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How Do You Feel About Freebirthing?

Babies come into this world in all different ways. Some mamas-to-be decide on deliveries attended by doctors while others choose for their children to debut with the assistance of midwives. Then there are women who opt for freebirth — they have their babies at home without any help (from doctors or doulas). What's your opinion of this practice?

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macgirl macgirl 8 years
Did I say you were ignorant? Just reread my post and I don't believe I did. I think I was even really nice about it. You just can't speak from first hand experience- being present when someone else is going through it isn't first hand in my opinion. Even the best laid plans can change. Women who want drugs decide they don't need them and vice versa. Stuff happens.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
Mac, I am sorry, because i am childless that mean i am also ignorant of the statistics and first hand experiences? what do you think our body was made for like it is? if not for natural childbirth?
sham28 sham28 8 years
The stakes are awfully high when you're talking about the life of the baby or mother. Just go to the freakin' hospital or have a spectacular midwife.
snowysakurasky snowysakurasky 8 years
its not really fair to the baby to have it at home when things like what happened to poster 1 can happen to anyone without warning. the system may suck, but dont risk your child's life to prove a point, or just so you are comfy at home. of course it might be fine, but better safe than sorry! a recommended doula (dont just randomly choose a doula/midwife) and a respected doctor would be a good combo if you dont want the doctor to call all the shots. i gave birth in Vancouver in a big private room and it was great (other than the contraction pain). there was no option for me to have a c-section since in canada it has to be medically necessary. i ended up with a spinal which we wasn't planning on but all along they (nurses and doctor) really encouraged get me to try to do it all naturally. i think thats why my experience was so good, i had privacy, space, options, no pressure and medical back up. i was scared that they were going to pressure me into an episiotomy, maybe from reading naomi wolfe's "misconceptions." It's a great read about why the american medical system is not beneficial to women giving birth (not hating, i'm also american:P) there are birthing centres with doctors in the stated but not sure how accessible they are to the majority of women someone mentioned the financial aspect of c-sections in the US. abortions are also big business, unfortunately for women. one more thing, if its your first childbirth, trust the posters here and be very close to if not in a hospital for it. you will probably be much more protective of and cautious about life in general after you have your first baby. or maybe its just me.
ZutAlors ZutAlors 8 years
During homebirths if there is an emergency that needs a hospital, women are transferred to hospitals through an ambulance. Baby's heart rates are closely monitored with the same equipment used in hospitals. No midwife worth her training is going to risk anything going wrong. In fact, all of the midwives/doula's I know require women to have already visited their nearest hospital and filled out the check-in information with their vitals/stats so that checking in is easy should it come to that. Most women are capable of having normal childbirths. Not easy, one push childbirths, but strenuous, sometimes long sometimes short, intense childbirths. Most times, nothing goes wrong. When something does, the women are transferred. Births led by medwives and doulas have higher rates of success than births in hospitals- that's just a fact. In both the best parts (most developed) in Europe and the United States. The reason isn't because hospitals are bad. I love our technology and the babys/mothers it has saved. The issue is that hospitals are designed for treating sick people and emergencies. A woman in labor isn't sick. n most cases, she doesn't need an IV. Lying in a bed and having gravity work against you slows down labor and makes it harder for the baby to travel down. Most doctors don't know how to turn a breech baby (or aren't willing because of the time involved). Women feel tense in hospitals which can slow down a labor. Epidurals are awesome, but the lack of feeling can slow down a labor. A hospital is also a business that much like a restaurant, makes the most money when tables are turned. That has also contributed to the c-section rate and the death rate of women and children. Isn't anyone scared that our infant mortality rate is so high? Our hospital infant mortality rate is alarming. We are not a third world country with malnutrtioned women. We're a nation of people disconnected from themselves and more connected to things. Why else would a blog dedicated to talking about moms and babies be 60% about products? Sigh. I don't think homebirths are the answer either. Hospitals are great for emergencies. The midwife/doula system is great for the average mom. Maybe one day we'll learn from the countries with the highest birth success rates and blend the two, like they've done. Midwife & doctor assisted births in birthing centers within hospitals. Of course, that doesn't make the medical system any more money so....
MissSushi MissSushi 8 years
Im not pro home birthing becuase of what happens in hospitals, I never implied that in my second comment, and if youd read all the comments, I said that my choice would never have been one. I was simply commenting on how often c sections are forced on people becuaes of the situations they go through. Im really happy you had a great labor and everything went well and you had doctors who listneed, but that DOESNT mean every hospital is like that. I told this hospital , before and in the middle of agonizing back pain when i could hardly breathe and think, what i wanted over and over and over, and they ignored me. Despite being utterly calm and repeating myself, they repeatedly told me, oh youre just in pain, youre not thinking rationally. The majority of labor staff dont give a flying crap what the patient wants. And even after finally getting my daugther out and immediatly passing out and lying there with no color bleeding to death, they still wouldnt admit fault or that things went anything but well. While i spent the next 3 days passing out and getting blood transfusions to the point that my milk never came in, they still said, oh she lost some blood, but it wasnt really that bad. Right..
Greggie Greggie 8 years
Sometimes in the throws of labor it's difficult to even breathe, much less say no when being pushed one way on a decision.
Greggie Greggie 8 years
The point of being educated and prepared is knowing what to do in those situations, yes, and to know when to call for help.
mstrauss mstrauss 8 years
And to comment on Miss Sushi above, every woman has a right to do what she wants in a hospital. If you are being bullied, you can just say no. I was at NYU and no one forced me to get my epidural or switch from pushing to a c-section. Everything was based on what I wanted. I was pushing for a few hours and my OB still asked me if I wanted to continue pushing or get a c-section. It was all my decision. You make your own physical choices in life, and fearing that you will be bullied by dr's and nurses shouldn't make you stay home. If you are being bullied, you just say NO!
mstrauss mstrauss 8 years
Hold up...to quote hyzenthlay20: "I am all for it, IF YOU ARE PREPARED AND EDUCATED. To go into anything blind is dangerous."?????? I get that you can be prepared for home birth, but what if something goes wrong? Are you saying that every woman who gives birth at home without help from an medically educated person will be fine as long as she does her research? I get that you can prepare yourself for the birthing process, but what if the umbilical cord is wrapped around your baby's neck, or the baby just doesn't drop at all (like my baby). I planned to give birth vaginally and pushed for hours before we all realized that he just wasn't moving anywhere. If you are in labor at home without help and something goes wrong, who is going to do the emergency c-section? I know people try to avoid c-sections, but sometimes it happens without choice. What then??? I get that there is free choice for yourself, but there is another person involved here. As mothers, aren't we supposed to do what is best for our babies??? Being in a hospital while in labor doesn't mean that you have to be hooked up to machines. And how about have a doula? Anything is better than no help and supervision! Being in a hospital doesn't mean something will go wrong...it just means that if something does go wrong, there is someone there to back you up!
Greggie Greggie 8 years
"That is true too- c-sections are faster, easier, have less liability because it's a controlled surgery, not an upredictable, long birth." Yup. I blame the high rate on doctors, not patients. I don't expect patients to know every in and out of giving birth, and at the end of pregnancy women are going to be uncomfortable and ask for an end. The doctor is the one who should know when it's necessary, and inform women that babies are usually born on their time, not ours. And obviously I'm not against medical c-sections, seeing as how I had three. It's virtually impossible for me to have a baby vaginally because my vagina is so severely tilted that only a baby with a very small head would get through. And my children do not have small heads. *lol* But we did everything we could to birth the first one vaginally before turning to a c-section.
piper23 piper23 8 years
I don't think free-birth is a good thing to do. So many things can go wrong. Even if I would prefer to go at it alone, as a mother I should not put my preferences before the safety and well-being of my child.
MissSushi MissSushi 8 years
I agree, Zut, on forcing c sections, not that i am agasint them at all, i personally should have one and almost died becuase my doctor denied me. Anyway, I worked in a large call center where women were getting pregnant left and right. In our department, 10 women gave birth within a 6 month period, and EVERY SINGLE ONE of them ended up with a c section. They were either induced without labor beggining naturally, or had it sped up. They, like me, were hooked up to an IV and not allowed out of their beds, catheters were inserted, somtimes excrutiatingly painfully, to avoid the need for bathroom breaks. Then they bullied them into having an epidural, telling them they wouldnt "make it" through labor without one. Then, with the epidural speeding through them, nothing to eat, they started feeling sick and the baby started going into distress, then, voila, its c section time. When youre alone or dont have supportive people around you, in pain and scared from labor, and have nurses and doctors badgering you left and right, its easy for them to push you into what they want. In my oppinion, women would be able to "make it" through their labors much easier if they werent slammed by nearly back to back contractions abruptly becuase of medicines to speed it up.
Pencils Pencils 8 years
"most women have no medical knowledge...it's insane. It's a slippery slope" I don't believe that. Who is buying all those copies of "What to Expect.."? (Which I personally think is an awful, alarmist book.) They don't have the "medical knowledge" that you're citing, about how birth is an easy, natural process. The truth is that women's bodies aren't made for having babies, not in an evolutionary sense. Look it up sometime. Other mammals easily birth their young, while human beings are born with oversized heads that frequently don't fit through the birth canal and can cause both fetal and maternal death. The process of childbirth is one of the things that evolutionists think will continue to evolve in human beings. (No, we're not finished yet. ;) ) Although at the rate we're going we'll kill ourselves all off before we get to easy births. And, of course, medical science has interfered with natural selection. When childbirth goes well, it can be an amazing, empowering experience that's best savored at home with your loved ones. However, there's no way to know what can happen. I think trying for a home birth with medical supervision of a midwife is a great idea, if it's possible to be moved quickly to a hospital setting if necessary. But "freebirthing" with no medical supervision is just foolish in my eyes. As a parent, your first responsibility is to protect your child--how could any loving parent put their own desires for a freebirthing experience above the real risk of injury to the infant?
macgirl macgirl 8 years
Unfortunately I think the statement I quoted from you is true. While something may need to change I think most people just trust (or are bullied) by the system. While I made it through it with no real issues others may not. That being said I don't know if scaring women into thinking hospitals in America are all bad and only have the clock in their best interest is a good move. I'm fairly sure if their was a big movement of freebirthing you might see a swing in those infant mortality rates happening out of hospitals :-( On a side note I think you are right that they picked a slightly scary photo for this post ;-)
ZutAlors ZutAlors 8 years
Macgirl, the solution isn't treating women like children when they're in the hospital (which is how it is done now in most cases). The solution is education. Things go wrong and babies die in hospitals all the time. Things go wrong more often in American hospitals than hospitals in developed nations- that's not right. We are (well we were) such a wealthy nation with so many nice gadgets, but we're failing our women and infants. I'm not an advocate for free birthing (it's very very rare). I'm an advocate for women being educated and giving birth in an environment of support and empowerment intead of fear. You're not going in to get a tooth pulled. A baby is being born. I'm not even the most holistic mom out there (we do gummi bears on a daily basis), but have seen enough to know something has to change.
macgirl macgirl 8 years
"most women have no medical knowledge...it's insane. It's a slippery slope" if this is true.... then I would rather have them in a hospital where they could have some assistance than putting their babies in danger by doing it by themselves at home. While it's their baby it would still make me sad if it went wrong and their baby died. :-/
ZutAlors ZutAlors 8 years
Yep! That is true too- c-sections are faster, easier, have less liability because it's a controlled surgery, not an upredictable, long birth. I had the most amazing midwife and wish I lived near a birthing center! The entire birth was done by my terms and it was amazing. I'm not militant or crazy, but I'm not afraid of birth or my body either. Had their been an emergency, I was glad that my midwife, doula, and the emergency doctor on staff were nearby. Next time I'm going for a birthing center in Hawaii. And I'm eating and drinking as much as I want just like with the last one :)
98769876 98769876 8 years
I was told by my nurse the c-section rate is so high because it is convenient to the practitioner. Get in, get it over with. They proposed I endure c-section, due to Ava's size, but 20 minutes later, I was holding her. Power of thought and endurance. (Go on and eat and drink, they just don't want you to poop or pee on them. Labor is THE time when you need nourishment!!)
98769876 98769876 8 years
This is something I considered doing. Fortunately I had Ava at a birthing center, seeing as she was 9 lb 12 oz, I truly needed help getting her out. I was told my doctor was pulling so hard, they thought she'd put her feet on me for leverage. : P I know some people are opposed to having onlookers, me on the other hand, I let nursing students and who ever else wanted to see the process of birth partake. It was a great experience for all of us, and I was so proud people got to see my wonderful baby make her entrance. It was very empowering and unifying as a woman and human being. I believe you should always have someone w/ birthing experience/knowledge attending to your birth in the event there are unforeseen circumstances. Better safe than sorry.
ZutAlors ZutAlors 8 years
Even excluding the elective c-sections, the rates are alarming. And of course there is always a GREAT reason given to the moms. Who would say no in that kind of situation- high stress, most women have no medical knowledge...it's insane. It's a slippery slope. You can't move around because you "need" and IV, you can't eat much because you might need surgery (two things that help births along), then the Pitocin, then the epidural, then the labor stalls, then the baby's heart rate goes down. Every intervention leads to another one until in many cases a c-section is actually needed. I think it will take American women either traveling to other developed countries to see the difference in the birth experience or learning about it themselves. Western medicine is great if you're dying or gravely ill, it just doesn't treat healthy, normal people very well. It seems as if more women are getting comfortable enough with their bodies to learn about childbirth and what actually takes place within our bodies vs. the over hyped screaming woman in labor image. Maybe when breastfeeding dolls aren't considered gross or weird, we'll know that times are changing, lol!!
Greggie Greggie 8 years
I often ask why c-section rates are so high and I've never assumed they're all medically necessary.
ZutAlors ZutAlors 8 years
I like the photo that was chosen to go along with this poll: the withering newborn in a dark shadow. Ha! While I wouldn't opt for a freebirth, it seems just as dangerous as a hospital birth. The rates of infant mortality in the United States are worse than most developed nations. Women don't ask why our C-section rate is so high. Everyone just assumes that they were given one because of "dire circumstances" when in most cases it has more to do with liability and time constraints (natural birth takes too long and time is money). http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/16/health/16infant.html I gave birth in a hospital but I did so with a well trained midwife an doula because of what I've learned about traditional hospital births (how the interventions lead to more interventions, etc.) Women need to get educated. You only need to do a bit of traveling and see what birth is like in developed nations to see how far behind we are. The stats are NOT good. Freebirthing is an extreme response to a situation where support seems needed, but it's just as crazy as walking into a hospital ignorant to how the system works.
Greggie Greggie 8 years
Doulas/midwives do often monitor heartrates to make sure they're not dropping with contractions or labor pressure and make corrections or send the patient to the hospital based on the results. It's not a given that without monitors, we wouldn't know about labor problems like a drop in heartrate. They also monitor the baby's head position, just not always in the same manner as hospitals. I wouldn't trade my hospital births for the world, though.
Pencils Pencils 8 years
It's a woman's choice, but personally I think any woman who "freebirths" is nuts. The truth is that no matter how routine a pregnancy, and no matter how healthy the mother, things can go wrong--badly, tragically wrong. I just had a baby two months ago. I endured many, many hours of labor before I was told that the baby's head just wasn't moving into position and I wasn't going to dilate more than 4cm until it did. Why did this happen? Apparently it's likely that my pelvis was too small to allow her head to pass. I ended up with a C-section and I'm glad I did. What if I were doing this at home? I don't know what would have happened. Also, twice during my labor the baby's heart rate dropped precipitously, likely because the cord was being constricted. Without monitors, we wouldn't have known about it and I wouldn't have changed position until the cord was free. And I had no expected complications. My mom had three easy, fast births with no complications. Then, she suffered placenta abruptio with her fourth delivery. The baby, my younger brother, died, and I nearly lost my mother to hemorrhaging. My boss also suffered severe hemorrhaging during the birth of her first child and nearly died, although she was healthy as a horse beforehand. Most births are routine. But the stakes are too high to gamble on it. Or so I believe.
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