Why Have A C-Section Birth?

Most parents-to-be don’t go through pregnancy expecting to have a c-section birth when their baby is born.

In Australia, almost 35% of babies are born via c-section, despite leading international maternity health experts suggesting the ideal c-section rate worldwide should be around 10-15%.

Having a c-section can be challenging and confronting, especially if it’s unexpected. Being aware and informed about c-section birth can empower pregnant women to have a positive experience, whether her birth is planned or unplanned.

What is a c-section birth?

A caesarean or c-section is a surgical procedure that delivers a baby through a cut in the lower abdomen and uterus.

C-sections are considered major abdominal surgery and are performed by an obstetrician, who is a doctor, with specialist qualifications that include surgery.

During a c-section, most women are alert and awake, but under what’s called regional anaesthesia. This is usually an epidural or spinal block, allowing the mother to stay awake during the birth but not feel any pain. A general anaesthetic may be given, but this is reserved for extremely serious situations when time is of the essence.

The actual procedure usually takes between 25 minutes to an hour, from the first incision to being stitched back up.

In most cases, you can meet your baby immediately. Ask your midwife and care team for support in having immediate skin to skin and encouraging early breastfeeding. Your partner can be a part of this early bonding process as well.

Why have a c-section birth?

We know there are risks to both mothers and babies with c-section. Research shows these risks include:

  • Post surgical infection in uterus or incision site

  • Severe bleeding during or after birth

  • Reactions to medications, including anaesthetics

  • Blood clots

  • Injury to bowel or bladder, or to baby, during c-section incision

  • Increased risk of complications in future pregnancies, including another c-section

  • Breathing problems for babies, needing specialist nursing care.

Some c-sections are planned in advance, called elective c-sections.

When a c-section occurs after labour has begun, it’s generally referred to as unplanned or unscheduled.

However many people tend to use the term ‘emergency’ which isn’t always correct. There is a difference between an emergency and unplanned c-section, mostly in terms of urgency.

An unplanned c-section is when a vaginal birth was planned but for non urgent reasons, it’s safer for your baby to be born via c-section.

An emergency c-section will happen urgently to keep you and your baby safe.

Here are the most common reasons for either an elective or unplanned c-section.

Reasons for an elective c-section

Deciding to have an elective c-section isn’t something to do lightly. In most cases, it’s the safest way for your baby to be born.

Your obstetrician will discuss options with you, so you can make an informed choice.

  • Your baby is breech (bottom or feet down). Some care providers are experienced in delivering breech babies vaginally but not all.
  • Previous c-section and a vaginal birth is not safe or desired

  • Risk of uterine rupture, usually due to a uterine scar or previous uterine operation

  • Placenta previa, when the placenta is across the cervix, preventing the baby from being born or potentially causing severe bleeding

  • Health complications which mean labour and birth could be dangerous for the mother

  • Sexually transmitted diseases such as active genital herpes or HIV which could be passed onto the baby during vaginal birth

  • Pregnancy with multiples, particularly triplets or more.

  • Baby has a major birth defect that could be affected by a vaginal birth.

Some women will choose an elective or planned c-section because they have concerns or fears around vaginal birth. This is a non medical reason and while every woman has a right to birth how she chooses, it’s important to discuss the risks of major surgery for you and your baby before making this decision.

Unplanned c-section reasons

Usually when labour begins on its own, the expectation is the baby is born vaginally. This is the ideal outcome but in certain situations, it becomes more risky to allow labour to continue.

Here are the main reasons for an emergency C-section occurring after labor has already started:

  • Labour has stalled or isn’t progressing as expected (often this happens after induction of labour, particularly if epidural has been used)

  • Baby’s heart rate is indicating there’s distress (often a case if mama can’t move due to epidural or is restricted to the bed due to continuous fetal monitoring)

  • Prolapsed umbilical cord, when the cord slips through the cervix before the baby’s head and compromises your baby’s oxygen supply

  • The placenta begins to detach from the uterus before the birth and causes severe bleeding and potential complications for your baby

  • Your baby’s head is too large to fit through your pelvis; this is rare

  • Previous c-section scar begins to rupture or open.

Can I prevent having a c-section?

Statistically, 3 out of 5 c-sections are planned rather than unplanned in Australia. For women who want to avoid having an unplanned or emergency c-section, there are a number of things to consider.

Age and maternal health are big factors when it comes to c-section. While the age you are isn’t something you can change, being the healthiest version of yourself before conception and during pregnancy is something you can control.

Nurtured Birth’s naturopath can support you to achieve the ideal preconception and pregnancy nutrition and health that’s vital to help you avoid complications that might impact your baby’s health and your birth.

Wellbeing includes both the physical and emotional. Regular body therapy, with Nurtured Birth’s massage and osteopathic treatments, helps to align and attune you to your changing body’s needs. Our yoga and mindfulness workshops attend to the body and mind, bringing a mindful connection to both the inner and outer journey of pregnancy.

This attunement allows you to take the lead in determining your pathway of maternity care. Nurtured Birth offers birth education classes and workshops on choosing care providers who will best support you in avoiding unnecessary interventions, such as labour induction, restricted movement during labour, and epidurals that can lead to an unplanned c-section.

One of the best ways to ensure you are in the best position to avoid having interventions that could lead to a c-section is to seek the support of a birth doula. The presence of a doula during labour has been shown to reduce c-sections by up to 60%.

Nurtured Birth’s doula offers knowledge, emotional and physical support during pregnancy and birth, to support your pathway to motherhood.

To be at your best during preconception, pregnancy and birth, let Nurtured Birth support you in this journey. Please contact us to enquire about how we can nurture you.

How To Meditate When You’re Pregnant

Mamas-to-be don’t spend their entire pregnancy in a radiant glow as they await the arrival of their baby.

There’s many bumps in the road as you journey towards motherhood.

There’s the daily grind of work, chores and staying upright long enough to have meaningful conversations with your partner.

Coping with the fatigue of growing your baby and the endless lists of things to do.

The pressure of ‘doing it all’ can lead many pregnant women to feeling depressed or anxious.

Research suggests 18% of women are depressed during pregnancy and 21% have severe anxiety.

The good news is, there’s a very simple and accessible tool all pregnant mamas can use to help them cope and reduce their stress levels.

Meditation is a wonderful way to connect with your inner self, your incredible body and your baby.

Let’s look at the wonderful benefits of meditation and how to meditate during pregnancy.

What is meditation?

Meditation has been practiced in cultures around the world for thousands of years. Almost every religion on earth has some form of meditative practice which is used to achieve a calm, clear and open minded state.

Using one of a number of techniques, meditation is the practice of encouraging a heightened awareness and attention.

This can help you to gain a clear, calm and peaceful inner state.

Types of meditation

There are two main types of meditation you can use: concentrative meditation and mindfulness meditation.

Mindfulness is the art of bringing yourself into awareness of and involved in the present moment and making yourself open, aware, and accepting.

Concentrative meditation involves focusing your whole attention on an object while tuning out everything else around you. The aim is to achieve a higher state of being through experiencing what you’re focusing on, whether that’s your breath or a mantra, or even an object.

What are the benefits of meditation in pregnancy?

Being in a calm state of mind allows pregnant women to stay focused on the important job of growing their baby and preparing for birth.

Stress levels impact our emotional wellbeing, which in turn can create disharmony in our bodies.

Ways meditation can benefit you during pregnancy include:

  • Connecting to your amazing body

  • Better sleep and higher functioning

  • Relief from stress and anxiety

  • More positive preparation for labour and birth

  • Early bonding with your baby

  • Lower risk of postpartum depression.

These are all incredibly important benefits and show how linked our mind and body are.

High levels of stress and anxiety during pregnancy increases the risk of having a premature baby or a baby who is low birth weight.

Mothers of premature babies also face high rates of anxiety, stress and depression that often go unacknowledged as they cope with their babies’ needs.

Mindfulness allows you to work through complex feelings you may be having about your pregnancy or parenting, and creates space to better manage those emotions.

Being able to access an inner resource that brings you physically and emotionally into a state of calmness and self awareness is a must for pregnant women.

Creating a flow of awareness into your own body and connecting with your baby ensures you have trust your body can and will give birth in a positive way.

For more information be sure to read 7 Benefits Of Meditation During Pregnancy | Nurtured Birth

How does meditation benefit my baby?

As we’ve mentioned above, stress during pregnancy has a huge impact on your developing baby.

Research is still new in this area but it’s been shown ongoing levels of stress and anxiety can affect the emotional, physical and brain development of unborn babies, particularly if it occurs in the third trimester.

Babies who are born prematurely or are low birth weight face complications at birth such as breathing problems, vision and hearing issues, and developmental delays.

How to meditate during pregnancy?

So with all those wonderful benefits for you and your baby, what’s stopping you from starting?

Meditation might seem like one of those things you keep meaning to do but just never get into or around to. Or maybe you don’t know how to meditate?

And that’s the biggest challenge, because it’s a practice – one you have to consciously bring into your daily life to reap the rewards of.

Many people think of meditation as a means to solving their problems, instead of inviting the practice into their lives as a method of self care. It provides space and time to connect and be aware, to quietly problem solve while letting go.

If you’re daunted by the idea of starting meditation without guidance, Nurtured Birth offers these recordings of meditation sessions from Melbourne doula, childbirth educator, pregnancy massage specialist and meditation teacher Sarah Goldberg.

Meditations for Pregnancy - Series One

Introduction to Meditation- Connecting to Yourself and Your Baby

These recordings are easily downloadable and you can use them to bring mindfulness practice into your daily life to assist you during pregnancy, birth, and beyond.

How to meditate – 4 tips for meditating during pregnancy

Create the intention to practice meditation regularly, to bring those positive changes into your life as you journey towards birth and parenthood.

It can be overwhelming to start so here are our top 4 tips how to mediate to help you build that practice:

  1. Start slowly: shorter sessions are often a good way to begin, building up to longer sessions over time

  2. With intention: meditate at the same time each day so that it becomes a habit, similar to brushing your teeth after breakfast

  3. Comfort is key: you need to be in a position where you can sit easily for long moments without being stiff or restless. Wear clothes that allow you to feel comfortable too

  4. Feel: your mind will wander, it’s only natural … and you might have thoughts or feelings that are uncomfortable. Acknowledge these thoughts without judgement and gently guide yourself back to focus.