A woman has shared her experience of freebirthing her daughter at home without any medical intervention or scans throughout the entire pregnancy.
Sophie Wild, 34, from Knutsford, Cheshire, wanted to be in authority over her pregnancy and birth of her daughter, Aurora, now 11 months, opting for a freebirth at home in her barn conversion and an entire pregnancy without engagement with the medical system.
The mum-of-two described her freebirthing experience as "amazing, powerful and totally natural".
After giving birth to her son, Aubrey, now five, and having hospital appointments throughout her first pregnancy, Wild says the experience "didn't feel right" and knew she wanted to consider freebirthing when she found out she was expecting her second child.
"When I fell pregnant with Aubrey five years ago, I had NHS hospital appointments throughout, and it didn't feel right to me at all," Wild, who is now a birth coach, explains.
"So when I fell pregnant with my daughter, I knew I wanted a freebirth because my independent midwife had planted the seed about it previously."
During her second pregnancy, Wild says she tried to avoid any negativity about freebirthing.
"I did get some comments from my family who questioned me about not having a scan, but I had prepared my answers so I knew what I would respond with," she says.
Wild describes her freebirthing experience with Aurora as "amazing and powerful".
"My birthing space was my bedroom in our barn conversion," she says. "It had a pool and I was surrounded by flowers, crystals and candles.
"It felt sacred and it was blissful."
Having seen her labour begin in the morning, by 10pm things were ramping up, so Wild called for her doula to come over to offer support.
She also chose to have a birth photographer, from MiaBelle Photography, present so she could share her positive experience with others.
"It was a fairly quick experience," she says of Aurora's arrival. "I only just made it into the birthing pool before I gave birth.
"With two big pushes, she came into the world in the pool.
"I was soaking it all in and the fact I had done everything the way I had wanted."
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Wild says that for her it felt intuitively right to experience her pregnancy without any scans, having complete trust in the process and her body.
"I was so relieved that everything went to plan and I didn't need to go to the hospital,"she continues.
"I was the authoritative figure in the room, and even my partner, James, said I owned the birth.
"It was totally natural and undisturbed.
"It was perfect."
What is freebirthing?
Freebirth is a choice of birth where the mother/family decide to birth without assistance from a midwife or care providers.
"Women choosing freebirth May decide to have some antenatal care or non at all," explains Emma Armstrong aka The Naked Doula, birth influencer and qualified hypnobirthing coach and educator.
"You are not obligated to notify or use the NHS."
Armstrong says those who choose this type of birth are usually those who educate themselves and put a lot of time and effort into their birth preparation.
"They understand physiological birth and instinctively listen to their body," she adds. "Just like a mammal in the wild!"
The benefits of freebirthing, according to Armstrong, include having a pregnancy and birth without restrictions, without fear from possible medical options and without pressure.
"Freebirthing is becoming increasingly popular," she adds. "Those who freebirth are able to achieve the birth of their choice alone or with loved ones in an environment/place that feels good for them with zero medical intervention."
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Freebirthing the risks
While many women report having positive experiences of freebirthing, some experts, including the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) have raised some concerns about the concept.
“Every woman should have the right to give birth in an environment in which she feels comfortable, and should be supported in her birth choice. However, we believe that the safety and wellbeing of the mother and baby are paramount,” Dr Patrick O’Brien, spokesperson for the RCOG, previously told Yahoo UK.
“While most women give birth safely and without any problems, some women have a higher risk of complications and childbirth can be unpredictable even among women at low-risk of complications.
“Women must be made aware of the risks and benefits of giving birth in different settings in order to make an informed decision. Access to consultant-led maternity care in a timely manner, should any problems occur, is also crucial.”
Dr O'Brien says if women choose to give birth without a midwife or doctor present, it is important they understand the risks.
“If they would like an epidural or a complication occurs during labour, help will be further away and they may need to be transferred to hospital," he explains.
“Any woman could experience complications which may require emergency intervention, including if the baby becomes distressed during labour, the baby’s shoulders get stuck during birth, or the woman bleeds heavily after the birth.”
For those interested in freebirth or wishing to look into the concept, Armstrong says it is important to really delve in deep to physiological birth.
She suggests joining a freebirth society or group and understanding all your options so you’re able to feel confident and make informed choices best for you.
Additional reporting Caters.