Preparing for Unassisted Childbirth

by Birth Without Fear on October 13, 2011

I’m going to start this post off with saying that I do not tell women to birth unassisted. I do not ‘promote it’ or recommend it as it’s not for most women. It is a very personal decision and one both mother and father need to educate themselves on, be united on and take responsibility for.

Once in a while, I receive an email asking about resources or more information about unassisted pregnancy and unassisted childbirth, also referred to as freebirth. This post is for mothers that are already considering birthing their child with just their family and support they choose present. Once again, this is a personal decision and I am not telling anyone to do so.

I remember when I first read about unassisted birth on the Mothering.com forums. I was shocked. A woman birthing without a doctor or midwife present?! That’s nuts! As I read more about UP/UC, I was intrigued. Here was an idea that women can birth on their own, without intervention, just as they were intended to do. Wait, is that so crazy? A healthy pregnancy, mom and baby. Educated and prepared parents. Willingness to get help/transfer if needed. Maybe not for everyone, but maybe for some.

I will admit it. I get nervous when women say they are going to birth unassisted. That’s right, I’ve had two unassisted births, but worry about other women who birth unassisted. Why? I don’t know them, if they are truly prepared, if they feel it’s the best and safest way for them to birth or if they are stuck on the ‘idea’ of UC. So, if you are thinking of having an unassisted birth, consider the following resources. Prepare yourself, take responsibility and be willing to get help or change course if needed. Also, every pregnancy, birth and baby are different, so even if UC is for one of your births, it may not be for another.

I support a woman’s right to choose a repeat cesarean, a hospital birth, a homebirth and everything in between. I also support her right to choose to birth unassisted. With ANY of these choices though, education and support are a must.

Consider the following when thinking about or preparing for an unassisted childbirth:

You can still have prenatal care with an OB or midwife or do your own prenatal care

Emergency Childbirth: A Manual by Gregory J. White, M.D.

Neonatal Resuscitation for yourself, partner and labor/birth support (this is good even if not planning an UC as it can still accidentally happen!)

Ultrasounds can be a good tool to check on baby’s position, fluids and to make sure there are no abnormalities or concerns you need to address or that would make unassisted birth unsafe

Read. There are birth stories, forums and books you can read to learn what will help and even what not to do!

Pray/meditate/instincts…do and listen often. If at anytime you feel something is off during pregnancy or labor, get help.

Unassisted birth can be one of the most raw and empowering experiences of a woman’s life if that is her choice…

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