About 1 in 3 babies is born via cesarean section in the United States. Also called a C-section, a cesarean section is a type of surgery where a baby is born through an incision in the mother’s abdomen.
Many women assume that C-sections are impersonal, and they hope for a vaginal delivery. But whether they’re chosen for personal preference, medical history, or complications during labor, C-section deliveries are common.
Farly Sejour, MD, and our OB-GYN team at Solace Women's Care specialize in helping expecting moms prepare for delivery, and that includes creating a birth plan. Whether you want to have a vaginal or cesarean birth, thinking about your preferences for labor and delivery is important.
Women who choose to have a vaginal birth often develop a birth plan that outlines how they want to experience labor and delivery, but a birth plan is just as helpful if you’re planning a cesarean section. And in the event that you need an unplanned C-section, it’s a good idea to learn a little bit about the process before the time comes.
When you’re developing your cesarean birth plan, think about these things:
What happens during delivery
A cesarean section is considered major surgery, but you still have options when it comes to your birth experience. Thinking about what’s important to you in the event of a C-section helps ensure you have a positive delivery.
Questions to ask yourself when developing your C-section birth plan:
- What are your preferences for pre-surgery medication?
- Who do you want in the operating room with you?
- Do you want a mirror or other arrangements so you can view the birth?
- Would you like someone to take photos or record the birth?
- What arrangements can make the operating room more comfortable for you?
Think about how you would like your birth experience to play out, and include details in your birth plan. Small details, like requesting that your IV be inserted in your non-dominant hand or your EKG monitor to be placed on the side, can make a huge difference in your first moments with your new baby.
Your preferences after birth
Your birth plan doesn’t end once your baby is born. It should include information about what you want to happen following the birth and how you want your baby cared for.
More questions to consider include:
- Who will cut the umbilical cord?
- Do you want skin-to-skin contact while in the operating room?
- Do you want your baby to stay with you after birth?
- Do you want the hospital staff to bathe your baby?
- What are your preferences for postpartum pain medication?
In many cases, you can touch and hold your baby shortly after a C-section as you would with a vaginal delivery. Think about what’s important to you when it comes to being separated from your baby, if and when you want to start breastfeeding, and more.
Sharing your birth plan with your health care team
When you start writing down your birth plan, you might find that you have a lot of questions. Take a draft of your birth plan to your next prenatal appointment, or consult with your childbirth educator or doula, to get those questions answered.
Once you’re confident in your birth plan, make several copies. Consider sharing a copy with your doctors, the hospital, and any other health care providers you plan to involve in labor and delivery. Keep extra copies in your hospital bag, and don’t be afraid to bring it up when it’s time to deliver your baby.
It’s nearly impossible to follow a birth plan exactly, but creating one before your baby is born helps you prepare for labor and delivery. It also helps your health care team give you the best possible experience and make your baby’s birth a joyful, memorable event.
Solace Women’s Care is proud to provide moms-to-be with comprehensive obstetrics care to support any birth plan. To learn more about preparing for C-section delivery, schedule an appointment with us at our Conroe, Texas, office. Call 936-441-7100 or send us a message online.