6 Ways to Own Your Planned Cesarean

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Make your cesarean birth special

Cesarean Birth with Parents Holding Baby
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There may be several reasons a doctor recommends a planned cesarean instead of labor for your upcoming birth. Medical situations including placenta previa, maternal health conditions, or a baby with some known health concerns are a few of the potential reasons. Needing a planned cesarean does not mean that you must give up all your wishes for your upcoming birth. There are things that you can request in advance that can make the cesarean birth of your baby meaningful and special on his or her birth day. Take a moment to consider some options and discuss these with your doctor before the cesarean birth of your baby.

1. Baby Chooses Its Birthday?

You might ask your healthcare provider if there are any risks to waiting until labor starts on its own before undergoing your planned cesarean. Under normal circumstances, your baby is the one who gets the labor process going when it is ready. If it is appropriate, you might consider waiting until you go into labor before having your cesarean. Baby gets to pick its birthday, and you get the excitement and experience of being surprised and heading to the hospital for the birth much the same way parents who are birthing vaginally get to do.

2. Walk into the Operating Room

Women who know that they need a planned cesarean will still appreciate feeling confident and empowered during their baby’s birth. One way to feel in control is to make the choice to walk from your hospital room to the operating room under your own power, rather than being pushed in a wheelchair or hospital bed. This simple act can go a long way toward making you feel strong and capable, approaching the situation in the most confident way possible, even if you are a bit nervous about what is to come.

3. Announcing the Sex

If you and your partner have chosen not to find out during your pregnancy if you are having a boy or girl, you both can still be the ones to discover if you have a son or a daughter at the time of birth. Request that hospital staff present in the operating room not announce or disclose what sex baby you have, and allow yourselves to discover this together when your partner gets a chance to bring the baby over to you after it has been stabilized at the warmer. Alternately, if they are comfortable, partner can peek over the curtain at the time of birth and make the announcement to you and others.

4. Putting Names with Faces

In the operating room, doctors and nurses may all look the same, covered from head to toe in surgical caps, face masks and gowns. It can feel a bit impersonal, and even a little intimidating. Ask to meet everyone who will be assisting during surgery in advance in your room, without their hats and masks, so you can meet them, shake their hand and introduce yourself and your partner. It is nice to feel a bit of a personal connection with those who are going to be involved on such an important day. In a planned cesarean, there is not an emergency, and you should have a moment to greet the key players.

5. Prepare Some Special Music

You may have a collection of songs that help keep you calm and make you feel good just to hear. There may be a genre of music that has significant meeting for you and your partner, or this baby. Maybe you have had some songs that you sang all the time to your baby prenatally? Consider loading this special music on an mp3 or smartphone and playing it during your baby’s birth. You can bring in mini-speakers to have near your head, wear headphones or in some hospitals, plug your mp3 directly into the music source already located in the operating room. Having the comforting music during the cesarean surgery can help keep you calm, focused and excited to meet your little one.

6. A Soothing Smell Can Help

Bringing in a little dab of peppermint oil (on a cotton ball, in a Ziploc bag) and breathing it if you should feel nauseous can help reduce that queasy feeling without needing additional medicine that may make you sleepy. Other familiar scents that calm you and help you relax can also be on hand, and your partner can help you to take a few sniffs of them during surgery, allowing you to be more relaxed and cope well during your baby’s birth.

You may have a variety of feelings around the fact that your baby’s birth was required to be a planned cesarean, but the day can still be a special one for you and your family. Discussing some options with your doctor and the hospital about small but meaningful things that you can do to help you to feel positive, upbeat and excited to meet your baby on the big day can go a long way toward making your baby’s birth extra special.

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