According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), as of 2014, about 1 in 3 American babies are born by cesarean section. While that statistic speaks only for babies born within the United States, there’s no denying that procedure is one of the most common and frequently performed surgeries on the planet.
Not every mother will be asked to undergo a C-section, and not every mother knows whether or not she’ll have to get one. In any case, the surgical procedure is common, effective, emotional, and in some cases life-saving.
Anne Drapkin Lyerly, M.D., an obstetrician, professor, and the associate director of the Center for Bioethics at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is obviously knowledgable on the topic of cesarean sections. In addition to her impressive resume, she’s also given birth to all five of her children via C-section. Suffice it to say, she’s a leading expert on the subject. “They can be really wonderful experiences that you can value. Not just because it’s your baby’s birthday, but because of what actually happens in the operating room and how you are treated,” she claims.
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Before you get to the delivery room, though, you’re going to have to prepare for labour. If you’ve never had a C-section, are expecting a repeat process, or are generally curious on the topic, Dr. Lyerly and other leading experts have some prudent and helpful advice that will help you understand everything you can do to have the perfect cesarean birth.
Check out these 6 helpful tips for having the perfect cesarean birth:
1. Choosing a provider
Selecting the best doctor for you can make an incredible difference in opting for a cesarean birth. Pamela Berens, M.D., professor of gynaecology at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth/Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston claims mothers should “make sure you have a provider who is willing to work with you.” Furthermore, Berens says that if mothers have any special requests, “It’s probably good to bring them up early in your pregnancy, at the first visit if possible.” Make sure that whichever doctor you select, is someone you can trust, communicate with, and someone who will cater to your needs.
Seeking additional medical opinions from different fields of study can also pay its dividends. For example, reaching out to an anesthesiologist, and paediatrician and/or neonatologist can help to answer any questions you have going forward. Lindsey Seger, president of the International Cesarean Awareness Network, says”If possible, ask to talk to the anesthesiologist beforehand to discuss what medicines you’ll be taking during and immediately after the procedure. Some meds that treat specific symptoms such as trembling and nausea may cause drowsiness or amnesia.”
2. Ask as many questions as you need
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As with any topic, you’ll never learn if you don’t ask questions and get answers. In regards to a medical procedure that can, in rare cases, have unpredictable outcomes…asking questions never did any harm. Lawrence Leeman, M.D., co-director of the mother-baby unit at The University of New Mexico Hospitals in Albuquerque advises expecting mothers to ask anything and everything regarding the procedure; no matter how big or small.
“Women can say, ‘Can you tell me what is it like having a Cesarean at your hospital? What things happen with the baby? How soon will I see my baby after he or she comes out?'” he recommends.
Understand the basics, and never shy away from asking anything regarding your childbirth plan. Knowledge is power, mummies!
3. Consider a family-centred caesarean birth
Family-centred Cesareans, also known as gentle Cesareans, have been steadily been rising in popularity in the mummy community.
In a traditional cesarean, medically stable babies are generally brought to a warmer in the operating room, then checked and weighed (and sometimes cleaned), then wrapped up before being taken to a nursery or occasionally given to the partner to hold and shown to the mother briefly. With Family-Centred Cesareans, a great deal of effort is made to ensure mothers and babies can see and touch each other right away. For Melissa Pizzo, a Cesarean educator in Albuquerque who had her fourth C-section in 2015, this made a big difference: “Having my baby stay with me instead of being taken away by the staff gave me a huge oxytocin high that I had never felt before during my other births.”
The birth plan for a Family-Centred Cesarean can vary tremendously based on the specific needs or requirements a mother has. The key is to be communicative with your doctors and prepare accordingly.
4. Get your partner involved
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Your partner should feel as though they are as involved as they can be when it comes to your birth. It’s their child too, and they should feel equally involved in the overall experience. If you want to involve and include your spouse in the experience, you’ll need to communicate. Understand what their feeling, see if they have questions, and inform them on every piece of knowledge you gain along the way.
Dr. Berens said of the importance of communication among partners, “It can be stressful for spouses, so letting everyone know what their role is will help.”
5. Consider a doula
A doula may not be the first person you’d seek out for the actual medical procedure, but considering a doula in your birth plan can still be of tremendous help. If you’re considering a C-section, also consider a doula. They can assist you to plan prenatally, come up with questions for your provider, and process previous births.
Amy Bennett of High Point, North Carolina, who had a doula for her planned Cesarean birth in 2012, says, “My doula was a wonderful part of my support team, leading up to and during the delivery. Education and support before birth is an important facet of the work she does, so I felt prepared!”
6. Plan and prepare for postpartum
Obviously, you’ll spend time recovering from your birth post-pregnancy. However, in the case of mothers who underwent a C-section, you’ll also need to recover from the surgery as well. The added recovery may take an unexpected toll on your body, so it’s wise to prepare for postpartum while you’re at the top of your game.
You can do things like prep meals (and freeze them) in advance, hiring help around the house, and getting a babysitter for your older children. The list goes on, really, but the idea is to get yourself in an advantageous position for the time you’ll spend recovering.
This article was based on a post from Parents.com
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