Many pregnant families hope for a natural childbirth and seek advice on how to avoid a C-section. However, as new parents often come to learn, things don’t always go as planned. Even if you’re planning a vaginal birth, it’s smart to pen a separate birth plan for a cesarean delivery, just in case.

The good news is that you can stack the deck in your favor! Here are a few tips to help you avoid a C-section.

Hire a Birth Doula

A doula’s job is to comfort and support you during labor. That special encouragement can be so reassuring and de-stressing that it can lower the risk of a C-section by up to 25%.


Give Birth at Home

As many as a third of all hospital deliveries are cesarean. Interestingly, having a home birth can significantly reduce this risk, perhaps by as much as 80%. Of course, home births can have their own risks and aren’t for everyone. So, if you are thinking about a home birth, you have to make sure to choose an experience OB or midwife, and you have a detailed emergency plan...in case you run into issues.

Learn the Risks Before Accepting Pitocin

Even during labor, there are ways that may help you steer clear of a C-section. Pitocin is an IV medicine moms are given to speed up contractions. It is often given at the same time as an epidural, because the latter may slow labor. Pitocin has good sides…and bad. It can definitely help speed up a stalled labor. However, it can also intensify painful contractions. That’s no fun for moms, but more importantly, it may overly stress the baby and require an emergency C-section. Pitocin is one of those areas where your doctor or midwife will make the best call. That’s why it’s so important to pick someone you fully trust.

Take Childbirth Education Classes

Preparing yourself for the birth can dramatically ease the process. Classes like hypnobirthing teach calming techniques and tips to help reduce pain. Here’s the key: The more you relax your mind, the more you can relax your muscles…and that encourages your labor progress (instead of prolonging it). And, a faster labor usually leads to a vaginal birth.

If You Can’t Avoid a C-Section, Open Your Heart and Accept It

Sometimes, nothing can be done to prevent a cesarean section. If your baby has distress, you have a history of herpes, or you’re having premature labor or bleeding, having a C-section can be a life-saving grace.

Lowering your C-section risk is possible…but the most important advice I can give is that the best birth memory is always delivering a healthy baby. So, make sure you pick a great team and tell them exactly what you want…then put yourself in their hands. You deserve to experience the full joy of welcoming your baby, however, he or she arrives!

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