17 Tips for Reducing Your Chance of Cesarean

17 Tips for Reducing Your Chance of Cesarean

- Teri Nava-Anderson, 4/7/17

It's Cesarean Awareness Month. In honor that, here are some tips that we have noticed help improve a low risk birthing person's chances at having a vaginal delivery.

  1. Visualize the birth you want.
  2. Choose the kind of birth location that matches the kind of birth you want.
  3. Choose a care provider who specializes in the kind of birth you want. 
  4. Do not put yourself in the position of having to fight for the birth experience you want in a care facility or with a care provider you do not trust.  For oxytocin to flow, for the uterus to contract well, and for the cervix to open easily, you need to feel safe and supported. 
  5. Make a plan for an unmedicated birth.  An unmedicated labor helps with dilation, effacement, descent.  An upright labor statistically will progress more quickly. 
  6. Take a natural birth childbirth preparation course. 
  7. Hire a doula. 
  8. Say no to non-medically necessary inductions and let the baby choose their birthday.  Inducing increases the risk of a primary cesarean.  It can also lead to low heart rate, infection, umbilical cord problems, uterine rupture, and hemorrhage postpartum.
  9. Be active before labor. 
  10. If you are low risk, many care providers recommend that you stay home until you are in active labor if you're close to the hospital and are expected to have a typical length labor, if that helps you feel more relaxed.
  11. Shut down negativity. 
  12. Eat right.  Good nutrition helps your body work through labor more easily.
  13. Get your partner on board with your plan, so they aren't coming at this from a place of fear.  If they aren't comfortable, you'll be worried about them, not you.
  14. Be active in active labor.  Use movement.  Your body communicates with you throughout labor, sometimes using pain to tell you when baby isn't lined up right.  Move your body to move the baby.
  15. Keep things out of your vagina to decrease infection risks. Medical intervention and augmentation have their place, but in the absence of medical need, discuss with your care provider to possibility of:
  16. If baby is breech, check your options for breech vaginal delivery (locally, breech delivery is possible at UCSF and UC Davis) – mybreechbaby.org
  17. Lastly, remember that no one is promised an uncomplicated birth.  Prepare for any outcome.