What if it is a cesarean birth?

26 Oct

Although a cesarean is major surgery, it is also the birth of your baby. Find out what options are available if a cesarean section becomes necessary. This advance planning may make even an unexpected cesarean section a better experience.

  • If you have a planned cesarean, ask to have the cesarean after labor begins to reduce the baby’s risk of being born too early and having breathing problems.
  • Ask that your partner and/or labor assistant accompany you in the surgical suite.
  • Ask to  have a spinal or an epidural to allow you to be awake during the birth. This would allow you to hear your baby’s first cry, to see your baby’s face, and to breastfeed sooner.
  • Ask the anesthesiologist to avoid giving you sedatives or other drugs that might make you forget your time in the recovery room.  This way you can be alert to spend time with the baby in the recovery room, and you won’t forget that experience later.
  • Ask to hold the baby while the team completes the surgery.  For the baby to have its first exam in the operating room instead of going to the nursery.
  • Ask the anesthesiologist to give you epidural medication to extend comfort during the first 24 hours after the baby is born.
  • Take pictures, videotape the birth,  or record your baby’s first cry.
  • Ask the staff  to place your baby on your chest for a few minutes so that you can feel, see, and speak to your newborn while the physicians complete the surgery.
  • Ask to  have warm blankets after the surgery.
  • Ask that your partner go to the nursery with the baby during observation.
  • Ask that  your family and friends visit you and the baby in the recovery area.
  • Ask to have the baby with you in your room when you’re ready.
  • Ask if  your partner can stay overnight with you in your postpartum room. Is there a cot or bed for him/her  to sleep on?
  • Find out if  a lactation consultant is available to help you with breastfeeding.

Find out more about planning a cesarean from:

ICAN, Family Centered Cesarean

Penny Simkin, The Best Cesarean Possible

Mother’s Advocate video, skin-to-skin contact at the moment of birth

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