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Freebirthing - What do You Think?

In these modern times, a pregnant woman has many options in where and how to deliver her baby. She can labor at a hospital, a birthing center, or at home. She can give birth in a bed, in a birthing chair, or in a tub of water. She can also choose to have an obstetrician, midwife, or doula (childbirth assistant) there to help deliver the baby.

I just learned that in the U.S. and Britain, many women are now choosing freebirthing or unassisted birthing. These women have their babies at home, with no medical or professional help - no doctors, no midwives, and no painkillers.

Are these women against the idea of modern medicine? Not necessarily, they want their labor to be as relaxed as possible, and they don't want strange doctors poking and prodding them and making them anxious. Plus many of them are scared of hospitals and are worried doctors will have too much control over their experience.

Many of these women feel the act of giving birth is as intimate and personal as the act of conception, so it only feels right that they should be the only ones at the birth of their baby. These women also believe that since women have been giving birth for thousands of years they just simply need to harness their instincts to know what to do and don't need doctors interfering with the natural flow of events. It is fascinating to me that "freebirthers" are not interested in having a midwife at their births, since midwifery is ancient practice, practically as old as human culture, and considered by many to be an essential part of the natural birth experience.

Of course, many officials are outraged by this. They feel like it's unfair to the unborn baby, and they're also worried about the safety of the mother. What if something goes wrong, and there isn't anyone there to help? They feel that freebirthing is reckless, irresponsible, and selfish. Plus, with the advent of modern medicine the mortality rate, of both mother and child, associated with labor has dropped dramatically.

So, I am curious, what do you think about freebirthing?


Join The Conversation
Goldiemom25 Goldiemom25 8 years
I am a bit taken aback by all the comments about how safe hospitals are. Yes, they have their places and are the perfect spot for most mothers to birth. However, mothers and babies die in hospitals too. In fact, more moms and babies die in hospitals each year, than do giving birth at home per capita. I realize more people birth in hospitals. So, hospitals don't automatically mean a happy, healthy baby and mama. I have had 3 births in a hospital and 2 freebirths, I am also trained in infant CPR if something were to go wrong. So it is a choice that each person needs to make on their own, and they need to be informed of the benefits and the risks. Even the risks of hospital births need to be made more public.
GenipherY GenipherY 8 years
I have had two children at home--awesome experiences. Now that we're expecting our third, hubby and I and are looking into "freebirthing". Our main reason being we can't afford the one midwife in our area that will come to our home for the birth. However, we are doing all we can to research and prepare for this. We are not going into it blindly. If a doctor or midwife can learn what they need to know to deliver babies, why can't we do the same?
tinaj702 tinaj702 8 years
i think that everyone woman needs to go to POWERBIRTH.COM.. i had both of my children at home with a midwife that has delivered almost 3000 babies.. and i think that everyone woman should get this manual and dvd and watch it and read the manual ESPECIALLY if you plan on having your baby at home or at the hospital!! its important for woman to gain control and power of the their BIRTH!!! if you have any question please feel free to contact me at
Jenny-Hatch Jenny-Hatch 10 years
I gave birth to my last two babies at home alone and Freebirth was my ticket to some of the most joyful moments of our marriage to date. I have become an unassisted childbirth promoter and birth activist and believe that the birth machine is traumetizing mothers and babies like never before. I would really challenge anyone reading this to do some serious research on freebirth and get beyond the hype and into some of our chats and discussions. You might be surprised to discover how truly educated our group of mothers and fathers are. Here is a link to my latest birth story. Jenny Hatch
lms lms 10 years
I think it is a really bad decision to make. I had a girlfriend who did a home birth with a midwife. She never had any ultrasounds or anything else. After she delivered her baby...her contractions did not stop. She did not realize, nor did the midwife, than she was having twins. At that moment they had to take her to the hospital anyway b/c midwifes aren't allowed to do homebirths of multiples. Everything worked out in the end, but I think it is way to risky.
BonjourChaton BonjourChaton 10 years
I think its too risky as well. When I had my son it turned out that I needed a c-section, if I wasn't in a hospital it could have been very bad. Plus, I give a LOT of credit to anyone that can go through childbirth without painkillers. I was in labor for 21 hours before I had the section, and if I didn't have the epidural I think I would have gone psychotic.
gobbler gobbler 10 years
Great if nothing goes wrong. STUPID if everything isn't perfect. When things DO go wrong: My son & I would be dead, if I'd tried this ... no, wait, I would have died being born so I'd never have had a baby ... no, wait, my mother would have died being born instead of just her mother dying then, so I'd never have been born at all. If you're alone and things go really wrong during labor, you aren't going to just walk to the phone and call for an ambulance. You're going to die, and so is the baby.
sweetiekag sweetiekag 10 years
Yes women have been doing it for thousands of years and have DIED from childbirth, hence one of the reasons why people used to die when they were 30. You're an idiot if you give birth by yourself.
darlindiva darlindiva 10 years
i could never bring myself to purposely give birth alone. all the instincts in the world would not make me feel at ease about it.
HeyJude HeyJude 10 years
My mom had me at home. With of course some help of Midwife.
Bookish Bookish 10 years
Having given birth in a hospital twice, I can certainly sympathize with women who hate (or are afraid of) the hospital atmosphere. Giving birth in a hospital (especially when it's busy) can make you feel more like a piece of meat, to be poked and prodded and schlepped around, than a woman in labor. I found the experiences to be, at times, frightening (when I was being given medicines with no explanation), degrading (when student doctors were brought in to view without my permission), and dehumanizing. I don't know what the usual experience is like- but I found that trying to go with my instincts (walking around, squatting, or moving much at all) was frowned upon and stopped quickly by the nurses, which was very frustrating. Then again, I do live in an area of the country where all that "touchy-feely natural medicine stuff" is ridiculed as worse than useless, so it's possible it's a regional issue and not a generalized hospital issue. Were I to give birth again (which is highly unlikely!) I would prefer to give birth at home, but certainly not alone! I'd definitely have a certified midwife in attendance, and my husband and sister-in-law close at hand and ready to take me to the hospital (15 minutes away) if I needed to go. Giving birth alone, while possible, seems too risky to be wise.
mdbzmom mdbzmom 10 years
It would be interesting to go back in time and ask women who didn't have the option of medical assistance or pain relief what they would choose. Wasn't the mother/child mortality rate vastly improved with medical advancements?
Twinkle1 Twinkle1 10 years
If I had gone the free-birthing route, neither of my children would be here today. It's very likely I wouldn't be here either. Although I had perfectly normal healthy pregnancies, there were complications galore during both deliveries - none of which were predicted. There are no guarantees that a delivery will go smoothly, so why risk it by being on your own and far away from a hospital?
love2camp love2camp 10 years
No way! I think it would be just plain stupid to try to do it completely alone. So many things can go wrong, it really isn't worth the risk. I will definitely be in a birthing center surrounded by doctors and nurses! The ONLY thing I am considering is to have my medic/pre-med husband do the actual delivery of the baby with doctors by his side watching and assisting AND he has been trained to deliver babies. As far as I'm concerned I would not like to make the entire situation riskeir than it already is.
stefsprl stefsprl 10 years
While part of me admires women who tough out the pain and give birth at home I would definitely want to be in a hospital where someone could help me and my baby if anything should go wrong.
historydiva historydiva 10 years
Recognizing this is an emotional subject, let me just say I usually just smile and nod my head when people tell me they are doing a home birth. Here's why - I know of two different families who encountered terrible tragedy during their home births. You never know when something could go wrong - like the baby going into distress or something bad for the mother. To be away from the hospital (and the surgery facilities) is flat-out dangerous for everyone involved. Sadly, the one family's son had a stroke during birth and is now partially paralyzed and mentally handicap. That was a VERY big price to pay for the "comfort" of giving birth at home. My own sister would have died, and her baby too, if she had not been at the hospital. The baby stopped breathing, my sister's blood pressure dropped scarily low, and they got the baby out in less than 18 minutes with a C-section. Without her emergency c-section, there would have been no baby. So, I went the traditional route and took the epidural and didn't regret it for moment. There is something strange about the Luddite tendencies of the "all natural" movement that can be dangerous for mother and child.
cravinsugar cravinsugar 10 years
I am choosing, at this non-pregnant tmie in my life, to go to the hospital but not use pain meds. my mom dind't use pain meds with my sister or me, and it wasn't that bad for her...the doc later said she had a large pelvic cavity. I hope i inherited it haha. she didn't even know she was in labor with me. she went to doc for checkup and he said "honey, you need to go to the hospital" haha
crispet1 crispet1 10 years
Too risky for me. Id rather be safe and sound in a hospital.
julieulie julieulie 10 years
I would never dream of freebirthing... or having a midwife, or a doula. But then again I work in medicine (oncology research) and I will be marrying a doctor, so obviously we place a lot of faith in modern medicine or else we would not be working in the field.
SU3 SU3 10 years
It's really all about how comfortable you are in the given situation. I wouldn't do this sort of birth myself and IF I ever choose to give birth at home, of course I'd want a certified professional midwife. My Mother/Baby Professor in Nursing School was a CPM and she was *fantastic*. It's a personal choice and it's really only up to the mother.
CestLaVie CestLaVie 10 years
I would say that it is personal choice and giving birth OUTSIDE of hospitals has been done for thousands of years but I would def. want someone to assist at least. Hm, obviously these women feel pretty strongly about it to want to do this entirely on their own.
kiwitwist kiwitwist 10 years
obviously their call to do what you wish.. but I think it is pretty silly. What if something went wrong and the baby ended up dying or something due to their negligence?? I wouldn't be able to live with myself if somethign happened to my child because of a bad choice.
KerryG KerryG 10 years
What the... I would be 100% open to a home birth with a midwife, and am even considering it for my second baby, when the time comes. But 100% unassisted is crazy. You would have no way of knowing if your baby was in trouble, no way to know if you were in trouble. I heard a story just within the last couple years about a teenager who'd been hiding her pregnancy who hemorrhaged to death after giving birth by herself. I can't think of a single primitive culture that voluntarily gives birth alone - there is always a mother or other older, more experienced woman assisting at minimum.
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