Unassisted childbirth refers to the process of intentionally giving birth without the assistance of a medical or professional birth attendants. It is also known as freebirth, DIY (do-it-yourself) birth, unhindered birth, and unassisted home birth.
Unassisted childbirth in this context is distinguished from a precipitous birth, wherein the baby arrives earlier than expected and the mother in effect gives birth without assistance. In this context we are referring to unassisted childbirth as a deliberate and planned process wherein the mother makes a conscious decision to give birth without a medically trained birth professional, specifically, a doctor or midwife.
Our official position on Unassisted childbirths
As a Doula organization it is not our role to decide where a woman should give birth, or who she has in attendance with her during her birth. That right belongs to her alone.
Our official position on Madriella Doulas attending Unassisted childbirths
The Madriella Doula program presupposes that the mother the Doula is attending is under the care of a doctor or a midwife regardless of where she chooses to give birth. It is our belief that we, as Doulas, are valued members of a birth team, but we are not suitable replacements for the other participants. We are not trained to provide emergency medical intervention should they be needed.
A review of the Madriella Doula standards of practice will show that while our emphasis is on the rights of the mother, we acknowledge the importance of skilled, clinically trained, experienced professionals who are specialized in the birth process beyond what Doula training covers.
There is also a very real and substantial risk of liability for Doulas attending an Unassisted birth. While the mother may be willing to hold the Doula blameless should something unfortunate take place there is no guarantee that other parties would, such as the local authorities, prosecutors or other family members etc.
For these reasons the Madriella Doula network does not condone our Certified Doulas attending Unassisted births in the capacity of a Certified Madriella Doula.
We feel that attending an Unassisted birth as a Doula would put our Doulas at risk and as a mutual support network we would be remiss in not enforcing boundaries designed to protect our members and our organization. Those members that choose to attend Unassisted births do so without the sanction of the Madriella Doula Network.