Lies, damned lies and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

AIMS Journal, 2012, Vol 24 No 1

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (now called the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) is considered by some to be the authoritative body on matters maternity in the USA. One expects, therefore, that its statements are based on facts. The reality is somewhat different.

Last year AIMS was sent a press release from ACOG's President, Dr Richard N Waldman, which stated: 'Attempting a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) at home is especially dangerous because if the uterus ruptures during labor, both the mother and baby face an emergency situation with potentially catastrophic consequences, including death. Unless a woman is in a hospital, an accredited freestanding birthing center, or a birthing center within a hospital complex, with physicians ready to intervene quickly if necessary, she puts herself and her baby's health and life at unnecessary risk.' Bearing in mind the paucity of American statistics, AIMS wrote to Dr Waldman and asked for the following statistics for 2005–2009 which, one presumes, would support his claims.

How many:

  • booked home births occurred?
  • unbooked births?
  • booked VBACs?
  • unbooked VBACs?
  • ruptured uteri occurred during a booked VBAC?
  • ruptured uteri occurred during an unbooked VBAC?

Of those ruptured uteri, how many:

  • resulted in the death of the woman?
  • of those deaths occurred at home?
  • of those deaths occurred following transfer to hospital?

In the fullness of time, AIMS received nine pages of statistics which revealed the total number of caesareans, VBACs, the bir th rates (but nothing about place of birth, other than freestanding birthing centres), induction, amniocentesis, EFM, ultrasound, episiotomy, lacerations, and more statistics that failed to answer any one of the questions posed. None of the statistics covered the period 2005-2009; instead they sent statistics from 1979-2006!

None of the questions AIMS asked was answered, despite two reminders. It is clear that Dr Waldman had no evidence whatsoever for his claim.

Beverley A Lawrence Beech

Latest Content


« »

Making Decisions

AIMS Journal, 2017, Vol 29 No 3 A huge welcome to readers old and new! The AIMS Journal, the backbone of our work for nearly 60 years, is now entirely available online, t…

Read more

Monitoring babies during labour: wh…

AIMS Journal, 2017, Vol 29 No 3 Jo Dagustun reports on the INFANT trial study day in October 2017 This national (central Birmingham based) free-to-attend study day on the…

Read more

What AIMS did for me: Ann Roberts

AIMS Journal, 2017, Vol 29 No 3 Ann Roberts shares her story of how AIMS helped her back in 1983 I first contacted AIMS 34 years ago (1983), when I was pregnant with my s…

Read more


« »

MBRRACE-UK ‘Saving Lives, Improving…

To register your interest please email or keep an eye on our website . Earlybird bookings will open…

Read more

Midwifery Today Conference “Birthin…

17–21 October 2018 Further Details

Read more


AIMS AGM 2018 All members welcome! Please email if you plan to attend to help us to judge numbers, or if you wish to send apologies 10 for 10.30 sta…

Read more

Latest Campaigns

« »

Dr. Ágnes Geréb, Hungarian Midwife…

Dr. Ágnes Geréb is a Hungarian obstetrician and midwife who has been under house arrest following her support for women outside of the obstetric system. March 2018: ENCA…

Read more

"Promoting professionalism, reformi…

AIMS submitted our response to this consultation on the 23 January 2018. A number of regulators, including the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the Professional Standards A…

Read more

The backlash against Normal Birth

Beverley Lawrence Beech At an AIMS AGM it is customary for the Chair to give an account of the activities of the Committee during the year. I am not going to do that this…

Read more