Birth Preparation

How to Talk to Your Provider About a Family-Centered Cesarean

More and more, women are requesting family-centered, or gentle, cesarean sections. With the number of c-section births on the rise, there are a number of ways in which some providers are helping to facilitate a more gentle cesarean experience.

Whether you are planning a vaginal delivery or scheduling a c-section, it may be worth having the conversation ahead of time with your provider. If it is very important to you, you may even need to shop around to find a provider who is willing to work with your requests.

Some things that are generally requested when it comes to a family-centered c-section are things like music being played, baby being allowed to emerge more slowly from the incision, delayed cord clamping, immediate skin to skin and breastfeeding, or a clear drape so that Mom can see the delivery.

Different providers  have different comfort levels with these types of requests, and actually, it is often the anesthesiologist who has more say in the operating room than your provider. If you are scheduling a cesarean due to a high-risk pregnancy or other medical reasons, you will of course have to decide with your provider what options are medically possible.

However, even if you are planning a vaginal birth, you should take the time to ask these questions early on in your pregnancy, so that if things don’t go as planned, you will have had time to voice your preferences and find a provider who will be willing to provide as many of them as possible.

If you are planning a vbac, this conversation might be especially important to you, so that in the case of a repeated cesarean, you aren’t left feeling like everything was out of your hands.

Make sure your partner and doula know about these conversations and requests, so that in the case of an unexpected surgical birth, there are other people who can remind you to voice those previously-discussed options to your care team.

If a family-centered cesarean sounds like something you would want to have available as an option, make sure to find out your local hospital’s policies on them, and be willing to have the conversation with as many people as it takes until you are satisfied.

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