Third-time mama, Rhiannon, shares the story of her healing freebirth following two births within the system. Here she tells us of her reasons for choosing to opt out of the system for her third pregnancy and birth, and how this wonderful sovereign experience has imprinted onto her children, paving the way for generations to come.

“I am glad to have had the wonderful birth keeper Sophia, tell me that it’s a good idea to write up the story of my freebirth and take this time to reflect on it on a deeper level. Thank you for that.

On the 28th December on a dark and ferociously windy and stormy evening, my beautiful, little son Sonny was born free, outside of the medical system. 

Me? Can I do this, really? I know it sounded right, I know it’s how it should be, but would I manage it? I told myself every day that I could. Of course I could. Birthing babies is ancient. Only massive corporations, money and power made us all believe it wasn’t possible; I knew all of that. I read some incredible books that I picked up along the way, for example ‘Reclaiming Birth as a Rite of Passage’ by Dr Rachel Reed & ‘Ten Moons’ by Jane Hardwick Collins. I also followed inspirational women on Instagram. Our bodies are made for this. I surrounded myself with positive women, wonderful birth keeper, Mia of Village Birth and yoga.


Sonny is my third baby. My first freebirth and first home birth. My first baby was born in hospital; a failed water birth, pulled out, crying before she was even born fully. An episiotomy, without my knowledge. Who knows, it was an ’emergency’ wasn’t it? Even though at all times her heart rate was fine. Was I informed of the risks? Was it necessary? Hell… I don’t know. She was born all within the day, but there were shift changes. I think they just thought; “young 23 year old, first time baby, let’s get this over with now, it’s nearly 12am”. 

Theres lots I have to process about this birth, and how my sweet sensitive girl was affected by all of this. I wish I knew, I wish all mothers knew, what was possible in birth. Not going into it blind, trusting all ‘professionals’, like I did. 

For my second birth, my first son, I found a doula. He was born within the hour in hospital in a birthing pool. I still handed myself over, made them catch my baby, and got on with life so, so quickly after. I wish, looking back, that I had found trust in myself and again, knowledge, to do this all at home. How much more peaceful that would have been. Instead, on a late June day, I sat sweltering in a hospital with a sweet boy, waiting for doctors to check us over for hours and hours before we could leave and go home. We weren’t discharged until a pointless check was done. I wish I’d walked. My sweet toddler, home all day and night with her daddy. Now it feels wrong that we were all apart. 

How I wish things had been different, but trusting this, perhaps my story can help others to now change the way we see birth. Certainly for my children it will do. Especially my daughter, of course. 


I chose to do this pregnancy completely out of the system. According to the doctors when I tried to register my son, ‘You didn’t tell us you were pregnant.’ No, I didn’t go there to be honest. I emailed the head midwife of the area to say what I would be doing, they replied to tell me all of the other options, but I politely declined and told her I knew where to go if needed anything. I was well, very well.  

Not one person told me ‘your iron is low’ or ‘your urine is showing this’, ‘you are measuring small’, ‘you are measuring too big’, ‘your blood pressure says this’. I trusted the entire process of my baby and my body. 

Someone told me that when a baby knows it’s going to be free birthed, it shows up more inside. This baby constantly showed me reminders that he was strong and healthy. He was such a wriggler, and we had this deep, deep connection and trust that I’d never gained before. Previously, I’d let random people tell me what my body was doing and how my baby was acting/growing/measuring inside of me. It’s like I didn’t know before, until a scan told me what was going on, or a tape measure, or the hands of a random stranger. This time I had the space to connect and be intuitive.


Nine months of preparing my space.. and guiding my two older ones through the process. My daughter who was 7 and my son 6, only see birth as non-medicalised; a natural process, no checks to be had, no testing needed, and in a safe environment wherever you wish. We read some wonderful stories (Australian authors only, why!?), and they saw no other way than that I would bring this baby into the world in my bedroom upstairs in a pool, with my birthkeeper and their daddy by my side. They were free to be doing whatever they wanted. My mum came and sat with them when I was in the depths of labour that early evening. 


Never had I felt so deeply and slowly what was happening to my body. I had the exact same thing happen at the beginning of this labour as my previous births; waking up for my first toilet trip of the day, waters trickling out, labour begins.. the rest is history.

This 4am ish start, one morning, after a week of bodily clear outs (!!) on the toilet, I was woken to the feeling of stronger movements and different feelings across my stomach. It was such a deep, dark December morning. Everyone asleep, exhausted after the Christmas filled days prior. Would it really happen today? The other two were out within a day, but this time felt so different. So much slower in the days previously, plus my waters hadn’t released which shocked me… when would they break?! Well, they never did to my knowledge! 

I had surges in the bath every hour.. I took two baths that day, maybe three. It was the only thing that made my body weightless and reminded me to breathe so deep and close my eyes. Water really was a healer to me. I spent the day downstairs with the children and my partner. I ate good food, drank herbal teas and took more baths. 


Around 5pm, I messaged my birth keeper to say that my surges were now half an hour apart. Although they didn’t last long, before I knew it, they really did. I was on all fours on my bedroom floor breathing deep and listening to my spotify birth playlist. My partner was in and out, as were our two dogs, sorting out our other children. I really felt I could just be completely alone and do this. 

I was roaring so much, my kids tell me I sounded like a lion! 

My birth keeper arrived and reminded me that yes, now is the time to fill up the pool. My birth altar had a beeswax candle lit, and birth affirmations stuck to the wall above that my older two put up. I also had some beautiful postcards from Myriad Toys on there too. My older two had spent the last few weeks helping me dress the little table with a silk, little plant, and lots of crystals for labour. I had my salt lamp on in my bedroom also to give that beautiful warm glow. Looking back, there is nothing I’d have added to that space. A totally different picture from the last two places I’d birthed babies.

When I was in the pool around 7pm, I was weightless. In this beautiful squishy birth pool I had hired from Gentle Births Birthing Pools. I remember saying so so many times ‘I can’t do this. I can’t do this anymore,’ however this was the end.. already. Suddenly I was so so close. No one in the birth room could believe it when I said ‘the head is out.’ I was roaring so much, my kids tell me I sounded like a lion! 


Suddenly with another surge, I was silent. I couldn’t even make the sounds any more. I caught this perfect baby in my arms and lifted him up to me thinking; my baby is beautiful, he’s healthy and strong and well…. I’ve just birthed a baby, entirely away from the system on my own. I’ve caught my baby. No one’s hands have touched me or my baby. 

His cord was wrapped twice around his neck, yet he cried just beautifully and my birth keeper untied it whilst I just stared at him. She said he had the most beautiful deep colour and it was unusual in water births for them to just be so present and bright this soon after. 

There was barely any blood loss in the pool. My previous births were full of blood after… full. I could not believe that I had birthed a baby that was untouched, unmeasured throughout and just how a baby would have come into the world so many years ago. I am glad for him, and my body. 

It was like tying up threads on the most incredible healing journey. 

After my placenta was birthed, it was like a gate closing. It really was. I barely bled in the days after as I had done before. Weeks of heavy blood and endless pads. I feel like there was just no trauma to my body, and my body was so appreciative that it could just get on with its job, and close everything up for good. It was like tying up threads on the most incredible healing journey. 

I got into bed, thanks to my wonderful birth keeper, making my bed all beautiful, so I could just slide in. She ensured I had complete comfort, a pair of knickers on and then went on her way. 


We didn’t leave the house for three weeks, and even then it was a walk for 10 minutes. My wonderful, wonderful other half made me placenta smoothies every single day for roughly 10 days. He used the recipe from the book First Forty Days by Heng Ou; full of coconut oil, nut butter, cacao.. Oh so healing and welcome. He brought it to my bedside every day, and took care of everything downstairs. How I wish and pray that every mother could be held in this way. I count my blessings for what he did for us all, very often. I will make sure that my two sons are aware of how a mother birthing their child should be treated and cared for. And to my daughter, how she should be resting without judgement and given time to reflect and connect, and to be nourished and looked after. 

My sweet Sonny boy went from the birth pool to bed in the same room. There was no touching of his body except this family. My 7 year old daughter cut his cord after an hour of him being born. They are 7 days apart in their birthdays, the same star sign Earth children. I believe my first and last will always share a deep soul connection. I have learnt so much since her birth to my final one. They both have taken me from the depths, and up again.  

Well unsurprisingly, Sonny is my most chilled, content baby of all. He even sleeps on his back, relaxed as can be like a starfish. He just knew he was safe; he knew not to fear anything. This is something I pray for for each baby. Imagine how we could change the world if babies were born to mothers who weren’t afraid, in spaces meant for birth, in low lighting, touched by no one but their mothers. Not ‘checked’ by checklists, amongst crying babies in wards, bright lights, fear, people rushing, fast energy. Oh hell, no. 


If only I had known. I hope my story helps just one other woman, to trust herself and pave the way for beautiful entrances to the world. Healed and powerful mothers and confident, happy children. Let’s give a fat finger up to medicalised, rushed births. Obstetricians with zero connection to the mothers, only a connection to timeframes and charts where you’re seen as just a number. You only have to go on Kemi Johnson’s instagram for a minute to see the horror stories of what goes on behind the scenes. Please, stay away if you can. 

Thank you for reading.. It took me time to get here. 

9 months now, and I have enjoyed (nearly!) every day. My beautiful placenta still sits in my freezer, awaiting the time it is planted back to the earth under a gorgeous tree where it will be thanked deeply for what it did so beautifully for my baby and for me. It has been used to make smoothies, homeopathic remedies for baby and I, and a tincture to take me well into menopause. 

Flora Westbrook Photography

I wish everyone ecstatic births. Trust yourself, it is within all of us to birth babies like this. It really is. 

Love Rhiannon x”





The third stage is the birth of the placenta, which takes place shortly after your baby is born. During the birth of the placenta you will experience uterine contractions as the placenta separates from the uterus wall, moves through the cervix and, when it has moved down far enough, you will work with a final contraction to push and get the placenta the rest of the way out.

As the third stage often gets little mention in pregnancy books, lets discuss how protecting the third stage environment, as we do with our birthing environment, may encourage a faster, natural delivery of the placenta, reducing the need for intervention or an ‘actively managed’ third stage.

For the new mother, the third stage is a time of reaping the rewards of her labour

Dr Sarah Buckley, Gentle Birth Gentle Mothering


(noun) A flattened circular organ in the uterus of pregnant eutherian mammals, nourishing and maintaining the foetus through the umbilical cord.

When you become pregnant, your uterus contains just a cluster of cells. Half of those go on to become your baby and the other half become the placenta. The placenta is a temporary organ that is attached to the wall of the uterus during pregnancy. It performs many functions including providing nutrients, oxygen and protection against harmful bacteria via the umbilical cord. More or less anything you consume will pass to your baby via the placenta.

The placenta also disposes of the baby’s waste, such as carbon dioxide, which passes back up the umbilical cord to your blood stream where your body disposes of it.

Put simply, the placenta serves as the baby’s lifeline during the 40ish weeks in the womb and should be recognised for it’s vital role!


In many hospitals now, it is routine to have an actively managed third stage. Which means, as your baby is born, you’ll be given an intramuscular injection of syntrometrine – a synthetic form of oxytocin. Some women may not have a preference whether or not they have an actively managed or a physiological (natural) third stage (see below for pros and cons) but for those that do, its good to know what things could help the third stage progress so that you are able to protect the ‘golden hour’ and deliver the placenta naturally.

As mentioned above, oxytocin continues to play a huge role during the third stage. Oxytocin is a very shy hormone and there are things within the environment that can cause adrenaline to spike and for oxytocin levels to decrease, which will slow uterine contractions. In order to keep a good hormonal balance it is important to continue to protect the birthing space.


Initialising that first feed encourages the release of oxytocin, but if your baby doesn’t show signs of wanting to breastfeed straight away, just holding her close to your chest will have a similar effect.


Maintaining the environment of the birth space with low lights, warmth and no observers encourages the mother to feel comfortable and, in turn, speeds up the duration of a natural third stage.

Stimulation of the breasts causes a powerful endocrine hormone called oxytocin to be released. Oxytocin in turn stimulates uterine contractions.

Ina May Gaskin, Spiritual Midwifery


  • Encourages a calm, quiet and undisturbed atmosphere allowing you to be present with your new baby.
  • Allows time for bonding through breastfeeding and skin-to-skin.
  • You can adopt different positions and move instinctively with your body.
  • Physiological management is less likely if labour has been induced or required pain management/intervention, as the administration of synthetic oxytocin will inhibit your ability to produce your own oxytocin.
  • Sometimes placentas can take longer to be born (anywhere between 1-12 hours!). This is not an indication the third stage needs to be actively managed. A gentle, hands-off approach is key here, as long as blood loss is monitored. It is worth noting, you are less likely to be given an extended amount of time to birth your placenta in a hospital setting.
  • For more information on why it is so important to have a hands-off third stage, check out this article by Sarah J. Buckley.


  • Is a quicker process than a physiological third stage, lasting 5-15 minutes. After synthetic oxytocin is administered the placenta needs to be delivered quickly to avoid retained placenta.
  • In the event of the placenta taking a long time to be born, it will have to be removed manually under general anaesthetic.
  • You may experience discomfort when the midwife performs the controlled cord traction (CCT), after you receive synthetic oxytocin via an intramuscular injection. A CCT involves the midwife placing her hand on your abdomen so that she can feel when the uterus contacts. She will then pull gently on the cord whilst applying pressure to the uterus.


Another thing very injurious to the child is the tying and the cutting of the navel string too soon; which should always be left till the child has not only repeatedly breathed but till all pulsation in the cord ceases. As otherwise the child is much weaker than it ought to be, a portion of the blood being left in the placenta which ought to have been in the child.

Darwin, 1801

For many years immediate clamping of the umbilical cord (between 10-15 seconds) after birth has been standard practice. There is now extensive evidence to suggest that it is beneficial to allow the cord to fully pulsate, or better yet ‘wait for white’, before clamping for the following reasons:

  • The cord and placenta hold up to 30% of your baby’s blood. Allowing the cord to pulsate means the blood can flow through it and aid the baby’s lung expansion. When the cord is clamped immediately, blood has to be “borrowed” from the rest of the baby’s circulation in order for the lungs to fully function.
  • As the baby receives the full amount of blood from the placenta, iron levels are higher and it reduces the chances of anaemia. Anaemia in infants can go on to effect the development of the nervous system and brain development.
  • Delaying the clamping of the cord allows the baby to receive up to a billion more stem cells than if it were clamped immediately after birth. Stem cells have wonderful healing qualities.
  • Increased birth weight and blood pressure stabilised.
  • If resuscitation is required after the baby is born, it is beneficial to leave the cord unclamped as it assists in oxygenating the lungs.
  • The cord stump will often take less time to heal and ‘drop off’ after delayed cord clamping.


Some people choose to burn the cord a few hours after birth. This can be a gentle and respectful way to sever the cord and break the connection between baby and placenta. It is also likely the cord stump with dry up and fall off quicker if it is burned.

For more information on cord burning ceremonies, tap here.
It’s worth noting, this option may not be supported within a medical setting.


“Lotus birth is the practice of leaving the umbilical cord uncut, so that the baby remains attached to his/her placenta until the cord naturally separates at the umbilicus – exactly as a cut cord does – at 3 to 10 days after birth. This prolonged contact can be seen as a time of transition, allowing the baby to slowly and gently let go of his/her attachment to the mother’s body.”
– Sarah J.Buckley, Placenta The forgotten Chakra.

For more information on lotus birth, tap here.


It can be very beneficial to include your wishes for the third stage in your birth plan. You have the right to an empowered third stage too. Things to consider for a physiological third stage:

  • State that you’d like to try for a natural placenta birth. Create an optimal environment for birth – warm, dim lighting, quiet, private, supported.
  • Do not allow a hat to be put on your baby’s head. This puts a barrier in the way of you being able to smell your baby, which is vital in stimulating oxytocin.
  • Allow time for the cord to go completely white before clamping. This is a sign that all the blood has been drained from the placenta.
  • Immediate skin-to-skin with your new baby.
  • Put your baby to your breast. Try to initiate the first feed. Keep things calm and undisturbed.
  • State if you want to wait for newborn checks and weighing.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask to see the placenta once it has been delivered. If you want to take it home to benefit from placenta remedies ensure you state this in your birth plan and have your birth partner discuss plans with your midwife upon arrival.


The placenta is becoming increasingly recognised for the important role it plays in post-birth healing. According to the Placenta Remedies Network “during and after a normal vaginal delivery (including post-natal bleeding) a new mother will lose between 1/8 to 1/10 of her body’s blood supply. Losing a large amount of iron so quickly can cause anaemia, leaving a new mum feeling tired, faint and exhausted. The blood needs high supplies of iron to carry oxygen to the cells. Low supplies of oxygen leave your cells starving and less able to heal after trauma.”

Consuming your placenta, which is rich in vital hormones and minerals, restores your iron levels reducing fatigue. Blood loss during the postnatal period can last for 3-6 weeks. Consuming your placenta can reduce postpartum blood loss to 5-10 days because the placenta is full of stem cells and growth factors, which play a huge role in healing the wound in your uterus. Your placenta also aids the replenishment of vitamins E and B6, is rich in hormones such as oxytocin and corticotropin and immune boosting proteins. In addition to reducing the duration of postpartum blood loss, all of the wonderful nutrients in your placenta contribute to encouraging a plentiful milk supply, boosting energy levels and balancing hormone levels reducing the chances of “baby blues” and postnatal depression.

Your placenta can be made into numerous different remedies, including:

  • Raw placenta smoothie
  • Placenta Encapsulation
  • Tincture
  • Essence
  • Homeopathic Remedies
  • Creams or balms

There is growing interest both in the placenta as an extraordinary organ which nourishes the baby during pregnancy, and the rituals surrounding it in other cultures.

AIMS, Birthing Your Placenta

Did you find this useful? Please use the comments section below to share your placenta stories!