What is freebirthing?

Perusing the web for interesting parenting fodder, I stumbled across an article (as one seems to do when perusing) about a woman who had delivered her baby by what is known as ‘freebirth. Intrigued, I read the story and discovered something new!

What is freebirthing? 

Freebirth or ‘unassisted birth’ is to have a baby without medical or professional help – on purpose; not because it’s your fourth baby and hanging tight (ha ha) for the fifteen minutes it’ll take to get to the maternity ward is wishful thinking or your waters break just as the elevator in your favourite department store comes to an inconvenient standstill…and your baby is born unassisted.

Freebirth is the choice to give birth sans midwife or doctor.

The whole thing sounds totally bonkers to me, mum of three. There’s no possible way that I would feel comfortable giving birth without a medical professional in my proverbial face. Lucky I so happened to be born into the privilege of modern, first world living.

I mean, what did our ancestors do? They squatted in a mud hut and had their babies – maybe there was someone with knowledge of herbal remedies to assist but they did it. Sure, infant mortality probably wasn’t great but they did it…and many women around the world still do – have their babies without medical care or intervention.

The UK’s Nursing & Midwifery Council says that although freebirth is perfectly legal (as long as the birth is not attended or the responsibility for care is not assumed or undertaken by an ‘unqualified individual’ – unqualified individual’ being a person who is not a registered doctor or midwife but acts in that capacity during birth), it us recommended that the pros and cons of ‘free birthing’ are discussed in detail with a suitably qualified person, and serious consideration is given to any identified risks that may be associated with freebirthing’ in light of personal, individual circumstances.

If the whole thing sounds a little (or a lot) crazy to you, you should read Lindsay Gale’s story (on Motherandbaby.co.uk). Lindsay’s first and only child (to date) was born without the assistance of a medical professional – in her home, with her husband and a doula present.

And everything was peachy perfect, other than the reaction of the midwife who was called post birth to come and do all the usual newborn checks. The whole experience sounds really calm and quite pleasant – not at all what one might expect from labour or birth in general.

If freebirth is something that you might be interested in reading up on, the Nursing & Midwifery Council is a good starting point; it explains the legalities and offers some insight as well as useful information – CLICK HERE to find out more.

Would you consider having a freebirth?