The C-section rate is currently just over 30% in the US and many women wonder how they can avoid this surgery for their birth. This number is so big it can feel like we are powerless to do anything to prevent a cesarean. There are things that do help women lower their chance of c-section.
Below are 5 ways to avoid a c-section that are simple but effective.
Education is powerful.
Imagine approaching a transformative life event that requires endurance, involves pain, and is unlike anything you have ever experienced with zero preparation.
Imagine the difference in this experience if this life event was prepared for, if there were people rooting for you, and if you understood the process before you.
Childbirth is just such a life event. Preparation and education can make an enormous difference in not just fear but actual outcome. In fact, a great birth class can actually significantly lower the chance of cesarean.
The preparation of the partner is enormously important, too. If the partner is terrified of the birth process, that will rub off on the birthing woman. Don’t forget to prepare him/her!
2. Carefully choose your care provider
One of the biggest factors in how a woman births is simply how her doctor or midwife practices. Check their C-section rates and talk to local birth educators, doulas, and friends to find what other people think about your provider and how they practice.
3. Stay mobile in labor
One simple and surprisingly obvious but often ignored thing a woman can do in labor is to MOVE. This can help the baby move down in the birth canal and keep mom more comfortable as she uses gravity to help her labor progress.
Walking the halls, climbing the stairs, laying on your side, kneeling- these are all great ways to move in labor. Listen to your body in labor. It will tell you positions you need to be in to help your baby be born comfortably. You will learn about all of these positions and ways your partner can facilitate in your childbirth class.
4. Re-think induction
A first time mom who is induced significantly increases her chance of C-section, in some studies by as much as double.
Knowing your Bishop score prior to the induction can indicate what your odds of a vaginal birth are. The Bishop score takes into account the dilation, position, and firmness of the cervix as well as the fetal position and can give some indication of the chances that the induction will end in vaginal birth.
Some believe that the reason induction can increase the chance of cesarean birth is because it begins a so called “cascade of interventions.” Sometimes one thing, like a Cytotec or Pitocin induction can cause extra strong contractions, a need for pain relief, fetal distress, and eventually a need for a cesarean.
5. Hire a doula
A hands on and knowledgeable friend who is trained in assisting laboring woman can really make the birth experience more positive for both mom and dad and some studies have shown can decrease the C-section chance for that mother.
A trained doula is like a specialized “birth friend” who knows positions, tricks, and comfort measures to make your birth as awesome as it can be. A great doula brings so much more than a back massage and a hot pack! She forms a relationship with the birthing mother and her partner. She provides relational support– she knows what you want, what causes you fear and joy, and she brings that all together to support the birth you desire.
Who couldn’t use all that during the marathon of birth?
Childbirth isn’t something that works better when we are fearful. Yet many women feel very afraid and helpless regarding their chances of cesarean section. Concern is absolutely merited considering the high c-section rate, but there are things you can do to decrease your chances of cesarean section.
You can have an amazing birth!