Because of my connection to both the medical and non-medical childbirth worlds, I frequently get contacted by people who are wondering where to look for information about “unassisted birth”. Here are some resources for families who are exploring birthing outside of the medical system:
What is an “Unassisted Birth” in BC?
Under Vital Statistics Canada, births where there were not any registered medical professionals in attendance at a birth are called “unattended” births.
Other names for “unattended” or “unassisted” births are free-birth, family-birth, medically-unattended birth. Some families choosing to birth outside the medical system choose to have doulas or birth attendants support them during the process, and others choose to birth with just themselves, or friends / family members present.
Logistics to consider when planning a medically unassisted birth in BC:
- Birth supplies, including supplies for clamping and cutting (or burning) the umbilical cord and emergency supplies
- Registering a medically unattended birth
- A plan for whether or not you wish to have medical prenatal care, and who you will be getting that from if you do want prenatal care.
- A plan for having any newborn exams or procedures performed that you wish to have for your baby
- A plan for who you will call / where you will go if you medical assistance becomes necessary
- Deciding what kind of support, if any, you will have during your birth (friends, family, doulas, birth attendants)
- A plan for resources you can access if you need postpartum or breastfeeding support for you or your baby
Birth supplies for an Unassisted birth in BC
- General home birth supply list
- Birth pool supplies & set up (optional)
- Midwifery Supplies Canada: Resource for all birth supplies, including medical supplies such as cord clamps, scissors and emergency supplies
Registering an Unattended / Unassisted birth in BC
- General info on registering a baby in BC
- Online form for registering your baby once he or she is born
- Unattended Birth Checklist: what to prepare in advance of the birth
Notes on the Unattended Birth Checklist:
For proof of residency, mortgage payment or rent receipts, hydro bills, etc can help in addition to whatever other proof of residency you have
- For proof of pre-natal or post-natal care by a licensed medical practitioner, ask for copies of any blood work or records from any medical practitioner you may have seen either prenatally or postpartum for any reason for yourself and your baby, even if it is just a positive pregnancy test report from a clinic.
- If you did not see any registered medical practitioner for any reason, or visit a public health unit for any reason either prenatally or postpartum, you will need to write a letter explaining why.