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Delivering Baby, the Natural Way.

Giving birth to a child is a uniquely enjoyable process. Why spoil it by seeking the help of drugs or doctors or even midwives, ask freebirthers .

Delivering their own babies at home, often alone, they dismiss what they say is "fearmongering" by doctors and midwives and confidently catch their own offspring as they leave the womb.

"Birthing uses the same hormones as lovemaking - so why would you want anyone poking and prodding you, observing you and putting you under a spotlight?," said Veronika Robinson, an Australian based in Britain who sees growing interest in freebirth among readers of international magazine, "The Mother."

Her comment is echoed by many in online discussion groups about freebirth, where women insist having a baby is as intimate an experience as having sex.

"We were the only people there when she was conceived, and it felt absolutely 100 percent right that we were the only people there when she was born," writes Laura Fields from the United States.

Robinson says medical establishments in Britain and across other westernized nations have for years been "taking something that's natural and making it into a disease", and now, with freebirthing, "women are taking their power back".

Free - or unassisted birth means having a baby with no medical or professional help.

In Australia, Britain, as in North America, where its popularity is growing, it is legal as long as delivery is not "assisted" by an unqualified partner, friend or husband.

One of its most prominent supporters, Laura Shanley, an author on childbirth, is now mother to four children - all of whom were born at home without the help of doctors or midwives.

Shanley says that birth is only problematic because of three main factors - poverty, intervention and fear.

"As long as clean water and reasonable living standards are available - as they are to many women in the west - then the task is to eliminate the other two factors and a natural birth will be as safe as it can be."

Britain's Department of Health frowns on the practice of freebirthing and says every woman should have a midwife.

"The safety of mothers and their babies is our top priority," a spokesman said.. "Midwives are the experts in normal pregnancy and birth and have the skills to refer to and coordinate between specialist services. Every woman needs the care of a midwife in labor and birth and those women with more complex pregnancies may need a doctor too."


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