A Facebook Group is shutting down following the death of a full-term infant. Ten Month Mama, a group for expectant mothers who believe going over 40 weeks gestation carries limited risk, shared the statement to the group. The mother that lost her child was 45 weeks pregnant, and the group encouraged her to trust her instincts instead of listening to medical advice.
Earlier this week, we shared the story of Sara. We changed Sara’s name to protect her privacy. Sara was a member of the Facebook group and over 44 weeks pregnant.
For weeks, Sara used the group as a way to sort through her long pregnancy. At 43 weeks, she told the group her midwife wanted to induce her. Despite the recommendations made by the midwife, she refused to believe her baby was in any danger.
Her midwife said that her amniotic fluid had decreased, the placenta could become insufficient, and her baby had grown too big. In the group, she shared these concerns. Many told her that “placenta aging” is a myth. Several shared their experience of delivering healthy babies post 44 weeks.
Women suggested numerous methods to induce her labor naturally. Some suggested that she try castor oil. She admitted that she already tried the oil three times.
Then at 44 weeks six days, she went into labor. Her water broke, and she returned to the group to share the news. The women told her to keep going, take a bath, take a nap, and continue with her planned unassisted birth. She remained at home until early the next morning when meconium burst down her legs.
Then and only then, she went to the hospital. By the time she arrived at the hospital, the doctors told Sara that the baby died. When she updated the group, the women offered condolences and said some babies “just die.”
Following the death, I wrote an article highlighting the advice Sara ignored from her midwife and the advice she trusted from strangers in the Facebook group. While I did not overtly name the group, the movement “Ten Month Mommas” was named.
“Ten Month Mommas” are not a single group or page on Facebook. There are several pages and groups dedicated to this philosophy. Midwives and birth charlatans write books about the benefits of going over 40 weeks. The philosophy is broader than Facebook, but large groups of women congregate there to share their experiences.
However, the groups received a lot of pushback after I published the article. After receiving a flood of member requests and attacks from outraged readers, one group decided to shut down their support group.
In a post uploaded today, the group admin said that for safety reasons she needed to close the group. Surprisingly, the reason for the closing is not related to the member’s stillbirth but rather the “people” that did not respect the body autonomy of members. The admin appeared more upset that someone shared screenshots of the death rather than the death of the baby.
The group only contained 240 members. However, the corresponding Facebook Page has 3,800 likes. An admin of the page says the page will remain live.
Women have the right to do as they wish with their bodies. But groups and pages like “Ten Month Mamas” provide bad advice to vulnerable women. The page consistently shares fear mongering posts about the danger of inductions and medical interventions. Additionally, they push the idea that calcifying and decaying placentas are not harmful to the baby.
None of the content they share is supported by the CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics, or American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Sources provided by the page are often natural childbirth proponents who balk at proven scientific data.
A minor victory is claimed in the war on pseudoscience with the closing of their support group. However, the page remains, and new groups will pop up from the dust.
Anytime someone dares to expose these groups for the consequences of their advice; they are never concerned about the deaths of the babies. These groups are always angry that people shared the unfortunate and preventable death with the world.
While the groups would love to keep the deaths hidden, there are hundreds more that are dedicated to making sure these stories are known. Women deserve to know all the information when making choices on birth.
If these stories remain hidden, these groups can flourish and grow. These stories will not stay hidden any longer. Women deserve to know that babies die as a result of this advice.
Read the original story about Sara here.
*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.
She co-hosts the YouTube show, “The Smoking Nun,” with Kyle Curtis. The show airs weekly and tackles pseudoscience, current events, and crime stories.
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