Freebirthing

Lady Heather - posted on 04/10/2011 ( 90 moms have responded )

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This would be birthing at home without the aid of a midwife.

Thoughts?

Mine: No thanks.

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Krista - posted on 04/13/2011

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For centries women have been giving birth with out medical assistance, other than a midwife or doula or in some cases by themselves.

Please note: I have no issue with homebirths, and would never deny a woman's right to an unassisted birth, even if I think it's foolhardy.

HOWEVER, can we PLEASE cease using the argument that "women have been birthing unassisted for centuries"? Yeah, they have. And a fuck of a lot of them died in childbirth, and so did their babies.

So have whatever kind of birth you want, but can we please stop perpetuating the illusion of this halcyon, misty past prior to The Invasion of the Evil Doctor, where every woman gave birth in her bed with only her husband and a wise-woman nearby, with everything turning out just perfectly every single damn time?

Sarah - posted on 04/14/2011

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Surely there's risks to giving birth full stop.

No matter where or how you give birth there is a risk involved, there's risks involved with practically everything in life!

I guess it's up to the individual woman to look at the risks associated with all the options.......and decide which set of risks she is more comfortable making.

I don't think that people can make sweeping generalisations that all homebirths are less risky than all hospital births or vise versa.

[deleted account]

I'm very pro homebirthing. I believe that as long as there are no complications a woman should be allowed to birth with no interference. HOWEVER a medical person such as a midwife should always be on standby should an emergency arise. She could be in another room reading a book or drinking a cup of coffee but she should be there.

I think it's important that a qualified person be there to give the baby and mother a quick check over after the birth. What if there are breathing issues? What if the mother tears during the birth, wait to get stitched? What if there is haemorrhaging?

For most women this is a natural bodily procedure. Most homebirths go smoothly. For those that have unexpected complications a qualified midwife would know exactly what to do without delay and potential loss of life.

Merry - posted on 04/14/2011

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I agree totally with Sarah, it's all a matter of what risks you are comfortable with, and each woman has different risk factors and different expectations etc.
That's why we need options in birth, we are all so different that one womans dream birth could be another womans nightmare birth.

Tara - posted on 04/11/2011

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I have birthed 6 babies naturally three in the hospital and three at home with midwives at the ready.
My first homebirth was almost an unassisted birth, she was born about 10 minutes after midwife got to our house.
Homebirth two was long and I really liked having the midwives there to rub my back and my feet and laugh with me etc.
Last homebirth was great. They were all hands-off of me from the time they got here, they were just a back up plan. Steve caught Riley himself and everything was good, but Riley had to be suctioned, which if I had to I could have done myself. However I would never plan on an unassisted birth. My best friend is an RN she is the on-call for the midwife clinic in her city. She goes with them for the infant care part, she is trained in infant resuscitation and infant care emergencies.
She is there for a reason. If your infant is in respiratory distress, you are trying to expel a placenta and your support system (usually hubby) is there for you, helping you remain calm. The midwives and nurses present are there to help your baby. As some women need help after birth getting their uterus to return to normal size, this sometimes requires massage and occasionally drugs. All of which a trained midwife or nurse would be able to do and in Canada they bring all the drugs and gear they might need.
I think it's a great ideal to be able to birth like your great grandmother did but with that comes the same risks your great grandmother had. And those are risks that can be avoided by having a trained midwife with you.
Yes birth is natural, yes women have been doing it "alone" for all of human history, but the medical science that is available to homebirthers should be taken advantage of to ensure the safest possible outcome.
I am a strong advocate for home birth when it is medically safe and there are trained professionals with you.

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Tinker1987 - posted on 04/14/2011

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hell no to that idea.
i needed much assistance giving birth to my son.he was majorly stuck and had to be suctioned and pulled out. i dont think i would have been able to do that at home with no midwife or medical attention!!

Jenn - posted on 04/14/2011

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I can't imagine why someone would possibly think this is best for their baby with all the possibilities of something going wrong. With any birth you just never know what could happen, and in the event that something did happen, having someone there that is trained for those situations can be a matter of life and death. I see it as an unnecessary risk that i wouldn't be willing to take. It is my baby's health on the line.

Minnie - posted on 04/14/2011

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See, myself and my daughter were put at serious risk when I birthed her in a hospital. We were induced with cytotec- that's a drug specifically warned against use in inductions by the FDA. It can cause uterine rupture, and fetal death. It creates some serious contractions- and it can't be simply turned off like pitocin can. My OB just said she would be using a small prostaglandin pill. She didn't tell me what cytotec was or it's risks.

[deleted account]

ohh lord no! I held out at home for as long as i could because my ex's aunt is a trained but non practicing (anymore)midwife and we were all prepared to do it at home but as soon as she sense there were going to be major complications (about 10 hours in ) she sent me on my way to the hospital...she was right it was very complicated but i am glad that i was able to spend the first 10 hours at home if my ex and i were still together and still planning number two i would consider using her again despite the fact she hasn't practiced in three years...in saying that also she is a fully trained RN and cardiac specialist with some experience in neo natal but also specialising in midwifery as stated above

[deleted account]

Yes, there are risks to birthing in hospital that can be minimised by birthing at home, like nosocomial infections, cascade of interventions, unnecessary interventions etc. But, there are other factors to consider for women who choose not to birth in hospital. There are cultural and personal considerations as well. There can often be a power imbalance in relationship between birthing woman and care providers that not all women are able to negotiate to achieve satisfaction with their birthing experience, for some women from some cultures this power imbalance is exploited by health professionals. Also not everyone views hospitals as a place for birth. Yes, there are other options available depending on where you live. Sometimes there are freestanding birth centres or independent home birth midwives, but sometimes these are not available.

Unassisted childbirth may not be the safest option for anyone or everyone, but it clearly is considered an option by some. There are risks in everything in life, all we can do is to minimise and manage those risks (real and potential). Depending on your values or beliefs, that will mean you choose to go to hospital to birth, you may have an elective caesarean, you may book into a birth centre, or you may plan a homebirth with a midwife or without. Knowing that any/either of these options is not for you, or failing to see how the benefits outweigh the risks based on your own perspective is natural as we all have differing opinions based on our own experiences and beliefs, but judging a woman for her birth choices based purely on one's own subjective experiences, beliefs, fears or prejudices is arrogant and rude and only serves to limit the options that should be available to all women to choose from. I would rather see resources and information made readily available to women considering freebirthing so they can make an informed choice and have the safest possible experience rather than have it be seen as a taboo practice or even one that should be legislated against.

Merry - posted on 04/13/2011

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Oh yeah I had appointments with the dr all through the pregnancy, but they were at the office, not the hospital. She wasn't very thorough in asking me about how I wanted things done, she said I didn't need a birth plan or anything. So I really wasn't encouraged to know my wishes too much.

Stifler's - posted on 04/13/2011

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Like appointments to check up on the baby and discuss options for the birth and stuff. We have them here, they're great.

Merry - posted on 04/13/2011

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Well I only sae Eric for a minute before he was taken from me so I wouldn't have recognized him from another baby. Slightly paranoid, sure. But I'm sure most people have their fears, and most of my fears involve something bad happening to my babies!
Emma, I had an obgyn with Eric, not a midwife but idk what antenatal appointments are....

Merry - posted on 04/13/2011

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http://www.babble.com/CS/blogs/strollerd...
This baby switch happened a month before Eric was born, freaked the heck out of me and matt! We were so worried the whole hospital stay and never let Eric out of our sights. Obviously it isn't something happening alot, but as first time parents hearing of it happening a month previous it sure scared us!

Merry - posted on 04/13/2011

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http://www.nwfdailynews.com/news/son-328...
This baby wasn't switched but it was wrongfully circumcised against his parents wishes. Stuff like this is rare I'm certain, but even once and a while happening is too much! There was also I believe two babies switched somewhat recently in america, again, rare but still tragic. I'll see if I can find a link....

Stifler's - posted on 04/13/2011

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But I know what my own kid looks like!! and what they were wearing and all that...

Kate CP - posted on 04/13/2011

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That's why I think it's important to get out of the hospital as fast as possible so mistakes CAN'T be made.

Jodi - posted on 04/13/2011

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And I saw on the news last night that someone was murdered......I'm actually not overly concerned that it will happen to me just because I saw it on the news. Seriously, what are the chances? Your concern about baby switching doesn't strike you as slightly paranoid?

Merry - posted on 04/13/2011

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I'm sure it's super rare, but two years ago I saw on the news right before I had Eric a story of a babies switched at discharge. Scared the heck out of us as brand new parents about to have a baby! But if it was news worthy, it was probably very rare! Of course there's also the case recently where a boy was circumcised against the wishes of his parents in a southern state, they mistakenly did the circ when they thought he was a different baby. Idk how that happens these days, but maybe that hospital wasn't as up to date on the security stuff.

Stifler's - posted on 04/13/2011

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Laura did you have antenatal appointments with a midwife at the hospital you were giving birth in?

Kate CP - posted on 04/13/2011

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I don't think baby switching is even possible these days with all the precautions they take. I mean the hospital I birthed at with my daughter had special bands that played a lullaby whenever mom's and baby's bands were pressed together. If you had the wrong baby it wouldn't play the lullaby. Then with my son they had changed everything to serial numbers. You knew your baby's serial number on their band and the nurse would check and then have you check the number too to make sure you got the right kid.



I mean even getting a baby out of the hospital can be an ordeal. The elevators won't run if the baby is wearing one of the bands when you try to leave. An alarm will sound if you take one of the bands out of the nursery without deactivating it...they're pretty careful about that stuff.

Jodi - posted on 04/13/2011

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So maybe, researching your hospital should be a part of birth preparation? After all, we have to be realisitic, the majority of women will birth in hospitals. Maybe the issue is in researching the hospital rather than birthing in a hospital environment. Both of my experiences have been positive (even though my youngest, because of complications, had to be whisked off to the SCN almost immediately).

Merry - posted on 04/13/2011

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Yeah it wasn't a great experience. But my lack of preparation played it's part too, but I don't feel the nurses or drs had my wishes at heart. They seemed much more intent on following policy then trying to follow my wishes.
It could just have been a bad hospital, but I only have the one birth experience to go off of! I know many women have wonderful births at hospitals, I just was not a good fit where I delivered my son.

Jodi - posted on 04/13/2011

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See, I don't know anyone who ended up being pushed into a c-section (in fact, all my friends had natural births), baby switching is not common practice - after all, in most cases they go straight to your room with you these days - and moms wishes are only not followed if she isn't pro active enough. I never had anything I requested denied, and no-one ever offered intervention - I had to ask if I wanted it. It sounds like you have had a bad experience with a hospital birth that didn't go the way you believe it should.

Merry - posted on 04/13/2011

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Mostly infections, but also the domino effect towards c sections, or even babies getting switched, moms wishes not being followed etc.
Idk smehow the statistics stand that for a low risk birth home births are safer. So obviously high risk births are safer in hospitals, but for low risk women it's fairly close which is safer, home or hospital.
I'm not a hospital bashed! Just dont t hunk women should see hospitals as the only place to birth safely

[deleted account]

"HOWEVER, can we PLEASE cease using the argument that "women have been birthing unassisted for centuries"? Yeah, they have. And a fuck of a lot of them died in childbirth, and so did their babies.

So have whatever kind of birth you want, but can we please stop perpetuating the illusion of this halcyon, misty past prior to The Invasion of the Evil Doctor, where every woman gave birth in her bed with only her husband and a wise-woman nearby, with everything turning out just perfectly every single damn time? "

BRAVA KRISTA!

Jodi - posted on 04/13/2011

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I guess I am just curious as to the so-called "risks" associated with a hospital birth.

But I am not a fan of unassisted home births, I think there are WAY too many risks associated with it. I am perfectly comfortable with the idea of home birth with a midwife, I just don't think an unassisted one is a good idea.

Merry - posted on 04/13/2011

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I think it's legal in USA to birth unassisted.
I don't have sources, but when I first heard of it I looked into it and remember finding it was quite legal.

Krista, I agree, death rates were awful in years past. Many times mother and baby would both die, or one or the other. I mean in Africa, today even, childbirth is the number one killer of women! It's the riskiest thing a woman does in many countries to give birth and many even in this day and age die. I mean what do you expect a mom in a grass hut to do if her baby has a prolapsed cord? Or if mom has a injured pelvis that now can't pass a baby? Or maybe baby has a footling breech presentation and the head gets stuck.
Many things we now can prevent from killing still kill in countries where adequate medical care is unavailable.

I feel very lucky to have doctors and hospitals available if I need them in labor. I'm still planning a home birth, but if I need the hospital I'm very glad they are there to assist.

Minnie - posted on 04/13/2011

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I'm fairly sure it is NOT illegal in the US to plan for an unassisted birth. I may be wrong though, so some legislation that I could read would help. Were you talking about the US, Heather?

Yes, the authorities can become involved if there is a negative outcome to the birth, but I haven't heard of it being illegal to plan for it. I know that many women have seen midwives and GPs for prenatal care making it known to their care providers that they were planning a UC.

Carol - posted on 04/13/2011

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I would like to try it. Both of my births i hated it with ym son the hospital was very uncomfortable i had people that werent family walking in, they never helped me with brest feeding him, just shoved a bottle in my hand and said 'here give him this' and thats that. With my daughter it was much better but the doctor who delivered her i never saw, my husband got pissed cause the doctor insisted on giving me an epidural and my husband said i wanted no drugs, which was right, then the doctor said i could break my babys collar bone if i didnt do it. That pissed my husband off cause the doctor used our baby to get his way. With my son i had a pain killer, my duaghter an epidural that i regret getting every day. My sister in law went to the hospital also and didnt get her way and the baby was in no trouble, if she could have been able to just sit a diffrent way for a while the baby would have been fine, no vac would have been needed. For centries women have been giving birth with out medical assistance, other than a midwife or doula or in some cases by themselves. Women in africa still do it today. If i have another child i will do it natural, both me and my husband have been trained to deliver babies.

Karen - posted on 04/12/2011

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I view "freebirthing" or "unassisted birthing" as arrogant and downright foolish. I am impressed with those who do it, but not in the way they think. The more times I give birth the stronger I feel about this practice.

Erin - posted on 04/12/2011

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But I wouldn't judge someone for choosing to birth unassised, because if we get into the habit of denying women rights about birth, my rights might go away too!

Ditto!

Merry - posted on 04/12/2011

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There's risks with every birth, I feel comfortable with the 'risks' of a home birth better then the 'risks' of a hospital birth. But I'm not comfortable with the risks of an unassisted birth. If someone is ok with those risks, then that's her choice. I mean 'womans body, womans choice' right? If she can choose to abort the baby a few months previous, then I think she can choose to birth the baby where and how she feels best.
Would I do it? I don't think so. Would I encourage a friend out of it? Probably.
But I wouldn't judge someone for choosing to birth unassised, because if we get into the habit of denying women rights about birth, my rights might go away too!

Logically I just think it's not a good idea to do it alone with just the dad, what if an accident happens, I mean dad is walking upstairs to bring you some water and he slips and falls. Now he is unconscious. And the baby is crowning.......
Or let's say baby comes out, mom has a seizure, and baby is blue and unresponsive, who does the dad try to help first? I just think there neeson to be more people involved when birth happens so there's enough people to cover in any unlikely circumstance.

[deleted account]

Not even in the those mystical days before the 'evil doctors took over pregnancy' did women give birth unattended. There was always someone there who could help whenever possible, even an experienced family member. Too many things can go wrong and if you're alone, you could die before you reached the phone.

Krista - posted on 04/12/2011

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Exactly what Cathy said. At least have a midwife in the next room. Does it really detract from the birthing experience to have that other person in the same house as you? And if you don't need her, then great -- you've had an unassisted birth. But if you DO need her...well, wouldn't you rather she be in the next room, rather than a 10 minute drive away?

Lady Heather - posted on 04/12/2011

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It's not illegal if you can't make it. It's illegal to PLAN for and carry out a homebirth with no assistance. So if you suddenly go into labour and baby pops out mega fast, well there's obviously nothing to be done about that. But if you plan to do it alone and tell all your friends or post about it on facebook or something (or create a personal website with all the details like nutso from the website I quoted) and something happens to the baby, there could be an investigation and you could be found criminally responsible for the death.

Not saying that's right or wrong, but it is how it is and I wouldn't want to risk that. You lose a kid and then you get investigated and charged. Whhheeee.

Amy - posted on 04/12/2011

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Illegal?? What happens if you can't get to a hospital, go to jail or pay a fine? I think that's crazy. Sorry. I just do.
Women have been having babies forever. And the medical community has a history of making our birthing much harder than it needs to be.

Lady Heather - posted on 04/12/2011

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Another consideration is that at least in this country it is illegal to not at least try to obtain some sort of medical help (whether midwife or doctor) to assist with birth. So if something did happen and the baby died, you could be held legally responsible. I don't think I'd want to risk that. Just an added something to worry about. There might be nothing you could do to save baby, but unless you demonstrated somehow that the birth was unexpected and there was no time for help to come or something, you could be in trouble. I guess I wouldn't want people to know that UC was my intention at the very least. Who would want to deal with that investigation?

April - posted on 04/12/2011

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I am not opposed to it and have considered it, but we will be going with a home birth midwife if/when I get pregnant. I am just going to request that the midwife not be involved unless I want her to. I'd prefer if she were in the kitchen having a cup of coffee with my mom, while my husband and I are upstairs doing our thing. If all goes well and I feel extremely confident in myself, I'd consider UC for our 3rd child if we have one.

Amy - posted on 04/12/2011

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My only thought is that it could happen whether I want it to or not. My son was only 6 hours and though not always true, rumor is the next kids go faster. My hospital is over an hour away. I am a bit worried this time I'll be one of those having a baby in the car.

although, I must say, if i accidentally have one at home or in the car, i'm going to call my reg doc and ped and just get the check up right away. If I go to the hospital after the birth, i was told I will still have to pay 4000 bucks just like a doc delivered it. If insurance keeps getting crazy high and medical bills so high in the states....you'll probably see more of them among us poorer community. :)

[deleted account]

After 3 days of labor I think my uterus was just completely exausted . After the baby was out it crashed lol. ; )

Stifler's - posted on 04/12/2011

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Holy crap! I would be concerned about that stuff rather than the actual giving birth bit, whether things were normal and the pains and things that happened afterwards were normal or something was extremely wrong if there was no midwife there to tell.

[deleted account]

Yeah she knows the difference but what I mean is if you're pouring blood there might not be enough time. I know that is an extreme situation but it does happen. I lost 4 liters with my daughter.

Isobel - posted on 04/12/2011

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but she knows the difference between afterbirth and bleeding out and when to send you to the hospital.



edit: where your husband would expect blood to be the norm...how many births do you have to witness to know how much blood is normal???

[deleted account]

I have a good friend who home births with a midwife but with her last baby the midwife didn't make it in time so she gave birth in her birthing tub alone with no assistance or intervention. Luckily they were both fine and it was an amazing experience for her. But the truth is you never know when something will go array. I know midwifes can do alot but if you're bleeding to death and she can't stop the bleeding you might die before they get you to a hospital for a blood transfusion.

Stifler's - posted on 04/12/2011

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I never even thought of having a homebirth until CoM. It sounds much more comfortable, I wish I'd thought of it ages ago. But not without a midwife here hahaha.

[deleted account]

As much as I would like to give birth at home and avoid all of the hospital annoyances, bitchy & judgemental nurses and vag-oglers I have this little heart defect that keeps me going back for more. When I was having my son a nurse actually said to me when she mistakenly thought I had asked for an epidural "If you wanted all that you should have got here hours ago, not when you're crowning!". First off, I didn't ask for an epdural. Second, my labor with my 2nd was fast & furious...from the time it took to shower, load the car and drive there which took about 7 minutes I was already 9cm. There was no 'sooner'! And there was ths random man in my room who kept looking at my hoo-ha, and doing nothing else. Finally, my husband asked him who in the heck he is and what he was doing there....then a nurse chimed in to let us know he was a student.....yeah, thanks for asking permission first...and for respecting my privacy and bodily intergrity. I would have said ok to it really but not asking me wasn't right imo. Anywho, he was born about 30 minues after we got there, no complications at all and almost no bleeding. The bleeding was ligher than a light period. But with my first baby, my girl, if I had given birth at home I would have died. I hemmoraged so badly that I lost consciousness, had to have a blood transfusion & oxytocin and spent a week in the hospital. I also had 4th degree tearing and stitched from one end to the other and one side of my labia sewn back on. Youre welcome for that awesome mental pic of my girly bits. ; )



Theres good and bad in everything. I wouldn't do it alone. I wish I could, I would love to, but we can't 'wish' everything to always be perfect. We have to be realistic and I've seen the good, easy side of birthing and the scary, near death side. You never know which it will be so you have to do all you can to ensure your and the baby's safety and modern technology plays a big role in that.

Isobel - posted on 04/11/2011

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I'd even give in on my definition of a "qualified" midwife...if you have a neighbourhood "wise woman" who has always traditionally brought children into the world...I understand that FAR more than trying to do it by yourself.

IMHO doing it by yourself is wreckless endangerment.

Lady Heather - posted on 04/11/2011

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Where I live homebirths are pretty common. I think that is because most of us live within a 10 minute drive from the hospital. I believe it took us five to get there. My midwife said that the one time she had to go to the hospital in an emergency (prolapsed cord), they got there before the operating room was ready. Yay small cities! Big enough to have a hospital, small enough to get there quickly.

Still wouldn't do it alone. I'd freak out if anything went wrong. I'd probably freak out if everything went right.

Casey - posted on 04/11/2011

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I don't have a problem with people who want to give birth at home thats their decision and I won't judge them for it, but for goddness sake at least have a trained and qualified midwife on hand just incase something goes terribly wrong.
Giving birth at home isn't for me as I have already seen how bad labour can turn and how quickly the doctors in a hospital have to act in order to save the mother and/or babies life and I would just hate for something like that to happen to me and not have time to get to the hospital I would never forgive myself, that being said I won't judge anyone who wants to give birth this way, just do it safely :)

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