There a multiple reasons you might be preparing for a planned caesarean birth. Perhaps it’s exactly what you’ve always wanted (so epic! I love you are planning the birth you want), or perhaps there’s a medical reason that means you’ll be birthing your baby this way (and you may have many big feelings about this, you may not).
Either way, I want you to know there is no right or wrong way to birth your baby and you can have the most powerful, beautiful and epic caesarean birth. This guide gives you information and offerings to make informed choices and birth in a way that is connected, incredible and aligns with your birthing values.
It’s your body, your birth and your choice. Take from this what resonates with you and leave what doesn’t.
Preparing for a planned caesarean birth
Have a care and support team you know and trust
Choose a care provider and birth support team that aligns with your values. Discuss your birth preferences with them. Have a team that listens to what you want. This could include a private midwife, obstetrician, doula and/or student midwife.
Become involved in the birth date decision
Unless medically indicated, your baby’s birth should be more than 39 weeks. This increases both short and long-term positive outcomes for your baby.
Express colostrum antenatally
Let your birth team know where your expressed colostrum is on your birthing day. That way, if there’s a medical reason that you are unable to feed your baby after birth, your expressed colostrum can be given to your babe. These antenatal colostrum expressing kits will help you collect your liquid gold prior to your baby’s arrival.
Organise a birth photographer
Having your birth documented by a professional birth photographer or someone in your birth support team gives you a powerful selection of images to look back on.
Create an epic birth playlist
Create a birthing playlist that vibes with you. You can listen to it to calm yourself prior to birth and in theatre and recovery. Check with your care provider of whether you can bring a speaker, or whether earbuds will be best.
Audio affirmations and something important to you
You can listen to or read affirmations on your way to theatre, and it might help to take an item of significance with you. Something that helps you feel calm and connected. Check out these beautiful affirmation cards to help build confidence and focus on how epic you are.
Allow your thoughts and feelings around your birth to just be
There is no right or wrong way to feel or think during birth. Let your feelings and emotions sit with you. Allow yourself to feel them. Whatever you feel is okay.
Diaphragmatic breathing and affirmations
Diaphragmatic breathing (you can learn a little about it in my free antenatal classes) and affirmations such as “I am safe, my body has done wonderful things” helps you stay in a parasympathetic state. A parasympathetic state helps oxytocin to flow when your baby is skin-to-skin and helps with breastfeeding.
Honour your body and your womb
Take a moment to honour all that your body and womb have done and all it is about to do. Your body is epic, strong and amazing. You can involve your care providers in this if it feels right for you, asking them to pause for a minute or say something prior to entering your body.
Ask people to explain everything they are doing to you and around you
This is your birth. And you are allowed to know exactly what is happening before, during and after your birth.
Have your support person present for the spinal
A lot of hospitals don’t “allow” this. But by challenging it prior to your birth, there is a better chance that your support person can be with you for this part too.
Electrodes on your back to help with skin-on-skin
Plan with your birth team to have the electrodes placed on your back. This will make skin-on-skin easier when your baby is born.
Drape down and gloved up to catch your baby
Ask for the drape down so you can see your baby being born and be gloved so you can catch them. Ask for your baby to be gently birthed through your uterus. Talk these through with your care provider in advance.
Announce the gender yourself
Make sure your care provider knows that you would like to announce the gender of your baby.
Delayed cord clamping and placenta tour
Ask for delayed cord clamping in advance and ask to see your placenta and have a tour. It’s epic! You can also keep your placenta if you wish.
Cut the cord yourself
You or your partner can still cut the cord yourself in a caesarean birth. Talk this through with your care provider.
Wait for the cord to be cut before routine intravenous antibiotics
Routine IV antibiotics are given to prevent infection. But you can ask them to wait until the cord has been cut before receiving them. That way they’re not unnecessarily given to your baby. Consider taking probiotics such as Qiara to restore your gut health after birth.
Wait until after skin-on-skin for measurements
Have skin-on-skin immediately with your baby. Take your own beanie and blanket for your baby. Ask your team to wait until after skin-on-skin to take your baby’s weight and measurements.
Eye contact and chat with your baby
During skin-on-skin, or even if you aren’t able to have your baby on you straight away (you can ask for them to be put as close to you as possible) – talk to them and look them in the eye whilst you reassure them and comfort them. They’re new to the light of the world. They will find comfort in your voice and your face. If your baby get's taken to the resus cot, ensure your partner or support person goes with them and talks with and touches them.
Ask that babe is not separated from you unless medically necessary
Ask for your baby to stay with you in recovery and doesn’t go to the ward without you. If your baby does need to be separated, organise for your birth support person to go with them. They can potentially facetime with you so you can see your baby.
Want to know more?
Check out our 3 part series on Caesarean Birth on our podcast The Great Birth Rebellion... Listen here.
No birth goes exactly to plan. It is the nature of birth and how it happens. If you are struggling with how your birth unfolded, or even if your birth went as close to your original intentions, your birth story still deserves to be told and heard.
A birth debrief is an opportunity for you to tell and honour your birth story. To unpack how it happened and why certain decisions were made. It helps you talk through your feelings, both positive and negative, around your birth and the early postpartum period.
You can learn more about birth debriefing and how to book a debrief with B here.
And if we don't connect, I'd like to wish you the most epic birth and postpartum ahead xx B
Incredible images by @jesstookthat of one of our epic restorer's births!