Choosing unassisted birth is an ongoing process that is only finalized when the birth has reached its completion. Until then, there is always an option to seek help or transfer to a hospital for assistance. When planning an unassisted birth, it is important to understand the natural physiological process of birth, variations and complications that may occur, how those variations or complications might be remedied at home, and which require immediate medical attention. Seek this information from as many sources as possible. You will find information presented in a variety of ways, especially when it refers to ‘safety’ or ‘risk.’ Relying too heavily on one source, you may find yourself following someone else’s dogma rather than your own truth. Be extremely wary of any source that implies that there is a ‘right’ way to birth or that you can guarantee a good outcome if you follow a certain method.
- Make the commitment to research, pay attention and take responsibility. You will need to know more about birth complications than the average mama, even though you’ll most likely never use that knowledge. You’ll also need to be more in touch with your body – a skill you will find valuable for maintaining health and wellness throughout your life. If you have health issues that put you at higher risk of complication, you will need to carefully factor those into your decision.
- Check your ego. Birthing unassisted will provide you with a greater level of autonomy – not to be confused with control. You will be able to prepare the atmosphere – set the stage – and you deserve credit for that preparation. Pat yourself on the back for all the research, meditation, prayer and love that you’ve poured into your birth plans. Congratulate yourself for being an expert in your own body; but don’t fool yourself into thinking there is never a place for birth professionals or medical intervention. Understand that when labor is in full swing you will be at the mercy of nature.
- Know what’s at stake. If you’ve never lost a child, you can only begin to imagine what it might be like, but it’s important to explore your values and spiritual or religious views about death as you prepare to take responsibility for your baby’s safe arrival. You must face the reality that preventable deaths happen during unassisted births and there is a possibility (however small) that it could happen to you. A birth injury or death during an unassisted birth could have additional consequences such as blame from family or friends or even investigation by government agencies seeking fault.
- Check in with yourself. Choosing unassisted birth is a journey. Ask yourself tough questions. Know your heart. Know your fears. Know your motives. Know your alternatives. If you aren’t facing difficult emotions, or learning important truths about yourself, dig deeper.