Cesarean Support

Cesarean births happen for many reasons:

  • Complications during labor
  • A breech baby
  • Twins or triplets (or more!)
  • Health issues for baby, such as thick meconium
  • Health issues for mom, such as pre-eclampsia or placenta previa

The cesarean birth rate in the United States dropped slightly last year for the first time in many years, to 32.9% in 2013, according to the Centers for Disease control.  Florida still has one of the highest cesarean birth rates in the country — 37.7% — fourth behind Louisiana, Mississippi, and New Jersey, with a cesarean birth rate of 37.7% in 2013.

Some of those cesareans were planned, but many times a cesarean birth is the result of an unexpected complication in labor, often as a result of an intervention such as pitocin or an epidural.  These cesareans take women by surprise and can lead to birth trauma because it was outside of her birth plan and her expectations.

Postpartum Care

Regardless of whether a cesarean is planned, the postpartum period is when she will be recovering from major abdominal surgery while trying to care for and get to know her newborn.  Help at home is a must!  New moms need to rest and sleep and do little more than nurse their babies so they can heal as quickly as possible. They will need help with meals, taking care of the baby, taking care of older children, and doing daily household chores such as taking out the garbage or walking the dog. The first few weeks after birth are an especially important bonding time for mother and baby so the more they can just simply rest and be together, the stronger their connection will be. Spouses, family and postpartum doulas can all help a new mom to recover from a cesarean.

The Tampa Chapter of ICAN holds regular gatherings in Tampa and Clearwater for moms who have had cesareans and birth professionals who can help them recover and plan for their next birth.  The International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN)  is another excellent resource for moms who are recovering from a cesarean.

What is a VBAC?

That stands for Vaginal Birth After Cesarean.  Many women who birthed by cesarean would like to birth vaginally the next time around.  There is a growing number of physicians who support VBACs, but who closely follow ACOG guidelines.  Some hospital-based midwives may be able to attend a mom who is having a VBAC, such as Women’s Health Care in Tampa and St. Pete.  Because of the slightly increased risk of uterine rupture, birth centers are prohibited from offering women a VBAC, but licensed home birth midwives are legally allowed to assist a woman with a VBAC.

More Cesarean Resources:

Seven Ways to Avoid a (or Another) Cesarean

More Facts About Cesareans

National Institutes of Health

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)

American Pregnancy Association