How to prepare for a Positive and Gentle Caesarean Birth

By Charlotte Hogarth from Benefiting Birth and Beyond

As a a midwife of many years, a certified HypnoBirthing® International (The Mongan Method) educator and Passionate Gentle and Positive Birth educator, I have seen all manner of births over the years.  One thing that has stood out to me is how important it is for women to feel prepared and confident – no matter what type of birth they’re having.

Through my travels and varied experiences in different hospitals there is a resounding trend: families are not prepared for a Caesarean Birth. Given in Australia (2016), 28.5% of births are by Caesarean Section1 this is an important issue. Although the reasons for a planned Caesarean are varied, with a previous Caesarean birth, a baby in a breech position and multiple pregnancy, are the most common reasons2, it’s important that women prepare mentally, physically and emotionally for their Caesarean birth.

Women often feel anxious about their Caesarean birth the closer that it gets.  The perfect way to manage this anxiety is to do a specialised education workshop specifically for a Positive and Gentle Caesarean Birth. During the course that I run, I cover a number of topics including:

  • Importance of mindset and positive expectation for birth of baby
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Breathing techniques
  • Procedure for a Caesarean
  • What is happening during a Caesarean
  • Considerations for a Caesarean Birth
  • Relaxation for Healing
  • Gut health for baby
  • Recovering from Caesarean Birth
  • Birth Preferences

I wanted to answer some of the commonly asked questions many mums are wondering about when it comes to a Caesarean Birth.

Can I have Caesarean birth preferences?

Yes, you absolutely can have birth preferences! You can decide what music is playing, how your baby is greeted into the world, and what you see or not during the birth. These are only a few of the things that can be included in your birth preferences when planning your ideal birth.

Will I get skin-to-skin?

Yes, after your baby is delivered, the cord will be cut and your baby will either be:

  • delivered straight up onto your chest, or
  • the paediatrician will briefly check your baby over before coming to you for skin to skin and cuddles.

If you are unable to provide skin-to-skin due to illness, discomfort, or not wanting to, your birth support is encouraged to provide it in your place as the benefits of skin to skin are immense. Skin-to-skin contacts benefits your baby by regulating their heart rate, respiratory rate and temperature and is also the fastest and easiest way of settling them due to the regulatory affect on their hormones.

Will I be able to breastfeed?

Yes, your ability to breastfeed remains the same, whether you have a vaginal or Caesarean birth. Depending on the drugs you receiving during the birth, your baby may be slightly delayed in establishing feeding, however this usually rectifies itself within a few days.

Will I bleed vaginally after a c-section?

Yes, you will still have a postnatal vaginal bleed which is caused by the placenta separating from the uterus. However, it will often be shorter and lighter than after a vaginal birth due to the fact that your uterus gets cleaned prior to the suturing process, after your baby is born. Every mother is an individual though and therefore their normal cycle is unique to them.

If I have a c-section, will I ever be able to have a vaginal birth?

Perhaps. Most women will most certainly be able to strive for a VBAC (vaginal birth after Caesarean). Future birth options depend on the reasons for your Caesarean Birth, how your birth went and how close your babies are being born. Safety is something that has to be considered in a holistic manner and according to your individual circumstances. Your health and your safety is dependent upon your physical, mental and emotional state. Prior to planning a VBAC, it is important to have an appointment with a doctor or midwife who can go through your prior Caesarean notes to advise you on the benefits and risks of your birth options.


So if you’re planning a Caesarean birth, make sure that you’re prepared mentally, physically and emotionally – it’s an amazing experience!


About the author

Charlotte Hogarth is a mum of three strong willed crazy little boys, a midwife of many years, a certified HypnoBirthing® International (The Mongan Method) educator and Passionate Gentle and Positive Birth educator.  Based in the Brisbane and Ipswich region, she is passionate about caring for women, during and after pregnancy, both in her roles as a midwife and birth educator.

If you’re feeling anxious about your Cesarean Birth, or just want to be as prepared as possible, Charlotte encourages you to do a Positive Caesarean Birth Course.  As a Positive Caesarean Birth educator, Charlotte constantly receives feedback that the course helped prepare couples mentally, physically and emotionally for a positive Caesarean birth.  If you’re based in Brisbane or Ipswich, you can find out more at https://benefitingbirthandbeyond.com/cesarean-education-workshop/.  If you’re not based in Brisbane, you can still join in on a Course via Skype or Zoom or can discuss a personalised Course to meet your individual needs https://benefitingbirthandbeyond.com/contact/

  1. AIHW, National Core Maternity Indicators, updated 2018, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/per/095/ncmi-data-visualisations/contents/labour-birth/b5
  2. AIHW, Australian Government, Australian Institute of Health and Wellness, Australia’s Health 2018

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