Sure, they’re born free — but taking the risky route could come at a high cost.
Welcoming a baby into the world is often revered as sacred by most women.
So rather than having the precious moment marred by the stressful madness of rushing to a hospital, getting drugged up and helplessly handing over the labor and delivery reigns to healthcare staffers, expectant moms and dads of the viral “free birthing” trend are going it alone.
“Freebirth, also called unassisted birth, has been described as according to plan, giving birth at home or somewhere else without maternity professional care,” explained study authors of a June 2023 report dedicated to the unconventional delivery method.
“Women choose not to have any midwifery support, medical treatment, clinical monitoring, or use of technologies during labor and birth of the baby,” continued the researchers from the Akademiska University Hospital in Sweden.
The peaceful perks of flying solo notwithstanding, the Mayo Clinic warns that babies of the movement are at higher risk of infant death, seizures and nervous system disorders.
And the Akademiska study referenced a U.S. patient registry, which showed that more newborns died during home births than in hospitals between 2010 and 2017.
Per the findings, most soon-to-be mommies who opt for science-free deliveries do so due to previous negative experiences with hospital care, concerns that their emotional or social needs will be disregarded by doctors, and fear of falling victim to systematic prejudices.
Others with less leeriness toward the healthcare system simply prefer to autonomously give birth in the peace, safety and comfort of their home environments.
Freebirthing is legal across the U.S. and has seen a nationwide increase in popularity since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In fact, a report from the CDC found that at-home childbearing surged a whopping 22% increase from 2019 to 2020. It saw an additional 12% uptick from 2020 to 2021 — namely among black and Hispanic moms, who bear the highest maternal mortality rates in the country.
And the trend continues to pick up steam online, seeing millions under TikTok’s #FreeBirthing hashtag champion the craze.
Kaytlynn Griem, 24, a mom of three from Missouri, swears by the DIY approach and scored several thousand TikTok views on a post promoting its benefits over traditional medicine.
“Freebirth is one of the most normal things a woman can do,” she insisted.
“What’s not normal is having someone interfere,” added Griem. “I tried a birth with trained medical professional and they did not allow me to have physiological birth that I wanted and deserved.”
Self-crowned “crunchy mom” of three Kurin Adele, from Spokane, Washington, recently detailed her November freebirthing experience to an online audience of over 441,000.
The brunette, who welcomed a daughter atop a plastic shower liner in her bedroom, said she laughed and “thanked God” as the baby naturally navigated her way out of the birthing canal sans medical intervention.
Clinicians found that participants of the freebirth swing feel innately empowered to take matters into their own hands.
“Women have felt confident that they could manage birth without the presence of midwives [or other healthcare professionals],” reads the publication.
“Women have considered complications during birth and made risk assessments in their preparations for freebirth,” it adds. “If no one intervened or interrupted the birthing process, the risks of complications have been regarded as very small.”