Cesarean Birth Options

Table 1.2 on this page presents a list of options for cesarean couples. With the national cesarean rate at approximately 21 percent, every couple should be prepared for both a vaginal and cesarean birth and should explore the options for both, long before the baby’s due date.

A cesarean delivery can be a very rewarding experience for couples that are prepared and participate in the birth. Even an unexpected or emergency cesarean birth can be family centered if you prepare ahead “just in case”.

If you have chosen a nurse-midwife to be your caregiver, you should discuss the options in Table 1.2 with her physician backup. (See Section [9]).

Table 1.2. Options for an Optimum Cesarean Birth Experience
Option Reasoning
A supportive doctor, anesthesiologist, and hospital, all willing to allow a family-centered cesarean birth Careful selection will ensure family participation in the event of a cesarean delivery.
Participation in the birth process by your support person Your support person can provide you with emotional security during this special experience.
Admission on the day of surgery/birth for planned cesareans This gives you one more night at home, which can mean a better night’s sleep and extra time with your husband and other children.
Labor allowed to begin before a planned cesarean is performed Labor is nature’s way of telling you that it is time to have your baby. Waiting for it to beging lessens the chance of the baby being premature.
Knowledge of the different procedures associated with cesarean birth (for example, the lab tests, prep, and urinary catheter) Understanding what is being done allows you to be more relaxed.
Partial prep (shaving from the abdomen to the pubic bone) This minimizes the uncomfortable feeling caused by the pubic hair growing back in.
No preoperative sedation All medication may affect the baby. It may also affect you ability to interact with the baby at birth. Instead, use relaxation techniques prior to surgery.
Use of regional anesthesia This allows you to be awake when your baby is delivered and facilitates bonding. Except in the case of an acute emergency, adequate time is usually available for a regional anesthetic to be given.
Lowering the drape or providing mirrors during the delivery This allows the mother and father to watch the birth of their baby.
Admitting the infant to the well newborn nursery if his condition is satisfactory If a pediatrician or nurse evaluates the baby and approves of his condition, bonding can begin soon after birth, even in the recovery room. Rooming-in can also begin sooner.
If the baby has no respiratory problems, he can be placed in the newborn nursery instead of in the neonatal intensive care unit.
Nursing the baby as soon as possible after birth (on the delivery table or in the recovery room) This gives the baby and mother the same advantages of early nursing as does nursing following a vaginal delivery.
Bonding as soon after birth as is feasible Holding and touching the baby can reduce parental anxiety, along with providing the benefits of early bonding.
Rooming-in on a flexible basis This lets you care for your baby as your condition permits.
It enhances bonding and breastfeeding.
Help from her support person can greatly benefit the cesarean mother, as can assistance from the hospital staff.

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