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What do mumsnetters think of freebirthing?

(199 Posts)
withorwithoutyou Sun 25-Jul-10 14:07:04

Just wondered what people on here think of freebirthing as I've never seen it discussed on here before.

My gut feeling is that it's dangerous and an unnecessary risk but I've never really heard the positives - does anyone know much about it, or have experience of it?

ninedragons Sun 25-Jul-10 14:10:45

Stunningly ignorant and self-indulgent.

I think women who deliberately freebirth should be sued for the lifelong cost of medical care for any damage done to their DC by an unattended birth.

foxytocin Sun 25-Jul-10 14:10:45

for one thing, free birthing is not a clear cut issue so dealing with it as if it was is not going to be a good idea.

What do you consider free-birthing and how is it legally defined?

foxytocin Sun 25-Jul-10 14:11:17

see, like the post below.

Hassled Sun 25-Jul-10 14:12:13

I don't think I could ever take the risk. Part of me sort of admires the women who do, but mostly I think it's irresponsible. You just have no way of knowing what could go wrong - I guess if you lived reasonably close to a hospital then fair enough. But even then - things can go wrong so quickly.

Then again you hear tales of women who freebirthed by accident - midwife didn't get there in time, they didn't reach the hospital (local story last week about woman who got as far as the local service station and gave birth in the car park there) and they are always positive tales.

reallytired Sun 25-Jul-10 14:12:37

I think that free birthing is reckless and irresponible. You are putting your own life and that of the baby's at risk unnecessarily.

However I remember my GP not understanding the difference between an unattended birth and having a planned homebirth with an NHS midwife. Homebirth with a QUALIFIED person is safe in the right circumstances.

Are you considering freebirthing. There are ways of avoiding the hospital enviroment and keeping yourself safe. I had a lovely homebirth where the NHS midwife did little more than be present in the room. It was like freebirthing without the risks.

Salbysea Sun 25-Jul-10 14:21:20

in some countries the only way to have a home birth is to do it without qualified help. That is not the case here so why consider it IMO

withorwithoutyou Sun 25-Jul-10 14:24:06

No I'm not considering having one, absolutely no way would I do it!

Home birth not for me either but I do understand the appeal and the low risk nature of home birth.

I'm just interested in it really, as I don;t know much about it. Vaguely remember hearing that one of the freebirthing advocates in the states lost a child after a freebirthing VBAC but just haven't ever heard any of it discussed on here.

Salbysea Sun 25-Jul-10 14:26:37

in other countries you can be hours from a hospital and no one will attend a home birth so I have only heard of them happening abroad, sometimes Ireland etc

I really cannot imagine why anyone with similar access to health care to what we have here would do it?

amothersplaceisinthewrong Sun 25-Jul-10 14:28:28

Would not contemplate a home birth let alone a freebirth.

peanutpie Sun 25-Jul-10 15:11:28

I've actually heard of a few people doing this recently. However this seems to have been in reaction to horrific experiences of the medical profession that have left them terrified of their involvement i.e. people who've suffered sexual abuse or been threatened with a baby being taken from them.

This put a different perspectiv on it for me than a the sort of romantic 'I want to give birth totally naturally' freebirthing that I had previously heard about.

BreastmilkDoesAFabLatte Sun 25-Jul-10 15:18:44

Not everyone in the UK can have an NHS homebirth. I had to get an independent MW for mine. If I'd not found her, we'd have considered freebirthing...

<rummages in drawer for bullet-proof vest>

secunda Sun 25-Jul-10 15:24:02

I think if you want to do it, it's your baby and your decision and you live with the consequences, however good/bad they may be. But I think it's an unnecessary risk.

peppapighastakenovermylife Sun 25-Jul-10 15:29:50

I wouldn't but understand why some people do (but think it is dangerous). Fears of hospital, beauracracy, birth trauma, insensitive and quite frankly dangerous ill informed medical staff...I can see why some people end up thinking it is a good idea.

I am not saying that is right but it is awful to think that some people choose to for those reasons.

withorwithoutyou Sun 25-Jul-10 17:05:42

Peppapig that's interesting, the ultimate in reclaiming the birth experience from the medics I suppose.

MrsGangly Sun 25-Jul-10 17:46:09

Sounds like absolute madness to me! Why would we want to return to "reclaiming the birth experience from the medics" when the cause of death in a third of women in the 19th century was childbirth!

The medics actually want to help - there seems to be the prevailing idea that doctors want to make things as difficult for both them and the mothers as possible, rather than just wanting to limit harm to mothers and babies!

MrsGangly Sun 25-Jul-10 17:47:29

I should say that I do say all of that as a doctor who is also planning a homebirth, attended by suitably qualified people, with a transfer planned if I or the baby merit it. Ultimately I don't care how 'medicalised' the eventual birth is as long as both the baby and I are alive and in one piece in the end!

NormaSknockers Sun 25-Jul-10 17:52:24

To be blunt, bloody stupid but each to their own.

withorwithoutyou Sun 25-Jul-10 17:53:00

I don't know MrsGangly, my response to birth trauma was to hand myself over entirely to the medics and have an ELCS second time round. But some others must have the opposite reaction I suppose - perhaps that's where some people are coming from with freebirthing.

foxytocin Sun 25-Jul-10 18:13:59

A major reason in the 19th C for the high death rate of women in childbirth was puerperal fever. It was because doctors were not washing their hands before examining women.

It took decades before doctors believed that this was a major cause of death.

When childbirth moved out of the home (mainly midwifery and traditional birth attendants)whilst being cared for by women and into hospitals under the care of men, the death rates went up.

This of course is a side issue brought up by MrsGangly.

Peppapig speaks a lot of truth below. Can I add to her list of reasons below being neglected, ignored and patronised by hospital staff who may or may not have been too busy to provide a decent level of care as another reason for traumatic birthing experiences and mistrust of hospitals in future pregnancies.

foxytocin Sun 25-Jul-10 18:22:33

erm, to mistrust hospitals and medical staff (who in my experience) also actively lied and hinder birthing options, thereby deepening the mistrust instead of working to build a good relationship with the woman.

the last 2 sections in this wiki link summarises what I was talking about in my previous post.

foreverastudent Sun 25-Jul-10 19:38:47

I had an accidental freebirth when I had a very fast labour with DD during a planned homebirth. The midwives arrived about half an hour later.

The birth itself went fine. DD and I were perfectly healthy until the midwives made a catalogue of negligent errors which could have killed us both. DD ended up in NICU but is ok now.

Freebirthing has its risks and is something I dont think I'd ever intend to do but it does lessen iatrogenic mortality and morbidity.

Narketta Sun 25-Jul-10 19:44:49

I had an accidental unassisted homebirth and the cord was wrapped around DD's neck, everything thankfully went well but the What if's that went through mine and Dh's heads for weeks afterwards were terrifying.

I can't understand why anyone would deliberately take the risk.

missytabitha Sun 25-Jul-10 19:49:28

Interested in this post as read about it whilst pregnant and thought it was a mad idea. Being an anxious person couldn't even contemplate a home birth but liked the idea of one and of a water /natural birth. My second birth came on vv fast and as a result delivered at home on my own! Well the dog was there to be totally accurate! (DH missed it by 5 minutes). Totally unplanned and would have terrified me but was actually okay. Me and DS2 absolutely fine and midwives and paramedics who arrived afterwards and delivered placenta etc were fabulous. I, and DS2 extremely lucky but no way would I have chosen the experience. Forevastudent, where you on your own or did you have a birth partner with you? Always wanted to talk with someone who was on own like me. Seems we are few and far between!

3andahalfmonkeys Sun 25-Jul-10 19:54:12

I had an accidental free birth and gave birth to ds3 in car. dh delivered. although went really smoothly and the easiest labour I have had the what ifs are not with it.

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