Several people have asked me for advice about writing a caesarean birth plan recently. For various reasons they have been planned, like mine, or they wanted to be prepared in the event it should happen.
Small Boy was breech and despite all my wants and preparation for a natural birth, albeit in the consultant led ward of the hospital, that wasn’t to be. Two weeks before my due date I was told that I’d be scheduled for a delivery within the week. Although my plans were dashed, this did mean I had the opportunity to do a bit of planning.
I’m not a medical professional, and I’m not going to attempt to give any medical advice here, but I can share with you what was on my “birth plan”. I use the term loosely as it was basically a list of questions that I felt I should ask and some statements about what I wanted in the hope I could make it as “natural” and gentle an experience as possible. Hopefully, this might help you if you find yourself in a similar situation.
Understand what is going to happen medically
- Will I have a spinal block or general anaesthetic?
- Will there be a scan beforehand?
- What happens if baby moves – will the section go ahead?
- What can I eat and drink before and when is my last meal?
- Will I feel anything?
- Who will be performing the procedure?
- Will my midwife be there?
- Will I be allowed to go into labour?
- Is this absolutely necessary and why?
- Are there alternatives?
- What are the risks?
- What are the benefits?
What happens in theatre?
- How many people will be in theatre and who will they be?
- Can my partner be with me?
- Can I have immediate skin to skin before the cord is cut?
- Can my husband have skin to skin?
- Can I have music in theatre?
- Can my partner bring a camera/ phone for photos?
- Will someone take photos of me, my partner and the baby together (they did for us – it was fab?)
What happens afterwards?
- What pain killers will I be able to take?
- When I will be discharged?
- What support will be available in hospital to help care for baby?
- Can a breastfeeding consultant come to see me in the ward?*
- How long will it take to heal?
- Will I have any follow up appointments?
*It can take a little longer for your milk to come in after a section as you don’t have the benefit of all the hormones from going into labour. If you are intending to breastfeed, it’s worth finding out what help you will get in the ward from day one, and also if you can have a visit at home (good advice for anyone probably though!).
Have you had a caesarean birth and what information helped you prepare? What questions do you wish you’d asked? Comment below so others can benefit.