In its most basic sense, unassisted childbirth means giving birth at home without the aid of doctors or midwives. However, for many women who choose this route, unassisted childbirth, or UC, implies much more.
In an unassisted childbirth no one acts as a midwife. Instead, the birthing woman herself determines the course of her labor. Partners or friends may participate to varying degrees, but no one instructs the woman as to how to give birth, when to push, what position to be in, etc. Occasionally suggestions may be offered but it is assumed that the woman giving birth is the true expert on her own body.
In the type of UC that I advocate, timing contractions and checking dilation is not necessary. If a woman is in touch with her body, she will know when to push. Checking dilation can not only be painful and invasive, it can also be distracting. The presence of fingers in her vagina can actually cause a woman to tense her vaginal muscles at a time when relaxation is essential.
A woman in labor needs to be supported emotionally, or simply left alone. All the knowledge she needs to birth her baby is already within her. Her job is simply to relax, trust her body, and allow her baby to enter the world.