The National Center for Health Statistics states that the current rate of caesarian section births in the United States was 30.2% in 2005 and according to trends, it is on the rise. Nearly 1/3 of all women in the US are delivered of their babies by surgical means rather than natural birth. There are many theories as to why this number may be so high (especially since the World Health Organization states that no developed country is justified in having a cesarean rate over 5-15%). Whatever the reasons may be, there are ways that you can help to prevent yourself from having a cesarean section when you go into labor.
One great way to help prevent getting a c-section is by practicing birth affirmations. Birth affirmations are quotes or sayings that you can repeat to yourself before and during birth in order to lift your spirits and give yourself encouragement. You don’t have to be the only one to offer up birth affirmations. Your birth partner should also recite them to you during labor to help comfort you and ease the strain of labor.
The pain of labor often causes a chain reaction in women that can ultimately lead to a cesarean section, even though the mother could have had a normal, healthy, natural birth. Often, pain and doubting one’s ability can cause women to opt for epidural anesthesia. When given an epidural, a woman is unable to push effectively and so, is given pitocin in order to stimulate contractions.
Pitocin is much stronger than the natural oxytocin that the body creates, however. Contractions produced by pitocin injection are extremely strong and may be too much for a mother to bear without epidural. The strength of pitocin-induced contractions and labor is also more likely to cause distress in the fetus, a scenario in which obstetricians invariably call for emergency c-section.
You can help to prevent the need for drugs by creating birth affirmations to help you get through labor. Some mothers like to write their own birth affirmations. Others research the subject and find that they like the birth affirmations that other mothers have used. One book, “Birthing from Within,” by CNM, MA, Pam England, and PhD, Rob Horowitz offers an array of birth affirmations that many mothers find useful as well as a wealth of information on how to prepare yourself for birth.
One thing that I did during my pregnancy was to write down my birth affirmations onto pieces of paper and tape them up around the house where I would see them daily. I posted notes over the stove, next to the toilet, on the bathroom mirror, and next to my computer monitor where I would see them frequently. This can be very helpful in affirming to yourself the safety and naturalness of birth.
Some of my favorite birth affirmations include:
“I don’t have to try. My body already knows what to do.”
“Everything is going right.”
“I give birth safely and without complications.”
“I was created for this moment.”
“I deserve this birth.”
“The power and intensity of your contractions cannot be stronger than you, because it is you.”
“We have a secret in our culture, and it’s not that birth is painful. It’s that women are strong.” – Laura Stavoe Harm
Another way that you can help yourself to prepare for labor and birth is to read birth stories from women who have given birth naturally. Many women even claim that their birth was painless because they were unafraid. I especially enjoy reading birth stories from mothers who went unassisted. My favorite website for birth stories is Laura Shanley’s “Bornfree” website. The stories that these women tell are truly heartwarming and will inspire anyone to find the strength needed to give birth naturally.