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Behind The News Stories: Freebirthing

Written by Amina Hatia RM
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There have been recent discussions in the news surrounding the choices of women and birthing people opting for unassisted or freebirth—terms used to describe the decision to give birth without the involvement of midwives, doctors, or medical professionals. This mainly happens at home or in non-medical settings, and stems from a desire for greater autonomy during birth, either due to options feeling limited in NHS care or due to current or previous experiences.

In the United Kingdom, individuals are legally able to choose their birthing location. Birthrights, an organisation dedicated to childbirth rights, provides advice and fact-sheets on unassisted birth, along with additional support through their helpline. Midwives and doctors also highlight that it is important to get guidance and support during pregnancy and birth to make choices based on good information for both you and your baby.

If you ever feel unsure, unsafe, or feel like your concerns aren’t being heard during pregnancy or labour, it’s really important to talk to your midwives and the maternity team. They should always respect and listen to your choices and wishes, helping you make confident decisions that keep you and your baby safe.

Respect for your choices and wishes is paramount, with the maternity team serving to advise and support you in a care plan that helps you feel safe and confident while ensuring the safety of both you and your baby.

Navigating maternity care can be complex, prompting the need for informed decision-making and self-advocacy. Understanding available resources, such as specialists like birth choices midwives or consultant midwives, can help ensure that support is tailored to your specific needs. While the choice of unassisted birth is deeply personal, seeking professional advice can help you make informed decision-making that meet your needs.

You may also find taking part in antenatal classes such as our courses can be helpful because they cover not just the birthing process but also what to expect in care, making a birth plan, creating a comfy environment, knowing when to ask for help, and tools for asking questions and getting support. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask questions, seek other opinions, or ask for help when you need it. Your maternity team is there to support you, no matter what choices you make.