First-time mum gives birth in bath at home with her dog – and people are upset

Jessie Goetze and family

First-time mum Jessie Goetze’s birth is going viral and sparking a lot of chatter about bloggers promoting what some see as unsafe practices.

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First time Homebirth – check! First time Hypnobirth – check! First time FREEBIRTH – check! Herbs and umbilical cord ties from Blissful Herbs – check! Amazing, wise doula with calming presence – check! Doggie siblings in on the act – check! Gorgeous décor, birth affirmations, and why not – eyelash extensions – . . Check, check, check! When a young woman believes that YES she can give birth in peace and privacy and by her own power, without pain – that she IS worthy, that she IS capable. Jessie told me she wishes all women had access to a doula to learn from and help make birth an experience to love and embrace rather than fear. . . Jessie says, “Wanting to be in control of my body and birth is the reason I decided to have Mahli at home. I knew that if I felt safe and supported in a loving environment, that the birth would be easy. And it was – easy and pain-free.” . . That’s the benefit of having no hindrances to the peak flow of birthing hormones. What strikes me about this gorgeous first time mother homebirth is the absolute confidence Jessie had, in her body and in birth, and the total trust and support of her husband. So many young women are told not to consider homebirth for their first baby, and are scared off looking into it with talk of “untried pelvises”. Not for your first, they’re told. Something might go wrong! Not for your first. I believe your very FIRST experience of birth is the most important one to plan to have at home (assuming you and your baby are healthy and well, and the absence of any actual pathology). This sets you up to have a positive obstetric history. Shelly Birthing Doula: https://www.facebook.com/BirthingDoulaShelly/ Hypnobabies: https://www.hypnobabies.com Blissful Herbs: https://www.blissfulherbs.com.au Video by: https://www.LiveLoveDream.biz . . @little_mahli_and_me . . . Song: Perfect by Ed Sheeran www.edsheeran.com . #homebirth #childbirth #birthingchoice #freebirth #bathroombirth #fastlabour #hypnobirth #hypnobabies #waterbirth #doula #birthwork #birthsupport #doulalife #birthwise #birthworks #birthwithoutfear #melbournedoula #blissfulherbs #birthsofinstagram #thisisbirth #shebirths #menatbirth #howtodad

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“It was easy and pain-free”

Jessie gave birth to her daughter Mahli at home, in the bath, assisted by a doula. She used hypno-birthing techniques through her labour and her husband helped deliver their baby, as the family dog watched on.

The amazing video of this peaceful birth makes it look so easy, and Jessie says … it really was!

Speaking about the birth later, Jessie told birth activist Julie Bell, “Wanting to be in control of my body and birth is the reason I decided to have Mahli at home. I knew that if I felt safe and supported in a loving environment, that the birth would be easy. And it was – easy and pain-free.”

Best case scenario?

Jessie’s experience sounds idyllic and she was obviously brilliantly prepared for what lay ahead – and any contingencies. But concerns have been raised over the promotion of home births online, and some experts are worried that women may be keen to have their babies at home without being fully aware of potential risks.

Media outlets are reporting there was “no midwife” at Jessie’s birth (she had a doula), that the family dog was in the bath (it wasn’t!) and that babies might drown during water births (doctors and midwives are still debating if this is true and say more research is needed.)

Jessie told The Daily Telegraph that she wanted to give birth away from the monitored and medicalised environment of a hospital, and felt that at home in the bath was the best option.

“It was very important to me to have an intervention-free birth including cervical checks but due to [hospital] policies and regulations this could not be promised.”

“Obstetrician Dr Michael Gannon, a former president of the Australian Medical Association, said it ‘beggared belief’ that someone would promote giving birth in the bathtub next to a family pet,” the Daily Telegraph reports. 


Read more about home birth:


Is this safe?

The safety of home birth is still being hotly debated in Australia. A recent study which found that home birth was as safe as hospital birth was labelled as misleading by some doctors.

“We are keen to make sure people making the choice have the right information and not given information that is falsely reassuring,” Professor Steve Robson of The Royal Australian New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) told The Daily Telegraph.

The study author Professor Caroline Homer, Director for the Centre for Midwifery at the University of Technology argued that women wanting home birth should be supported by and better included in our health system. She also said we need to look more closely at home birth in Australia and more research is vital.

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Our first Breastfeed. Mahli crawled her way up for her first feed about 15 minutes after being born. After such an easy pregnancy and birth little did I know the difficult journey we would be taken on. After 5 weeks of intense pain, pumping every two hours to feed and me being hospitalized after getting a blood infection via my terribly wounded nipple, and seeing many many specialists Mahli was finally diagnosed with tongue, lip and cheek ties. After the laser to release them and 6 weeks of 4 hourly stretches our breastfeeding journey finally began. Life became much simpler and I am 100% happy that I listened to my mama spidey senses and persisted in finding out why feeding was so unbearably painful. Thank goddess for my IBCLC @themilkmeg, Dr Kate at @chiropractic_works_cairns & Dr Lindsey at @absolutelydental #breastfeeding #normalizebreastfeeding #worldbreastfeedingweek #worldbreastfeedingweek2018 #freebirth #homebirth #doula #doggiedoulas @australianbreastfeedingproject

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“In the right circumstance”

The study findings provide “more evidence that homebirth can be safe given the right circumstances,” Professor Homer told The Daily Telegraph, asserting that the RANZCOG’s rejection of her study’s findings was indicative of the “turf war” between some doctors and midwives over birth.

“What [the study] shows that homebirth can be safe and more research on the whole country is needed. We are doing such a study and will be published later this year,” she said.

“This study is showing women that in the right circumstance, homebirth is a safe option and we should be saying to our health system, why aren’t you providing this option?”

Why indeed?

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