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When thinking about giving birth to your baby, you probably imagine a normal birth, but it may not be possible for all women. In case of a complicated pregnancy, doctors may suggest a caesarean section and many women opt for it too, and there is nothing wrong with opting for a C-section as it should be a woman’s call, but if you want to give birth to your baby naturally, you will want to know what you could do to lower the chances of requiring a C-section. And we will tell you how!
You can’t avoid a C-section always, but you can minimise your chances of needing it.
9 Ways to Reduce the Chances of a C-Section
Caesarean deliveries are usually conducted in case of medical issues when any obstetric complications arise. It can save the lives of many babies and mothers. However, the risk factors associated with caesarean delivery are many as opposed to normal delivery. So many prefer normal delivery over a C-section delivery.
1. Choose Your Health Expert Wisely
While pregnant, you must research thoroughly about the hospital where you would want to give birth to your baby. Choose a doctor whom you can trust completely. It is important to discuss with your doctor and the hospital about your delivery preference at the very beginning itself. Ask the hospital about their C-section charges and their birthing practices. If you are still not sure which doctor or hospital to choose, then you can ask your relatives, friends or multiple women who may have had a normal delivery. It is necessary to choose your gynaecologist wisely to avoid a C-section or unnecessary medical intervention.
2. Opt for a Certified Midwife
Choosing a good midwife is a great move. An experienced midwife is better at guiding women during labour. A certified midwife is well trained to guide a woman during vaginal delivery without any medical interventions like a c-section or an epidural. She is even capable of helping a woman deliver at home. However, in the case of high-risk pregnancies, along with a midwife, it is advisable to consult a doctor as well.
3. Join an Antenatal Class
Taking antenatal classes during your pregnancy can be of great help. In antenatal classes, you can learn yoga postures which can help you have a normal delivery. The breathing exercises help in easing the pain during the time of labour. Several tips are given to help avoid caesarean delivery. These classes will give you an insight into the various birth processes and what to expect during labour. The knowledge about childbirth will be an added advantage if and when you need to decide. The classes will have medical practitioners and caregivers answer your questions on how to lower your chances of a C-section.
4. Have a Nutritious and Well-Balanced Diet
Undergoing labour and delivering a baby is no mean feat. It takes a lot of energy to do so. Therefore, eating healthy and balanced meals at regular intervals is important. In fact, the belief that a pregnant woman should eat for two is a myth. It only leads to obesity which can be one of the biggest risk factors for a C-section. One of the sure-shot ways to ensure that your diet is balanced is to have all the four food groups in it like fruits and vegetables, protein, dairy, and grains. You can consult your midwife or your doctor for specific food advice. In case, you have gestational diabetes, high blood pressure or any other health complications, you can consult a dietician as well who will guide you with a specific diet.
As long as your doctor or midwife does not disapprove, you should do moderate exercises to keep yourself fit. The best form of exercises that one can do during pregnancy is walking, swimming and practising prenatal yoga poses which are beneficial during childbirth. The Lamaze technique (consciously patterned breathing exercises) usually taught in the antenatal classes are also very helpful to cope with labour. However, pregnant women should refrain from doing heavy exercises like weight training.
6. Avoid Being Induced
Labour induction which is the process of bringing in labour through medicines may be necessary sometimes. However, if the baby and mother are doing well, one should avoid it. It is seen that labour induction increases your chances of having a Caesarean. So it’s best avoided unless it is extremely needed.
7. Get Plenty of Rest in the Last Trimester
Taking plenty of rest during pregnancy is as important as being active. A well-rested woman will be able to take up the challenge of delivering a baby without any interventions better than women who have not taken much rest. A woman requires a lot of energy while in labour and during the time of delivery. She will have this energy only if she is well-rested during her pregnancy. It is important for a pregnant woman to sleep for at least 7-8 hours a day. However, getting a comfortable position to sleep in during pregnancy is not easy. It is advisable to turn on the left side while lying down with legs bent. Keeping pillows in between the two legs and the lower back will provide more comfort.
8. Ask the 3 Questions
If your doctor suggests you a C-section, ask him 3 questions –
- Is my baby okay or is it something serious?
- Am I doing okay or is something wrong with me?
- Can we wait for some time before going in for a C-section?
In case your doctor agrees to wait, do ask her how long you can wait without putting the baby’s life at risk and if it would be okay to wait. If your doctor says that waiting will not make any difference, it means that waiting for 2-3 hours won’t progress the labour but it can alter the baby’s status, so make a wise decision and in time. Your baby will be monitored through continuous fetal heart monitoring and you must decide early.
9. Avoid Stress During Pregnancy and Labour
Stress is common during pregnancy and more so when you go into labour. But try to be calm and stress-free throughout the period. Feeling scared and anxious can affect your baby and get your baby distressed in the womb. This could lead you to have preterm labour and force you to have a caesarean delivery. Having regular perineal massages after the seventh month can help you to relax. It is also advisable to stay away from women who have a lot to say about their own difficult pregnancies. Put stress at bay by listening to soothing music, practising breathing exercises and yoga, going for walks, meditating and being surrounded by happy people. Even during labour, if you wish to, you can ask the doctor to play some music of your choice and have someone like your husband around you to encourage and give you support.
Weigh the pros and cons of both – C-section as well as a normal delivery. If you feel that the pros of having a normal delivery are more than a C-section, then go for it. Nothing can be better than being self-assured. But in case, yours is a complicated pregnancy and your doctor suggests a C-section, then go for it. When you deliver a healthy and happy baby, you know everything will be fine.