Q&A: I want a natural birth, but might need a C-section.
Will I need a C-section? I really want a natural childbirth, what should I do?
Having a vision of a healthy outcome for your pregnancy is indeed important. Imagining and preparing yourself for how you will deliver your baby is also very important. I have counseled many women throughout my years as a labor and delivery nurse who feel as if they have failed in some way because they ended up experiencing a C-section instead of a vaginal birth. The same holds true for women who decided to have an epidural, when what they really wanted was no medication.
With you first baby it is nearly impossible to imagine how you will cope with labor until you are deep in it! It is also difficult to say how labor will progress. I like to tell moms to be flexible, gentle, and open minded when it comes to labor and delivery. Being in this state of mind prepares you for any unexpected twists and turns.
Some women may find out during the latter stages of pregnancy that they need a C-Section (for medical reasons or if the baby is breech) in this case you will have time to mentally prepare yourself. Some women though, may end up needing a C-section as labor progresses. This can be due to a stubborn cervix that won’t open, a big baby with a small mommy, a baby that won’t budge, and in some cases for stress—experienced by either Mom or Baby.
Here is where your nurse can really help you. She will explain what is happening and prepare you for this change and be there for you through each stage. You or your partner will sign a consent form for surgery, an anesthesiologist will talk to you about what they will do for you, and before you know it—you will be a mommy!
In the latter stages of your pregnancy, be sure to discuss your desires and goals with your doctor or midwife. Consider formulating a birth plan, and be sure to coach your partner and/or doula so that they can be your advocate during labor. It can be disappointing for some moms to have a C-section, but as I tell all the moms I work with—the outcome is the most important thing to keep in mind: A healthy mom and healthy baby.