'Freebirthers' have babies with no medical help

  1. LONDON - They insist they're no superwomen, they have no special powers, and are certainly not pain or adrenaline junkies.
    But 'freebirthers' choose to go through what some call the most painful and potentially frightening experience of a woman's life with no drugs, no midwife and no medical help.
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18817370/wid/11915773/



    Thoughts . . . . . . . .
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  2. 40 Comments

  3. by   dansamy
    It scares the hell out of me. I would have died without medical attention.
  4. by   BrnEyedGirl
    Well,..giving birth was not "the most painfu and frightening experience" of my life by any means,..but then again I had two normal pregnancies and two healthy babies, I planned my pregnancies,.took classes, read books,.talked to other Mom's,.I was as prepared as I guess you can be for such a new experience..My first OB told me on my first visit that he was trained as a surgeon and that I really didn't need him,.unless something went wrong,...I can understand the thoughts and feelings behind wanting to give birth away from bright lights and cold instruments,.in privacy w/o numerous strangers around,.I do believe that giving birth is a natural process that we as women were created to do,..but if something were to go wrong and I didn't have help close by,.help I know is readily available,.would I be able to live with the consequences? I don't think so. I do agree that medicine often intervenes before it is absolutely necessary, again to prevent a "bad outcome",..I guess if someone is determined to do this,.and is prepared to accept the consequences both the good and the bad,.who am I to force them to accept medical care they don't want and feel they don't need? (and in fact may not need) As nurses we find ourselves in situations when we have really sick pt's that DO need medical care (ie Jehova's witnesses needing blood) and we can't force care on these people! Not sure this should be any different.
  5. by   NurseyBaby'05
    The outcomes may not only be affecting the mom, but the child. I know that Jehova's Witness parents are overridden by the courts when it comes to their children receiving life saving transfusions. Often shoulder dystocia and other life threatening things aren't found until birth. These women aren't trained to recognize these things and may not discover them until it is too late. I don't think I agree with births not being attended by a professional at all. Yes, women have been doing it for thousands of years without professional assistance, but the mortality rates for mom and baby were much higher. I agree that these women should be held responsible if there's a bad outcome that could have been prevented by a having a professional at their births.
  6. by   Jolie
    I fully support parent's rights to give birth in any setting they choose. I don't believe that society has the right to force medical treatment upon an unwilling competent adult. That may seem like an odd position coming from a NICU nurse who has cared for babies devastated by complications of home births. But just as I would not want a home-birther imposing her views on me, (I would not deliver in a hospital without a NICU.), I don't believe I have the right to do the opposite.
  7. by   eltrip
    Quote from Jolie
    I fully support parent's rights to give birth in any setting they choose. I don't believe that society has the right to force medical treatment upon an unwilling competent adult. That may seem like an odd position coming from a NICU nurse who has cared for babies devastated by complications of home births. But just as I would not want a home-birther imposing her views on me, (I would not deliver in a hospital without a NICU.), I don't believe I have the right to do the opposite.
    :yeahthat:
  8. by   firstyearstudent
    I think I would have loved to do it. Perhaps the first time, but moreso the second time.

    Ideally, though, I would have liked to labor in a hospital or birth center by myself knowing there was a midwife or an OB quietly and unobtrusively monitoring or watching from a distance to make sure everything was going well.

    Instead I had bright lights and people hovering and chatting to their coworkers and sticking their hands in my birth canal while I was desperately trying to find a center to deal with the pain of natural childbirth and the intensity of the experience.

    I was too cheap to seek out the ideal birth experience (I lived in NYC so I'm sure I could have had it). I went with what my insurance would cover -- an OB in a hospital. Now I sort of regret it. It might have been money well spent.
  9. by   olol765
    I agree with the article: "Women have been doing this for thousands of years". If someone chooses this manner for giving birth more power to them. I think I would be scared though....
  10. by   queenjean
    I worked for many years in a freestanding birthing center with a doc and a CNM.

    I fully support a woman's right to birth in the environment she feels is best for her and her baby. Unassisted childbirth is not something I would choose for myself; neither is an epidural or a scheduled C-section. But I support another's right to choose these options.

    I think it is a scary thought, to force medical care upon someone that doesn't want it.

    As for holding them responsible if something would happen--I find that thought horrible. How can you determine that something would not have happened anyhow? How can you determine that the outcome would not have been the same, or worse, if the woman had been in the hospital?

    What next? Mandating that every hospital have a level III NICU? Should a small hospital be held liable if a baby is born there that needs immediate, NICU level care and they are unable to provide it, and the baby dies as a consequence of this inability to provide care? Or maybe the mother should be held responsible, because she chose not to birth in a hospital with a NICU. Because isn't that what you are saying, when you say that a woman should be held responsible for her choice of birth environment?

    So, by that logic, all out of hospital (out of tertiary care center hospital?) birth should be illegal, because it is not medically the safest?

    I think it would be difficult enough to have a dead baby or dead mother, without some sort of legislation that would fine or imprison the mother and/or the father. What would the other children in the family do? Be placed in foster care? Would you only punish the parents if something went wrong, or in all situations of unassisted childbirth? What a horrible, cruel thing. All because a hospital with a NICU is safer? But safer isn't always the best choice for someone, and ideas of "safer" are different, depending upon one's previous experience and beliefs.

    Every patient has the right to refuse medical care. Every patient. I think it is deeply disrespectful to think that we should legislate that women must birth a certain way, and those who do not should be held legally responsible.

    Breastfeeding is much healthier (and therefore safer) for babies, too. Think of the babies that would be saved, think of the improved health and the lowered cost of care if we legislated that every mother must breastfeed, and that every mother who doesn't must be fined. Nope, that doesn't work, either.

    What about smoking? Should we fine women who smoke, and harm their babies because of it? I dont' think so, either.

    Do you see where I'm going with this? Does it make sense? While I understand the desire to have women birth in a safe environment--I think we ALL share that desire--I have a different definition of "safe" than you; I think all of us have slight variations on it. We can't force ourselves onto someone. We can't imprison women for planning to birth without an attendant, or for not birthing in an ideal medical environment. We still must respect the autonomy and dignity of the individual, and while you can disagree with their decisions, you can't force them to accept medical care they don't want.

    As of yet, at least in my state, the fetus does not have any rights. Even if it did, I think we would have to balance that with parental rights. I feel pretty strongly that *I* know what is best for my child; not the legislature. I would react fairly negatively to anyone telling me that I could not birth in a certain manner or environment; that I couldn't raise my children to be a certain religion; that I had to feed them certain food, or educate them in a certain fashion.

    I think that the evidence is that out of hospital birth is not overwhelmingly more likely to end in death or morbidity; some studies show there is an increase, but I think most feel those studies are flawed (the last one I read, I think it came out last year, combined attended and unattended planned out of hospital births with accidental out of hospital births, for example). If there is not overwhelming evidence that an action is going to almost certainly cause great harm (as with the JW, refusing a transfusion for a child who will certainly die without it), I don't see how a parent can be legally prevented from doing something like birthing alone.
  11. by   subee
    Quote from firstyearstudent
    I think I would have loved to do it. Perhaps the first time, but moreso the second time.

    Ideally, though, I would have liked to labor in a hospital or birth center by myself knowing there was a midwife or an OB quietly and unobtrusively monitoring or watching from a distance to make sure everything was going well.

    Instead I had bright lights and people hovering and chatting to their coworkers and sticking their hands in my birth canal while I was desperately trying to find a center to deal with the pain of natural childbirth and the intensity of the experience.

    I was too cheap to seek out the ideal birth experience (I lived in NYC so I'm sure I could have had it). I went with what my insurance would cover -- an OB in a hospital. Now I sort of regret it. It might have been money well spent.

    You delivered on a lousy unit - period. Its not like that in my place and I can't imagine that a hospital that wants to make money from deliveries would provide such slipshod care. Now is the time for you to take action. Post your bad experience everywhere you can, including the CEO of the hospital. We have subdued lighting, a hot tub and people like me (from outside of the OB department going up for c-section only) don't enter a patient's room without knocking. Even if the door is open, I always ask permission. Anything else is a basic lack of courtesy and you have to show a little gumption and let the nurses know what you expect. Put the hospital's name in public. Put it on Craigs List. Let the OB manager know why you won't deliver there again. Women needen't be treated like cattle. At least you did the right thing and provided your little one with help if it was needed - better than some others who think its their delivery, not the kid's.
  12. by   Jo Dirt
    I looked into unassisted childbirth when it looked like I was not going to be able to get insurance and I couldn't afford $3500 for a midwife. I think there are legitimate and practical reasons for having an unassisted homebirth, but the website I looked at (Bornfree!) only confirmed that a good portion of these women are nuttier than squirrels, especially the founder of that website.
    They live by a lot of double standards, too. For example, they brag about giving birth with no medications then talk about toking up during labor. Talk about having "orgasmic" deliveries (which makes me think they must be taking something else during labor, too--maybe I need some of that...) well, anyway, I'm glad to say I don't think I'll have to be taking that route.
  13. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from motorcycle mama
    I looked into unassisted childbirth when it looked like I was not going to be able to get insurance and I couldn't afford $3500 for a midwife. I think there are legitimate and practical reasons for having an unassisted homebirth, but the website I looked at (Bornfree!) only confirmed that a good portion of these women are nuttier than squirrels, especially the founder of that website.
    They live by a lot of double standards, too. For example, they brag about giving birth with no medications then talk about toking up during labor. Talk about having "orgasmic" deliveries (which makes me think they must be taking something else during labor, too--maybe I need some of that...) well, anyway, I'm glad to say I don't think I'll have to be taking that route.



    Gonna have to go look at that . . . . .sorta like a car wreck . .can't help "rubbernecking".

    steph
  14. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I am with Jolie in that I also believe in the right to choose venue and attendant (or not) for one's birth experience----- but what goes with these rights are definite responsibilities as well! And sadly, the free public at large is not nearly so well versed on the latter.


    I also blame the gov't for enabling people to shirk or forget (or lose) their sense of responsibility in such serious choices made. They try to legislate the death out of us in order to "protect" us from ourselves. It's a horrible cycle.

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