How to Handle Your Fears during an Unassisted Birth
I saw a post on Facebook where someone asked why many attempts to birth unassisted end differently. The consensus seems to be that fear is the cause for most transfers. Granted, sometimes a transfer to the hospital is truly necessary. But in most cases, the woman either wasn’t confident enough to give birth on her own or chose not to have an unassisted birth after all. There is nothing wrong with giving birth in a hospital if that’s really what you want. But if you want a peaceful homebirth, then you need to know how to handle your fears.
Do Your Research
Anyone who plans to give birth unassisted will probably conduct a lot of research beforehand. It’s a good idea to read inspiring birth stories about women who have done what you’re planning on doing. It’s also necessary to educate yourself a little bit about the process of childbirth. For example, you’d want to know what to expect during labor (even though that’s difficult to put into words).
However, you don’t have to know everything in order to give birth unassisted. Let’s say your water breaks but you’re not experiencing active contractions. Does that mean you need to go to the hospital? No. However, you could get online and do some research on the topic to feel more confident about what’s happening with your body. You can treat most questions this way (look up the answer when you need it). There are only a few times when you need to act quickly and get to the hospital, for example, during umbilical cord prolapse.
If you’re active on Facebook, then you might also want to consider joining a few groups that deal with unassisted childbirth. While the members are not medically trained, they may help point you in the right direction for your research. But sometimes it’s just nice to know that you’re not the only one (who goes past 43 weeks of pregnancy or has bloody show without contractions).
Trust Your Instincts
It’s your body and your baby. With all the fear mongering in this world, it’s hard not to get sidetracked. Technically, you should be afraid to go grocery shopping because someone might whip out a gun and start shooting. But being afraid is not a healthy way to live. When it comes to pregnancy and childbirth, there is nothing to fear. Both are natural. Your body knows how to grow a baby, and your body knows how to give birth naturally. Whether you’re a creationist, evolutionist, or somewhere in between: your body was designed or created to handle natural functions like childbirth without assistance.
That being said, it’s a good idea to trust your instincts. If you need some reassurance, by all means go get it. If instincts tell you to get to the hospital, then you should listen. But if that inner voice is telling you not to listen to the doctor, then you also need to pay attention to it. But do your research first.
What If Something Goes Wrong During an Unassisted Birth?
When you talk to people about unassisted childbirth, their first thought is: “What if something goes wrong?”
This is certainly a valid concern. That’s one of the reasons why most people won’t ever attempt to give birth unassisted. The underlying fear in this question shows how childbirth is perceived in our country: as risky and dangerous. Fortunately, it’s neither.
The best thing you can do is to educate yourself thoroughly. Technically, you don’t have to know anything in order to give birth, because your body takes care of it for you. However, in order to make the best decisions regarding the process of childbirth, you should know what you’re doing. This means you need to know:
- What to do in different situations (breech birth etc.)
- When to get help
- What to expect during labor and delivery
Preparing for a homebirth with a midwife is not the same as preparing for an unassisted birth. While you will probably have to get supplies ready (all listed on a list supplied to you by your midwife), you’re not required to know anything about the process. On the other hand, when you plan on giving birth unassisted, you will naturally become very educated about childbirth.
Most complications occur because of unnecessary medical interventions, usually performed at the hospital. At home, where you feel calm and relaxed, you have the greatest chance to have the natural birth that you are wishing for. You won’t be watching the clock, nurses won’t come to prod you under bright lights, and you can eat and drink as much as you want. All in all, giving birth at home is pretty neat compared to doing it anywhere else.
And while you’re not hoping that something goes wrong, it’s important to have a plan B, just in case. Whether this means calling a midwife, going to the hospital, or calling 911 depends on your specific situation.