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Doctors warn pregnant women over growing 'freebirthing' trend

Doctors warn pregnant women over growing 'freebirthing' trend

Giving birth at home can pose a risk for some first-time mothers

Whilst doctors, obstetricians and gynaecologists believe that each and every pregnant woman should be supported in whichever birthing technique they opt for, some medics are calling for mothers to read up on the risks of 'freebirthing'.

For readers unfamiliar with this rather unconventional means of delivering a child, 'freebirthing' is the process of welcoming your little one into the world without the assistance of any hospital staff or midwives.

While you may argue that this was the common birthing procedure of our pre-Victorian ancestors, this practice seemed to die out when the fatal risks of giving birth at home - as well as the importance of sanitation during labour - were brought to the attention of midwives and nurses like Florence Nightingale in the 19th century.

Back in 2020, a generation of new mothers-to-be once again began to fear the germs and bacteria spreading inside hospitals, however, amid the dreaded Coronavirus.

Unaware at this point of the potential health risks that Covid-19 could cause to pregnant woman and their newborns, many woman believed it best to revert to the age-old practice of giving birth in the safety of their homes.

Covid-19 made some mothers afraid of giving birth in hospitals.
Frank Herholdt/Getty

Since then, millions of woman have chosen to take up this more intimate birthing practice, especially with advice for home-births - as well as sanitary equipment readily available online.

Despite this trend, doctors are continually emphasising the 'paramount' importance of safety whilst going it alone.

In fact, numerous health associations in the UK have this week joined together to better their understanding of the professional concerns surrounding freebirthing.

In a new statement made by the Royal College of Midwives, they emphasise that these medics are 'understandably concerned about women giving birth at home without assistance, as it brings with it increased risks to both the mother and baby', despite supporting the mother's freedom of choice.

Doctors are warning mothers about the risks of giving birth at home.
Getty/Martin Prescott

Doctors also believe that it should be emphasised to pregnant woman that a midwife may not be available to them during labour if they later change their minds.

"Women and people should have the right to give birth in an environment in which they feel comfortable, and should be supported in their birth choice," Professor Asma Khalil, vice president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, told press this week.

"However, safety is paramount and, while most births are uncomplicated, advising women about the potential risks is crucial for informed decision-making.

"Women opting for unassisted births need awareness of the potential challenges and delays in accessing medical assistance if complications arise, as emergency intervention may be necessary, even for those at low risk.

Giving birth at home can pose an issue to some first-time mothers.

"Home births, supported by a midwife, may be suitable for healthy, low-risk women who are having a second or subsequent child and have had a straightforward pregnancy."

Dr Asma went on to emphasise, however, that evidence proves that first-time mothers have a slightly higher risk of baby loss, on top of the anxiety the mum will be feeling.

"Women should be given the opportunity to address their fears and past traumas via open discussions with their midwife or obstetrician," she explained.

Featured Image Credit: Ariel Skelley/Mike Harrington/Getty Images

Topics: Health, Parenting, Pregnancy, UK News