When you’re deciding how to birth your child, there’s a huge variety of options. And one of the most important considerations is where you might want the birth to take place. Most women choose to have their child at a hospital, birthing center, or at a home with a midwife present. Unfortunately, even the best plans don’t always work out the way they were intended. For those situations, it’s important to be knowledgeable about an unplanned unassisted home birth.
In the United States, occur in the home. Approximately one quarter of these births are unplanned or unattended. Most often, unassisted home births occur because labor begins earlier than expected and the mother is unable to get to her desired location. This is more of a risk for women who live in rural areas due to the distance between them and a hospital, but does occasionally happen in urban settings.
Another instance of unplanned home birth might occur if the mother begins a precipitate or rapid labor. A precipitate labor is classified as a child being born within three hours of the start of contractions; however, there are some cases in which the cervix rapidly dilates, and labor is even quicker. In even rarer cases, the mother may and suddenly go into labor without any plan. These situations aren’t ideal and can lead to complications during labor, which is why it’s important to stay informed and know what to do.
It is very important to recognize the difference between an unplanned and a planned unassisted home birth. A planned unassisted home birth (also known as ‘free birth’) is when a woman intends to birth alone at home without a medical professional present . She relies on her instincts to get her through the labor, and may even opt out of scans and tests to prevent any medical interventions at all. An unplanned unassisted home birth is different, because it means you go into labor without any medical or doula support, but you have not pre-planned to do so. While it can be frightening to have an unplanned unassisted home birth, it is a situation many women have found themselves in and can be managed with the right amount of foresight.
As with all births, there is only so much you can plan for. Complications can arise unexpectedly during childbirth, which is why planned are not advised. Many mothers and medical professionals agree that it’s always a good idea to if something . Planning can help reduce risks. If you do find yourself in an unplanned situation, there are steps you can take to make the process as easy as possible.
Top Tip: When writing your birth plan, write a second ‘emergency birth plan’. The emergency birth plan will cater for the unexpected, and should include emergency contact numbers.
For more information about home births and how to safely plan them, visit our website.