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No expectant mother wants to envision their labor ending with a c-section, but that’s your first lesson in motherhood: expect the unexpected. It is not uncommon to feel an array of negative emotions after having an unplanned c-section. Plan ahead of time for everything that could happen during labor so that whatever road your birth story travels, you will be as happy as possible.


Mentally prepare your husband for the possibility you might need to have a c-section. If you wait until the moment your doctor tells you it’s time for surgery the odds are not good your man will be ready for the change in plans. This is when you’re going to want to be emotionally collecting yourself and prepping for surgery, not answering endless questions. Read more about getting help after a C-section.


Add a c-section clause to your birth plan. Talk your options out with your ob/gyn ahead of time and let them explain to you and your partner how things typically work during surgery. Ask details about whether or not your hospital is a teaching hospital. Many moms are aware there may be a student in the room during labor and that you can request for the student to not be there. However, it is easy to get caught off guard when you’re awake and you hear your doctor explain what’s going on behind that curtain to their intern.


When labor begins the nurses working with you will ask your post-birth plans. Do you want to have immediate skin-to-skin contact with baby? Do you plan on breastfeeding as soon as possible? Unfortunately, these options aren’t typically offered to women when transferring from a vaginal birth plan to a cesarean, but that doesn’t mean they are not possible. Ask! It is not unheard of to still bond with baby immediately after he comes into the world. Figure out your options and comfort level ahead of time to make a c-section as close to a normal birth experience as possible.

For more information, visit other posts in  our C-Section feature.