The birth experience is unique to each mother and baby. Pregnant mothers spend a lot of time researching birth and thinking about what their birth experience would be like. Many create a birth plan which outlines their wishes to share with care providers. In my experience, care providers will adhere to a cesarean birth plan as long as everything asked for is safe for mom and baby. If you are having a planned cesarean birth, a plan may be beneficial to create the birth experience you are hoping for.
My first two births were unplanned cesareans. I based my cesarean birth plan for my third birth off those experiences. I shared my plan with my doctor and the registration nurse at the hospital. Both assured me that they would be able to meet each request. The hospital registration nurse added a copy of my birth plan to my file and I brought additional copies for the nurses the day of delivery. I hope the plan below helps you get started on creating your own cesarean birth plan.
Cesarean Birth Plan
- I would like to be given something to help me sleep the night before surgery that will not affect the baby.
- I would like to be given something to help manage the anxiety prior to the spinal or if possible the IV that will not affect the baby.
- I would like my husband to be with me as much as possible for the prep and during surgery.
- I would like music of my choice played during the operation.
- I would like my husband or another person to be able to take pictures during the birth.
- I would request that the talk in the operating room among my providers focus primarily on the birth, and not traffic, sports, weekend plans, etc.
- I would like my arms unrestrained so that I may touch my baby.
- I would like the IV, oximeter, and blood pressure cuff all placed on my (non-dominant) arm to give me a completely free arm to touch my baby.
- I would like ECG leads to be placed on my back or as far out of the way as possible, to make my chest free for skin-to-skin contact.
- I’d like a non-drowsy, anti-nausea medication, if possible.
- I would like you to ask me ‘Are you ready to have your baby now?’ before operating and please explain the surgery to me as it happens, in general terms.
- I would like the screen lowered or a clear drape once my baby’s head is out so that I can see his birth.
- I would like delayed cord clamping for as long as possible. If possible, please keep the umbilical cord long for my husband to cut while baby is in my arms.
- I would like the baby to be placed immediately on my chest, skin to skin. Please don’t swaddle my baby or put a hat on him while he is skin-to-skin. I would like my baby to be able to move and I would like to see him unobscured. To keep us warm, once my baby is on my chest you can cover both of us with a warm blanket.
- I would like all newborn tests, measurements, and procedures performed with the baby on my chest, not in the warmer.
- I would like to nurse the baby in recovery.
- I would like baby to stay with my husband and I (no nursery unless medically necessary).
- Please do not give me sedatives after the birth. I want to remember my baby’s first day of life.
- I would like to have minimal separation from my baby. If the baby and I need to be separated for medical reasons, I would like my husband to accompany our baby to the nursery.
This month I will be sharing cesarean birth stories, cesarean birth plans, VBAC birth plans, and more. If you would like more information and support for your VBAC or cesarean birth visit your local ICAN chapter. You can find them through http://www.ican-online.org/find-a-chapter/.