November 9, 2015
Obstetrician Condemns Duggar Family Daughters For Homebirths

A concerned obstetrician condemns Duggar family daughters, Jessa and Jill, for their decisions to have dangerous homebirths, which could have killed them. Dr. Amy Tuteur published a frightening account of what might have happened to Jessa Duggar and her sister, Jill, had they not been rushed to a hospital from their homebirthing beds.

"Without modern obstetrics, both Jessa and Jill Duggar would probably be dead."
Dr. Tuteur is a former clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School and writes for her blog, The Skeptical OB. In a post she uploaded yesterday, the specialist describes the harrowing scenarios specifically referencing these Duggar family sisters.
"Jessa Duggar Seewald and Jill Duggar Dillard are two, young healthy women who planned homebirths. They were about as low risk as low risk can be, yet, in an object lesson for homebirth advocates, both had to be rescued by obstetricians. …

"So both Jill and Jessa trusted birth and birth nearly killed them. Obstetricians, in contrast, saved them. They've given us an object lesson in why homebirth can be dangerous and even deadly."

Jill Duggar and her husband, Derick Dillard, had their firstborn child on April 6. Their son, Israel Dillard, weighed a whopping 9 lbs. 10 oz. After a 70-hour-labor while attempting a home delivery, Jill was rushed to the hospital shortly before midnight and gave birth to the baby via an emergency Caesarian section.

Derick Dillard, Jill Duggar and newborn Israel in the hospital
Derick Dillard, Jill Duggar and newborn Israel in the hospital [Image via Tumblr]Dr. Tuteur describes Jill's difficulty giving birth as obstructed labor: "It's the technical term for a baby too big or too poorly positioned to fit through the pelvis." She describes the days before modern obstetrics when women died in agony from this condition and interventions might have included dismembering the baby to save the mother's life. Babies which were delivered live had deformed heads from passing through a small pelvis. In most cases, the mother did not survive.

As for a homebirth assisted by a midwife, Dr. Tuteur wrote a scathing commentary in September about midwives and Jill's claim to be one.

Jill's sister, Jessa, gave birth on November 5 at her home in Springdale, Arkansas, surrounded by Duggar family members and with her husband, Ben Seewald. Jessa delivered a baby boy weighing 9 lbs. 11 oz. Shortly after birth, her mother, Michelle Duggar, placed a 911 call for an ambulance because Jessa was bleeding excessively after giving birth. The ambulance rushed her to the hospital and little more information than that has been released. It is known, however, that a mother can lose all of the blood in her entire body in five minutes from hemorrhaging without medical care.

Based upon her professional knowledge and experience, Dr. Tuteur lists five reasons why Jessa might have had uncontrollable bleeding – each reason is more horrific than the next: failure of the uterus to contract, partial retention of the placenta, cervical tears, vaginal lacerations, and pre-eclampsia. All of those conditions were treatable if the delivery had taken place in a hospital.

Jessa Duggar, Ben Seewald and newborn son in a hospital bed
Jessa Duggar, Ben Seewald, and newborn son in a hospital bed [Image via Tumblr]The Duggar family only released one color photo of Jessa with her newborn son. Dr. Tuteur evaluated the photograph and made several observations.
"It's hard not to feel sorry for Jessa. She was probably contractually bound to news outlets to provide pictures of the baby, but she wasn't there to be in them. She was probably contractually bound to provide a family photo as soon as possible so her husband brought the baby to the hospital and it appears that they hung a sheet behind her hospital bed; she was probably sitting in the bed (too weak to stand?) and husband was standing beside her."
Jessa Duggar, Ben Seewald and newborn son in a hospital
Jessa Duggar, Ben Seewald and newborn son in a hospital [Image via Tumblr]According to a report from THV Channel 11 in Arkansas, there are only 26 licensed midwives in the entire state. But a midwife is no substitute for a doctor in a hospital environment. Dr. Michael Smith of the University of Arkansas Medical School states, "If something goes catastrophically wrong, we can pull you out of that situation very, very quickly. If you're at home, you've got no safety net."
"A study last year by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology looked at 14 million births over three years and found babies born at home were 10 times more likely to be stillborn and four times more likely to have seizures at birth."
Dr. Amy Tuteur gives concluding advice to women who want to follow the Duggar family example of attempting out-of-hospital childbirth.
"Thinking about homebirth? Think about Jessa and Jill and think again."
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[Photo via TLC]