The vast majority of people would not choose to have major surgery at any point in their lives, but if it was the safest option to do so, the majority would be unlikely to decline, after making an informed decision. It is a case of weighing up the wellbeing of you and your baby, along with the pros and cons of this mode of birth.
For those who may not know, a caeasarean is a type of operative birth, where an incision is made along your bikini line and into your uterus (womb) in order to lift your baby out of your abdomen. It can be used in the event where birth needs to happen quickly (for example, if your baby is not coping with labour) or for a medical reason, where it would not be recommended for your own wellbeing, to experience labour.
It can often be seen as a scary procedure and many women feel like their birth experience has been taken away from them, but this does not need to be the case. There are several things that you can do to make this special, empowering and an incredible experience. Lets start!
1. Request to have your favourite music or relaxation MP3’s playing – the majority of surgeons will be happy with this, or you could have some earphones in to listen to these if you would prefer
2. Put your theatre gown on with the opening at the front and ask for any heart monitoring equipment to be placed on your back, this will allow for easy access skin to skin once your baby has been born!
3. If you wish, you could ask the theatre staff to lower the curtain at the point which your baby is being born, so you can see them emerge into the world
4. Ask for optimal cord clamping, this is usually possible if your baby is well at the point of birth – any amount of time that the cord remains intact is brilliant
5. Read up about gentle caesareans (video here)
6. Take photos! You will be able to take your phone or camera into the operating theatre, so why not get some snaps of this special moment, or ask the theatre team to help you!
7. If you do not know the sex of the baby, you could request that your partner announce it, rather than the surgeon
8. Make sure you know the names of everyone in the room, it will be busy, but it is always nice to know who everyone is (even if you don’t rememeber them all!)
9. Have your partner tell you positive affirmations during the procedure
10. If it makes you feel more at ease, you can ask the theatre team to tell you what is going on at each stage of the procedure