19 Ways to Avoid an Unnecessary Cesarean

DURING LABOR
Stay at home as long as possible. Walk and change positions frequently. Labor in the position most comfortable for you.

Continue to eat and drink lightly, especially during early labor, to provide energy.

Avoid pitocin augmentation for a slow labor. As an alternative, you may want to try nipple stimulation.

If your bag of water breaks, don't let anyone do a vaginal examination unless medically indicated for a specific reason. The risk of infection increases with each examination. Discuss with your care provider how to monitor for signs of infection.

Request intermittent electronic fetal monitoring or the use of a fetoscope. Medical research has shown that continuous electronic fetal monitoring can increase the risk of cesarean without related improvement in outcome for the baby.

Avoid using an epidural. Medical research has shown that epidurals can slow down labor and cause complications for the mother and baby. If you do have an epidural and have trouble pushing, ask to take a break from pushing until the epidural has worn off some and then resume pushing.

Do not arrive at the hospital too early. If you are still in the early stages of labor when you get to the hospital, instead of being admitted, walk around the hospital or go home and rest.

Find out the risks and benefits of routine and emergency procedures before you are faced with them. When faced with any procedure, find out why it is being used in your case, what are the short and long term effects on you and your baby, and what are your other options.

Remember, nothing is absolute. If you have doubts, trust your instincts. Do not be afraid to assert yourself. Accept responsibility for your requests and decisions.

To contact ICAN
International Cesarean Awareness Network
1304 Kingsdale Avenue
Redondo Beach, CA 90278
(310)542-6400
(310)542-5368 FAX

Copyright © 1998 - 2000 by ICAN. All rights reserved. This may be copied and distributed with retained copyright.

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