Recently I ran across an article -- I think it was on WashingtonPost.com -- about "do-it-yourself childbirth." Laura Shanley and her website, Bornfree, were mentioned in the article. As it turns out, Shanley is also the author of a book on the subject, Unassisted Childbirth.
I was immediately interested. As a diabetic woman who is interested in having children someday soon, I have recently become concerned with current medical practices concerning childbirth. Since my women's studies classes in college, I have been interested in natural childbirth, only to find more recently that my diabetes is going to make it hard (if not nearly impossible) to have the type of childbirth I want.
For instance, I don't want an IV, but diabetic mothers are apparently almost always given an insulin/glucose drip -- whether or not they need it. Also, I find the incidence of C-section very alarming -- more than a quarter of babies born in the U.S. are now born by C-section. Unfortunately, as a diabetic woman that apparently makes it even more likely that a doctor will want to perform a C-section on me.
About the time I saw the article on unassisted childbirth (or UC, as it is often referred to), I had recently been told by a midwifery clinic that midwifes were legally prohibited from attending to a diabetic mother at home. While I don't know yet if that is true, I am interested in finding more out about unassisted childbirth as an alternative to having my babies in the hospital.
Being interested in finding out more, I decided to read Laura Shanley's book, Unassisted Childbirth. I found the book highly interesting and extremely readable. Especially informative was the information on how medical intervention can actually endanger the mother and child. In fact, unassisted childbirth is actually just as safe if not safer than hospital birth, because all of the things that doctors and nurses do can actually cause complications. There's so much information that I can't even begin to list it here -- if you are interested in finding out more, I definitely recommend this book!
In addition, the book includes several people's stories of UC. It is also really encouraging to read about people's experiences with it.
All in all, I find the notion of unassisted childbirth intriguing. While I haven't decided yet whether I will go that route, it has definitely impacted what I want out of my childbirth experiences. When it comes time to make a decision, if I do decide to go with a hospital birth it will be armed with information and a fully-constructed birthing plan that will essentially tell the doctors, "I MAKE THE DECISIONS HERE, NOT YOU."
This book has helped to give me the knowledge and the determination to be in charge of my own childbirth. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to find out more about natural childbirth (whether unassisted or not) and the dangers of medical intervention!
Stay tuned for other books on this subject. I have a whole stack of books to read!