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 any emergency supplies
- How to register a medically unattended birth (varies by province and country)
- A plan for whether or not you wish to have medical prenatal or postpartum care, and who you will be getting that from if desired
- A plan for having any medical newborn exams or procedures performed that you wish to have for your baby, if desired
- A plan for who you will call / where you will go if you medical assistance becomes necessary / desired
- Deciding what kind of support, if any, you will have during your birth (friends, family, doulas, birth attendants), or who you could call for support if desired
- A plan for resources you can access if you need / want 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
Taking a look through all of these and preparing as much of the paperwork in advance will make the process smoother postpartum.
- 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
- Fill-and-print form for affidavits
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. Records from a chiropractor, naturopathic doctor, massage therapist, or any other health practitioner you saw while pregnant also can help.
- If records from practitioners are limited, receipts for any pregnancy, birth, and baby supplies are also helpful
- If you have trouble gathering records of proof of pregnancy or any of the other requirements on the list, you will need to write a letter explaining why.
Additional resources for medically unassisted births:
Need More Info?
Please feel free to contact me if you are preparing for an medically unattended birth in BC and need help sourcing supplies or are looking for local insight.