Baby Loss: Unassisted, Midwife Assisted and in Hospital Births

by Birth Without Fear on August 11, 2011

Editor’s note: This is a blog post I wrote on April 16th, 2009 while nearing the end of my pregnancy.  Also, I was recently emailed this website from a BWF Mama. She wanted me to share it with those who are or have suffered a loss.

Baby Dies in Unassisted Home Birth

When I first read this article, I felt really sad for her. To lose a child and to have to deal with all this criticism. That would be more difficult than I can comprehend. I think the article is crap. It is very, very biased. No where does it state how many babies die in the hospital vs. how many die at home. There is no information what really happened during and after her labor. Also, I want to note that I don’t think most women who suffer the loss of their baby in an unassisted birth (though rare, it happens) normally go through this. It is because of her status and being outspoken about unassisted birth, etc that has made this so.

“But her decision to forgo medical care entirely — even after her labor continued for a week — is tantamount to reckless endangerment of a child.”

This is the fear inducing talk and beliefs that I can’t stand in our society. Many women have long early and even active labors when left to labor on their own without interventions like pitocin. With my last baby, I had prodromal (early) labor for a week with contractions 10 minutes apart. It wasn’t painful, but exhausting. I was in active labor for 48 hours before I went to the hospital! So, a longer labor may have been very normal for this mom.

“In the past century, childbirth has gone from being the single most dangerous event in a woman’s life to something routine. We can thank Western medicine for that.”

This is a ridiculous claim too. Birth was the single most dangerous event in a woman’s life? Are you kidding me? The BIRTH wasn’t the dangerous part, but the conditions surrounding the birth. I do have to say that I have read (just recently in Hypnobirthing) where Western medicine was also responsible for causing a lot of those problems (i.e. deaths). When births started moving from homes to hospitals, there were some places where death rates went up because the hospital staffs were spreading infections among the birthing women!

My goodness, you know why the infant mortality rate is high in our country? Because of all that medical intervention. Because all the premature babies born. NOT because of free birth. There is no mention if the baby would have lived if born in a hospital. There really aren’t any good details or facts in this article in my opinion.

“It doesn’t empower women to take control of their own bodies. It sends them and their babies into the dark ages of medical care – where women give birth with no medical care at all and face the very real possibility of death as a consequence.”

And yes, it can be empowering. No wonder women don’t take responsibility themselves (if they want to). It’s all FEAR, FEAR, FEAR.

birth

This article didn’t make me afraid of my UC, it made me want it even more. I can’t say what the woman in the article should or should not have done. I wasn’t there. None of us were. I would not hesitate to get help if I felt myself or my baby needed it at any point during pregnancy, labor or birth. While I believe Western medicine is overused and fear based, I do believe it has its place and can be a good thing.

What it comes down to in my opinion is women need to make informed choices by educating themselves. I have never told a woman she should birth unassisted, I don’t even think that all women should birth at home with a midwife and never in a hospital. Women just need to have the right to choose what is best for them and have the birth she wants!

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

PromiseJubilee August 12, 2011 at 3:33 pm

The woman mentioned in the article did an interview. When an autopsy was performed on the baby they found it had a congenital heart defect. It would have died no matter WHERE she had birthed, or with WHOM. On a sarcastic amusement note: I think it’s amusing, in a bitter sort of way, that persons who don’t believe in the choice to birth Unassisted call it “stuntbirth.” It appears folly to me to assume that each and every woman that makes such a choice is doing so because they want the “bragging rights.” It ABSOLUTELY is not about that for me. This choice is about what I BELIEVE in. I believe in a God that can safely deliver me of a child without the help of a medical doctor or a hospital. I believe that my body was created to birth children, with strength and peace. I believe that birthing is a three-person job, God, mommas and babies, and that each of these three persons involved intuitively know their job. THAT’s what Unassisted Childbirth is about. It’s about the freedom to believe, and make a choice based on those beliefs.

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Porkie August 21, 2011 at 7:31 pm

“I have never told a woman she should birth unassisted, I don’t even think that all women should birth at home with a midwife and never in a hospital. Women just need to have the right to choose what is best for them and have the birth she wants!”

So, what if what I *want* is incompatible with what I *should* do to ensure the health and safety of myself and my baby?

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Ruth August 25, 2011 at 10:58 am

^ I would suggest what you *want* would be what is in the best interests of yourself and your baby!!

I had our first bub at 37 weeks, all natural (posterior bub, ouch haha!) and home hours later. Beautiful! This was midwife assisted in hospital. Our second came at just 25 weeks after losing our fraternal twin in the pregnancy and a host of complications. It was an emergency classical caesarean. This makes my ‘ideal’ birth of being home in the water impossible for us – because we are not prepared to take that risk. So what I WOULD want ideally, and what I DO want this time, are not the same. But the choice for us *is* for the safety and health of the baby and myself. It will be in hospital, it will be a VBAC if the good Lord deems this His will, and it will be without many of the VBAC protocols (I will have an IV saline lock in place for emergency, and will be using intermittent monitoring, access to the shower and tub, and no routine internal exams) Would this be my ideal description of birth? No! Is this WHAT I WANT to make this birth as safe as possible? Absolutely!! I would be worried about a mum birthing in a way she does not believe is in the best interest of herself and her baby. What kind of mum would actually *want* a birth that she believes is risking her child or herself?

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