People planning a freebirth tend to fall into one of two camps. The first camp includes those who are planning a freebirth and don’t feel like they need to do much in the way of preparation. They know their body will do it, and they are confident that they would know if they needed help – other than that, there isn’t anything to “know”. The other camp includes people that feel they need to learn everything they can about birth and birth complications, and need to, in essence, “become their own midwife”. One is not better than the other, they are just different. So this post is for those in the second group, who want to know everything they can know about birth and how to handle any issues that may come up. We often get asked “how do I prepare for an unassisted birth?” so here is my list of favorite resources:
1. A shameless plug for our 5 week How to Have an Indie Birth series. Maryn and I designed this online class for women wanting to take full responsibility for their births. It is geared towards mamas that choose a care provider as well as those that choose not to see or consult with anyone throughout pregnancy or birth. This class is an awesome foundation in what you need to know about creating a healthy pregnancy and learning the nitty gritty details about the birth process. We pull together all of our favorite resources as well as our Indie Birth take on all the subtopics you want to know about (even if you don’t realize it yet ☺). You get a 60+ page workbook and access to Maryn and myself for any additional questions you have or resource recommendations you may need. Pretty sweet if I may say so myself.
2. Maryn's free Taking Back Birth podcasts are another amazing resource. There are podcasts for every point in pregnancy, covering a huge range of topics. She is always adding to them and they are a huge hit.
3. Watch lots of physiological, undisturbed birth videos. Here are a few of my favorites.
4. Don’t neglect the emotional and spiritual work in favor of the “brain” work. This can look a lot of different ways, but might include journaling, meeting with a pregnancy support group, doing prenatal yoga, making art, doing spiritual work or asking for spiritual support, reading books geared towards this such as Birthing From Within, or talking about your fears and excitements often with a trusted friend.
5. Gregory White’s book “Emergency Childbirth” - This is a great basic resource for those wanting to know “what to do” in case issues come up. Generally, the advice is good, though some of the recommendations are not perfect (ex. no need to wait to give the mom the baby after birth) I do NOT think it is an end point, but rather an introduction to the ideas that can then serve as a springboard for further learning and investigation.
6. A common question is how to get father's on board with the unassisted birth choice. The ebook "A Dad's Journey Into Homebirth" is written by a veteran 6 time homebirthing father and is a great free resource for all the dads out there!
7. Last but not least, we are working on a whole series of videos for do-it-yourself pregnancy, birth and postpartum topics. Here are a few we have made so far.
- Learning to Feel/Palpate Your Own Baby
- Listening to Your Baby's Heartbeat (Fetoscope Skills)
- Do-It-Yourself Placenta Preparation; video includes placenta exam and raw method of prep
I’m sure I will add more ideas to this list (especially as we create more resources specifically for this purpose), but these should get you started. If there are resources you would LIKE to see that haven’t been created yet, let us know, as we are always trying to find more ways to support women choosing freebirth.