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How to avoid a c-section/intervention?

(35 Posts)
rainand Fri 08-Feb-13 10:04:22


I'm 25 weeks (so I'm still a bit early) but I really don't want to have a c-section or any intervention, and I'm really really keen on having a natural birth. I live away from my family so I'm even more keen on going it natural. It is my 1st baby.

I'm just wondering whether there is anything I can start doing from now to ensure that I have a natural birth? My pregnancy is thankfully normal, and I am hoping to work until possibly 34-36 weeks (haven't decided on final details yet). I wouldn't say I am awfully active - I don't take part in any yoga/pilates classes (a bit pricey) but could do if it came highly recommended.

Any tips folks? Was there anything you did that you thing helped you to give birth naturally and avoid a c-section?

Thanks! smile

Phineyj Fri 08-Feb-13 10:24:15

Independent midwife or doula -- or at the very least become very well read about the pros and cons of different interventions so that you can query what you are told and be proactive in your own care. If you have a partner, they need to read up too. Try to increase your activity levels as much as you can as being fit will help with labour and recovery -- regular brisk walks or swimming. Finally, don't put the desire for a 'natural' birth above your and the baby's safety -- the interventions exist for a reason and save lives. I say that as someone whose home birth turned into an emergency hospital transfer and c-section. Personally, I haven't found c-section recovery too bad at all, but I was quite fit. I'm just glad to have avoided the damage to the perineum you can get with other types of delivery.

Good luck & stay well.

Phineyj Fri 08-Feb-13 10:26:19

P.S. when it comes to money your health and fitness is probably NOT the part to economise on -- you only have one body and labour is called that for a reason! In my area the NCT offer an antenatal fitness class at fairly low cost though.

CareerGirl01 Fri 08-Feb-13 11:04:25

This time four years I was like you OP - determined not end up with C Section. It was actually this single-mindedness which meant I felt really disappointed and depressed when I did end up with an emergency CS. Be open minded about your birth options. NCT classes good (we went to them) as Phineyj says don't put your desire for a 'natural' birth above baby's safety. My daugher was stuck fast and ventouse and forceps failed - but she's healthy and happy and that's what matters. My CS recovery was good too, was back running and exercising and doing the housework within 8 weeks. You go to hospital to have a baby not win a medal!

YouOldSlag Fri 08-Feb-13 11:09:36

You can eat well, stay supple and look after yourself, but there is no guarantee that you will not have to have a C section. There is a small, small chance you may.

Mine was an unexpected emergency C section due to having a giant baby and contractions stopping. Nothing I did or didn't do caused me to have a C section, it was out of my control. Prior to that, I was adamant I was having a natural birth and had a fruitless 24 hour labour!

Just do your best, and go with the flow and enjoy your baby's birth, no matter how you end up doing it.

Go in with an open mind and do your best.

Loislane78 Fri 08-Feb-13 11:12:00

Have to second what career has said. It's great to do research and aim for a birth with the least medical intervention but my experience (and it's just that) is those with the high expectations are the most disappointed. Babies don't read the books and sometimes a little help is needed for everyone's safety - which is the thing to focus on. Your preference is no intervention but pls keep an open mind.

Do NCT, read up on hypnobirthing, keep active and upright as much as possible during labour and try to keep calm - that's all anyone can honestly do smile

All births are natural, even those yanked out by forceps/C-sections.

Hope all goes well, GL smile

HandbagCrab Fri 08-Feb-13 11:15:41

I exercised fairly strongly through the first half of my pregnancy, I did pregnancy yoga for the rest. I sat for hours on a birthing ball. I employed a doula. I went to antenatal classes. I listened to my hypnobirthing cd every night for the last few weeks. I planned a waterbirth and looked round the maternity unit. I had an excellent birth plan. I drank raspberry leaf tea. I saw a specialist new age midwife who did a range of treatments from around the world to encourage birth. I had two sweeps.

I still ended up having an emcs after three days failed induction smile Remember most women do not have a cs, but perhaps be kind to yourself and don't put so much expectation on yourself that you can control how you give birth through what you choose do to from now until your due date. Looking after yourself and putting time into you will only reap rewards once baby is born, however that may be. Best of luck smile

Fairylea Fri 08-Feb-13 11:20:25

I think every woman who has had an assisted delivery or an emergency c section would have wished to avoid it!

Sometimes these things just happen.

With dd I went in adamant I wasn't having any drugs and I had hypobirthing etc etc. I ended up having an epidural and then a ventouse as I ended up being in labour for 64 hours (yes not a typo) and couldn't bear the back to back contractions.

I think I developed pnd as I really felt cheated I didn't have a natural birth. Which is crazy really because dd was safe, I was ok and it's a small part of what it means to be a parent. I spent the first few months feeling I had somehow failed - when really I should have relaxed and been more open minded about the whole thing.

With ds I opted for an elective section due to dds birth but actually ended up having undiagnosed placenta previa (very very serious) so even if I'd gone for a natural birth I would have ended up c section anyway. I would have died otherwise.

I'm not saying these things to scare you but whilst it's good to read up on everything just please have an open mindad don't feel it's the end of the world if things don't go to plan.

flakjacket Fri 08-Feb-13 11:27:31

Please look beyond the birth. As others have said, nobody wants a c-section or intervention. Everybody wants a nice natural birth. However what you REALLY want is a healthy baby - if that's what you end up with please don't waste time and energy worrying about how that baby came into the world. Just be pleased it did and don't beat yourself up about any perceived 'failure' on your part.

I had a perfect natural pregnancy which should have led to a perfect natural birth. However the 17 year old smoker and drinker (saw her doing both in labour!!!) next to me got the 'natural birth' and I didn't!

itsaruddygame Fri 08-Feb-13 11:33:06

I really want a natural birth as well and have been doing a hypnobirthing course with that aim in mind which has been excellent. The course is run by a very experienced midwife and we have looked in detail at possible "special circumstances" that could mean you require obstetric help to give birth. Figures suggest that left to their own devices around 90% will birth naturally - however 10% of women will need help such as forceps or c section. Whilst I am aiming and hoping for a natural birth (and will avoid intervention if I can!) there is nothing you can do about it if you do need help and learning about what could happen and what medical intervention would be required certainly makes me feel more prepared.

Good luck - lets hope our births run smoothly!

CareerGirl01 Fri 08-Feb-13 11:33:57

Agree with all the mums here - if you have certain expectations you might end up with a higher chance of PND. You'll have enough to cope with when you have a new baby - let alone feeling bad about how you gave birth!

newgirl Fri 08-Feb-13 11:39:01

Im with others. I was fit, ate well, did yoga etc but my first baby was in a funny position and towards the end of my labour needed to come out by csection.

Do all you can to stay fit and active and well - get great advice from nct, doula etc and please dont give yourself a hard time if it doesn't work out - but of course it probably will!

Mine are now grown up and that day of childbirth was a mere pinprick in the years of being a parent!

rainand Fri 08-Feb-13 11:47:06

Thank you everyone! smile I understand that a c-section/intervention can't be avoided and I am open to the idea of having one (I suppose I do need to plan what would happen if I did have a c-section - I will look into that) but I think my question really is, will the following make my chances of having a c-section any less? I am on a tight budget generally but of course the health of myself and baby comes first:

a) Join a yoga/pilates class (pay £10 per hour) per week
b) Go on a hypnobirthing course (£300)
c) Get a doula (£300 - £400) - DH is not too keen on this
d) Opt for a home birth (3 min drive to hospital) - DH is not too keen on this either

DH can be convinced of course smile but I need to decide what I think would be the best for me!

YouOldSlag Fri 08-Feb-13 11:48:32

There are no guarantees.

phoenixrose314 Fri 08-Feb-13 11:50:01

Cannot emphasise more what the others have said - I have yet to have a baby myself (am currently 35+3) but have a family history of PND, and because I am keen to avoid carrying on that particular family tradition, have researched a lot about it. There is an astounding amount of current research to suggest that we as expectant mothers put far too much pressure on ourselves to be a certain type of mum, to have a natural birth, to breast feed, etc. and then when it doesn't happen we feel like failures - although we are not.

Like you, I would prefer a natural birth and have tried to stay active walking the dog, swimming etc. and hoping that baby stays in a good position so I can have the birthing pool in my local maternity unit. However, if it comes to an EMCS or forceps or any kind of necessary intervention, I will have to swallow my own pride and love that birth for what it is - the safe arrival of my lovely boy or girl. It is the only birth they will ever have, and it's worth treasuring no matter what.

FWIW, my mum's PND was triggered by my sister being born prem and my mum was asleep for the birth. They never bonded until DSis was much older. But it was her own expectations of herself as a parent that held her back.

tomatoplantproject Fri 08-Feb-13 11:56:41

Don't have a breech baby.

Angelico Fri 08-Feb-13 11:57:07

Personally I would spend the money on the yoga or pilates and maybe get a hypnobirthing CD. I say this as someone who had an ELCS. There's an excellent CS book by Leigh East which ironically has a chapter all about avoiding a CS so it's worth a read. And YY to what others are saying - the book mentions that PND is much higher amongst women who are 'disappointed' by their birth experience. I really think this is one of those things that gets blown out of all proportion on MN. I don't know anyone in RL who is 'disappointed' over how their baby got out, they were just relieved they arrived safely.

And my ELCS meant I was separated from DD for about 40 mins after her birth which I fretted about beforehand. It did neither of us any harm, unsurprisingly hmm and gave her some nice time with her dad. I was also able to BF immediately in spite of CS if that is important to you.

BobbiFleckmann Fri 08-Feb-13 11:58:42

Read Gowri Motha's "The Gentle Birth Method" and follow it religiously. you're quite late to be starting it but are you quite fit already? that said, i followed it (save for going sugar free) and still had a c-sec - some things you can't help - but i was fit as a fiddle before and thinnest i've ever been within a month (boo hoo)

HandbagCrab Fri 08-Feb-13 11:58:54

You need to do what you think is best for you I'm afraid. I don't know of any study that could tell you that pregnancy yoga results in a 10% reduction in c-sections or likewise for anything else you have mentioned.

There's lots of talk of maternal fear being a cause of intervention. Maybe focus on the aspects of planning that make you feel empowered and calm.

BobbiFleckmann Fri 08-Feb-13 12:01:23

by the way Gowri Motha does a hypnobirthing CD - i did the classes as well but the CD is good if you don't want to pay £££ for a course. Some reflexology is brilliant and yoga / pilates you can do every day at home if you know how.

Natural birth isn't the be-all though - the drugs are bloody brilliant and anaesthetists are giants amongst (wo)men.

Fairylea Fri 08-Feb-13 12:02:59

I would save your money, just keep active... eat well and read up on hynpobirth if it helps you to feel more in control. I know some people swear by it but it doesn't work for everyone (my sil did a course and was apparently shouting "just give me a fucking epidural" every 3minutes all the way to the hospital - this was her second baby).

Most of the complications that require a section cannot be prepared for or avoided - baby in an awkward position, long labour leading to mum and baby getting tired anddistressed, placenta problems, breech complications... the list goes on. It really is pot luck!

There is some evidence that there is a cascade of intervention - ie if you have an epidural statistically you may be more likely to end up having an assisted birth. But again anything is possible. And an epidural is a life saver for many.

If you need pain relief, ask for it. We are.lucky to live in a country where we can have it.

TwitchyTail Fri 08-Feb-13 12:07:26

Tips from one of my very good midwives: Encouraging the baby to get in the right position is half the battle. Sitting upright/on a birthing ball in later pregnancy rather than slumped on the sofa or bed helps with this. (Birthing balls are very cheap, less than £10, and comfortable!) Staying upright and active in labour as far as possible puts gravity on your side.

But I echo what everyone else has said re: things not going to plan with the best of intentions. For that reason, I would be hesitant to spend lots of money on things that may or may not help - be careful that it won't add to the disappointment if things don't go to plan.

Missingthemincepies Fri 08-Feb-13 12:09:23

Agree with everything said already. Focus on healthy mum and healthy baby, doesn't matter how much help you need achieving that, it's what everyone's there for.
As for your options:
A) yes I would. Good for core strength, encourages pelvic floor maintained w, and get to meet other expectant mums in your situation.
B) no. Massive fan of natal hypnotherapy, but you can buy the CD for £12 and the book for under a tenner. IMHO having done both course and cd, you really don't need the course.
C) depends on the support you expect from your DH. I've no experience of having a doula present but would be put off if I had a supportive DH who had read well about birth and what to expect, knew what choices I would make and who would feel sidelined by the presence of someone else in the room.
D) I'd never have a home birth. And that's after a very straightforward 5.5 hour labour without intervention. Lots of threads discussing pros and cons, but you need to do the research and choose what suits you.

Keep generally as active as you can. Sleep lots in last few weeks. Do things to make you happy (dinner out, meet with friends etc) and try to come round to the "what will be will be" type attitude. There are some things you just can't change. Good luck!

BobbiFleckmann Fri 08-Feb-13 12:29:08

The main reason for the high level of intervention in western hospitals given by Gowri Motha (can you see a theme developing in my threads?!) is that western women sit back and eat for two and get too fat - they're not in peak fitness for labouring. Her view is you shouldn't gain more than a stone in total (& most of that will be baby / water / blood) and the only time you need more calories is in teh last few weeks and it's only 200c / day extra or something. You wouldn't sit on a sofa for nine months before running a marathon etc.

rainand Fri 08-Feb-13 12:37:41

BobbiFleckmann, I read Gowri Motha's book at the beginning of my pregnancy and though I was very keen to follow her regime, I just couldn't do it. It is on my book shelf and I will re-read it.

I haven't put any weight on the rest of my body but my breasts are now huge and of course so is my stomach. I haven't been weighed at the midwife appointments (I should probably request that).

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