Preventing a cesarean is not exactly straightforward. We live in an interesting time with a lot of misinformation surrounding not only the risks of birth, but also the "normalcy" of birth. The "just think positive" movement is really misleading women on their responsibility to wellness as well as the real systematic issues within maternity care that make it difficult for physiological birth. First, I want you to understand that the Esali Birth Online Birth Class is the foundation for physiological birth. If you want to understand the ins and outs of supporting physiology, that is the first place to start. This small section is just a condensed area for those specifically preparing for a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean to understand the most important aspects of preparing for VBAC birth.
You will find a lot of the information for preventing cesarean and preparing for VBAC is similar to any other preparation for physiological birth and preventing breech or other malpresentation. With a physiology-supportive provider and birth environment, your birth will be as physiological as your life. In other words, the choices you make now are the choices that will influence your birth experience. Preventing cesarean comes from, in order of importance:
- Your physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness
- Your care provider
- Your birth location
If you are physically, emotionally, and spiritually balanced, your body can handle much more of the non-physiological approaches to birth... not ideal, but that's the truth. If you are not balanced in physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness, your care provider and birth location become crucial for the type of birth you have. The more balanced your overall wellness is, the more options you have for care provider and birth location to be able to select a physiologically-supportive birth team and birth environment. For many women today, the misleading information practitioners share because of their own fear and misunderstanding will contributed to increased cesareans. We live in a time where women must be strong in their convictions, educated on the facts about physiology, cesarean, VBAC, and the entire maternity system, and do not allow others to coerce and bully them into decisions.
This brings me to the point of selecting a care provider and birth location that supports physiology. This doesn't mean just finding a care provider or birth location that will "let" you birth without an epidural, or will "let" you have a "TOLAC." The terminology of TOLAC (Trial of Labor After Cesarean) already has the undertones of not understanding psychophysiological birth. It isn't a "trial of labor" to support physiology. Psychophysiological birth is an understanding of the spiritual transformation that everyone goes through (whether they're aware of it or not) and the emotional wellness and physical support needs to support the mother to listen to her baby and move and do whatever they need to bring this baby earth-side of the belly. So, this means finding a birth team and a birth location that literally strives to create a scenario for your body to do what it was created to do. In countries with high VBAC rates, vaginal birth is the default norm, not the exception. In the US, vaginal birth is not valued and the providers expect complications so we see more complications and interventions. It is next to impossible to birth physiologically in a medical environment. It simply is not physiology to have 3 pages of questions asked at you during labor, a saline lock added to your hand, someone's fingers stuck up you even once (let alone regularly to monitor some non-evidence-based idea of "progression"), 20 minutes of monitoring every hour, restrictions on movement, food, or hydration, or any of the other must-have routines that are often placed on moms in a both hospital and home settings. If this setting is what you desire, great! There is nothing wrong with that, just ensure your overall wellness is at its best so that you can stand up for the birth you want and have the least interventions possible because every intervention gives way for the next cascade to cesarean. Remember, if you want in-depth understanding of any of this, check out the full Esali Birth Online Birth Class section.
Ok, so let's get down to some task of preventing cesarean.
- 1 Week Lifestyle Journal including:
- Times you wake up, nap, or go to bed
- Everything you put in your body (and what time) including food, drinks, supplements, from the worst junk to the best organic meal
- Toxin intake: cosmetics, cleaning products, air quality
- Self-Care: relaxation, movement, hobbies, exercise, times, amount...etc.
- Spiritual Care
- Walk 3-5 miles (6,000 to 10,000 steps) daily, on average. This isn't an all-at-once activity, but a combination of all the walking you do all day long through your regular lifestyle choices and added exercise. An absolute minimum of 1 mile, or approximately 2,000 steps, is a must for basic wellness and body balance.
- Stretch the hamstrings, gluteal muscles, lower back, and pelvic floor for at least 30-minutes a day. Adding in stretches while you're living your life is better, such as a stool to squat for elimination, calf-stretches while you're cooking, and using alternate positions if you are stationary a lot such as with a birth ball or dynamic work station.
- Receive regular bodywork, especially on the soft-tissues. Chiropractic care can be great, but it is the soft tissues that often hold a baby back from getting into an ideal position. Osteopathic manipulation, Cranio-Sacral or other Medical-Massage, Pelvic Floor Therapy, and work on the soft tissues of the core, pelvis, and upper thighs is ideal for mid-body balance during pregnancy.
If you would like to review your lifestyle journal with guidance on any ways to tweak your daily routine, schedule a consult with me at www.MOVbirth.com