Giving birth without midwives or doctors present. Have you ever considered doing an unassisted birth? Why would a woman do this?
We had a baby 2 weeks ago, without a doctor or a midwife present. The story of our unassisted birth was featured on ABC News. It was written by Jeff Barnard, an AP reporter who came to our house seven days after the birth of our baby daughter. The article was syndicated in newspapers across the United States after it came out.
When Jennifer Margulis went into labor with her fourth child, she sent her husband off to take the kids to school, then waited at home for her body to do what she felt confident it had evolved over millions of years to do on its own.
There was no rushing to the hospital, no midwife, no EMTs. Just Jennifer and her husband, home alone, giving birth.
“I think a lot of people think a woman who would want to have an unassisted birth would be a little bit crazy,” said Margulis, who holds a Ph.D. in literature, and is a contributing editor for Mothering Magazine. “I think I may have had that reaction as well. I am definitely not a crazy person. I am a very educated, thoughtful and caring person. I am not a person who takes a lot of unnecessary risks. The whole point is it is not risky if you do your homework.”
Nationwide, 90 percent of births still take place in hospitals with doctors attending, said Oregon State University medical anthropologist and midwife Melissa Cheney. Another 8 to 10 percent are with midwives in hospitals or birthing centers. And 1 to 2 percent are at home.
The numbers of at-home births that are unattended are impossible to track, Cheney said.
Published: November 19, 2009
Last update: January 29, 2020