[EconTalk] Amy Tuteur on Birth, Natural Parenting, and Push Back

Amy Tuteur on Birth, Natural Parenting, and Push Back

18/03/2019 by EconTalk: Russ Roberts

Web player: http://podplayer.net/?id=65704248
Episode: http://files.libertyfund.org/econtalk/y2019/Tuteurparenting.mp3

Obstetrician gynecologist Amy Tuteur and author of Push Back, talks about the book with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Tuteur argues that natural parenting–the encouragement to women to give birth without epidurals or caesarians and to breastfeed–is bad for women’s health and has little or no benefit for their children.

Start Date: 2019-03-02

Finish Date: 2019-03-03


  • I liked the episode, but I wonder how much of a problem natural birthing advocacy really is, that it needed a book against it. That is, while we all love to hate on the overboard crunchy mamas, are they that widespread?
  • The discussion on how so much of pre-modern era childbirth used to end in death and infection made natural human pregnancy sound even more horrifying (after She Has Her Mother’s Laugh already made it sound gross).
  • While I appreciate that Amy Tuteur seems to bring a lot of data to her arguments, I’m still a little shocked that she says there’s no difference between breast milk and formula. I grew up learning about antibodies in breast milk. I wonder if it’s more correct to say that the marginal benefits of breast milk over formula drop sharply over time.
  • Natural birthing has its origins in race suicide panic. Who knew, and yet it makes perfect sense that those sort of things would spark all sorts of batshit insanity.
  • Interesting to learn that the USA rise in maternal mortality may be because it redefined MMR to include deaths within 6 months of childbirth. Does the entire increase come because of that, or is there an increase regardless. That does mean, though, that for a long time the USA was undercounting MMR.
  • I certainly do think that the idea of Big Lactation Consultancy demonising formula and promoting breastfeeding is a bit ridiculous; and that runaway cultural changes are a reasonable explanation here.
  • Interesting point about “Formula companies may be evil but formula itself isn’t.”
  • I thoroughly enjoyed the smackdown of Sebastian Junger’s evopsych nonsense about cosleeping.


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