For the month of April, we’re supporting Cesarean Awareness Month. We are encouraging midwives and doulas across the world as they bring awareness to the growing number of unnecessary C-sections. Many women are opted into a cesarean due to rigid hospital protocols and standard procedures when a vaginal birth would be healthier for her and her baby.

What is a cesarean section? 
A cesarean section, also known as a C-section, is when a baby is delivered from the mother’s womb via an incision in the abdomen wall. Before the operation starts, the mother is given either an epidural or a spinal block, which numbs the lower half of the body. An incision is made along the upper bikini area and once the baby is delivered, the incision is closed using dissolvable stitches. Pitocin and other drugs may be dispensed through an IV to prevent bleeding and pain. The baby is usually taken to be cleaned and evaluated before being placed with mommy.

What are the risks of a cesarean section? 
As with any operation, the mom runs the risk of surgical complications, such as bleeding, clotting, and infection, while babies born by cesarean are very likely to experience transient tachypnea—a breathing condition—for their first couple days of life. Additionally, although the anesthetics serve to protect the mother from pain, these drugs can affect the baby. According to the American Pregnancy Association, the “medications have also been known to cause respiratory depression and decreased fetal heart rate in newborns.”

According to the CDC, roughly one-third of all babies delivered in hospitals are via C-section. The truth of the matter, however, is that only a small percentage of cesareans are truly necessary. Circumstances that necessitate C-section are extreme cases of cord placement, placenta problems, and baby positioning. All too often, hospitals are quick to diagnose a laboring mother with a required cesarean without trying natural solutions, such as exercise and body movements.

This month, we’re leveraging the power of knowledge by increasing awareness surrounding cesareans. The frightening fact remains that 1 in every 3 births are via cesarean section, many of which are unnecessary. This month, let’s work together to raise awareness, teach expecting mothers about natural birth alternatives, and get that C-section rate down. For more information about Cesarean Awareness Month, visit the International Cesarean Awareness Network.

Santa Clarita Valley Birth Center is SCV’s first free-standing birth center. We empower women to use their natural ability to birth without a dependence on arbitrary hospital policies. Through home birth and waterbirth, babies are welcomed to the world safely and naturally.

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