Some people who are immersed in the fear-based paradigm of our collective cultural beliefs about birth see gentle birthing advocates as 'anti' establishment. They are very threatened with what they see as 'alternative' views. But there are some allopathic practitioners, both physicians and nurses, who are out there advocating for all the things that make babies and mothers healthier, happier and safer. They often face a great deal of pressure from their peers when their views are outside of 'tribal' agreement: i.e. they support options like homebirth, advocate for breastfeeding, are vocal about their beliefs about ecstatic birth, are anti-circumcision .
These doctors and nurses deserve a pat on the back.
Dr. Marsden Wagner tops my list. He's been advocating for midwifery for years. He can be seen in Gentle Birth Choices and The Business of Being Born. He is the author of several wonderful, fact-filled books, the latest Born in the U.S.A.: How a broken maternity system must be fixed to put women and children first.
Dr. Michel Odent is also in TBoBB and has worked ceaselessly for gentle birth. He has likewise authored several books.
Dr. Weil, from the Program in Integrative Medicine in AZ.
Dr. Jack Newman, breastfeeding advocate with a great collection of articles on his website. His site is especially helpful for women who wish to re-lactate or who plan to nurse an adoptive child, but he has a TON of information any mother who wishes to have factual information on just about every breastfeeding situation you can think of.
Dr. Lorne Campbell teaches medical students in GA. He is a gentle and compassionate doctor who receives babies that mothers birth. He knows the wonders of HypnoBirthing(R) and speaks about it often.
Dr. Margaret Gustafson, OB/GYN practices in MI and is so supportive of informed choices.
Dr. Kari Leikert, my daughter's pediatrician throughout her childhood. We didn't always agree (for instance on vaccination), but she was always respectful in saying, "I don't agree with you on this, but I respect your decision." Because of that, I admire her greatly.
Dr. Sarah Buckley, who wrote Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering.
Dr. Lewis Mehl-Madrona, who has conducted research on safer birthing options.
Dr. Christiane Northrup who is all about women's empowerment and gentle birth.
Drs. Sears, Americas Family of Pediatricians. (I love that!)
Dr. Mercola, always questioning the status quo.
Drs. Coquelet & Punger, walking the talk.
Dr. Paul Fleiss, anti-circumcision educator
Finally, the doctor I was seeing in Greenville, MI in 1992 who refused to give me antibiotics just because I insisted I needed them. I don't remember his name, but he took the time to explain to me why I was wrong and why there was danger in over-using antibiotics...years before anyone else recognized the problem.
Some nurses who are fighting the good fight:
Barbara Harper, RN
Faith Gibson, CNM. The College of Midwives website that she maintains is one of the most massive collections of fact-based maternity care information available.
Doris Haire, CNM
There are so many! I'll add more as run across them, but if you know of someone who belongs on this hall of fame, medical professionals who are insisting on a higher standard of care for women and babies based on evidence, please send me names and links to their works, sites or blogs.
These are people on the inside who see where the system needs improvement. They obviously aren't anti-hospital or anti-medicine, as is often the (erroneous) assertion regarding those of us non-medical professionals who advocate for change in maternity care.