In the midst of a measles outbreak because people aren't vaccinating their offspring, it would be a real treat to see somebody promoting actual health literature. That's too much to ask for though, I guess.
The author is a qualified doctor based in the South Island. They have requested anonymity to protect their personal and career opportunities.