Just because you’re having a cesarean (whether planned or unplanned), this does not mean you’re out of the running for a highly personalised, beautiful, positive birth!
You can still curate an experience that is ENTIRELY your own!
Belly birth is still birth.
And you’re not expected to throw the towel in and give up when you need one.
This birth is still YOURS and this baby is still yours. And you still have say in how it’s gonna go!
Below, I’m going to list a bunch of things you can consider including in your Birth Preferences, to ensure your csection feels warm and natural, and inject a little more ‘humanity’ into this human experience.
This is perfect for you if you’re aiming for a vaginal birth too. If you need a csection, you’re going to feel relieved that you took the time to nut out exactly how you would like it to look and feel, rather feeling lost, confused and completely out of control.
And for those of you who are planning a csection, these little tweaks are going to make you even more excited!
The first thing to do is discuss these preferences with your care provider, and make sure they’re aware of them. They can even sign off on them too. That way you know that if you do end up in theatre, those looking after you know exactly what you want. And YOU know what you want!
Secondly, I encourage you to do your research on Maternal Assisted Cesarean.
This is when you scrub in, wear gloves and the OB helps you pull baby from your belly and onto your chest. It does take some paperwork and prep, but if you’ve got the time and it feels aligned, definitely look into that. It’s not for everyone, but I have heard many women say they wish they knew about it for their planned csection.
Otherwise, the below preferences are for a ‘Gentle Cesarean’, which can be used in emergency or planned scenarios.
Please feel free to copy and paste these into your own plan!
If there is anything you don’t understand or haven’t heard of before, then consider that an invitation to research and brush up on your birth knowledge.
Birth Companion – we would like that my partner stay with the baby at all times.
Keep Midwife – if possible, we would like the midwife who had been caring for us to stay our midwife, rather than become theatre staff.
Calm Atmosphere – we would like the atmosphere to remain as calm and quiet as possible – our birth space is to be respected.
Music – we would love it if our music could be played during the procedure.
Lighting – we would like it if our baby’s eyes could be shielded from the bright theater
lights when they are born and to keep lights dimmed at my head
Lower Screen at Delivery – I would like the screen to be lowered during the birth of our baby and if possible, I would like to assist.
Electrodes on my back – place monitoring electrodes on my back to facilitate uninterrupted skin to skin
Baby’s Gender – we have not found out the gender of our baby so please do not announce it – we would like to find out for ourselves.
Vaginal Seeding – I would like to do vaginal seeding , please help me facilitate this.
Delayed Cord Clamping – if me and my baby are doing well, any delay in the clamping and cutting of the cord would be appreciated.
Placenta – I would like to keep my placenta/I am not keeping my placenta
Our Baby – when our baby is born, please only gentle wiping or drying of our baby – we understand vernix is beneficial for their skin.
Immediate Skin to Skin – Please place our baby as soon as possible onto my chest – this is very important to us.
Baby to Stay With Mum – if health permits, the baby is to stay with me at all times – during the completion of the procedure and recovery. If my baby requires any breathing assistance, I would prefer baby to stay on my chest while this happens if possible.
Breastfeeding – I would like the opportunity to breastfeed during my recovery and any support required to do so.
Self Attachment – we’d love your patience while we give our baby the opportunity to do the breast crawl and self-attach.
Vitamin K – we are happy for our baby to receive the vitamin K injection OR oral drops OR we decline Vitamin K
Hepatitis B – we are happy for our baby to receive the Hep B vaccination OR we decline the Hep B vaccination
Bonding Time – we would love 1-2 hours uninterrupted bonding time (skin to skin) after the birth with one or both parents. Baby to remain with parents at all times. All baby exams including weighing and measuring to please be delayed.
Expressed Colostrum – I will be bringing frozen colostrum to the hospital in case my baby needs it and wish for this to be given to my baby before considering alternative options OR Please gain my consent before giving baby formula
If you’d like a more comprehensive and fully customisable Birth Preferences template, you can get it here.
Lastly, your preferences don’t need to be anything fancy! Just a simple word document is fine!
If you need any help – you know where to find me!