July 31, 2007



Unassisted childbirth advocate Laura Shanley and midwife Mairi Breen-Rothman will be discussing the "over-medicalization" of childbirth and the issues, advantages, and challenges of giving birth at home--and taking your requests!!--live today at 1pm EST on the Washington Post's website.

Live Discussion - Freebirth Movement [washingtonpost.com]
Laura Shanley's site, UnassistedChildbirth.com [unassistedchildbirth.com]
"US OB/GYN: 'Home delivery is for pizza'": Going It Alone [guardian.co.uk]
image: Mike Doughty, Bowery Ballroom, May 2005 [mikedoughty.com]


I have no problem with home birth, provided there are some professionals on standby ready to help out in the case of complications. But totally unassisted childbirth seems to try and gloss over the very real fact that things do go wrong during birth, and that it only makes sense to have access to people and tools that can help you. (Unless, of course, you accept the occasional death of the baby and/or the mother as divine will.)

[that divine will part did come up in the accompanying article. The freebirthers also dodged the question of a dad or other partner assisting. There is apparently a legal/medical issue with midwives assisting, as they must abide by certain practices and protocols to keep their licenses. One example cited was that if a mom doesn't deliver the placenta w/in 1hr, the midwife has to go to the hospital. Shanley was all, "Freebirther moms might take four hours and they're fine." Frankly, I'd want some more conventionally authoritative-sounding people to talk through it, not the slightly too-defensive/combative evangelists. But then, I'm hopelessly acculturated that way. Also male. -ed.]

Well, I had a homebirth. In a tub. It was great. very empowering and all that. I am not certain of unassisted, but frankly, in all the hype, everyone forgets that the woman is an integral part of birth. IF she accepts that life is a risk, and understands that risk, then it is her choice to make. She will have to live with the consequences. My choice, was to leave the hospital hype to those that want interventions. I chose not to have a number of tests, knowing exactly what the consequences could be. My midwife made certain that I understood all of my options. As did I - I have extensive experience with research and took a great deal of time to read and take stock of all the data. I applaud those that make the best choice for themselves and their babies. And I am saddened by those that are led to believe that a hospital birth is the only safe choice, or that are forced by protocols to have unwanted interventions. Many of the interventions do NOT have evidence backing up their use. While some point out the dangers of home or unassisted birth, few point out the dangers of hospital birth, of which there are many as well. The main key in all cases should be informed, educated choices and evidence based practice. That said my labor was only 4.5 hours and I had a lovely boy, just over 8 lbs! Yeeha!

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