With a national cesarean rate of 29.1%, pregnant women have at least a 1 in 4 chance to give birth through surgery. Although most women do not plan to have a cesarean, it is always wise to be prepared if this procedure were to become necessary. Educating yourself about the possible decisions that you might face in the childbirth process will help you become a stronger advocate for your ideal birth. The following points to consider will help you be more prepared if a cesarean birth becomes a necessary option.
Tips for Creating a Positive Birth Experience:
- Create a flexible birth plan. Having a plan that you can discuss with your health care provider can give you information about specific cesarean policies and procedures.
- Find out what the policies and regulations are for the cesarean operating room at your birthing location.
- If possible, arrange to have at least one support person with your during the operation. Having two support people with you is ideal because one can always be with you and the other with the baby. However, this option is sometimes is more difficult to get approved.
- Ask if music can be played in the background since this can promote relaxation.
- Practice the deep breathing and relaxation methods you learned in childbirth class. Use these to help calm you before the surgery.
- Learn as much as possible about the medication and anesthesia used during a cesarean. Ask about medication options and the possible side effects for you and the baby.
- Ask permission to view the birth with a mirror.
- Ask permission to touch the baby immediately after the birth.
- Arrange for your partner to cut the cord.
- Ask if you would be able to have the baby placed on your chest while the newborn exam is performed.
- If desired, ask permission to have pictures and video taken of the birth.
- If you are planning to breastfeed, find out how soon after surgery you could begin.
- Read educational books about cesarean birth. Keep in mind that no matter what type of birth you might choose, the overall goal is to have a healthy baby and a healthy mother!
Compiled using information from the following sources:
Childbirth Connection, http://childbirthconnection.com/