What is freebirthing?
Freebirthing is when you intentionally give birth without a midwife or obstetrician present. This is different from when babies are born accidently before the birth professional arrives or before you reach the hospital.
Is freebirthing Illegal in the UK?
No - As long as you are in your right mind you have the right to decline any medical advice or treatment.
Why are women choosing to freebirth?
Everyone has their own individual reasons of course but I have noticed two main themes. A complete faith in birth as a process and/or a lack of trust in maternity services and the medical attitude towards birth.
Would you support a free birth?
Yes- I am of the belief that everyone deserves to be supported in birth and I would be happy to support a freebirth as long as the family are very clear on what my role is as a supporter and that I will not perform any clinical tasks. They would also need to have a good understanding of obstetric risk.
Would you consider freebirthing?
My training in mental health and psychology has always taught me that people should be encouraged to make informed choices within their capacity. When I became pregnant and entered the maternity system I was really surprised by the condescending nature of the system. Instead of having things explained to me and being allowed to make informed choices. I was told what was going to happen and not given much choice in the matter. Whenever I declined anything the reactions that I got were very …. strange. There were several things that I did not want that I ended up agreeing to in order to be left alone or get help. The current system doesn’t cater very well for women who want to be in control of their own birth experience. Interference, harassment and coercion are used to intimidate women. Medical professionals will even lie and manipulate to get women to do what they want. It’s this experience that has led me to consider freebirthing.
I would have more confidence next time and I completely trust in the birth as a Natural, physiological and instinctual process. Especially now that I’ve trained as a doula. Assuming that there are no problems in my next pregnancy I will definitely be attempting a home birth with as little assistance as possible. When and whether or not I call a midwife on the day really depends on how the birth is going and the attitude of my local maternity service on supporting my rights.
Useful organisations and links
AIMS - Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services
BIRTH RIGHTS UK