I have met more than one pregnant mom in my time, some first time mothers, and even some expecting their 6th child. And a pretty common consensus is, wanting to avoid a cesarean section at almost all costs.
So, I put together a short list of simple things that moms can do to help reduce their risk of a cesarean section.
- Take a Childbirth Class – There are many independent childbirth educators located all over the state of Connecticut, try and avoid hospital provided childbirth classes.
- Interview a number of care providers when making your decisions, including touring different birthing facilities & discussing birth plans, inquiring about intervention statistics, & asking if they have protocols in place to reduce cesarean rates. All providers know their cesarean and other intervention rates.
- Hire a doula to help support you through labor; doula support during labor is associated with a 50% decrease in ending with a cesarean. There are many doula agencies, as well as independent doula’s who practice actively around the state, and some even come to CT from New York for bordering towns.
- Read Read Read! And I do not mean those scary “What to expect….” books. When I was pregnant with my first I read all of them and they scared me half to death, as well as aided me to be a “good patient“.
- Avoid elective labor inductions. By elective I mean non medically necessary, or not for a medical reason. We are all miserable in the last couple weeks of pregnancy, but we also need to remember that 40% of labor inductions end in cesarean sections, whether medically necessary or not. Also, by avoiding an induction, you are avoiding potentially bringing a premature baby into the world. Ultrasound due dates can be inaccurate, as well as estimated due dates from your last cycle.
- Avoid being restricted to laboring in bed. It is scientifically proven that lithotomy position (laying on your back) is the worst position to labor in.
- In the case that you have a baby in a breech position, see a Chiropractor and talk about methods to help turn the baby. There are a lot of resources that can help you get your baby into optimal position for birth. Spinning Babies is a great website. Also, find a Chiropractor certified in the Webster Technique. The webster has an up to 86% success rate of getting babies in optimal position for birth. When all else fails, there is external version.
- Avoid routine ultrasounds late in pregnancy for measurement. Often ultrasound measurements in the last few weeks of pregnancy can be up to 20% inaccurate which can be up to 2 full pounds in either direction.
- In early labor, do light activities in the day time & rest at night or sleep if possible.
- Have faith in the process of birth, in your body, & in your baby. You CAN give birth!
While all these are easy actions we can take, it does not mean that you will not have a cesarean section. There are sometimes great medical reasons for having this procedure, and while you may be scared it can and will save your babies life. Always pay attention to the cesarean section part of your birth class, or talk to your health care provider about policies and procedures if a cesarean does become necessary. Also know there is a local support group available if you are in need of it.
Adapted from: Flamm, B. 1998. Reducing Cesarean Section Rates Safely: Lessons from a “Breakthrough Series” Collaborative, Birth: Issues in Perinatal Care 25(2):117-124.
Image courtesy of arztsamui / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Danielle A. Elwood is a Connecticut native, born and raised on the Connecticut shoreline in the Lordship community of Stratford. The Wife of a Veteran Marine, and mother of two small boys, Camden and Benjamin, she works heavily in the pregnancy and birth community, as well as the local shoreline parenting community, all while active as the head of a local nonprofit organization called ICAN, which provides support for mothers who have had cesarean section births. She is a doula by trait and hopes to become a midwife some day. For now she wants to help reach as many mothers as she can through ICAN and education. You can follow Danielle on Twitter @BirthBabiesBlog