Saturday, January 5, 2013

Surviving the Days Before the Elective Cesarean Date

I chose cesarean because I was uncomfortable with the realities of planned vaginal delivery. I was uncomfortable with the idea of needing an emergent cesarean. I was uncomfortable with the idea of tearing. I was uncomfortable with how much pain might be involved with a vaginal delivery. I was uncomfortable with the uncertainty of the impact on my sex life. I was uncomfortable with the risk of permanent neurological damage to my child. I was uncomfortable with the idea of defecating in front of others. I was uncomfortable with the risk of urinary or fecal incontinence. I could not find peace planning a vaginal delivery - the ugliness of vaginal delivery at its worst (and even a wide range was enter than worst) was a possibility that I wanted to completely preclude even if meant giving up the chance for a vaginal delivery at its best. This was true when I was pregnant with my daughter, and more true when I was pregnant with my son.

As such, there was considerable anxiety (particularly when I was pregnant with my son) about not making it to the elective cesarean date. So how did I cope and survive those final weeks of pregnancy and what can a woman do to make that last stretch of pregnancy a little less anxiety ridden?

1. Work with a therapist. I was working with a psychologist throughout my second pregnancy and think that it helped in finding coping strategies that worked for me in my particular situation.

2. Talk to your OBGYN about your risk of going into labour and what the plan is should that happen - discuss whether or not an urgent cesarean is likely to be available if you should go into labour prior to your cesarean date. Your doctor is the person who is most informed about your particular pregnancy and your particular plans with regard to that pregnancy and is likely in the best position to advise you accordingly. If at all possible, try to arrange for the earliest safe date possible to minimize the risk of going into labour spontaneously (generally speaking this is at 39 weeks gestation - but should be discussed with your own care provider to determine what is best in your particular situation).

3. Find an appropriate activity to distract yourself and that you find enjoyable.

4. Do not over exert yourself and keep well hydrated and well nourished.

5. Avoid anxiety provoking situations. I found myself avoiding social situations in my final weeks of pregnancy.

6. Relocate if neccessary to be near to where accessing care is planned - this is particularly true if where you plan on having your baby is significantly far from where you live.

7. Arrange for the care of older children, pets, help for after the delivery, meals, etcetera.

8. Reassure yourself that even if things do not go as planned, that your primary concern is for the health of yourself and your child, and that regardless of how things unfold you will find a way to deal with it and will deal with whatever situations arise as best you can - and that is all you can do, and it will be enough because it has to be enough.

The best thing about the pregnancy with my son was his safe arrival and knowing that the worry about that arrival was behind me and that the time had come for me to enjoy my son and all the happy days that lay ahead.


  1. I want to thank you for your blog, so happy I found it! I'll be delivering my second babe by maternal request cesarean, and enjoy your insights. My first vaginal delivery w/ epidural 4 years ago left me confident that I would not be doing that again. I will following your posts!

  2. Mrs. W-Thanks so much for writing this...I really appreciate all of the advice as you know I am eagerly and anxiously awaiting my elective c-section in March. Keep up the wonderful work you do for all of us wanting and hoping for a change in perspective about birth choices. -Lauren