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Childbirth without any medical help

June 16, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
We've all heard about women who give birth in cars or at home because it happens so quickly, they don't have time to get to the hospital. But can you imagine purposefully deciding to have a baby by yourself, at home, with no medical help at all? There are actually women who are interested in having so-called "do it yourself" births. It's a controversial movement.Lynn Griesemer has had six children. But she's most fond of how she brought these two into the world.

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"The last two are what I call unassisted home birth, giving birth without a doctor or midwife," said Lynn.

Instead of going to a hospital when the contractions came, Griesemer went to the foot of her own bed. With no help other than her husband, Griesemer gave birth each time in three hours with no problems.

"I don't have any medical training," explained husband Bob Griesemer

The Griesemer's are at the forefront of a fledgling movement called unassisted home birth.

"Childbirth is something that is sacred, it's private. It should be done in the family unit," said Lynn.

It's estimated that of the 4.1 million babies born in the U.S. in 2004, 7,000 were born at home without a midwife or doctor. Proponents say it's natural and free of technology or drugs. Obstetricians find it alarming.

"When something bad happens, it tends to happen quickly and tends to cause bad outcomes quickly," said Dr. Donna Mazloomdoost, OB/GYN.

Doctors worry this movement - given a boost by the Internet - is a dangerous step backwards.

"We're not big advocates of home births, not because we want women to be uncomfortable, but because all of us have seen terrible outcomes," said Dr. Mazloomdoost.

Thankfully, all turned out well for her family.

"Birth was designed by Mother Nature or God to be a straightforward event," said Lynn.

So Lynn encourages folks to do their research so they're happy about the way they bring their child into the world.

For more information:

DEFINITION: An unassisted childbirth is a birth that takes place without the assistance or supervision of a medical professional like a doctor, nurse or midwife.

RISKS: Most medical professionals believe giving birth with no trained medical supervision is risky at best. Many women who decide to have an unassisted birth use calling 9-1-1 as an emergency plan, but in cases where every second counts, waiting for an ambulance might be the difference between life and death. If the baby is not breathing or the mother is experiencing abnormal amounts of bleeding proper medical attention is critical.

BENEFITS: Many women believe childbirth is an intimate and personal experience for which the atmosphere of a hospital or birthing center is not appropriate. Home birth advocates believe giving birth with only her partner present allows a woman to deliver her child in any way that makes her feel comfortable. Some believe there are benefits to having sexual interaction during labor and that certain hormones released in the female body during arousal can make labor feel more comfortable and even, in some cases, pleasurable. Lynn Griesemer, author of Unassisted Homebirth: An Act of Love, believes birth was designed to be a natural experience and has listed her top reasons to give birth unassisted:

  1. You don't have to leave the nest to add to it
  2. You have control over your labor and birth
  3. The father is intimately involved rather than a passive observer on the sidelines
  4. Your birth will be surrounded by love, not strangers and equipment
  5. No one ridicules you, hurries you or coaxes you to take drugs
  6. You are more apt to have a safer birth
  7. You are more likely to experience a pleasurable birth

 

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