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6 Simple Steps to a positive c-section birth

Did you know that the month of April brings us not only beautiful spring flowers but also....

International c-section awareness month!

Me and Forest after our c-section birth
Forest feeding a few hours after birth

C-section rates are increasing around the world.  

Ok, here's some stats for you:

The WHO (World Health Organisation) predicts that by 2030, 29% of births worldwide will be via c-section (cesarean section), with variations across the countries.  They predict that East Asia will reach a WHOPPING 63% by 2030. 

In 2023 Turkey and the Dominican Republic had the highest c-section rates in the world, with around 60% of babies being born by c-section.

You can see why it's so important that we talk more about c-sections. I see alot of regular childbirth classes not covering c-sections. The topic sometimes doesn't even come up! When so many births are via c-section! Whaaaat? This needs to change.

When you know how to prepare for a c-section (planned or unplanned), you're more likely to have a more calm and positive birth experience.

Ok, in this blog I’m going use my knowledge as a childbirth educator, birth doula AND a c-section mum and share my top 6 steps for achieving a calm, positive and empowering c-section birth

Having a c-section can feel scary for a lot of people, but a positive and empowering c-section experience IS possible!

I had my first baby, Forest, by c-section.  It wasn’t planned, and he was born after a very long labour.  No-one told me about c-sections: not my HypnoBirthing educator, nor my midwives in our childbirth classes. I knew nothing! So I know firsthand how important it is to prepare and plan for a c-section, so that you have the best possible chance of a positive experience.

I always encourage my doula clients, and HypnoBirthing families, to make a specific c-section birth plan (like an extra page to your birth plan), research about what the procedure actually involves, and get fully prepared.  Why not start here by reading this blog, and taking the 6 steps below…

A c-section can be either planned, elective, or unplanned ('emergency c-section'). Both deserve your preparation.

Birth can be unpredictable. Yeah, sure, we can plan for the calm, serene vaginal birth, but guess what? sometimes labour and birth ends up taking a different route.  When you prepare and plan for all eventualities, you will start to build your confidence and feel totally prepared.  Then if you do end up having a c-section, you’ll be able to make informed decisions, and ultimately have a more positive experience.

Here are my top 6 steps to a positive c-section:

1. Choose your midwife/healthcare provider & ask questions!

I think the biggest concern my clients have when it comes to c-sections is the unknown.  It can feel so overwhelming.  A c-section can feel scary, so choosing the right care provider and building a team you trust, and who listens to you without judgement, will help you feel better supported.

Speak to your midwife/healthcare provider, and ask them questions about c-sections. Here are some examples:

1. What happens during a c-section? What are the risks?

2. Can my partner and/or my doula be with me during the birth?

3. What is the recovery like? How long will it take?

4. How long does the operation take? How long will I be in theatre?

5. Who will be in the room with me?

6. What kind of anesthetic is used, do I have a choice?

7. Can I have skin-to-skin with my baby straight after birth?

8. How long will I have to stay in hospital afterwards?

9. Where will my incision be? How long does it take to heal?

10. What happens after the c-section?  How long will I be in the recovery room?

11. What is the c-section rate in your clinic, or in the hospital?

You can ask your midwife for some resources and information.  Your birth doula can be a great source of information too!

Birthing woman during her c-section birth, with her birth doula
Me and my amazing birth client during her c-section

2. Read positive c-section birth stories

There are plenty of positive c-section birth stories out there.  It’s a great way to hear other people’s experiences.  The Evidence Based Birth website has some great ones:

I had a very positive c-section experience. Check out my other blog for my own positive c-section birth story

3. Use HypnoBirthing to prepare

I know a lot of people think that HypnoBirthing is just for home births, or unmedicated vaginal births.  Actually they’re totally wrong!  HypnoBirthing can be used to prepare for c-sections too!  Yay!

Not only will HypnoBirthing help you understand the process, but it'll help you grow a positive birth mindset. There are loads of wonderful techniques that are super helpful to use during a c-section birth:  breathing techniques, relaxation techniques, visualisations, positive affirmations, hypnosis.  Also HypnoBirthing will help your birth partner know how to support you through the birth.  My HypnoBirthing course includes preparing for c-sections as I know how important this is.

4.  Know your rights and the options available to you

Having a c-section doesn’t mean that you automatically lose your autonomy.  Oh NO! Knowing your birth rights, and the options that are available to you, means you can take back control of how your birth unfolds.  Your experience is important, and this starts by making the right choices for YOU.  You can ask your healthcare provider about the options in the country where you live.  Make sure you find out what your birth rights are in your area.  These can differ country to country.  There are plenty of resources on the internet.  I love to recommend Birthrights:

And Human Rights in Childbirth:

YOUR baby, YOUR birth….and you SHOULD have a say in how it unfolds.  Your own wishes and preferences need to be heard and taken into account.  You do have choices when it comes to a planned c-section.  Here are some:

  • You can play your own music in the operating theatre

  • You can ask for a ‘gentle c-section’

  • You can request a ‘maternal assisted c-section’

  • You can ask that the screen be lowered so you can watch your baby being born

  • You can request that your arms be free 

  • You can ask for immediate skin-to-skin with your baby

And that takes us to….

5. Making a c-section birth plan

pregnant woman writing her c-section birth plan

I recommend you add an extra page to your birth plan, outlining your c-section wishes and preferences.  I think it's important to do this during pregnancy, whether you’re planning a c-section or not.  It will be super helpful to help you feel prepared, but it also gives you an opportunity to research your rights and options, and to take some control over what happens.  It will also help your birth partner and midwife know your wishes, so they know how to best support you.

It’s true that birth can be unpredictable, so it’s important to prepare for all possibilities.  When you make a c-section birth plan, you’ll feel more prepared and confident, knowing you have all eventualities covered.  

Here are some things to think about when writing your c-section birth plan. As yourself the following questions:

  • Who do I want with me during the birth?

  • Do I want the screen to be lowered so I can watch my baby being born?

  • Do I want skin-to-skin with my baby if possible?

  • Would I like music playing?  Lights dimmed?

  • Which arm would I prefer to be the IV to be inserted?

  • Do I want the doctors and nurses to talk me through what’s happening?

  • Do I want photos to be taken?

I recommend writing down all your preferences and wishes on a separate sheet of paper and attach it to your birth plan.  This will be helpful if you need to have an unplanned/emergency c-section.

6.  Remember how AWESOME and amazing you are

Happy woman with her baby after her c-section
Strong and powerful birthing mama after her c-section

Whatever birth you end up having, it has taken strength, courage and awesomeness to achieve that.  You might have had to give up your dream birth, and a c-section might not have been your preference.  Or you might have chosen to have a planned c-section.  Never forget that a c-section birth is just as incredible and powerful as a vaginal birth.  It is nothing less than amazing.  You carried, nurtured and grew this little human, and prepared for a positive and empowering c-section birth.  Celebrate the heck out of YOU!

A positive birth experience is achieved through preparation and informed decision-making, and being surrounded by a team that supports your wishes and helps you to feel like the superwoman that you are!

I’m here if you need my support.  You can book me as your birth doula, book a birth coaching call with me, or book a HypnoBirthing course with me.

Don’t forget to follow me on social media!

Happy birthing!  

Love, Miranda



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