Are you craving a positive, gentle and EPIC caesarean birth?
Do you want to feel in control, call the shots and actually have a say in what goes down?
Want to know what options you have when it comes to a c-birth?
Yes? Then this blog is for you!
I talk a lot about physiological, vaginal, unmedicated births on my platform, but maybe a caesarean birth is truly the safest option for you and your baby. Maybe you have chosen to have a caesarean birth. Whatever the reason, you deserve to know your options, feel informed and take control.
All I want is for women and birthing people to be as informed as possible and know all their options before making decisions. I want you to be PROACTIVE about the birth you want. I want you to demand what you need because how you feel during your birth matters, no matter the mode.
Studies have shown that a main cause of birth trauma is not feeling heard, seen or involved in your own care – so read through this, listen to what intrigues you, what excites you, what is calling to you and start conversations about it with your health care professions.
Believe it or not, you can still feel in control of your c-birth. You can still call the shots, cultivate an EPIC experience and create a conducive environment for your birth.
I wanted to give some tips and tricks on how to make this happen for you, what questions to ask and conversations to start.
If something is important to you, your team should ensure they do everything in their power to make it happen for you – you should be working towards the same thing. And if you aren’t all working towards the same goals, you have every right to seek new health care professionals that will work with you on your dream birth.
Here we go…
You can have music playing – create a beautiful playlist that will help you feel calm, you can breathe to and will be soothing for your baby as he or she arrives. There may be over head speakers you can play this from or if not, headphones or perhaps a support person could play it off a mobile phone.
GOING INTO LABOUR
Depending on WHY you are having a caesarean, you might be able to go into spontaneous labour first and get that amazing cocktail of birth hormones.
For example, if your baby is in a breech position, you could wait for labour to begin naturally. This can reduce the need for baby needing resuscitation as the contractions can help to clear the lungs and can improve breastfeeding success as babies are more alert and eager to suckle.
Start the conversation with your health care providers and do your research about your individual circumstances.
It is important to know that if you go into labour and then have your c-birth it will technically classify as an ‘emergency caesarean’. But don’t let this scare you, it can absolutely still be a calm process.
You may come up against some issues with this. Your team might not want to be on call for example. But remember; if they don’t have you, they don’t have any business. They work for you!
Let’s talk MICROBIOMES! Now I am no scientist, but I have looked into this a fair bit and it’s safe to say that babies born via cesarean bypass on the beautiful microbiome bath that is exposed to babies that are born vaginally. The good news is, you can still expose your baby to your microbiome! It can help protect your babies immune system, help prevent against allergies, asthma, type 1 diabetes, coeliac disease and a range of other diseases.
Swabbing your vagina to pick up the microbiomes in the fluids and then wiping the baby with it can expose your baby to your magical microbiomes that will help protect your babies health and happiness. Studies have shown that if c-babies are exposed to their mothers microbiome in this way, their microbiome can look the same as a baby born vaginally within 30 days! How epic! Immediate skin to skin and breastfeeding will help with your babies immunity also.
Do the swabbing with your health care professionals and clue them in on how important this is to you and your baby. They should be all for it and have the right resources (like gauze) to do it properly.
(this is a great video that talks all about this. Watch here!)
DRAPES DOWN, PLEASE!
When it comes to the actual birth your baby, you may want to see him/her exit your womb. It can be a beautiful process. You can ask to have the drapes down after the incision has been made, for the whole process or for clear drapes if they have them. How beautiful to see your baby come earth side.
Did you know caesarean crawls are a thing!? I have attached some videos below!
So basically, the incision will be made and baby will be guided out a little bit and then your baby will wriggle him/herself out. This can be really good in helping babies to become more awake and alert (c-babies can be a little sleepy, unless you’ve been in labour beforehand, as they are so snuggly in the womb and haven’t been ‘woken up’ by labour). When they are alert, they are more willing and eager to breastfeed.
What an amazing memory to have! This is such a gentle alternative. Give it a go!
YOU CAN STILL PUSH!
You can PUSH your baby out! This is super helpful for your baby to clear his/her lungs and expelling fluids and mucous in their lungs (c-babies can be a little more mucus-y then babies born vaginally as the contractions squeeze their bodies and help them to bring up the fluids). It is also an amazing way for YOU to be actively involved in birthing your baby. Depending on the effects of the anaesthetic, this is a possibility!
CATCH YOUR BABY, TOO!
And then, after all that pushing and crawling, you might want to be the one to ‘catch’ your baby. This is called a Maternal Assisted caesarean.
I have seen some amazing videos of this recently and I seriously think this should just be the standard norm of c-births. This way, you can pull your baby straight up onto your chest for immediate skin-to-skin and bonding, your microbiome will be the first your baby gets (along with the swab) and you are the first person to hold/touch your baby!
This will probably mean there is no drape, you might need gloves and some equipment that would usually be placed on your hands/arms might need moving around.
All doable and totally worth it should you desire.
Again, this is a really amazing way for you to be consciously, actively involved in the birth.
Immediate Skin to Skin is a non-negotiable (unless there is an actual medical reason, where it would be unsafe). I have heard some epic BS excuses as to why this can’t happen. The worst being:
‘Theatre can be really cold, so we will take the baby and wrap him/her up, then pass him/her to you’
The reason this is BS is because it is a known fact that mothers regulate their body temperature to ensure that their babies are warm enough.
Another common excuse I have heard when mothers have asked if they can have immediate skin-to-skin is:
‘Sure! The paediatrician will just quickly look over baby to make sure everything is okay, then pass baby to you straight after that’
This is a frustrating one because (and I know this from experience) anything the Pead is checking for, can be checked while the baby is on your chest. Midwives can also put name tags on and clamp the umbilical cord while your baby is on your chest. Don’t take these excuses! Of course, unless there is a genuine reason (like baby needing some help breathing) then skin-to-skin might unsafe. But most of the time, it is optimal and completely safe to have immediate skin-to-skin
Skin-to-skin with partners or anyone else you love and trust is also a great idea, if the need arose. But be super clear that this is important for breastfeeding, bonding, regulating body temperature/heart rate/breathing/blood sugar, decreases stress plus so much more!
OF COURSE YOU CAN HAVE DELAYED CORD CLAMPING!
Lotus births are an option too. You just need to have the conversations. Delayed Cord Clamping holds many benefits such as; it increases babies blood volume and therefor iron levels (which is great for brain health/development). It improves stem cell count, fine motor skills plus a myriad of other amazing benefits.
I have been to c-births, where delayed cord clamping happened and it was almost comical to watch the (impatient) professionals in the room wait an extra 30 seconds or 1 minute or 2 minutes. Sure, they want to get the job done and get onto the next one. But they cannot do anything without your permission. So don’t give it to them until you are happy with how much amazing blood has been drained back into your baby. What a waste it would be for that nutritious magic to go in the bin!
BUT I WANT MORE THAN 1 SUPPORT PERSON TO COME INTO THEATRE..
Now this is probably the hardest one to achieve. I spoke to a few midwives about this before I wrote it and they all agreed that this is a challenge. Usually hospitals only allow one other person to come into theatre with you but you might want to have your partner and doula, your photographer, your mother. It will depend on the hospital and the size of the theatre rooms.
My tips with this are to make sure your team know it is extremely important to you to have people in your space that make you feel safe, supported, respected and know you personally. That it is so important in creating a beautiful feeling in what can be a sterile environment.
I have been to many c-births and they can be quite impersonal and the room can be filled with lots of people you don’t know (I’m talking like 6+ doctors, nurses, anaesthetists, paediatricians, midwives, etc.).
Ask if they can swap someone in there with your second support person like a student or orderly.
If it’s important to you, be persistent and make it super clear who you would want there with you and why!
So they are my top tips!
I really hope this helps you in planning your c-birth.
I will say it again; Yes you can plan a c-birth, you can be proactive about what happens and you can be in-control and call the shots. Make sure your team support you and are invested in you having an epic experience of bringing your baby earth side.
If there is anything else that is important to you, add it to your plan and inform your team.
I believe in you!
Here are some links to c-crawls and other beautiful c-births. Xxx