Undisturbed Physiological Birth: Insights from Women who Freebirth in the United Kingdom

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Abstract

Objective
To understand women's experiences of undisturbed physiological birth by exploring the narratives of women who have freebirthed their babies in the United Kingdom (intentionally giving birth without midwives or doctors present).

Design
Unstructured narrative face-to-face interviews were carried out and data were analysed using the Voice Centred Relational Method (VCRM).

Participants
Sixteen women who had freebirthed their babies.

Findings
Women discussed a range of phenomena including birth positions, the fetus ejection reflex, pain, altered states of consciousness, physiological third stages and postnatal experiences that were physically and emotionally positive.

Key conclusions
There is a paucity of literature on physiological birth and limited opportunity for practitioners to witness it. Further research is required on phenomena related to physiological birth so as to better understand how to promote it within the maternity setting and when intervention is justified.

Implications for practice
Standard maternity settings and practice may not be conducive to or reflective of physiological birth. Better understanding of physiological birth is required so that pregnant women and people can be appropriately supported during labour and birth.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103042
JournalMIDWIFERY
Volume101
Early online date21 May 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

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