Caesarean birth is still birth!

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by Persephone Moir


The last time I checked Childbirth was not just classed as baby coming out of your vagina! The act of birth is to deliver a baby into this world, it is the act of separation from the mother, is the act of a baby breathing independently, is the beginning of a new life for both mother and baby. It does not matter how this happens, it is still birth.


The reason I am feeling quite passionately about this at the moment is because recently I had somebody contact me who asked “would you work with somebody planning a c section” Like it was some sort of dirty word that was not good enough to deserve all the planning, care and attention any other birth does. So I will say it again Caesarean is still birth and deserves as much thought and planning as any other birth!


Caesarean birth comes in 2 ways, either planned (elective) or in an emergency situation. Both deserve as much thought and understanding.


If you are planning a natural vaginal birth do you need to be thinking about caesarean, most definitely! Because if an emergency should happen you want to be able to make the right decisions for you, you want to have an understanding of your options, you want to feel heard, you want to feel in control, and you want the skills and techniques to stay calm during the procedure, and you need to understand how best to heal, how best to support breastfeeding, you want to understand how you can stay positive in a potentially scary and unpredictable scenario.


So a few things to consider in an unplanned c section. What hand do you want cannula fitted, by putting it in your less dominant hand it will enable easier cuddles immediately afterwards. What are your thoughts about the cord and placenta, if appropriate would you like to delay (can be done for a short while in some scenarios) do you want the drapes up or down. Do you want immediate skin to skin. What is most important to you during this scenario? What matters to you most during your birth, is it staying calm, is it being listened to, is it being given time to think, is it being supported, is it being respected. Give all this some thought, and make your C plan.


With an elective caesarean the same preparation is needed as in a natural vaginal birth, you still have options and choices to make, you still have a right to be listened to, a right to be treated with respect, a right to have reasonable requests followed. You have the opportunity to create a beautiful gentle birth for your baby. And you will need to be very strong of mind and spirit to be able to manage what is a major surgery whilst awake more often than not. So yes, I do work with people planning a c section, because there is a lot of work to be done!


So let’s start with ITS YOUR CHOICE! As with any birth choice, to have an elective c section is your choice. It is not the soft option, it is not the lazy way to birth, too posh to push all that bollocks, it is major abdominal surgery that no woman takes on for no good reason. It may not have been your 1st choice, but given the information you now have it is your choice to make. You do not need to justify your reasons, but do make sure that it is the right choice for you, and not just a presumption by your care givers given your current position.


Some examples of presumptive c Sections are if you have had a previous section, or have a breech baby. I am not saying these aren’t reasons to choose a section, but they do also have options surrounding them, so make sure it is your informed choice and not just a presumption of that’s what you do.


There are a few examples where vaginal birth is definitely not happening. A transverse lay is not coming out vaginally without some pretty major shifting, or placenta previa where the placenta actually covers the cervix. Or there may be a medical condition that contra indicates vaginal birth. But whatever the reason be, make sure it is your informed choice, that you are comfortable with the choice you have made and that you are happy with that choice.


It is really important to understand that ownership of your choice and positive thoughts around this choice are crucial, not so you can justify your choice to anyone who presumes they have the right to comment on it, but so you are happy, confident and ready to make this birth a beautiful, empowering birth for yourself and your baby.


If you are not feeling happy about your choice this is really important to recognise and work on releasing. You thoughts and feelings are completely valid. It is ok to feel sad or disappointed at not getting the birth that you wanted, it is important to recognise this, work out what it actually is that you feel you have lost, and work out if there is a way to find that in the birth you ultimately get.


There is strength and empowerment in caesarean birth, it can be gentle, you can be actively involved in that you control the choices surrounding your caesarean birth, you can utilise the skills of staying calm and grounded, and you can find your strength in healing, in feeding and nurturing.


If you are struggling to come to terms with your caesarean birth, or would like to do further preparation for your caesarean birth then do get in contact. Joyful birth coaching is for everyone who wants a positive birth.


It’s not how you birth, but how you feel about your birth that matters

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