We chat to hypnobirthing teacher and doula, Claire Dugan of Tutum Birthing about planning a positive abdominal birth.
Are you planning to birth your baby abdominally? Perhaps you have chosen this ‘electively’ or maybe you have been advised for a medical reason. Either way you can still maintain a sense of control over your abdominal birth, allowing you to be prepared and excited whether planned or unplanned.
Here’s Claire’s tips for planning a positive Cesarean Birth…
SET THE SCENE
You can ask for the lights to be dimmed around the theatre room apart from those being used directly above the surgery. This will allow you to feel more calm and relaxed. Once your baby has been born, it will then be able to enjoy skin to skin in a darker more dimly lit atmosphere up by your chest.
It has a wonderfully beneficial effect on your mindset and your ability to remain relaxed. Hypnobirthing as birth preparation really is for all births. Incorporating logic, mindfulness, affirmations, breathing techniques, confidence and techniques to keep the adrenaline at bay so you can enjoy your birth. If you have been using guided hypnobirthing MP3’s in your pregnancy, they would have made a positive association for you which will still be very helpful. Make sure you have your MP3 or music on one headphone, so you have this to keep you calm while also staying informed of what is happening in the room if this is your preference.
Be flexible with your plans
If you have elected or are preparing for an abdominal birth then being aware of your choices, understanding what the team are open to doing within your hospital and then communicating this to them via your wishes for birth will also help you to feel more in control. I always recommend my parents put together an option for a plan B or C. So even if you have an unplanned abdominal birth, you can still have some choices in place.
This means that the obstetrician would make the incision and your baby’s head would be born gently before slowly waiting for the body to follow, this allows your baby to have a calmer entrance into the world. Moving through in this way also helps with expelling the fluid from the lungs which would have been squeezed out if your baby was born vaginally through the birth path.
Skin to Skin prep
You can have your gown tied at the front this will enable you to enjoy skin to skin with your little one as soon as you can. Request to have the ECG dots placed on your upper back and shoulders opposed to your chest which will then allow for immediate skin to skin and for your baby to be placed directly on your chest after birth without any interference. The first hour after birth should be as calm as possible to encourage your baby to feed and establish breastfeeding if this is your wish. It will help to produce the oxytocin to stimulate milk production, promote bonding and will assist in encouraging your uterus to contract down. You can request that the midwives do not weigh or measure your baby until after that first initial hour following birth.
Delayed cord clamping.
Straight after birth, historically your baby’s cord would have been cut either right away or after around one minute. We now know that delaying your baby’s cord from being cut has huge benefits for the baby. Delaying it for even 3-5 minutes ensures that they receive a huge amount of extra oxygenated blood volume through the cord from the placenta, up to 30%. They are also then receiving iron which will be enough for 3-6 months. White blood cells and antibodies to keep their immune system boosted. They will also get the transferral of vital stem cells. You can also leave the cord until it goes white and floppy. Delaying your baby’s cord from being clamped should be done for you unless, of course, the baby needs some help after birth and in this case, they will need to clamp the cord to assist your baby.
It can be lowered so you are able to see your baby being born, this has been described as ‘magical’ by some of my parents. It’s totally fine if this may not be for you, but if you would like to experience this, you do need to communicate this with your birth team. And I would suggest before the day just to make sure it is something they do offer.
I really hope this helps you feel more in control of your abdominal birth and prepared in the best way for you as parents, I would urge you to communicate with your midwives as much as possible which will then enable you to stay close to your choices and if it is not possible then you will understand why.
Claire runs specific abdominal birth courses to help prepare and release some of the fear around surgery and gain more positive resources ready to meet your baby
Photograph by @ktcrank the mother photographed. We have the agreement to share this photograph.