Unassisted birth or free birth is no joking matter. The term is about as blatantly clear as it gets. The mother will birth a child into this world without the help of a doctor, no medical staff, and not in a hospital. She will also not use the help of a midwife or a doula. She will rely on her instincts and her God given ability to deliver a child. Her husband and children might assist her, maybe some family members or close friends. However, these kinds of births are private and incredibly personal and there are only a lucky few that get the chance to help or witness this astonishing feat.
These days as birth becomes more and more technologically minded and less about the mother and baby, more women are running for the hills (and their homes) to deliver their children completely on their own. These women seek the comfort and solace of being in their own homes and being in tune with their own bodies. They believe that even midwives can be overly involved and these women want the chance to experience birth as they think it should be. While this practice is highly frowned upon and in some states even (basically) illegal, more and more women continue to pursue unassisted births.
This seemingly new version of giving birth, is actually as old as time. Way before hospitals and even before there were women trained to help with childbirth, babies were born every day at home without much help from anyone but other family members. Here are 15 astonishing reasons unassisted births are becoming more trendy, straight from the mouths of the women who do it.
15 Less 911, More 411
“Child birth is not a medical emergency. People need to be well informed before choosing their birthing method. There are other choices out there.”
Many women end up birthing their children in a hospital because they believe their choices are limited to which doctor or which hospital. Some women, although a very small percentage compared to hospital birthers, have their children in birthing centers or with a midwife at home. Even less decided to go with unassisted birth or free births. Many women don’t have free births not because they are scared or unsure about it. They simply don’t have the information, that it is a legitimate option. The women who choose free births are typically very educated about the birthing process. They have studied and earnestly prepared for the huge endeavor they participate in. Free birth is by no means something to take on, on a whim.
14 Hands Off
“I don’t want anyone messing with me while I’m trying to bring a child into this world. Doctors, midwives, and nurses all love their cervical checks and I’ll be dead before I allow another stranger to put their hand up my vagina. Period.”
Cervical checks are probably one of the most unpleasant experiences a pregnant women can face. Not only are they uncomfortable, they can also be incredibly painful. It is also true that everybody seems to be passing them out especially in the hospital. First, the nurse will come in and do a cervical check, and then he or she will give the doctor some information and they will also come in and do a cervical check. It’s terribly terrible. Out of all the reasons women avoid assisted births, the touchy, feely aspect of doctors and midwives always finds its way to the tip top part of the list.
13 Rage Against The Machines
“I am not a computer. I do not need ten different wires and tubes coming out of my body and hooked to various machines to have a baby! I don’t even want a midwife ‘monitoring’ me!”
Women that choose to have their babies in a hospital environment are all too familiar with the different devices that will be attached to them to monitor them and the baby. They will likely be given an IV for fluids or just in case something “comes up”. They will likely have a monitor attached around their belly to keep an eye on the baby’s heart rate. There really is no limit to the number of gadgets women find themselves tangled in when giving birth outside of the home. Mothers that choose free birth or unassisted births want nothing to do with it. A lot of moms say having unassisted births gives them freedom to move and squat and do just about anything they need to do physically and emotionally to birth their children. Some say even midwifes can be intrusive and get in the way of the process.
12 Daddy Plays Catch
“I have one child. He was born at home on the bathroom floor and was welcomed by myself and his father. It’s all we needed and it felt right.”
There is no better way for a man and wife to bond than to experience childbirth alone together. It forces them to rely totally on one another, and it also allows the husband to see just how strong and capable the mother is as she births their child. Many women choose unassisted birth for this reason alone, because they want the birth to be between the two people that “initiated” the whole process. The amazing thing that must be mentioned here is that it is actually illegal in some states for the father to catch the baby. In Nebraska, for instance it is a misdemeanor for the father to catch his own children. Other states laws vary, but keep in mind unassisted birth is legal in most parts of the US.
11 No More Cesareans
“I had a free birth after 2 C-sections and a homebirth at 44, I moved states and nobody would take me on with my health record. So, with no other options and refusing another C-section, I did it on my own!”
What’s that saying again? Once a C-section, always a C-section? Well, not anymore as some women have chosen to take back control over their bodies and their choices for birth. Although most research indicates that VBAC or vaginal birth after cesarean is no more dangerous than having repeated C-sections, many doctors still refuse to allow their patients to deliver vaginally after they have had one C-section and especially two or more. Also, a person would be hard pressed to find a midwife group or birthing center that would accept a woman wanting to try a VBAC. It’s very strange because it seems the more information supporting the possible benefits of vaginal birth verses repeated C-sections, the more push back women get from both sides of the lines when they ask to try it out.
10 Mid-Wife No Show
“I free birthed my 4th because my midwife was 4 hours away with a flat tire….guess it was meant to be.”
Sometimes, babies happen. Not every woman that has had a free birth planned to have a unassisted one. Just think of the women who end up giving birth in a taxi or an elevator. Some women find out they were completely capable of delivering their children all on their own, by accident. Women are always surprised at the inner strength they seem to find when the going gets rough and child birth is no different. Babies do not wait around just because there is bad weather and the roads are untravellable. Babies will not wait if the midwife has a flat, gets sick, or has a family emergency. When the timing is right there is no stopping the process of labor and delivery. Once the contractions start and get closer and stronger there is not much a woman can do to slow the baby's approach.
9 Now That’s Priceless
“I could not have afforded to have my 6 children if I had them in a hospital or even hired a midwife to drive back and forth from my house multiple times.”
The cost of child birth is sky-rocketing in the current health care system and having a baby has always been one of the most expensive health care costs. Especially when the labor and delivery are complicated and end up requiring surgery (a C-section), the price tag can be enormous. Add in the hospital stay and all the other costs they staple on and some parents are surprised at the bills they receive a few weeks after bringing junior home. So, if hiring a midwife can slash those prices in half or less, imagine how much cheaper it must be to have an unassisted birth. While, it’s not exactly free (kids are never free), unassisted births are extremely low cost options. Some people get a birthing tub, or an extra shower curtain to “catch” the extra fluids, as well as extra trash bags and maybe gloves, but the cost doesn’t even begin to compare with what hospitals and midwives charge.
8 Privacy Please
“Privacy. I believe in the creation of birth, that it was not created to be managed.”
Child birth is one of the most soul baring experiences a woman will face in her life here on earth. There can be no privacy in the hospital, the doctors and nurses will see it all. Everything that comes with labor and delivery is put on display for anyone involved whether it be a doctor or a midwife. There will be blood, there will be excrement, there will be “baby juice’ and there will be intense “openings” of body parts. Some women want to keep it to themselves. They would prefer that their husbands or partners or family members help them through the process and feel a sense of privacy when they give birth in their own homes. One mom said her husband cleaned up all the mess while she took a bath with her new born. She was grateful that it was her husband rather than a stranger she didn’t know.
7 Been There, Done That
“I have had five children, the first three were with a midwife, she basically just got in the way, so the last two I decided to do it on my own, and I never looked back. All my kids are fine, and so am I.”
Once a woman makes it through the jitters of delivering her first child, she knows what to expect, especially if she gave birth at home. After two home births, she can probably read her body and interpret signs that the baby is doing ok through the process. The more times a woman gives birth, the better she can get at it, just like riding a bike. Once a women knows what to expect and what to do, her confidence in herself and the process grows exponentially. It’s important to note (again) that unassisted births have been done for ages, and there were some rather large families in the past. Most of those women made it through and so do the women experiencing free birth today.
6 Back Off!
“I will not nut myself into a position to be medically violated harassed or threatened.”
Some women are just “over” the hospital scene. Many women even call it birth (rape) or other ugly terms because they hate the way women are treated in labor and delivery units. They distrust the doctors and nurses and refuse to have anything to do with anyone wanting to assist them, and that includes midwives. Some moms that have given birth unassisted did so because they had terrible experiences at hospitals or with midwives, and some women have just heard enough from other women to know they could never go through with an assisted birth. Hospitals are famously pushy with the wires they require and the repeated offerings of medical interventions like pain medications, contraction pushers like Pitocin, and epidurals, and many women see these suggestions as helpful. Not unassisted mommas, they believe it’s a violation of a woman’s right to birth in a way she deems to appropriate.
5 Safety First
“Free birth was the best choice for my husband and I because after doing a ton of research, unless there is a problem, the safest place to have a baby is not in a hospital environment.”
Hospitals are supposed to be clean, they are supposed to be sterile, but they also house the sickest people in the population. Although the labor and delivery units are usually far from the emergency department and other “sick” zones in the hospital, germs and other disgusting things do travel. Many people have witnessed their own children pick up new illnesses at the hospital while being treated for something completely different. So the last place some moms want to give birth is a hospital. Not only are there illnesses, there are also safety issues in general. Sadly, there have been shootings and stabbings at hospitals. There have been fires and even kidnapping attempts. While these awful things can happen anywhere, some moms just feel safer at home.
4 Faith, Truth, Trust
“I choose the free birth process because I trust my body and I trust the labor and delivery process.”
Some women only need the knowledge that women were created to carry and birth babies. They believe childbirth is a natural process and they trust that they can handle it. If they are left to themselves to deliver their own children, they will know that they and their children will be better for it. Childbirth is a deeply feminine process, and unassisted birth can be empowering. Many women can’t believe how proud of themselves they feel for accomplishing such a great life changing event without needing help. All over the world, women give birth on their own every single day, every single second. While most people think unassisted birth is primarily something done in third world countries, it is quickly becoming more popular in the “most developed” parts of the world.
3 One Isn’t The Loneliest Number
“ I prefer solitude.”
One simple reason some women choose free birth or unassisted births over hospital or midwife assisted births is that they prefer to be alone. The hospital is the last place anyone will be alone. There are numerous doctors, hundreds of nurses, and random strangers visiting other folks around every corner. Women are lucky if they even get their own room, let alone more than a curtain to keep them apart from the rest of the people nearby. Some women believe that child birth should be between the baby and mom (and maybe dad). A lot of the moms who support unassisted births and free births want the freedom to make their own choices and their own decisions about the way their children enter the world. They believe that as awesome as midwives can be, they also want things to run a “certain” way and have their own ideas about how child birth should go.
2 The Midwife Disillusion
“I thought midwives were supposed to be mommy centered and mommy led. I found out the only way to make that happen was to depend only on me, mommy.”
Many women will tell others they could not live without their midwife. There are some amazing midwives out there, however; there are some who are so organized and detail oriented, that they have become like doctors and pushy hospital staffers themselves. Mom after mom that chose to have an unassisted birth said they did so after having one birth with a pushy midwife. These are the women who would have never considered the hospital or doctor as an option from the get-go, but even after working with a midwife they still felt overwhelmed and controlled. Most midwives are certified or licensed and they must adhere to certain practices to avoid losing their certifications and licenses. This makes some of them seem more technical and less woman and mother centered.
1 Tranquil Transitions
“I refuse to be one more number on a to-do list. The only way to bring a baby in the world is peacefully. No strangers, no machines, no loudness.”
Some women want to experience birth in its purest form. The less distractions the better. The less people the better. Some women believe the more the childbirth situation is about the mom and the baby, the better it is for them both. These women believe It’s impossible for the hospital staff and the doctor to treat them as individuals and not as a job to do. They feel there are too many rules to follow, too many procedures. Most importantly, there are too many people. Free birthing moms prefer their home environments where they can go where they want and do what they want. This includes eating during labor which is most certainly a no-no in the hospital. Some moms who are choosing unassisted births have no problems, so to speak, with midwives, they just don’t want unnecessary “strangers around. They believe they can do it themselves.
Sources: BauhausWife.ca, UnassistedChildbirth.com