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The terrifying ‘unassisted childbirthing’ forums that could kill.

You could be mistaken for thinking this was fiction.

“I understand the placenta is the best tool to stop bleeding. A midwife I rang basically said it was 100% cure to stop hemorrhage. Chew on a piece. Hold a piece  in your mouth or something.”

Surely just a gee-up to get the birthing-wars brewing?

“My uterus started ballooning up into my abdomen as it filled with blood. I put my newborn and my 22-month old on to nurse. Mentally told myself not to bleed used Shepherd’s purse tincture and then tucked a chunk of placenta into my cheek. I still bled and bled to the point of scary.”

But it’s not a joke. It’s real and it’s frightening in its complicity.

These are real screen grabs from an unassisted childbirth forum.

Real advice from some seriously dangerous people.

Real advice from women who believe a diet high in Vitamin C can prevent dangerous infections.

Infections such as E-coli and Group B Streptococcus, bacterial vaginosis, chlamydia, trichomona, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV.

Infections that could kill your baby.

But that’s ok. An alkaline diet and some Vitamin C will surely see you through right?

The freebirthing world is in its nature a closed society hidden from mainstream channels for fear of vitriol. So it is unusual to get a glimpse into some of the concerns raised by women in unassisted childbirth forums.

When you actually see some of the advice and questions raised by these women it is terrifying.

In writing this I am expecting pushback from women who support these choices. I know they will come out in force and condemn me for my lack of knowledge, my perceived negativity.

And you know what? They’re damn right. I do have a lack of knowledge because I am not a medical professional and if your uterus is ballooning and your abdomen filling with blood that’s exactly what you need.

A doctor.

Not a chunk of placenta in your cheek.

If you’ve had complications with your two previous births, if you “are fairly sure” your child “would not have lived” if you had been alone then the fact you are considering an unassisted birth again is baffling. It is wilful ignorance.

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I understand it is an emotional topic and one in which women can find hard to disengage their own expectations and preconceptions from fact.

I lay my cards out before you when I tell you I had three hospital births – one a planned C-section due to a breech baby and the following two both vaginal births. Surrounded by medical professionals because that was my choice.


Freebirthers share their videos on YouTube, like this, non-graphic movie-style trailer. 

I accept that other women make different choices.If your ideal birth is in a pool with three generations of your husband’s family live-feeding the event to YouTube that’s not one else’s business but yours.When it affects the rest of us is when dangerous advice is spread and takes hold as fact. Advice can kill.

Free-birthing choices make up just 0.3% of births in Australia.

As Helen Dahlen wrote for The Conversation “where registered midwives are present, home birth for low-risk women is just as safe as hospital birth.”

But that’s not what we are discussing.

What these forums are advocating is unassisted births. And that is when it goes to shit.

A still from the US reality show Born In The Wild, where freebirthers deliver their babies in nature.

Yes I am about to play the dead baby card here. The dead mother card too. Mamamia has written time and time again about the devastating times these birth choices have backfired when medical intervention could have saved lives.

It is difficult to get an insight into the opinions of women considering taking this chance because Facebook pages and forums dedicated to free-birthing close their pages to outsiders.

You can understand why – a fear of judgment, a fear of vitriolic posts, a fear of exposure but what this closed society is leading to is vulnerable women taking advice that is just damn irresponsible.

The motivation for us publishing these posts isn’t to condemn these mothers, but to hope that others will see how totally immersed in these ideas some women can become and to encourage them to keep an open mind and to seek out an alternative – hopefully a medical –  opinion before they decide to walk this dangerous path.

What do you think? Are you shocked by reading the advice in these forums?

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