Birth Video Statistics and Charts
Here at BirthForMen, our dedicated team passionate birth fanatics has analyzed more than 500 birth videos to date. Here we present some interesting original research, charts, and graphs that give some unique insights into home births that have been recorded.
We focus primarily on analyzing home birth videos: both midwife assisted and unassisted births. If you’d like to use any of this data in your presentations, you are welcome to do so as long as you give a link back to this original page. Please also contact us if you’d like to work together with us on splitting the massive amounts of data we have in different and unique ways. There is far, far more information in our database than we could share on a single page.
Our goal with tracking and sharing this data is to provide very easy access to a large pool video footage of certain birth events in the home setting. You can see some of our video compilations on our blog or on our YouTube channel.
Please keep in mind that all of the data shown in these charts and graphs is updated in real time to reflect our ongoing research. So be sure to bookmark this page. Refer back to this page when you need up-to-date numbers, and share this link with others!
The data shown here represents 96 hours, 31 minutes, and 1 seconds of public birth video content!
Data Sources - Home Birth Videos
Unassisted childbirth (or freebirth) refers to the process giving birth without medical assistance. If a midwife was present, then the birth was not counted as an unassisted birth. Doulas do not count as midwives as they typically do not take medical responsibility for the outcome of the birth.
The vast majority of videos we have reviewed are home births. This is our primary focus with this ongoing research project. We also include birth videos that occurred outside. However, so far we have actively avoided births that occur in birth centers or in hospitals. We may one day include these videos in our research.
Summary Results of Research
The Baby’s Presentation refers to the part of the baby’s body came out first through the birth canal. Cephalic Vertex (head first) is the most common presentation. In many videos, the presentation is not known due to the camera angle. Various breech presentations are also represented in the research.
Water birth tubs and birth balls are some commonly used tools to help with the labor process. Many mothers prefer a water tub since water buoyancy can relieve pressure from the lower body. The temperature differences (usually with hot water) is also highly therapeutic. Water tubs can also make cleanup (arguably) easier. Birth balls are less frequently used during labor and birth, but may still play a significant role in maintaining strength and preparing for the big birth day in the weeks and months leading up to the birth.
Most families who choose to birth at home prefer to have one or more family members present. In the videos we analyzed, husbands are present in the vast majority of videos, with him participating and engaging to varying degrees. Note that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence: some fathers were present, but were the ones taking the video, or were otherwise off camera for various reasons. A smaller number of birth videos showed children in attendance.
Surprisingly, the graph shows that sitting and kneeling are the two preferred delivery position for most home birth mothers. Followed by hands-and-knees position which is also very common, then finally squatting positions respectively. There are also a significant number of unknown positions since sometimes the moment of birth itself is not clearly shown in the video. There are also standing, inclined semi-supine, supine, and floating positions. We also included an Other category for those situations where the position couldn’t be placed into any other common categories.
Doulas are another option some home birth mothers utilize. Doulas offer non-medical support before, during, and after the birth. In general, if a female attendant performed any medically related activities, we counted her as a midwife, not a doula.
A nuchal cord condition is when the umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck upon delivery. Often mistakenly characterized as a dangerous condition, it occurred in more than 10% of deliveries we analyzed and is resolved by taking the obvious course of action: unwrapping the cord. Most babies being delivered are not a nuchal cord. Only a few are single or double. When it was not clear in the video if there was a nuchal cord or not, we marked it as Unknown.
This data is not instructive at the aggregate level because we deliberately chose the kinds of births we wanted to analyze. But it has been useful for us to capture this birth video detail to create video compilations of just the mother or just the father catching babies. These compilations can be very powerful when helping mothers and fathers learn about their own roles in the birth process.
Here are some other assorted birth related events that are of interest to couples hoping to learn more about birth. A small number of birth videos show cord cutting or placenta management, so we have often received requests for compilations showing just those things. Breastfeeding immediately after birth is an important event that many mothers and fathers want to know more about. And of course the vocalizations that women make during their births can also be very helpful for other women to learn from or mimic.
Often times just having a water tub for birth doesn’t mean that is the type of birth the mother chooses in the moment. Here you can see that approximately one fifth of women who have access to a birth tub don’t actually give birth in the tub.