Caesarean Birth Plan - Making Caesarean Birth Special
It can make a big difference to a caesarean birth experience to think about
what is important to you about birth and how you can keep some of those elements
when a caesarean birth takes place. Caesareans are births, and like any birth
there are often many ways that the event can be enhanced or personalised. Below
is a listed of options that have been arranged by women when their babies have
been born by caesarean. Everybody is different and we would be surprised if
anyone felt all of the things appealed to them. This is given as a list of ideas
to help you think about and plan for a really good birth experience.
- Women have had the screen removed so they can watch the operation, or have
used a mirror to watch their baby being born, or have been helped to sit up a
little so they can see their baby being born. We know of one woman who was
helped by her surgeon to lift her baby out herself.
- You may want to make sure that the paediatric unit, resuscitation unit and weighing
scales, where the baby is checked over at birth will be in theatre with you so
that providing your baby is well (and most caesarean born babies are), he/she need never leave your sight or
- You can ask the midwife to give you a running commentary, and/or for music
to be playing, or for quiet in theatre (particularly at the moment of birth).
If you ask for quiet at the moment of birth then your voice can be the first
voice your baby hears.
- You can ask for your baby to be delivered onto your chest, to discover
your baby's sex for yourself rather than being told.
- You can ask to have photographs taken. Some people like photographs of the
baby being lifted out of the incision (others don't!). You can also ask for
one of the baby in the weighing scales - a good one because it shows the
- You can ask for the lights to be dimmed for a couple of minutes at the
moment of birth. Babies are born with their eyes open so if the lights are
dimmed and there is silence, yours can be the first face that comes into view
and yours the first voice your baby hears.
- You can ask for your baby to be wrapped in a blanket and laid across your
shoulder so you and your birth partner can 'baby gaze' while you are being
sewn up - it's a wonderful distraction!
- You could choose a special soft blanket or towel for baby to be wrapped
in (or to be draped over both of you during skin-to-skin). You could
sleep with the blanket the night before your CS so that even if you
can't hold your baby he/she will be wrapped up and still be able to smell
- You can delay having your baby washed, bathed or dressed until you are
back on the maternity ward and have fed him or her for the first time.
- You can ask to be shown your placenta and have it explained to you by a
- If your baby is well there should be no reason why he/she should be
separated from you in theatre or in the recovery room. Skin-to-skin contact
should be facilitated and you should be helped to start to breastfeed when you
- If you have a general anaesthetic you might want to give some thought to
who should introduce your baby to you when you come around, and who (among
family and friends) should be allowed to see your baby before you do if you
are so unwell that meeting your baby is delayed.
This is based on normal practice in the UK where it is usual for the
woman's birth partner to remain with her throughout the operation. We understand
that in some hospitals it is the practice for the birth partner (usually the
father) to leave theatre with the baby while the operation is completed. We feel
such a policy should be challenged since women should not be left alone and
unsupported at such an emotionally crucial time. In most cases the baby will be
well and there are important reasons why the new family should not be separated,
and why the normal process of bonding should be encouraged.
We would be very interested to hear other choices that women have made for
their caesarean births and would like to be able to add more ideas to this
Gina Lowdon and Debbie Chippington Derrick, June 2004