Considerations for Caesarean Birth




A caesarean birth or C-section is when your baby is born surgically, via abdominal incision.

There are several reasons that a caesarean birth may be planned:


·       Previous C-section

·       Personal preference

·       Your baby is not in a head down position

·       Your baby is positioned to be born face first

·       An active herpes outbreak

·       Complicated multiple births, such as twins where one baby is not head down

·       Placenta previa, when the placenta has grown over the cervix


When planning for a vaginal birth or VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean), sometimes things do not go the way we hope.


Unplanned caesarean births become necessary if:


·       Your baby is too large to fit through your pelvis

·       Baby is not in an ideal position to fit through your pelvis

·       Your baby is in a position that is not conducive to labour progression

·       Concerns about baby’s well-being

·       Placental abruption, when the placenta separates from the uterine wall prematurely

·       Cord prolapse, where the cord becomes trapped between the baby and the cervix

·       Birth defects or fetal health concerns that may make vaginal birth difficult for your baby


If you’re planning to give birth by C-section, or just like to be prepared for every possibility, you may want to take a few things into consideration.

How much information would you like before, during, and after surgery?


In a non-emergency, your care providers can explain the process in detail beforehand. You can request to have someone walk you through each step of your baby’s birth as it is happening. It’s up to you how much detail you would like throughout your experience. If you’d rather not be given too many details, be sure to let your doctor or one of the nurses know.

Who do you want to join you in the operating room? Your partner, doula, someone else, no one?


In an emergency, you may not have options as to who can be in surgery with you. Talk to your doctor about who you will be able to have with you during your caesarean birth.

Are there medications you like to be offered in addition to your epidural/spinal?


You may want to take a sedative prior to your caesarean birth. Talk to your doctor about what your options are for medication during your C-section. Some people would prefer to be alert throughout the process while others would feel more comfortable being sedated for surgery.


How would you like to meet your baby?


Would you prefer immediate skin to skin, or should baby be cleaned up and wrapped in a blanket before being brought to you? Who should hold the baby first, you or your partner?


If your baby needs to go to the NICU should your partner or doula stay with you, or go with the baby?


This is one of the ways a doula can be of support to your family. Your partner may feel torn between leaving you alone and concern for your baby. With doula support, your partner can choose whichever options feels best.

Would you like to be offered a sedative following your birth to prevent shaking and nausea?


You may choose to take a sedative or sleep aid as a precaution, or wait to see if you need one and be alert to feed and bond with your baby.



Whether you choose to have a neatly typed up birth plan or intend to go with the flow, it’s great to be aware of your options and the possibilities.

To learn more about how Ottawa Family Doula supports caesarean births contact us today!