Creating a C-Section Birth Plan

Scheduling a Cesarean Birth
C-Section Birth Plans. Photo © Hero Images/Getty Images

Having a cesarean section when you give birth is not something many moms feel like they have control over when it comes to their birth. But whether you are planning a scheduled c-section or you have an unplanned cesarean birth in labor, having a few thoughts about your preferences before your baby's arrival can be a good idea.

You will want to have a lot of topics covered. Some of these topics you might have thought about, like anesthesia preferences; but you also may not have thought about where the baby goes or when you get to see the baby. If you have a chance, a cesarean birth class might be a great option, even after you've had a childbirth class, like a Lamaze Class.

Once you have some ideas of things you might like to write down, put it on paper. It's easier if you put it down in a bulleted list format. This also allows you to break the sections down so that the nurses who care for you in the operating room, aren't having to read about baby feeding or when you'd like to go home. Have someone look over it to fill in gaps or help you clarify what's listed on your birth plan. Your doula or childbirth educator can really help here.

Once you're ready, show it to your doctor. Talk about what you want and why, but also be prepared to listen to their opinions and suggestions. If something doesn't seem like it will work, try to talk about possible alternatives. Once your doctor is on board, you will also want to talk to your pediatrician. File copies with your doctor, the baby's doctor, the hospital and have several copies with you.

Here are some topics that you will want to consider adding:

  • Anesthesia options (epidural, combined spinal epidural, general)
  • Who can be with you at the birth? Your partner? Your doula?
  • Can you have the baby placed on you in the OR while the surgery is finishing?
  • Can you have a mirror to watch the birth?
  • What photos can you take?
  • What postpartum pain management options are available?
  • Who will go with the baby if the baby needs special care?
  • When can you begin breastfeeding?
  • Any special baby care requests?
  • Do you want a breastfeeding baby to be given supplements? Pacifier?

There are plenty of other topics that you can talk about with your practitioner. The point is to ask questions. To remember that a cesarean section is still a birth. Your practitioner will work with you to ensure that it is both safe and memorable.

A Sample Cesarean Birth Plan from The Smith Family

This birth plan is intended to express the preference and desires we have for the birth of our baby during a planned cesarean. It is not intended to be a script. We fully realize that situations may arise such that our plan cannot and should not be followed. However, we hope that barring any extenuating circumstances, you will be able to keep us informed and aware of our options. Thank you.

The Surgery

  • Spinal/epidural anesthesia
  • No pre-operative medications
  • Husband, Dave, present at all times
  • Doula, Robin, present at all times
  • Video/Pictures taken (Robin can do this)
  • Free one hand to touch the baby
  • Partner to cut the cord
  • Baby on mom's skin in OR
  • Breastfeeding in recovery room
  • Mirror to view the birth
  • Duramorph for postpartum pain

Postpartum and Baby Care

  • Delay the eye medication
  • Skin to skin in the operating room
  • Breastfeeding only
  • No pacifiers or glucose water
  • No separation of Mother & Baby
  • Pediatric Exams in the mother's room
  • Do not bathe the baby we'd like to do it later as a family
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