Reclaiming Birth For All Women - Planning a Positive Caesarean Birth
Birth can be a roller coaster, caesarean even more so – for a woman who has set her heart on a vaginal birth, then the news that this baby is to be born via caesarean can be a real blow. So how can we set about ensuring that this is a positive experience.
Use your TBRAIN
Ensure you are fully informed that you understand the reasons behind the caesarean and what all your options are, use your TBRAIN, ask if you can have some Time, what are the Benefits, Risks, Alternatives, what does your Intuition say and what happens if you do Nothing.
Be reassured that this is still your birth, you can still own it, be empowered by it and enjoy it.
Liaise with your Health Care Professionals
Liaise with the midwives and consultant, write a good birth intentions. They are not mind readers and cannot know your wishes unless you express them.
Consider ways you can personalise your birth
A few special techniques that can be considered are
- aromatherapy oils on tissues or cloth
- a Birth and or Post Natal Doula
- hypno birthing techniques before and during the birth
- your own music
- gown back to front to facilitate skin to skin
- ensuring no-one announces sex of the baby
- protected golden hour
- delayed cord clamping and milking of it
- placenta encapsulation
- lowered lights and voices in the room (just not over the operating table)
- staff being mindful this is a birth and focusing on bringing life into the world
- asking a member of staff to take photographs on your camera or phone
- a lotus caesarean birth (where the placenta is kept with the baby until you are ready for them to be apart).
Your birth partner or Doula can remind staff of all of this before the birth process starts and during if needed.
Research and Consider Seeding the Biome
To quote my fellow Doula, Lisa from Birth Roots "If you have c-birth, consider vaginal seeding/swabbing to increase these microbiome. A wise move to embed it into your birth preferences in your 'what ifs'." This is where a sterile guaze is places into the vagina and wiped over the baby to transfer some of the natural healthy bacteria the baby would have received onto their skin during a vaginal birth. More information can be found on this link "Seeding" The Newborn's Microbiome - Can We Do It? Should We Be Doing It". which discusses the importance of a healthy vaginal microbiome, taking into account GBS and vaginal pH.
Impact of a Positive Caesarean Birth
A positive caesarean leaves women feeling ecstatic, to quote Charlotte Bessent about the birth of her second child, Sophie, “On the back of a previous traumatic birth I was overwhelmed with anxiety in the run up to this birth, but with the help of a fantastic team of understanding midwives who listened to my wants and needs and understood them and with the support of everyone involved with the Cardiff and Caerphilly Positive Birth Movement, I had a positive and healing birth, although not the birth expected it was completely centred around us and our new bundle”.
Ensure Uninterrupted Skin to Skin for the First Hour
Weighing can wait, babies do not need to be wiped over or dressed, your baby can and should be passed straight to you unless there is a medical issue that means otherwise. If a baby cannot skin to skin with the mother then skin to skin with the birth partner can take place. This first hour is a crucial time. Many medical checks can also be carried out with the baby on your chest. More information on the Golden Hour can be read here "The Golden Hour, Giving Your Newborn The Best Start".
Watch The Following Video
A video on family centred caesareans made by senior consultants - you can always play it to your care providers if they seem reluctant to take your views on board.
(This stunning birth image of Sophies emergence into the world was taken by medical staff at the request of Charlotte and her husband).
Samantha Gadsden is an experienced Doula based close to Cardiff in South Wales, mother to 4 children and wife to Eddie, more information can be found on her facebook page, Samantha Gadsden Doula and website, Caerphilly Doula.