Non-hospital births have gradually increased. Birth reports a 77 percent rise in non-hospital births from 2004 to 2017. Pregnant women laboring in inflatable pools in their living rooms, surrounded by family, midwives, and doulas, are all over social media. Another trend, freebirth, is also growing.
Freebirth is unaided. In a freebirth, no medical staff is present throughout labor and delivery, unlike standard home births when a midwife is there to monitor the birth and notice any changes that might harm the mother or child.
Why is it on the rise? Due to birth trauma, institutional racism, the Black maternal health crisis, or the likelihood of problems from many delivery procedures, hospital deliveries may induce anxiety for many pregnant women. Others wish to avoid hospital deliveries but can’t afford a doctor.
“Mostly well-researched and educated women who are frustrated by not being seen and heard by their care providers but do not have the financial resources to hire an out-of-network care provider who can spend proper time with them or support the type of birth they desire,” says Claris Health CEO and labor and postpartum doula Talitha Phillips.
Given these circumstances and the dread of giving birth in a hospital during a worldwide epidemic like COVID-19, unaided births are expected to skyrocket. However, it’s crucial to recognize the hazards and take precautions for parent and child health.
The Risks Of Unassisted Birth
Due to the danger to the infant and mother, the American Academy of Pediatrics does not encourage home deliveries, aided or unassisted. Even in healthy pregnancies, labor and delivery may be challenging. In May 2020, it amended rules to recognize that many would choose in-home delivery notwithstanding suggestions.
“We acknowledge that women have varied reasons for planning a home birth, such as cultural or religious beliefs—and right now, worries about the coronavirus epidemic,” says Kristi L. Watterberg, M.D., FAAP, lead author of the AAP policy statement announcing the amended guidelines.
Hemorrhage, breech placement, shoulder dystocia, umbilical cord issues, and a baby not breathing at birth are labor and delivery issues. They’re rare yet deadly. Unassisted delivery might be dangerous if issues emerge and support isn’t nearby.
Doulas frequently avoid planned freebirths owing to the hazards to both parent and child. Licensed doulas advocate for