The act of having a baby without the assistance of a medical birth attendant goes by many names, including freebirth, DIY birth, unhindered birth, unassisted homebirth, autonomous birth, undisturbed birth, self-directed birth, unassisted birth, unassisted childbirth, and UC.
Sometimes different advocacy groups can be divisive and exclusive if you don’t meet their criteria of what “unassisted birth” means to them. It can be a heated debate. Someone might say your birth won’t “count” as unassisted if you have received medical care during pregnancy. Others will say having your partner present isn’t unassisted, but it’s called a “couples birth” – the list goes on and can be so confusing.
Personally, I prefer this definition of "unassisted birth":
any birth where the mother and baby are free to birth by instinct and are given the privacy and safety necessary for the body and baby to birth themselves, without interference, intervention, or being watched/measured/observed.
(This privacy can be as simple as a towel over one's face to tune out the room, or it can mean being completely alone.)
This definition allows so many wonderful interpretations. It allows us to retain the option of having someone present our birth and to still proceed with it in an undisturbed, unassisted, and self-directed manner – like having a midwife over who simply knits in the corner, or giving birth at a natural birth center where everyone has agreed to provide full privacy to the mother during labor.
In my research, I haven’t found that unassisted birth is exclusive to being “without a caregiver, at home” – although it often happens this way. For me, it was the lack of a hands-on, hired birth professional (an OB or a midwife) managing my labor that identified my births as “unassisted” – one birth included my husband and my friend, and one included just my husband.
The 4 Red Flags of Labor >
If you've been scouring the internet trying to find out "when might I transfer to the hospital during a freebirth?" - this is your answer!
what is an...
“I usually claim that pregnant women should not read books about pregnancy and birth. They should, rather, watch the moon and sing to their baby in the womb.” – Michel Odent
An unassisted pregnancy is one where the pregnant mama does most (if not all) of her own prenatal care, and requests only those tests and evaluations she thinks important during her pregnancy, if any.
Some women on their second (or beyond) pregnancies decline or limit prenatal care with subsequent births. Some women get full or partial prenatal care with a caregiver who is aware of their plan to give birth unassisted. Still others get x, y, and z from a prenatal caregiver and do the rest themselves, or opt-out of certain things.
Think about what you want to get out of your prenatal care. Which technology do you want to take advantage of? Would you like one caregiver or doula to provide you with continuity of care (and consistent companionship)?
If you do checks yourself, what you plan on doing with the information – do you just want to check-in for fun or connect with your baby, or do you want the ability to analyze the results? (For those of you who want the option, I share a minimal unassisted birth self-check in my book.)
Whether you want practical guidance for an unassisted birth or simply want to deepen your understanding of natural birth in general, this book is the how-to manual you've been waiting for.
Learn how to do it!
The How-to book >
mindset is everything...
The 9 Core Concepts
we are mammals
birth shouldn't hurt
privacy is everything
every body sensation has a purpose
every labor is unique
education is your ally
most labors are normal, most emergencies are clear
the caregiving network can be your ally
and, homeostasis rules
I'm Andrea Olson
I’m a mom of five children born over a span of eight years. Yes, in some ways, I'm a little nuts. Three of them were born at home, and two of those three were born unassisted - freebirth, they call it. I've spent over five years researching and collecting information on how to have a fulfilling, informed, and satisfying freebirth. Learn More About Me