A Family-Centered Cesarean Birth Plan

by Mama Bice on September 18, 2012

One of our BWF moms was kind enough to share her cesarean birth plan with us! Sometimes, due to the fast and surgical nature of a cesarean, many doctors and hospitals forget to include the family, and especially the mother, in the birth. A cesarean is a birth, and needs to be treated as one – this includes the creation of a birth plan. If you are in the position of needing a cesarean, please know that you can still make choices in your birth and have the birth you desire. I highly suggest that every mother have a cesarean birth plan – just in case. Birth, like life, is unpredictable but you can still have an empowering experience if you go in with knowledge and not fear.

Thank you so much Rachel for sharing this!

Rachel’s Birth Plan

My fiancé and I are looking forward to sharing our first birth experience with you. We have created this birth plan in order to outline some of our preferences for birth. We would appreciate you reviewing this plan, and would be happy to do so with you. We understand that there may be situations in which our choices may not be possible, but we hope that you’ll help us move toward our goals as much as possible to make this birth a sacred experience. We would like to be informed of any procedures or medications in advance, and to be allowed the chance to give our informed consent. Please feel free to ask if you have any questions or comments. Thank you!

During Surgery

  • Please ensure all medications are suitable for breastfeeding
  • I’d like a non-drowsy, anti-nausea med if possible (Zofran)
  • Please explain the surgery to me as it happens
  • No sedatives after birth. I want to remember my baby’s first day of life.
  • Please reinforce my uterus and use dissolvable stitches for closing me up (double suture on my uterus and suture on the outside instead of staples.)
  • Warm blanket during surgery if possible

 Baby

  • Please lower the screen just before delivery so I may see the birth of our baby.
  • I ask that the surgery be performed slowly and if possible allow the cord to continue pulsing after the birth so Baby may start breathing on her own while still attached to the placenta
  • Please allow for skin-to-skin contact immediately after delivery and evaluate Baby on my chest, (If this is not possible – then father would like skin-to-skin contact)
  • Keep cord long for daddy to cut while baby is in my arms
  • No Eye Gel, No Hep. B vaccine. I will sign the waiver ahead of time.
  • I would like to see and touch the placenta and cord

 Recovery

  • Once back in our room to recover and been checked as stable, we would like to be alone with Baby to nurse.
  • We would like to keep Baby with us at all times. If Baby must go to the NICU due to medical reasons, my fiancé will follow.
  • If someone arrives to visit, please check with my husband or I as to whether we are ready for company before allowing them in our room.
  • Delay Baby’s bath until the evening after Baby is born rather than bathing Baby right after birth.
  • I am willing to be up and walking as soon as possible
  • I would like my Catheter out early the morning after surgery
  • I would like to eat and have the IV removed as soon as possible after surgery
  • I will be nursing on demand and whenever Baby is fussy to help stimulate my milk to come in and to soothe Baby.

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Doula Elise September 18, 2012 at 11:08 am

Thanks for sharing this. Here is my story on the subject: http://cord-clamping.com/2012/07/29/birth-story-woman-centred-emergency-c-section-with-delayed-clamping/. You’re one amazing woman!

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DoulaSophie September 18, 2012 at 11:12 am

This is great. As a doula I started to have my clients include a section in the birth plan for a c-section after I had a client who had a placenta abrutia and needed an emergency c-section. You never know what can happen and it is better to be informed and have as good an experience as possible than to just let it happen to you.

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Stephanie September 18, 2012 at 12:06 pm

I needed this! <3 Thank you so much for sharing!

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Sarah Holmes September 18, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Thankyou so much for sharing this Rachel! I also made plans for a gentle caesarean birth and was so pleased to get delayed cord clamp, immediate skin on skin and whilst they thought me quite mad, i am sooooo glad i declined morphine for pain relief, during and afterwards. We need to spread the word that caesarean birth needn’t be unloving and ungentle. We found our theatre team to be most accepting of our wishes. Planning for that caesarean left me feeling very empowered rather than heartbroken about the lack of vaginal delivery. Lots of Love Sarah xxxxx

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Christine J September 18, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Wonderful. I had a home birth this year, but we did write out an emergency transfer plan and C section plan similar to this one. Sections need not be trauma, they can be beautiful and wildly successful births.

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LB September 18, 2012 at 4:43 pm

excellent birth plan. i think i’ll copy much of this for my own. an emergency c-section is the last thing i’m hoping for but it is good to have a worst-case scenario plan in case this does happen.

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Hannah September 18, 2012 at 11:11 pm

this is wonderful! my first birth was an unexpected cesarean and i wish i would have made up a plan similar to this. i may just copy this in case i have another cesarean. thank you so much for sharing!!!

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Rachel Keller September 19, 2012 at 7:58 am

It was my pleasure to post this. Mine was scheduled due to my darling daughter being breech since 22 weeks. Did EVERYTHING to move her and even found a doc at the last minute who would deliver vaginally, but decided it was best for me and baby to go this route.
The docs/nurses were great! I kissed her immediately after birth, they didn’t even have to suction her, and she never left my side the whole stay in the hospital. Had my iPod and Donna DeLory’s ‘Blessed Always’ was playing during the birth (Thanks to my husband!!) And he video taped the whole birth which was amazing to watch a few days later. I started breastfeeding immediately after leaving the OR room and my milk came in fast.
I did opt for the staples after talking to the surgeon (which was painless to remove) and the catheter was not a big deal at all either. The only thing they didn’t do was let the cord pulse because they said they had to stitch me up ASAP. Also, I had a doula with me!! Wish docs would deliver breech vaginally, but my experience was sacred and wonderful.

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Katie Gonzalez September 19, 2012 at 10:55 am

I wish I had seen this 3 weeks ago. :( Going thru torture right now trying to make up for losing a week in the hospital/nicu with them telling me I couldn’t breastfeed only to find out later, they were supposed to let me. My surgery was unplanned. Transferred to the hospital from home, breech/cord prolapse.
Hoping to do a VBAC next time, but considering my age and new history and weight, might be hard pressed to find a midwife to consent to it. May need this in the future. Thank you so much.

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Morgan September 26, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Thank you for this…i had a Csection for my first birth and although i didn’t have a plan it ended up being a wonderful experience – especially for my husband who had a very positive bonding experience with my son. I never had any regrets about that first birth, but knowing that i will likely have to have a C section for my next birth it is so lovely to see a C section birth plan. Thank you!

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Denise Thompson October 20, 2012 at 1:25 am

Until I read this it didn’t even dawn on me to ask for the curtain to be lowered so I could see my children born. I’m probably going to have c-sections to birth all of my babies, I’m so glad that I saw this while I still have at least 3 more pregnancies in my future.

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Jo January 4, 2013 at 9:41 pm

Beautiful. Thank you. :)

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Foxy March 4, 2013 at 5:20 pm

We had planned a homebirth but I had so much anxiety about the possibility of a transfer that I insisted on writing up a ‘just in case’ plan. Knowing it was there allowed me to relax and forget about it. (It is posted at http://www.myfoxyfamily.com/p/my-someday.html) We ended up making the call to induce at the hospital and it was so easy to print the plan and bring it along. I was lucky to have an incredible support team with me – and a very respectful compassionate set of professionals to care for me in the LD unit. At one point when there was talk about the possibility of a Section I was reassured knowing that my wishes were known by my support team and approved by the surgical team. What could have been a very anxiety filled discussion, was simplified significantly.

The two biggest things for me were 1) never ever ever being left alone, not for one second, in the hospital, and 2) knowing that my husband would be present for the birth of our child, even if I required general anesthesia.

Thank you for sharing this!

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Erin April 2, 2013 at 6:45 pm

This is really cool. I am not a mom yet, and probably won’t be for another year or two, but as many of my friends are having their first and second kids, I am already forming ideas of what I want my own birth experience to be. My hope is to not ever need a C-section, but of course there’s always the possibility that things don’t go according to plan. Reading your C-section birth plan showed me that even if I don’t get the vaginal-birth experience I want, I can still have a meaningful birth experience on my terms. Also, some of the things you specified in the plan were things I might never have thought to have planned out, so your post has been very educational for me. Thank you for posting.

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Andre April 2, 2013 at 11:20 pm

may I ask you, how much of your birth plan was respected?

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Beca June 17, 2013 at 8:22 am

Thank you so much for posting this. My baby is also breech and I am currently trying everything to get baby to flip head down. I’m finally coming to terms with the fact that I’ll probably be ending up having a cesarean.

It’s not the birth I had originally wanted, but it is what it is and in the end I’ll have my baby in my arms. I wanted to have as close to a “natural” birth as possible with my csection, and your post has definitely helped. I copied a lot of it and will be talking it over with my Dr. at my next appointment in a couple of days.

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Seonaid August 10, 2013 at 6:26 am

Thank you so much for this. I’m facing an elective c-section as my baby is still breech and doesn’t seem to want to turn at all..

I was so against c sections and it is not the birth I wanted… but your plan has really helped me see how much more say we can have in the c section now.. rather than all the decisions being made by the doctors… thank you so much xxx

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Jennifera August 16, 2013 at 12:53 pm

I read this a few days ago and spoke with my doctor today about it at my last appointment before my scheduled c-section that’s less than a week away. He didn’t respect it at all. I only got out my request for skin-to-skin contact immediately and he responded: We can’t very well do that with you in the middle of surgery and still needing to be stitched up, baby will go to nursery, dad can follow and you can see him later in recovery. I’m very disappointed because after hearing baby was breech I got my hopes up after reading this and thinking I could still have a good experience until day. Sadly, he’ll be the doctor performing the section unless I go into labor by this weekend when he isn’t on call so I’m sad that after having my hopes up from reading your wonderful birth plan that I still won’t receive my much needed bonding time for at least an hour after he’s been ripped from my body and sent off to the nursery.

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Brittany January 21, 2014 at 10:33 am

I hope you were able to get a different doctor because yours was very rude and condescending.

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Wendy m. August 17, 2013 at 9:36 am

I think it is so important for everyone to be prepared for a cs. I transferred from a planned homebirth for a cs. My family was treated beautifully. We had a great family centered cs in a tiny rural hospital. I was home 24 hours after my surgery. The staff totally respected our birth plan and wishes. Wanted a homebirth, but it was still a beautiful experience. I went on to have three homebirths after my first two cs.

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Becky December 30, 2013 at 7:31 pm

As a mom who has had a c-section and now planning a VBAC, I love this. If we are faced with another c-section, I will include this in my plan as a contingency, because I really like how this is written. Well done!

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Dekema Riply December 31, 2013 at 8:25 am

My 1st C.Section Birth plan didn’t go into details but turned out wonderful. I had our 1st at my family hospital back home and the doc did awesome and the rest of the time we were there the staff treated us like royalty… I was mistaken to think it was this way everywhere.. I had our 2nd by repeat C.S in another state on post (hubby is in military) and it was a horrifying experience.. Our son is fine (thank God) but if I could do it over again I would DEFINITELY make a very detailed birth plan. Thank you for sharing yours… I enjoyed reading it, and will keep ALL of this in mind with our next baby.. and probably add to it :D

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Sarah Morgan December 31, 2013 at 9:47 am

This is so beautifully written and you are so strong.
Your baby is so lucky to have you as their mum!

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Gina January 23, 2014 at 5:35 am

This is great! Does anyone have a vaginal-birth delivery plan?

Thanks!

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kelly March 24, 2014 at 12:34 am

So glad I found this! My baby is currently breech, and I’m just trying to prepare for a cesarean in case he doesn’t flip in the next few weeks. This really helps me in trying to create the most positive cesarean experience I can.

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