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Anyone know anything about unassisted birth?

(57 Posts)
tumtumtetum Sun 01-Mar-09 12:24:16

I have been having a good think about all my options, which has partly stemmed from another thread, and think i should look into freebirth.

I have tried googling it but everything is very wishy washy and talks about magical birth orgasms and god helping you and doesn't really go into practicalities.

For eg last time I went to 42 wk + 2 before induction and emergency CS which was all fine but not sure whether previous CS precludes unassisted birth.

Also I am supposed to have anti-D jabs, presumably I just don't have them, does anyone know what the actual risk of jaundice is eg 1 in 1000 or whatever?

Just trying to weigh up my options here so would be grateful for sensible answers - must admit that I have always thought that people who did this are loonies but I am beginning to see why it is attractive.


Oh am 21 weeks BTW all going well so far.

tumtumtetum Sun 01-Mar-09 12:29:53

And I've just realised that I have to go out now, DH has reminded me.

That's another point - how does one persuade DH that this is a good idea?

Please do post I will check in as soon as I get back.

TIA again smile

roomforthree Sun 01-Mar-09 12:56:33

Google Laura Shanley. Forums dedicated to unassisted childbirth.

PinkTulips Sun 01-Mar-09 14:18:52

i was very tempted to do it unassistated this time. had previous horrible experiances in hospital and on top of that we live an hour from the hospital and homebirth isn't available over here so the logistics of actually getting to hospital were against me too.

dp was unhappy with the concept though so i went in to the hospital as i couldn't do it unsupported by him and as it turned out i had a practically unassisted birth in the hospital as the mw barely got back in the room in time! she allowed me to have the natural 3rd stage i wanted and everything went fantstically with the birth, it was a really positive experiance.

2 hours later though they noticed my son was grey and wheezing and didn't look well at all (we were in the process of being discharged at the time), the ward nurse brought him to scbu to be examined and all hell broke loose when they realised how sick he was. he had to spend the best part of the week in scbu as he aspirated on my blood during the birth and wasn't breathing properly. if we'd been at home he would have been dead by the time we realised something was wrong.

i do understand your motivation but i don't think a totally unassitated birth is a good idea, i could have lost my son if dp hadn't talked me into going in to the hospital. have a hb if it's available so that at least then there will be a mw there who knows what to do if things go wrong.

the risk of jaundice is a hell of a lot higher than 1 in 1000 even without you being R-neg... all 3 of mine had it quite severely, ds2 the worst because of being unable to feed in scbu.... he was the only one of mine to be treated for it and even under 2 banks of lights his bilirubin level was climbing out of control for 3 days before he finally turned the corner.... bilirubin is toxic in such large doses and can do permanent brain damage and can also damage the hearing.

the anti d jabs are to prevent you developing antibodies to your baby if it has rhesus pos blood... if that happens your immune system will attack and possibly even kill your baby. it could also attack any future pregnancies in the same way. your baby could develop hemolytic disease one of the symptoms of which is jaundice along with anemia, enlargement of the newborn's liver and spleen, severe edema of the entire body and dyspnea or difficulty breathing.

going for an unassistated birth is a risk, one i wouldn't take after what i've just been through with ds2 but one you may feel comfortable with. not having the anti-d and medical supervision during pregnancy is reckless and could lose you your child and future children too

tumtumtetum Sun 01-Mar-09 16:30:10

roomforthree and pinktulips thank you so much for your help and advice.

I will take a look at the forums - although i think the laura shanley website was the one I was looking at - but it may well be that the forums will hold much more specific advice.

Strangely it's not the birth I'm worried about - that was fine last time - it's all the ante-natal stuff I'm having problems with this time but it looks like I need to do a lot more research before turning away from the traditional stuff. When I saw a woman interviewed on richard and judy a year or two ago she recommended no intervention at all during the pregnancy, birth or afterwards ie no hospital/blood tests etc etc and it is that part that I am interested in.

Thanks again so much for your help smile

ABetaDad Sun 01-Mar-09 16:42:36

My wife had an old school gynacologist and he had a simple philosophy.

"The idea of giving birth is to go home with a happy healthy baby". There is no other purpose."

Home births are risky.

reikizen Sun 01-Mar-09 16:44:51

Just to add that Anti D is really for any future pregnancies, to prevent the fetus being destroyed by antibodies in your blood. pathological jaundice can have serious consequences for your baby too.
I have a vested interest as a student midwife but I'd be cautious about declining antenatal care. You can be selective about intervention, and refuse anything you don't want (but make sure you understand the implications first). Nothing is risk free but it makes sense to use the help available to you. Which blood tests are you worrying about?

Lulumama Sun 01-Mar-09 16:47:22

you might well know i am a passionate birthy person, but i find the idea of freebirthing does not sit well with me

what about a HB with a MW in another room , but there should you and yor baby need her

also, i would not avoid antenatal care, you need a scan to determine at least that the placenta is not over/too near the cervix. and also your BP and urine should be checked

good antenatal care has a significant effect on mortality rates

are you sure you want an unassisted/free birth?

or do you want a non hospital VBAC, i.e a HBAC?

EldonAve Sun 01-Mar-09 16:48:10

Do you recall the name of the woman on Richard & Judy? Was she part of the channel 4 programme?

Lulumama Sun 01-Mar-09 16:48:39

abetadad, copious research has shown that for a normal low risk pregnancy, a home birth is just as safe as a hospital birth . the NCT did a lot of research into it. also , at a homebirth you get one to care from a MW, for the labour, which is not neccesarily the case for a hospital birth.

TheCrackFox Sun 01-Mar-09 16:52:41

I know a ruptured uterus is rare but they are not unheard of. My sister nearly died from with her DS2.

Like you she had to be induced at 42+ weeks and ended up with a CS for DS1.

Personally, I think it might be best for you to give birth in a hospital.

Lulumama Sun 01-Mar-09 17:02:41

induction itself can be a way that the risk of rupture is increased.

thre are some intersting VBAC and HBAC sites.

being in a hospital won;t stop you rupturing, but yes, you are nearer to assistance, but there are signs of potential rupture, that even if you were at home, you would see those signs. also, full rupture is different to a slight dehisence/thinning

lots of info out there, definitely look at all oyur options, CLU ,MLU, HB< independent MW, doula etc

tumtumtetum Sun 01-Mar-09 17:03:20

The woman on richard and judy was on channel 4 - Judy wasn't very impressed from what I remember but it was the first time I had ever heard of it.

I have been looking at the forums roomforthree recommended and they do seem to say that not having ante-natal care is a positive thing and that the jury is out on whether anti-D is necessary or whether it does more harm than good anyway.

This all goes converse to what I have always belived - but desperate times and all that you have to keep an open mind.

The thing that I am having trouble with is the ante-natal appointments - for various reasons - but mainly because I really don't want to leave the house at the moment and the people at the hospital keep upsetting me and I just want to stay away from there.

It seems that the freebirthing community do believe that it is very safe to not have ante-natal tests etc. so I think that maybe I can just not have them.

theyoungvisiter Sun 01-Mar-09 17:10:32

what are your reasons for not wanting a MW present, if you don't mind my asking?

Just wondering if there might be other (safer) solutions you have not considered.

I had a wonderful homebirth, which was largely entirely hands-off except for the very last bit, but would not have felt safe without their backup. I don't think I would have been able to labour effectively if I felt alone and frightened - it was knowing there were people there in the background who knew what to do that enabled me to be strong, if you know what I mean.

theyoungvisiter Sun 01-Mar-09 17:14:22

for instance if you had an independent MW they normally do all your appointments at home and anti-d injections etc. So you wouldn't have to go to the hospital at all unless you wanted to - but at least you would get advance warning of any potential problems.

Reallytired Sun 01-Mar-09 17:22:31

I think you should get an independent midwife. Refusing ante natal care and having an unassistanted birth is taking a massive risk with your baby's life.

You do realise that you will almost certainly end up being referred to social services if you go through with an unassisted birth and no ante natal care.

EldonAve Sun 01-Mar-09 17:25:51

There was a channel 4 documentary on free birthing - showed various free births in the UK and the US

I see no reason why you would get referred to social services for refusing AN care though

RockinSockBunnies Sun 01-Mar-09 17:26:26

TumTumTeTum - Whilst keeping an open mind could be good in some circumstances, you need to be aware that any website you find that advocates a certain idea will espouse that idea and try to back it up under any circumstances. Hence a forum devoted to freebirthing is unlikely to give a wholly unbiased account of any risk factors associated with a lack of antenatal care.

If you don't want to leave the house, can you not have an independent midwife come to you for various antenatal check-ups?

Also, perhaps a homebirth is a safer consideration that freebirthing? If you did decide to shun any antenatal care and were alone with your DP during the birth and something went wrong, then your DP could be found criminally liable for failing to get help should anything happen to you. Which is something you may want to be aware of when making any choices.

Can you not arm yourself with unbiased and factual information on the various aspects of your pregnancy, so that you feel empowered and confident enough to be able to discuss all options with antenatal team, and not to feel 'bullied' at the hospital? You can of course decline any intervention, but any such major decisions should not be taken lightly and not based on the experience of a few people who advocate freebirthing as the be-all-and-end-all.

CaliforniaBrit Sun 01-Mar-09 17:28:24

abetadad, surely a healthy mother is also important? My c-section left me struggling to move and deeply depressed. My hbac with dc3 was safe and healthy with close attention from a midwife that I wouldn't have received in hospital. As I had a 29 hour labour this time round it was guaranteed I would have ended up with a c-section had I gone into the hospital here. That would have been far riskier for me both mentally and physically. I suggest you to more research before writing off home births as risky - hospital births carry risks too. That said, I couldn't go the unassisted route, I felt calm knowing my midwife had all the recuss equipment but also that she was a calm influence in difficult moments. I would second the suggestion to keep a midwife in another room just in case and go for a home birth if you can find a midwife you trust.

smallorange Sun 01-Mar-09 17:32:14

"The thing that I am having trouble with is the ante-natal appointments - for various reasons - but mainly because I really don't want to leave the house at the moment and the people at the hospital keep upsetting me and I just want to stay away from there."

Is there someone you can talk to about this? COuld you see your GP and maybe work out some one-to-one time with a midwife at your home?
Explain that you are deeply uncomfortable with the hospital and considering 'freebirthing' and maybe you could address some of the things that are bothering you with your midwife?

I have to lay my cards on the table here and say that I think 'freebirthing' is very very dangerous especially as you have had a previous section.

tumtumtetum Sun 01-Mar-09 17:33:09

It is certainly interesting that an independent midwife could do all the ante-natal stuff at home - that would really help and would certainly mean I wouldn't have to go out. I will definitely be looking into that as well - thank you.

It's not that I want to have a baby by myself, it's that I don't want to have to go to the hospital for the ante-natal stuff as I find them very difficult up there at the ante-natal unit and I don't really want to leave the house anyway.

In an ideal world I would have the ante-natal care at home and just go to the hosp to have the baby - TBH having it at home by myself is not my idea of fun but if you want to opt out of the state provided ante-natal care presumably they won't admit you for the birth?

TheCrackFox Sun 01-Mar-09 17:40:30

Maybe you could get a Independent midwife just for the ante-natal bit? Not sure if that is even possible but certainly worth looking into.

I know GPs don't really do housecalls anymore but if you have mobility issues or agrophobia they will probably make an exception for you. Again, worth looking into.

maxbear Sun 01-Mar-09 17:42:57

I would suggest that you contact a supervisor of midwives via your local hospital. She could arrange to meet with you and discuss all of your antenatal care and labour options. There may well be a way of having the sort of care you want within the NHS. I know that it is not the norm, but if you make a fuss and tell them that you are considering stopping antenatal care and freebirthing, believe me they will listen and probably will come up with a good compromise. It is worth a shot. As lulumama says antenatal care has significantly reduced mortality. Let us know what happens, hope it all goes well for you. smile

pooka Sun 01-Mar-09 17:43:46

THere seem to be two issues here:

- the antenatal appointments
- the actual birth

If you are Rh- (as am I) I do think that you are being reckless in not having bloodtests to check for antibodies.

I also agree with previous poster who said that scan to check for position of placenta also v. important.

I know that the risks of these two things (antibodies being present/placenta previa) are relatively small. But I wonder whether you would be able to come to terms with the complications associated with either situation if you had willfully chosen not to have any ante-natal care? I certainly wouldn't - it is not a risk that I would feel capable of taking (and in terms of the placenta position, the implication of getting it wrong is potential maternal and neonatal death.

With regards to unassisted deliveries. I think that the advice you have been given about employing an independent midwife is excellent. Having someone there, trained and qualified to deal with any emergencies that might arise, would be a complete no brainer IMO. I am all for homebirths and hands-off (in the main) care of midwives. HOwever I could not contemplate willingly and intentionally giving birth without assistance being there just in case.

I agree with other poster suggesting that maybe you could talk about your issues with leaving the house and attending ante-natal appointments with your doctor or other HCP. Certainly when I was booked for a homebirth with second pregnancy, my appointments were at home anyway as a result of that decision. Could that be a possible help?

pooka Sun 01-Mar-09 17:47:13

I don't think that if you opt out of state/NHS ante-natal care that that would preclude using the hospital for a delivery. At least as far as I am aware

I have had private nuchal scan, which doesn't preclude my having subsequent scans at hospital.

Also, I know of friend who had private midwife booked for a home birth, had complications, and then her private midwife accompanied her to local hospital and acted in an observational/support role for the remainder of the delivery while the NHS midwives took over. So that suggests that it is possible to "dual-run" and it does sound like that would be a good thing for you.

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