Experts have identified the following 5 ways to reduce your risk of a C-section:
- Choose a hospital with lower C-section rates
- Let labor start on its own
- Choose to check your baby’s heartbeat only at certain times instead of staying connected to a baby monitor throughout your labor
- Stay home until you are in real labor
- Have continuous labor support
If you are planning on having a more natural approach to labor, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has published the following approaches to safe labor and delivery of care for low-risk women. Lamaze International also encourages the following six Healthy Birth Practices (video here).
Once you have decided your labor preferences, we recommend filling out a birth plan. This will give you the opportunity to put your wishes in writing for your delivery team. Most importantly, a birth plan can be used to begin a conversation with your physician or nurse midwife about your labor goals. This conversation is best begun during prenatal visits rather than at the “last minute.” A template is available here.
If you do need to schedule a C-section for medical reasons, be sure to check out “What Happens If I Need a C-section” for tips on how to prepare for a safe procedure and recovery.