Friday, April 8, 2011

Giving Birth Unassisted: an Option for Me

This is an article I wrote for the Pampers website, but it was rejected because unassisted birth is not considered safe by the medical community. I was encouraged by my readers to share it here instead. Thank you for reading and for your continued support. I hope you enjoy it.
(Also published on The Birthing Site)

Giving Birth Unassisted: An Option for Me

Before I got pregnant I thought birth was inherently dangerous and all women needed to be in the hospital to give birth. I'd never heard of women giving birth unassisted, and even the idea scared me. Through personal experiences and time I've come to reconsider my previous ideas, and I now embrace the idea as an option for expectant women.

As I've come to understand it, the concept of giving birth unassisted is when an expectant mother plans to birth without a professional care provider present, but it's sometimes used to describe a situation when a woman's labor goes so fast that she doesn't get the care she planned for. I've heard stories of women who unexpectedly gave birth at home, in the car, or somewhere else, often on the way to the hospital. A friend of mine recently had an unexpected unassisted birth when her midwife didn't arrive in time for the home birth. My friend had her husband's support and gave birth to a healthy baby.

I have a few friends who planned to give birth unassisted for various reasons. Some of my friends requested the presence and support of family members or friends, and some of them chose only to be supported by their husbands. Their reasons are intensely personal, and none of them made the decision lightly. My friends felt confident in being able to give birth without professional support, but they also took precautions by educating themselves and having supplies available, as well as being close to emergency services. I've read some amazing birth stories of birth transfers under emergency situations which ended well even when quick action was needed.

The idea of giving birth unassisted doesn't scare me like it used to. One thing I've learned through my own birth experiences is that I can give birth with very little support or intervention. When I gave birth without medication in the hospital there was very little the staff did for me. They mostly watched to ensure that all was well, and I did the work myself. These experiences helped me plan a home birth with my fifth child. I knew I could give birth without the machines and other things at the hospital because I'd done it even while in the hospital. I hired a midwife to support me, and I'm glad I did. I had an unexpected breech baby and my midwife helped me through it to have a vaginal breech birth.

Because of my growing comfort level with the process of giving birth, I'm personally open to the option of giving birth unassisted in the future. My friends who gave birth unassisted had prenatal care and prepared by doing research and learning what to have ready and what to watch for. They have wonderful stories to tell about the births of their babies.


  1. I this these are scary but amazing. I wanted a natural birth so badly with my first baby but I was very unhealthy and ended up being induced and after 20 hrs I was given a C-S. It took months before I could talk about my birth experience with out crying, but now I realize that it was the best option for me. I feel like it could possibly have been avoided if I had been allowed to get up and move around but the way things went the CS was the best option for me.

    I think the most important thing about a birth experience is having a healthy baby in the end. And I would never attempt this but they are amazing.

  2. Awesome! I too had a UC, and because of articles like this, it encouraged me to do research and have provisions in place "just in case", however I did it on my own with just my husband there. And I wouldn't trade it for the world! Thank you for the encouragement! This was fantastic. :)