Some people plan their operative births ahead of time (no judgment here - I believe everyone should be able to experience birth the way they want!) and some people end up with Cesarean births they didn't want. In honor of #NationalCesareanAwarenessMonth, I wanted to share some resources around Cesarean birth for parents who might not have it in their birth plan.
This joint statement by ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) and SMFM (Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine) is a guide to preventing unnecessary first-time Cesarean births. It's a little long, and a lot dry, but it is PACKED with evidence-based information and statistics that you can present to your OB if you are a first-time parent and they suggest a Cesarean birth. Read it ahead of time to see how your individual situation fits into what is discussed in the article: for example, say you are being told your baby is too large to birth vaginally - the medical term for this is "suspected fetal macrosomia." The document clearly states "Suspected fetal macrosomia is not an indication for delivery and rarely is an indication for cesarean delivery." This means, if everything else is going fine, a baby who measures large via ultrasound is not a reason to induce labor and is rarely a reason to schedule a Cesarean. Ask your provider to go over this information with you and explain how you fit in, so you can come to a decision together on how you will go forward. Towards the end, it even mentions continuous labor and delivery support, such as a doula, as a way to reduce the rate of Cesarean birth! Thanks for the shoutout, ACOG/SMFM!
If you are still pregnant and your baby is not in an ideal position for birth, your healthcare provider may present the idea of a Cesarean birth. If that's not something you want, check out Spinning Babies for tons of information about encouraging baby to turn. They even have a list of daily and weekly activities you can do.
Originally posted on Canadian doulas The Maya's Nest's blog, these beautiful birth affirmations have been such a comfort to parents who might not feel comfortable with the typical ones geared towards vaginal birth. From their post, "It is important to remember that although plans may have changed and the birth didn't happen as originally hoped, babies born via cesarean section were still BIRTHED BY THEIR MOTHERS." Yes to this!
ICAN is a worldwide organization dedicated to the reduction in preventable Cesarean births. If you experienced an unplanned Cesarean birth and you're having difficult feelings around it, ICAN is a great way to connect with other parents who have gone through the same thing. When you bond with others over shared experiences, it's easier to heal. You are not alone! Check out their facebook group to learn more.
It used to be the rule that, if you had one Cesarean birth, all future births would be operative as well. But times are changing and more and more OBs are opening up to the idea of VBACs - Vaginal Birth After Cesarean. If you have had a Cesarean birth and you want to experience vaginal birth in the future, you need to check out this site!
Cesarean birth is birth
I am constantly saying it - no birth experience is better or more valid than another. For those of you with difficult feelings around your Cesarean birth, please remember: your body has not failed you. You have grown this baby and kept it safe for this long, and that is amazing. For those of us who have not experienced it, I ask you to hold space for parents who have Cesarean births. Challenge the idea that Cesarean birth is "taking the easy way out." In fact, people who give birth via Cesarean have to deal with all the typical aspects of postpartum recovery, including caring for a newborn, all while recovering from major surgery. So please join me in supporting and celebrating Cesarean parents.