Kaunda Selisho

By Kaunda Selisho


Freebirth: Why Jay Anstey and Sean-Marco chose to go it alone

Jay Anstey detailed her freebirth and what it was like to have her partner deliver their daughter with no unnecessary medical intervention.

Legacy stars and new parents Jay Anstey and Sean-Marco Viljoen chose to go it alone when delivering their daughter in a freebirth, with the actress recently explaining why in a detailed Instagram post.

Birth stories are a really popular conversation topic for expectant moms, as many say it provides them with some level of comfort when knowing what to expect with the different types of birthing options available. 

According to Jay, her daughter was born with “No doctors. No midwife. No doula. No interference.”

According to the Parents website, freebirth (also referred to as unassisted birth) is a type of delivery that goes back to basics where babies are birthed at home, by the parents, sometimes under the supervision of a midwife in the event that medical intervnetion is needed. 

“I woke at 1am on a rainy 6th Dec my water had broken. Intense contractions began right away. We had an app that timed my contractions and Sean-Marco along with my mom and dad started filling up the birth pool as they were rapidly getting closer together,” wrote Jay. 

The actress laboured at home for a few hours while walking around and said that she even threw up twice in reaction to the pain she felt. 

At some point during her labour, Jay added that she instinctively felt it was time to get into the freebirth birthing pool her family had prepared for her. 

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“It was me and SeanMarco in a pool. Breathing through each excruciating contraction. At some point my mom joined and sat at the base of the pool giving me support (and coconut water)! As the hours passed I was now deep in a ‘trance’ focussing on breathing and remaining calm. I felt as she moved into the birthing canal and even though it was very difficult I didn’t push, I just breathed,” wrote the actress. 

Jay said she went through the final stage of her labour in the pool for about 10 hours and said that just as she felt she couldn’t continue any longer, she felt her daughter was ready to come. 

“Enter ‘the ring of fire’ – yes it literally feels like it’s on fire,” she continued, along with emojis to signal laughter. 

“I pushed for three contractions and my incredible partner, Sean-Marco, delivered our darling daughter into the world. His hands were the first to touch her and the only faces she looked upon were those of her family. She cried beautifully, we checked her vitals and she was happy and perfect. Everything I had wanted for her. Her perfect birth.”

Not everything in her freebirth went according to plan, however. 

“Three hours passed and sadly my placenta decided not to come out. So I had to head to the hospital to remove the placenta surgically. I wasn’t upset that I ended up in hospital because I gave our little one the birth she deserved.”

She gushed about her partner and the support he gave her.

“I don’t think many men could’ve done what he did. An incredible dedication to parenting and partnership. What a man.”

She concluded by stating that she would definitely have another freebirth and added that she simply wanted to share her experience and that it should not be taken as judgement of other families’ birthing experiences. 

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Parents.com reports that as of 2020, freebirths have been on the rise due to the fact that “hospital births have the potential to cause significant anxiety, either due to previous birth trauma, systemic racism and the black maternal health crisis, or the risk of multiple birth interventions causing complications.”

Additionally, some pregnant people lack the resources to hire a medical professional to attend an at-home birth, but want to avoid hospital births.

2020 also came with the pandemic, which caused anxiety around going to a hospital. 

However, there are risks to consider with this type of labour and birth, including haemorrhaging, breech positioning, shoulder dystocia, umbilical cord problems and breathing problems for the newborn, which may require the immediate intervention that only a well-equipped facility can provide. 

Click here for more information on freebirth. 

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