Things To Do To Avoid A Cesarean Section

BEFORE LABOR

bulletRead and educate yourself, attend classes and workshops inside and outside the hospital.
bulletResearch and prepare a birth plan. Discuss your birth plan with your midwife or doctor and submit copies to your hospital or birth center.
bulletInterview more than one care provider. Ask key questions and see how your probing influences their attitude. Are they defensive or are they pleased by your interest?
bulletAsk your care provider if there is a set time limit for labor and second stage pushing. See what s/he feels can interfere with the normal process of labor.
bulletTour more than one birth facility. Note their differences and ask about their cesarean rate, VBAC protocol, etc.
bulletBecome aware of your rights as a pregnant woman.
bulletFind a labor support person. Interview more than one. A recent medical journal article showed that labor support can significantly reduce the risk of cesarean.
bulletHelp ensure a healthy baby and mother by eating a well-balanced diet.
bulletIf your baby is breech, ask your care provider about exercises to turn the baby, external version (turning the baby with hands), and vaginal breech delivery. You may want to seek a second opinion.
If you had a cesarean, seriously consider VBAC. According to the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologist, VBAC is safer in most cases than a scheduled repeat cesarean and up to 80% of woman with prior cesareans can go on to birth their subsequent babies vaginally.

DURING LABOR

bulletStay at home as long as possible. Walk and change positions frequently. Labor in the position most comfortable for you.
Continue to eat and drink lightly, especially during early labor, to provide energy.
bulletAvoid oxytocin augmentation for a slow labor. As an alternative, you may want to try nipple stimulation.
bulletIf your bag of water breaks, don't let anyone do a vaginal examination unless medically indicated for a specific reason. The risk of infection increases with each examination. Discuss with your care provider how to monitor for signs of infection.
bulletRequest intermittent electronic fetal monitoring or the use of a fetoscope. Medical research has shown that continuous electronic fetal monitoring can increase the risk of cesarean without related improvement in outcome for the baby.
bulletAvoid using an epidural. Medical research has shown that epidurals can slow down labor and cause complications for the mother and baby. If you do have an epidural and have trouble pushing, ask to take a break from pushing until the epidural has worn off some and then resume pushing.
bulletDo not arrive at the hospital too early. If you are still in the early stages of labor when you get to the hospital, instead of being admitted, walk around the hospital or go home and rest.
bulletFind out the risks and benefits of routine and emergency procedures before you are faced with them. When faced with any procedure, find out why it is being used in your case, what are the short and long term effects on you and your baby, and what are your other options.
bulletRemember, nothing is absolute. If you have doubts, trust your instincts.
bulletDo not be afraid to assert yourself. Accept responsibility for your requests and decisions.

 

ACOG Practice Bulletin: Vaginal Birth After Previous Cesarean Delivery

SOGC Clinical Practice Guidelines: Vaginal Birth After Previous Caesarean Birth

 
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