Talking to your doctor about C-sections

As you’ve probably heard by now, labor can be full of surprises, and sometimes a woman’s birth plan takes an unexpected turn. The goal is always to keep mom and baby as healthy as can be, but changes in any birth plan – especially changes made weeks, days, or even hours before labor – can be startling for the new mom. So if your provider starts talking about C-sections, it’s worth opening up a dialogue.

Ask, ask, ask away!

Your provider won’t recommend that you undergo a C-section unless he or she has determined that, medically, it would be the best option for you. That doesn’t mean you can’t ask questions, though. In fact, learning more about this kind of option can be empowering for moms-to-be, especially moms-to-be who were strongly hoping for a vaginal birth. So don’t hold back, and feel free to ask as many questions as you want about C-sections.

Things to ask and things to know

If your provider recommends a C-section, you might have a lot of questions for your provider, or you might find yourself in the complete opposite situation, and be tongue-tied and unsure of what to ask. Here are some questions that will be helpful to have your provider answer

  • Why is a C-section a good choice for me?: If your provider recommends a C-section, it’s for a specific reason. Don’t be afraid to ask why exactly he or she thinks a C-section is best for your pregnancy and birth.
  • What would happen if I were to deliver vaginally?: Many moms would prefer to have a non-surgical birth, and you wouldn’t be alone in feeling confused about a possible change in birth plan. Consider asking your provider about the possibility of delivering vaginally, and why they think it might not be in your best interest.
  • What are the possible risks of a C-section?: Your provider might feel that a C-section is the safest way to deliver, but a C-section is still major surgery – it’s good to know the risks or possible complications that come from having a C-section, so that you can be prepared.
  • What will recovery be like? What will I need during the recovery period?: Some moms don’t realize that after a C-section, they can’t operate a car. You’ll want to know exactly what you need for your recovery, so that you can go into labor feeling prepared and in control.
  • Where can I find out more about C-sections?: Your provider should be able to direct you to resources where you can learn more about things like what a C-section entails, the types of anesthetic that you’ll be offered, and the preparation that the hospital staff will do before pre-surgery.

Keep the conversation going

As your pregnancy progresses, more questions about C-sections might pop into your head. Feel free to ask your provider each and every one that you can think of! There’s no such thing as too many questions, especially when it comes to birth plans. As your due date gets closer and closer, your provider will go over the plan again, and the two of you will discuss details like what medications you might want to take for labor.

Staying open to changes in the birth plan

It’s exciting to think about how your birth will go, and there’s nothing wrong with dreaming up your ideal birth plan and then thinking about it from time to time. But there is always a chance that the birth plan will change, to ensure that you have the healthiest delivery possible. No matter how much you want your birth to go a certain way, try your hardest to be open to the option of things going differently. And if you find yourself confused or upset about any changes that your provider suggests, don’t be afraid to talk to someone you trust about these feelings.

The best birth experience is the one that works for you. This said, labor is a highly personal experience, and it can feel empowering to learn more about whatever plan you and your provider are considering. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about what your birth experience might entail; the more knowledge you have, the more prepared you are for the future!

  • “Having a C-section.” March of Dimes. March of Dimes, February 2015. Web.
  • “Ceasarian section.” Children and Youth Health. Government of South Australia, May 11 2016
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