Childbirth can look vastly different for women depending on the culture that they are a part of and where in the world their baby is being delivered. A birthing experience in Los Angeles is going to be near opposite of a birthing experience in the middle of Sudan.
For some cultures, the practice of bringing life out into the world has remained the same for centuries. Tradition tends to dictate how the big day will go down for many people around the globe. Other countries have a forever, swinging pendulum of birthing practices. In the last one hundred years alone, American women have gone from home births to twilight births, to medicated births, c-sections and water births. There is always some new "way" that seems to peak the interest of first world mommies-to-be. One of the latest trends in labor and delivery is called free birth. Freebirth is essentially when a woman consciously and purposely gives birth without any medical personnel or intervention present.
While some people see this new trend as an empowering and almost spiritual movement for women, others view it as downright negligent. Here are 20 things to catch you up to speed on the freebirthing phenomenon.
20 Don't Call Your BFF To Deliver Your Baby
Women are allowed to deny medical services. In most countries, that is a woman's right. She doesn't have to hike it over to the local hospital and sign her rights away ever. That being said, this doesn't mean a woman can let her mom, her husband or the postman go and deliver her baby just because it is her wish.
While she can legally deliver the baby from her body herself, it's not permitted in many places to allow anyone without medical training to knowingly do the job. Find a way outside of freebirthing to bond with your besties. Get matching tattoos, but don't sign them up to yank your infant out of your body.
19 Many Medical Groups Are Not In Favour Of Freebirths
Many medical groups in developed nations strongly oppose the practice of freebirthing because of the many unforeseen factors that could pop up during labor and delivery. The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is one of those particular groups that cannot get behind the trending birthing concept.
While professionals agree that families should have a say in how their child comes into the world, it can only be condoned by them if it is considered safe for the mother and the child. Freebirthing isn't considered to be medically safe because medical professionals are not present and therefore cannot intervene if unforeseen situations arise.
18 Freebirth Is Like Homebirth On A Whole New Level
Freebirthing should not be confused with a homebirth. Homebirths happen in the comfort of a couple's residence, but a trained midwife is present to assist the mother and baby through the experience. She is there to make the call if anyone's health is in peril so that women can have the best of both worlds.
Freebirthing takes the concept of homebirth to a whole other level. There is often no one present but the mother, the baby and sometimes the partner. Many women choose to have the event be so private that their labors are only for mom and child, not a whole lot of help there! So while a perfect birth seems like a dream to these freebirthers, the opposite can quickly turn into a difficult situation.
17 Freebirthing Also Means No Scans Or Tests
The labor and delivery in a free birth are intervention free, allowing pregnant women to do what their bodies have done naturally for centuries. Some women take the notion of intervention free and run with it though. Many free birthers also forego the standard tests and scans that expectant women undergo to ensure that their unborn baby is growing correctly.
Without knowledge of what underlying health concerns a mother or fetus have, delivery can be that much more precarious for both parties. Some underprivileged women from different countries would give anything for the tests and scans that women in developing countries have.
16 Freebirthing Isn't A Walk In The Park
Without a midwife or doctor there to help pregnant women navigate delivery, much could go south real fast. There are so many health issues that come into play when it comes to childbirth and pregnancy, and having trained professionals around can put Mom and Dad at ease. Freebirthers decide that this is not necessary.
Sadly, many unfortunate incidents have occurred that could have been quickly and easily remedied by medical personnel. While it is understandable that many moms want a private childbirth experience, many argue that having medical professionals around is the only safe option.
15 However, There Are Also Many Benefits
So, it's widely believed by most that the risks to freebirthing are vast and downright surprising, especially for those of us who can not fathom giving birth to a baby all alone, surrounded by only the unknown factors. Risks, aside, proponents of freebirthing argue that there are many irreplaceable benefits to the practice of unassisted birth.
Freebirthers find the labor experience to be empowering and even spiritual. Freebirth eliminates the possibility of unnecessary procedures and interventions that sometimes accompany childbirth. Lastly, proponents of the freebirth movement swear the bond between mother and child is stronger because of the delivery experience.
14 Is Freebirthing Responsible?
Because of the many incidents that occur during the act of freebirthing, many people around the globe have come to see it as a negligent act. It's especially true in cases where women were affected by the childbirth in ways that would not have occurred had a doctor been present.
Had cases such as these taken place in a hospital or in the presence of a midwife, things could have been very different. Freebirthing proponents to forego all of the tests, medical monitoring, and ultrasounds that modern medicine offers to pregnant women in developed nations, and many deem this to be irresponsible and unwise.
13 Sometimes Money Is A Deciding Factor
Many proponents of freebirthing argue that their decision is primarily based on female rights to the body and taking childbirth back to its natural and primal roots. Others claim that they favor it because of finances.
In some countries, a midwife services are not covered by insurance. Services are also not covered by Medicaid. This leaves women with the choice between a hospital birth and a freebirth. Others have no medical insurance and having a baby out of pocket would cost them far too much. (The United States is the most expensive country to give birth in, and cesarian sections can run almost fifty grand!)
12 For Others, The Choice Is Based On A Distrust Of Medical Intervention
Many pregnant women are so worried of having to undergo common medical procedures such as cesarian sections and vacuum assistance during childbirth that they shun the hospital experience completely. The concept of a hospital birth is far too unpleasant and stressful for them.
With cesarian section rates higher than ever, they often go with freebirthing so that they can avoid medical intervention. Women who have had difficult childbirth experiences with their first child are also likely to look to other methods of delivery so that they can better avoid the difficulty that they underwent in their initial childbirth experiences.
11 Chances Of A Worst-Case-Scenario Increase
In developed countries, most births turn out just fine, and that is because modern medicine has made countless advances over the years to ensure the safety of mothers and babies.
100 years ago, the medication, surgeries, and interventions that are now available just weren't around and because of that there were many complications that women don't experience very often today. When a freebirth takes place, those advances are taken away, and women suddenly become thrown back into the dark ages of childbirth techniques.
10 Freebirthing Has A Hashtag On Twitter
As natural as the freebirthing community claims to be, they still use social media avenues like Twitter and YouTube. Many freebirthers are more than happy to share their views and experiences on Instagram, personal blogs and Twitter. They are all about spreading the freebirth love to the world.
The freebirther mommas even have a hashtag of their own so that they show their support and love for their handoff-delivering pals. If freebirthing is something that you might want to support through social media, go ahead and give a little shout out with #freebirth.
9 Some Are Taking The 'Where' Part To A Whole New Level
Wanting to bring your child into the world in a space that isn't cold and sterile is a perfectly sound wish. While plenty of women are comforted by the thought of professionals a step away, others are turned off entirely by this.
One woman birthed her baby in the backyard garden while her young children played a mere few feet away. Another mama-to-be took her freebirthing experience into uncharted territories when she delivered her baby out in the bushlands of Australia.
8 Even Freebirth "Pros" Are Not Medically Trained
Sadly, no one is exempt from the potential downfalls of freebirth. A well known freebirth advocate, Janet Fraser, was met with sad results when she chose to give birth in her home study with two unqualified people by her side and no medical equipment. Even she encountered unforeseen complications, which suggests that they can happen to anyone
Fraser is known as Austrailia's most publicly known freebirth advocate. She runs a website called, Joyous Birth. If it can happen to her, it can happen to anyone.
7 It's On The Rise!
New and interesting trends in childbirth are nothing new. Shifts in how babies are brought into the world take a new turn every couple of decades. Homebirths had their moment in the sun as did twilight births and medicated deliveries. Water births made their mark on deliveries in recent years.
In recent years it is freebirths that have grabbed the spotlight. Why is this phenomenon turning so many heads? It's probably because so many people see it as irresponsible. To have every medical intervention known to humankind at a person's fingertips and shun it all is perplexing to many.
6 Freebirth Is Historically A Third World Phenomenon
In countries such as the United States, Great Britain, and Australia, freebirthing is a relatively new concept. Women are grabbing ahold of the idea of birthing on their terms, no matter how treacherous, and running with it.
In other parts of the world, especially in third world countries, freebirthing is nothing new, it just didn't have a trendy title. In those countries, it's just called having a baby without medical support. Countries without medical interventions for expectant mothers know all about having a child on the dirt floor of their home or our in the fields. They, however, give birth this way because there is no other choice.
5 Freebirthing Has Its Own Community
The women of freebirthing have created their own "society." According to the website of the group, this is a space, and a movement for mommies to "Birth is Wild and On Your Terms." Like-minded ladies can be a part of a society that agrees with their insights and offer up suggestions to their comrades. You can even purchase freebirth apparel on the group's website. The community is trying to position itself as a movement rather than just a birthing method choice.
4 Some Women See It As "Taking Back" Their Power
Freebirthers feel as if they are having their babies without safe interventions because this birthing method is a way of taking back control. Many women think that modern medicine has stolen much of a woman's natural ability to bring life into the world.
Doctors call the shots as to when waters break, what meds have to be administered and even when to shift from natural birth to a surgical one. While many women trust their doctors to make the best decisions possible for them and their babies, others feel the only way to do things on their terms is to do it all by themselves.
3 Freebirthers Are Getting Info From Unofficial Sources
One of the more confusing things about freebirthing and why people support it is how parents are getting their facts and where those facts are coming from. Many of the pros for the movement are based on feeling, emotion, and spirituality as opposed to facts.
Many women turn to chat rooms and blogs to gather freebirthing information. The internet is great for a whole lot of things, but research on how to deliver your baby might require more actual scientific and medical research. The people in these virtual spaces are not doctors nor midwives, yet lovers of the freebirthing experience take their word instead of turning to medical professionals.
2 Some See This Experience As More Special
There are certain society members of the unassisted birth movement that wholeheartedly believe that birth is the completion of the act that started the whole childbirth thing in the first place! We all know how babies get here and what people have to do to create them, but this seems to be a concept that is unfamiliar to many women.
What led to the pregnancy is the usually last thing on most laboring women's minds! The idea of bringing these thoughts and labor and delivery in the same sentence is downright surprising to many people.
1 Freebirthers Often Associate Their Experience With "Art"
People consider the strangest things to be "art" and since the concept of art is highly subjective. Some freebirthers can even find artistic beauty in their birth byproducts.
That being said, not everybody wants to see any part of some women's personal experience. While everyone thinks their birthing experience was the most special thing on the earth, it's likely only special to the woman who went through it, and her loved ones feel that way. Other people might not see such a potentially risky childbirth choice as art.