Why Don't You Just Get a Midwife?

When you talk to other people about giving birth unassisted, they may nod understandingly, but in reality they are thinking:

“Why don’t you just get a midwife?”

This question can be very difficult to answer. There are a lot of reasons why women choose to give birth at home unassisted without the help of a midwife.

  1. Midwife-attended homebirths are illegal in some states.
  2. It can be difficult to find a midwife who is truly supportive.
  3. Some women are not good homebirth candidates according to local midwives.
  4. You don’t want anyone telling you when to push or what to do, not even a midwife.
  5. You want to share this moment only with people you love, not with a midwife you barely know.
  6. If something goes wrong, you have the same means at your disposal as the midwife, and you can dial 911 just as easily.
  7. Midwives may not be allowed to attend your birth if you go past your due date too much, requiring you to get induced at the hospital.
  8. For an uncomplicated, natural birth, it’s not necessary to have a medically trained attendant at your birth.

In this day and age, when medical care is readily available for most people, why would anyone choose to give birth unassisted over birthing with a midwife? I think a lot of people can understand choosing a homebirth with a midwife instead of a hospital birth. After all, most hospital procedures intervene with the natural process of childbirth. However, midwives who come to your home are a lot more supportive of a natural birth. So why not hire a midwife instead of going it alone?

Birthing Women Need Privacy

The reason why labors stall in the hospital is because women are nervous and afraid. The bright lights and unfamiliar surroundings can slow down or stop labor altogether. That’s one of the reasons why it’s recommended to go to the hospital later in labor. Once labor is well underway, it’s less likely that it will slow down or stop. But if labor doesn’t progress in the hospital, then a doctor might feel the need to speed it up.

Some women really relish the company of a caring midwife at their homebirth. A midwife can be reassuring and comforting where the father of the baby might not be. However, for women who don’t enjoy being watched or touched, even having a midwife there might be too much for them. In that case, you can still try to find a midwife who is willing to wait in another room while you labor alone if you want. Alternatively, an unassisted birth will leave you in charge.

Birthing Women Don’t Need to Be Told What to Do

Giving birth is more about following your instincts than following orders. An attending midwife may leave you alone for the most part, but most of them will still want to check your dilation and tell you when to push. The thing about giving birth naturally is that you don’t need anyone to tell you what to do. Your body is giving all the signals you need to give birth.

If you feel like getting up and moving around, you should do that. If you have the urge to push, then you should do that. For most “civilized” people, it can be really difficult to let go and just tune in with your body, but that’s what giving birth is all about. Personally, I have found that a midwife can also detract from the labor and the baby itself. You can be focused on what your midwife wants you to do without really paying attention to what your body is telling you.

Birth Attendants Can Outshine Fathers

When you have people with childbirth experience attending your birth, whether they are doulas or midwives, they tend to “outshine” your husband. You’re much more likely to look to them for direction and comfort than to your husband. If the father of the baby was the only one there with you, then he’d have the chance to step up and take over that role. From my personal experience, I can say that I preferred my unassisted birth over the one with a midwife, because with the latter, I hardly noticed my husband’s presence. With just him being there unobtrusively at my unassisted birth, I was better able to focus on the birth itself and my husband, not a midwife who I would never see again.

Childbirth Is Expensive

I would never use money as the sole reason to give birth unassisted. If that is your only reason for doing it alone, then you probably didn’t make the right decision. That being said, giving birth can be really expensive. Hiring a midwife tends to cost several thousand dollars. Going to the hospital to give birth can cost as much as a new car. For some women, insurance won’t cover the birth with a midwife. And in some states, a homebirth with a midwife is illegal.

There can be a lot of obstacles to giving birth the way you want to, even though there shouldn’t be. One major advantage of an unassisted birth is that it’s the cheapest option available to you and it’s perfectly legal. While you may need to purchase a few supplies, they don’t cost much.