DIY Deliveries: More Women Go It Alone

Would you give birth at home without medical help?

ByABC News via GMA logo
January 7, 2008, 2:52 PM

Jan. 7, 2008 — -- More women are opting for do-it-yourself deliveries rather than dealing with the regulations, constrictions and rules they'd face if they gave birth in a hospital.

Home births comprise about 1 percent of all U.S. births, and while no hard data exists to indicate how many of them take place without a midwife or doctor present, experts said the number of unassisted births is rising.

More than 100 discussion groups about the subject have sprung up on Yahoo's Web site.

Christina Schafer is one mother who decided she wanted to take a different approach with her fourth child.

She gave birth for the first time at home and didn't even have a nurse present. "Being at home, it's your domain. You're the one in charge, not the doctor," Schafer said.

Giving birth to her son at home allowed Schafer the opportunity to move freely during labor. She monitored the baby's heartbeat herself and when she was ready, she pushed the infant out into a birthing pool, located in her bedroom.

"I'm doing this because I think this is the safest option for him and the safest option for me and I'm not taking it lightly. It's not some kind of hippie decision," she said before her son was born.

Schafer's latest childbearing experience, on Dec. 12, 2007, when she gave birth to a baby boy, differed vastly from her first birth.

During her first pregnancy, Schafer gave birth in a hospital. After 16 hours of labor, she ended up having a Caesarean section.

"I had planned on a natural childbirth, and I got completely the opposite. I just remember lying there in bed, cords coming out of everywhere," she said. "I really felt like I had failed, and I wanted the chance to do it the way I wanted to."

Stringent hospital rules are just one reason more women are opting for unassisted births. Hospitals tend to support epidurals, fetal monitoring, inducements and C-sections, said author Jennifer Block.