Yesterday I stumbled upon this show on Discovery Channel aboutFreebirthing. I was curious to see what it was about and after watching it, I had mixed emotions. The crew followed 3 women in the US & UK who chose to give birth without prenatal care or medical help. Apparently a growing number of women in the US and in the UK are giving birth with no drugs, no midwife,no doctors,and no medical support and this movement is called Freebirthing. One of them said that:
"If you listen to your body and you are healthy there should be no reason why you can’t have an unassisted birth, We need to go back to the old days, pregnancy and birth are not illnesses".
However, doctors say 'freebirthing'has terrible risks. We can't ignore that there are circumstances which are capable of changing an everyday ‘natural’ event into a life threatening emergency. Childbirth scares the hell out of me! I always close my eyes when I'm watching pregnancy or maternity shows, so just thinking that someone would deliberately choose to have a baby without any assistance is mind-blogging. What are the reasons these women choose freebirthing?

Physical control
. The mother is free to birth in whatever position she feels comfortable in. She can eat and drink whenever she wants. She can walk around, lie down, watch TV, clean, or do anything else she feels

Mental control.
During an unassisted birth, the mother stays in control.This allows her to labor how her body knows is best, rather than being in more pain because an attendant told her to do something she knew was wrong for her body.

Spiritual control
. Some women believe unassisted birth is one stop on their path to self-empowerment, self-actualization, and also gives them more confidence and higher self-esteem. They also beleive that they're sharing an intimate bonding moment with their baby and have a stronger bond with the baby than they would've had if it was an assisted birth.

So how hip was the birth of your baby? Was it a c-section? Shame. That's very 1980s, you know. A water birth? A little retro - but still cool. Are you a freebirther? You are more in than Marc Jacobs' spring/summer 2009 collection! What's the world coming into if we're choosing the way to give birth according to what's in and trendy while ignoring every medical warnings? Is it fair to the child? Is it fair to the mother? I think women choosing freebirthing should realize that when a complication arises during a birth, death can occur within a matter of minutes. This means that the unborn baby and/or mother may die during a freebirthing simply because trained medical help was not immediately available as it would have been, had the birth taken place under the supervision of a nurse midwife or in the setting of a hospital.I don’t think I’d ever forgive myself if I lost a child or my child developed a disability because of a choice I made. But, that’s just me.

So, I am curious, what do you think about freebirthing? Would you choose to give birth alone?


abaya chic said...

after having my daughter i would defiantly say that i would give free birthing a go. complications big or small can arise in any setting this is the reality of giving birth, alhamdulilah i had a very easy labour and delivery it was short (2hrs and 45mins) and not to mention drug and trouble free (apart from tearing which is quite common in first births and certainly wasn't life threatening). i made it very clear in the beginning that i wanted to do my own thing, they weren't very happy with that but it was my birth and i was going to do what ever i felt was comfortable at the time. majority of the time the midwife isn't there anyway, in fact as i was pushing she just walked right out of the room and left my husband there holding me so i wouldn't topple over! so yes i would rather be at home, comfortable and with my family.

hijabee said...

Abaya Chic,
Thanks for sharing your experience. I guess I'm just a wuss when it comes to things like this especially that I never had a baby before so I don't think I would know what to do or when to do what. I would end up panicking and scaring everyone around me. I do think that if you choose freebirthing, you should at least live close to a hospital just in case something happens. It is true that most births are pretty straightforward but there are others that do require medical intervention and are more complicated. I remember one of the doctors in the show saying that if all births were natural and your body would know what to do, then we wouldn't need c-section! Your body would just adapt and have a natural birth. I really don't know if I'd ever give birth alone on purpose, I would just be too scared! But hey that's me, I'm scared of everything.....

H.M. said...

Oh hell no, sorry about the language but no way on earth I could possibly do that...GIVE ME THE DRUGS DRUUUUUUUUUGS!!!

I watched that show before but no way, i admire them, but im telling you right now I know I will be screaming in that delivery room pulling my hair out and breaking my husbands hand ---as i get my epideral and gas.

I also watched another show on discovery called portland babies which is pretty cool, they show you everything its a hospital based over here in the UK and its really insightful it follows the mums to be and family members/partners to show you differet stages of the birth right up to the acutal birth LOVE THE SHOW:)

Mona said...

I am all for natural births. I had 4 kids, drug free alhamdulillah but I think there needs to be a midwife at least present just in case. She'll know what to do in an emergency, God forbid.

Some women don't give themselves enough credit and ask for drugs without even trying it out.

Pregnancy really isn't an illness and women of course have been having babies since the beginning of time. Our bodies were designed to do this.

hijabee said...

You and me both ehehhe! I always tell my friends that given the choice between 'pain' and 'no pain'. I will never be the one to choose pain~That doesn't mean that birth in a hospital is pain-free but hey epidural does help!!

abaya chic said...

guess im just a hippie at heart, id choose natural any day.
i figure its called labour for a reason if it was easy it would be called "picnic" lol

hijabee said...

You go girl, drug freeee!!!! I know that won't be me, I'm scared of everything, and yeh the woman asking about the drugs without trying it out, that would be me!!! Just the anticipation of pain makes me sick lol

hijabee said...

abaya chic lol! picnic, you're funny girl... I wish I had your strenght! I'm a wuss lol

abaya chic said...

i think im in love with u mona u took the words right out of my mouth! lol

muslimahh said...

I think having a natural birth is great! I'm going to try with my next one inshallah. But this...this is different. I think its great (if you have a low-risk pregnancy) to have a midwife and do things at home. But I think its a bad idea to be alone. I had a perfect pregnancy alhamdulilah, I was young and you would have thought my delivery would have been a breeze. I ended up having to have an emergency c-section after 2 hours of labor. There's no way I would take a chance of putting my child's life in danger all because I wanted to be comfortable and at home. Sorry for the rant but as you can tell I'm very passionate about it!

Amina said...

freebirthing hell naw!!I will never do it! je sais il faut jamais dire fontaine je ne boirai jamais de ton eau mais soyons realistes, i don't do pain!
First of all, I don't even want to be a birth traumatizes me and si jamais je tombe enceinte, ce sera un accident...

comme tu as dit, chacun fait son choix mais je pense que ce n'est pas juste ni pour la maman ni pour le bebe...mais bon tu me diras ma grand-mere en general, elle a fait freebirthing et a eu 13 enfants

malizea the french hijabi said...

oo du français sa ma manquer! for my part I am just soo afraid about giving birth aie aie aie and alone without midwife just impossible but NO drugs!! but for the moment I am not married OUF!

Anonymous said...

Assalamu alaikum. what an interesting disscussion. I have been blessed with two children. My first one was a hospital born and as much as i wanted it to be a natural birth, the pressures of hospital will hardly ever allow for that, specially if you are alone (no midwife or doula with you) or it is your first time. so i ended up with labor induction, which leads to epidural and a cut afterwords all against my will. That did it for me as far as hospitals and births go. I had my second one at home with a midwife and what an experience. All natural, no drugs, no cuts and so much more enjoyable. I really don't think births belong to hospitals but i beleive some type of assistance should be at hand. I wonder if i would ever have unassisted birth. for whoever that is more interested i would recommend the documentary THE BUSINESS OF BEING BORN. exactly my story. And to you sister, educate yourself well before hand and the worst thing you could do is to watch those horrible birth shows where all the women do is scream as if birth is something we should fear. Remember, Allah promises the cleansing of our sins with each child birth and i don't where the reward goes when intervention is involved.

Manija from California
Mother of Heela and Mohammad

Empress Anisa said...

Well, to put my 2 cents in, freebirthing is NOT a bad thing... women have been doing this since the beginning of time and I'm sure those children were born just a healthy if not healthier than all the ones born today at a hospital. Being a Mom of three right now, I can tell you being in a hospital offers no guarantees- my very 1st child was born in the hospital and she was born at 21 weeks gestation- I had a top notch doctor who was actually the chairperson of obstetrics there... and his WHOLE team- and no one could save my daughter but that was Allah's will. The pain I went through was awful but each pregnancy is different- of course, with the first one you don't know what to expect (and I don't care how many people you speak to, your delivery won't be eaxctly like theirs).
Along came my daughter and it wasn't as difficult- then came my two boys and both deliveries were complete in about an hour...
Hospital births today are all about money- push and if you don't deliver fast enough you'll more than likely have a C-section... which the docs get paid more for. And I know many of the docs outlook on this issue, it's not about lawsuits and Mom/child safety but the issue of being paid more (I know more than a few docs as friends).
My suggestion since anything CAN happen, at least have someone there to assist you if you need to call an ambulance- one sister here in New York had her child on her bed assisted only by her husband... and this was her 4th child and her words exactly "It was the easiest delivery of them all!"

Anisah said...

whoa.. I am so glad you posted this adn told me about it.
OH lala....
ok wanna start with one thing.. Free birthing and natural are not same thing. You can be ina hospital and have a natural birth ok? Just speak to your docotr and arrange it.
Second thing....really you NEVER know what can happen. I was healthy for both my first two. First one...didn't wana come out..and we ahd to use a vacume suction thing called "ventouse" in french. He was born blue. apgar 4-6-9. was in intesniove care for 2 weeks.. al hamdullilah he is perfect and safe form any kind of consequences of this. Second one...again very healthy...great pregnancy. hadto ahve an emergency c-section. Almost lost my life and my baby's . Al hamdullilah again because we are both still here 12 yrs later. Allahu Akbar.
Not to scare anyone. ok.. everyone is different and we cannot predicr future.
third and most imporantly that noone seemed to ahve thought of is HELLOOOOOOOOOOOO going back in time>? How stupid is that?
Seems to me God gave us brains to use and evolve. Why would there BE hopsitals and Doctors now? BECAUSE IT"S NEEDED !!
How many women and children die in third world countries because of the lack of health care and pverty? To me this is an insane thing when we can have a wonderful experience like natural child birth in a hospital if we want to. Maybe this is only in Canada?
I have no idea...but isn't there a hadith about tieing your camel? Why be stupid?

Ok if you did free birthing and it came out ok.. then good for you..btu you are taking a HUGE chance in the life of yourself and your little baby. IS it worth it? I really don't think so. And I qwould have to wonder about this choice and if the parents are ready to be parents? risky...

I still am in shock...I knew that some women chose midwives...which is fine... because theya re trained to know what to do in an emergency. But freebirthing me this is totally backwards and very very stupid.
Sorry if I offended anyone...but I stil wonder about the judgement of the ppl that would chose this.

hijabee said...

I'm sure you will be a lovely mother if you give it a try :) My friend who just had her baby said it was the hardest thing she ever had to do but she would do it again just to have her baby coz it's a wonderful experience. And yes our grandmothers had babies unassisted and everything went fine :)

I kinda feel the same. It really scares the hell out of me, especially after hearing the stories of my friends who've been trhough it.

Thank you for sharing your experience. Mashallah for your 2 kids, I will try to look for that documentary coz I've always been fascinated by childbirth. And about the birth shows, you're right to a certain extent, some of them were really traumatizing but at the same time informative. And as for the reward of childbirth, inshallah it will be with Allah and yes our sins are cleansed but I am who beleives tbey will be cleansed whether you have assisted or unassisted birth coz even with assisted or hospital births you sill go through the pain of contractions and everything else. The reward of women is with Allah inshallah and He knows best.

empress anisa,
I'm sorry to hear about what happened to your first child. May Allah make him your guardian in the hereafter inshallah. And you're right hospital births are about money! We live in a world where everything is money driven and that is really sad. However for unexperimented women like me, giving birth at home, and alone would just be too risky and scary! Having a midwife there to assist is of course the best option.

Habayeb said...

I think ill stick with the hospitals ..short and sweet :D

hijabee said...

I tend to agree with you that there are a lot of unforeseen events that could happen and therefore I will not opt for it. Yes our grandparents used to do it but the mortality rate for births was also very high back then. I personally don't think I have the appropriate training to give birth alone, but that's just me. Unless I walk a mile in someone else's swollen feet I will not judge.

Me too lol.

Hijabi Apprentice said...

Awwww hell naw!

Carry on.

Anonymous said...

My point is that when we give up on our natural abilities and rely wholly on doctors and drugs we tend to lose the real meaning of pregnancy, birth, and motherhood. I would not recommend free birthing especially if you are having your first child but i would strongly recommend staying out of educating yourself about the different choices available, looking at the non-conventional/natural methods closely and STAYING OUT OF HOSPITALS. I have talked to many mothers after my daughter's birth and then my homebirth and majority of them felt that the hospitals have robbed them of their birthing experience. Not to mention the bonding that occurs between a mother and a child whithin seconds after birth. If that opportunity is not given to mothers and babies to bond right away, nurse, and cuddle skin to skin, the dissconect that happens as result will affect the relationship forever. Having my midwife at my own home was the best thing i could have ever done for myself and my child for i can clearly see the ease with which i understand him. And hospitals, no matter how wonderful, are hospitals who need to follow a certain protocol and time limits. Just my two cents.

Manija from California
Mother of Heela and Mohammad

Anonymous said...

sorry should have checked my messege before posting it. the first staying out is also for the hospitals. Do educate yourself and look at all your options.

Manija from California
mother of Heela and Mohammad

Empress Anisa said...

I totally agree with your post! When you have your first you should be assisted whether or elect a hospital, a birthing center or a mid-wife but you're healthy, I don't see where there's a problem with freebirthing.
I would've tried a midwife myself but all my pregnancies were high-risk considering my first birth. Alot my sisters here have done it and all their children, Alhumdulillah were born beautiful and healthy!
Hospitals were created to attend to the sick... child birth IS NOT an illness... and it's something that can be painful or almost painless- depends on the tolerance of the Mother... and delivering a life thru such a small space will create some discomfort- but I guess this could be one of the reasons by "paradise lies at the feet of thy Mother"...
Do what feels BEST for you- to each her own

Empress Anisa said...

LOL... okay, distracted by the litte ones- I was trying to state that for your first birth you should have someone there whether or NOT you opt for a birthing center, a hospital or a mid wife... and if you're healthy, there aren't any reasons why you shouldn't do it if that's what you want.
Hospitals offer no guarantees- Mother and babies die on tables there faster than the do in homes- and that's because of TOO MUCH medical intervention (believe me)

Naimah Umm Khadijah said...

Assalamu alaykum sis, Masha'Allaah good topic.
I really don't think I could go through labour alone, I think I'd be a nervous wreck! I know the midwives don't always get everything right, but it's more of a reassurance having them there, they certainly know more than me.

Btw sis, so sorry, I just saw your comment on my blog, and accidentally clicked 'reject' instead of publish. Would be great if you could leave it again insha Allaah, I was so chuffed to get a comment! lol

hijabee said...

Hijabi Apprentice :)

Manija,Empress Anissa
I don't have anything against a homebirth when you have a midwife assisting you. I think its a wonderful experience for some poeple. And I also don't have anything against natural births but I know that for me personnaly when the pain kicks I'd rather have medication if I can. That's just me though. Also I've noticed on the Freebirthing documentary that all the women featured had kids before so it wasn't their first! Maybe that helped them in knowing what to expect and what to do. Personnaly I wouldn't recommend freebirthing to anyone on their first child.

I will have to agree with you on this one. I guess just the thought of knowing I'm giving birth alone would terrify me more than the actual birth lol.
And no worries about the comment :)

Yasmin said...

Im sorry but I wouldnt be doing freebirthing anytime soon. I mean the whole concept of childbirth is scary especially if your a first time mom. I know I would want someone around who knows more about it than I do and is a bit more professional. As for natural childbirth, Im a big baby when I cut my finger. I do not tolerate pain well. I had a miscarriage before at around 3 months and the pain from that made me not want to have a natural birth. I was in horrible pain, and they say contractions are like menstrual cramps times a 1000. Well thats just me, but I do give cred to all the women who did give birth naturally.

Anonymous said...

yes hijabee. i totaly believe that you must experience natural/unassisted either through you own birth or someone else's to be able to accept it as normal. And yes, it is normally after you have had a child. you are right that people have different treshold for pain but mashallah, what is wonderful about labor pain is that if you understand your body after each contraction Allah gives you enough time to take a rest and re-energize and there is nothing else in the world like the relief you feel when that baby has emerged. right that second all seems like history. All praise is to Allah.

Manija from California
Mother of Heela and Mohammad

Mona said...

:::blushes::: Abayachic, thanks. What a topic huh? I guess everyone has to do what's best for them, and make informed decisions. There's a lot of information out there and women should learn about birth so they aren't as scared.

Cecilia said...

I would absolutley not give free birthning a go!

Megan said...

No, never. No disrespect to the people who choose it, but it is terribly dangerous. People have forgotten how terrible the old ways were for women (and others) before medical care.

Iva said...

mashaAllah, interesting. Something to consider for a mother to be inshaAllah.