When we facilitate childbirth education classes, we cover the topic of cesareans; indications for surgery, how the procedure is carried out, what families can expect and how partners and family can support the birthing person before, during and after a cesarean birth. Educators may also discuss the emotions around giving birth by cesarean, whether planned or unplanned, that may come up during or after (even weeks, months or years) the birth.
One thing that I think frequently gets left out when discussing this topic in CB classes is the options that birthing families have when giving birth by cesarean. Just like we discuss birth plans, birth wishes, birth preferences, or birth intentions for a vaginal birth, I think it is important to also share that people giving birth by cesarean have some choices that they can express about that experience too, as long as it is not an emergency situation.
A few years ago, Cara Terreri, my friend and colleague, who is the community manager for Lamaze International's Giving Birth With Confidence consumer blog asked me to write a couple of pieces for the consumer blog during Cesarean Awareness Month. Recently, upon reflection, I thought that childbirth educators, doulas and other professionals who work with birthing families may appreciate having these articles as a reference and guide for discussing in class or referring families to, for reference and additional support on the topic of cesarean birth.
In the article "Making Your Cesarean Family Friendly," I cover 15 tips that parents can include in a cesarean birth plan, that can help to make the experience positive, less frightening and support the connection with their new baby. You can read the entire article on the GBWC blog and refer families directly there for additional information.
Another article that goes hand and hand with this one includes tips for the best postpartum recovery plan possible after giving birth by cesarean. Certainly, the hospital stay is longer and the time it takes to recover often is much more extensive than a vaginal birth. Families will appreciate giving some thought to what might be helpful in that situation, before the birth occurs. Find the article "Postpartum Recovery Tips After a Cesarean Birth" here.
What do you tell families about making a cesarean birth plan? How do you help families to prepare when a cesarean is the best option for a safe and healthy birth? Share in the comments section so we can all be better prepared to inform parents about cesarean birth.