A Caesarean Section Birth plan..…Really?

Back in the day when I had my first baby, birth plans were virtually unheard of for scheduled c-sections. The extent of the planning was pretty well left with Doctors secretary booking the agreed the date with the hospital and you then arriving at admissions to be prepared for surgery. All that happened from then on was strictly in accordance with routine hospital protocol. The idea of woman-centred care had not yet dawned and mothers and babies were largely beholden to the hospital’s routine. My babies were all introduced briefly to me then whisked out of the operating theatre to a nursery on another floor. At that time it was thought best practice to feed babies on a four hourly regimen, so every four hour mothers could hear the doors fling open and the wheels of the bassinets rolling down the corridors for feeding time. Once fed babies were then returned to the nursery for safe keeping till the next feeding time. If babies were unsettled nursery staff would ‘top up’ baby with some cows milk formulae or soothe the baby with a pacifier or dummy. In essence the baby belonged to the hospital until you went home!

Thankfully today with the advent of partnerships in healthcare and the philosophy of new midwifery practice, mother and babies are no longer separated and women are invited to be involved in decision making, to discuss their hopes and aspirations and wishes with their midwife and doctor and to make them known. Today we know the importance of not separating mother and baby and babies are usually placed on mothers chest immediately or soon after birth in what is referred to as skin to skin contact. The baby will only be separated if specialist care is needed for a baby needing extra support.

Completing a Birth plan is important to ensure all healthcare providers involved in your birth and recovery period are aware of your wishes.

Some of the areas for consideration in a birth plan can be, who you want as your birth companions in theatre, the environment desired such as your own music played in theatre, where the screen can be lowered once baby is born, perhaps you may wish to assist in lifting baby out, photographs, videos, feeding baby, pain management  and post natal care.

Taking time to consider your options and wishes is just as important for women having c-sections as it is for vaginal births.

Yes really, birth plans for caesarean births are a real and very important thing!

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