办事指南

Extreme childbirth: Freebirthing

点击量:   时间:2019-03-02 09:08:02

By Anna Gosline ONE HOT afternoon in August 1977, heavily pregnant Laura Shanley felt the early twinges of her first labour. Instead of calling a midwife, she called over some friends. When her waters broke, she didn’t dash for the hospital, just the bedroom. On hands and knees she gave birth to her son, John, in one swift push. Ready to catch him was the only other person in the room, her husband, David. Over the next few years Shanley, who lives in Boulder, Colorado, went on to have four more babies in the same way. Giving birth at home instead of hospital is not all that unusual. What sets Shanley apart is choosing to go it alone without any professional help. She is part of a movement that advocates unassisted childbirth, or “freebirthing”. The backlash against the perceived overmedicalisation of childbirth in the west has already seen some women reject hospitals in favour of a low-tech home birth with a midwife. Freebirthing proponents go further still, shunning even midwives. Almost all doctors and many midwives condemn unassisted childbirth as dangerous. The small but growing number of freebirthers, however, say it is perfectly safe for a woman to give birth alone, or at most, accompanied by a partner or friend. They believe that advice from medical staff interferes with the normal birth process, and that women have easier labours if left alone “as nature intended”. “Birth is inherently safe and relatively painless,” Shanley claims, “provided that you don’t interfere by using doctors or midwives.” Freebirthers do have a point: