Pregnant women share this fear all of the time: I don't want to have a cesarean, or at least not an unnecessary one. While some cesareans might just be inevitable, there are aspects of preparing for and going through the birth portal that are within your control. As always, you are the sole authority of your body, and we trust you to make decisions that feel best to you.
Cervical exams can provide some information, but are not a reliable way of getting information about the progress of your birth. Having constant cervical exams increases the likelihood that your provider will pathologize a birth that is progressing healthily and declare that a cesarean is necessary.
Electronic Fetal Heart Monitoring
Electronic fetal heart monitoring was first introduced in the 1970s, with the intent to decrease rates of cerebral palsy in newborns. With this introduction, came soaring cesarean rates (6% to 33%) in a matter of 50 years, and no changes to the rates of cerebral palsy. Continuous EFM remains as standard practice today in most hospital settings.
Confinement to Bed or Back-Laying Positions
If there is ONE thing that women need during birth, it is freedom to use their bodies as their bodies need to be used. Standard practices of confining women to bed or insisting they assume a lithotomy position (laying on back with legs up in stirrups) is the golden standard of interference in a birthing woman's mobility. This practice negatively impacts the pelvis's ability to expand, the baby's ability to desend and turn through the pelvis, and often increases pain, fear, and tension. In other words, this standard is only meant to serve one person: the doctor.
Coached pushing often encourages women not to push at all until an external person informs them that the woman is perceived to be fully dilated, to push hard for ten whole seconds with her breath held in rhythm with the contractions on an electronic monitor. This method disrupts a woman's internal rhythm, and increases the risk of exhaustion among other things. When left alone, women know how to intuitively work through their contractions in a way that optimizes her body's efforts and allows her baby's safe passage.
The support, or lack of support and safety you feel during birth is incredibly important in the way your birth unfolds. Doctors, nurses, and midwives are all medical professionals and often allow their focus on the physical picture to guide their practice. This indifference can be easily perceived as an environmental threat to the birthing woman, and increase the ease in which a provider jumps to major surgery against a woman's wishes or needs.
Where you choose to birth, who you choose to allow into your birth space, and the interventions you choose to learn about and consent to are all within your jurisdiction. Sometimes, despite our greatest efforts and with the help of many variables, birth paves it's own path. In this case, you can feel rest assured that you did your best with the information, resources, and values you have - and that you deserve to be supported always.
Are you interested in a Birth Planning Session, where you have intimate support in getting clear on your priorities for birth, your full spectrum of options, and be held in absolute love while you dive into your intuition? Schedule one here!
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An ebook that walks you through over 20 of the most common reasons for cesarean sections, from planned family-oriented cesareans to unexpected crash c-sections.
Written by a registered nurse with 5 years experience working outside of the system in supporting women through a full spectrum of experiences, this book is an honest and comprehensive resource that encompasses the shades of gray that swirl within the tales of birth itself.
Planning your VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) can feel overwhelming. In this workshop, with Dr. Sarah, Birth Uprising, we help you gain clarity on what you already know is possible for your birth!
This workshop covers:
• How to choose a provider & birth setting that aligns with your personal needs
• Utilizing the power of your mind-body connection
• The statistics & social evidence of VBAC
• Planning for your VBAC with Logic + Deep Intuitive Trust
• The hindsight wisdom of VBAC preparation, as told by women who have been there!