4 Reasons C-section Rates are So High, and What You Can Do to Reduce Your Risk

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As a second-time mom to be, I’m approaching birth from a completely different perspective this time around. So it follows that I’d be making some mind-blowing discoveries. 

As co-author of The Other Baby Book, I’m used to being surprised by the lack of awareness of basic and timeless practices among the medical community. In fact, it’s the central reason I was inspired to get our book out there. 

And yes, I’d learned that posture can impact your baby’s ability to come out smoothly. We covered it in our book. 

But. My homebirth midwife just lent me a book that I promptly devoured, and despite all the above disclaimers I am shocked that these concepts are not part of the mainstream. With medical interventions skyrocketing and the U.S. maternal death rate at 50th worldwide, clearly our $98 billion investment in expensive surgeries, hospitalizations and medications aren’t doing the trick. 

Enter Sit Up and Take Notice! (and please do). 

The top 3 takeaways from this book:

1. Baby positioning is key to a smooth vaginal birth for the average healthy mom. The easiest position for baby’s smooth exit from the womb is head-down alignment on the left side of the mom’s uterus, facing her rear. You’ll know if he’s there by the kicks just under your right rib cage and the popped out nature of your belly-button. 

2. If your baby isn’t in the optimal position by 34 weeks (first time mothers) or 37 weeks (2nd+ time mothers), you can adjust his position through targeted stretching, adjusting your posture throughout the day and at night, and through exercises such as swimming and yoga.

3. Our posture (read: lifestyle) is largely responsible for the misaligned exit state of so many of our babies. Because we sit much of the day, and most of us recline (meaning our pelvis is tipped backwards rather than forwards) our babies tend to face forward. You can recognize this by kicks that are felt at the front of your stomach and the inverted saucer-type shape of your belly-button. By ensuring that our pelvis tips forward (using pillows behind our lower backs when seated, sitting on birthing balls, etc), we can keep our babies in the best position for birth.

4. When birthing in a hospital, the majority of women are instructed to sit or lie on a bed, holding their legs back, to push the baby out. Not only does this tip our pelvis backward, encouraging the baby to misalign, it makes the passage to the birth canal much more difficult for the baby. Better birthing positions are stands, squats, hands and knees and even lying on your left side with your top leg slightly elevated. 

Why am I so passionate about this topic? It is yet another example of how “advanced” medical knowledge has led us to ignore basic, life-giving concepts. Also, I lived it the first time around.

My first baby was born in a hospital – after lots of pushing and straining – sunny-side up (forward facing). I now understand how close I came to being “sectioned”. It’s my goal to establish, monitor and maintain optimal positioning for baby #2. The stakes are that much higher with a home birth, and the rewards equally sweet (a bundle of newborn love).

Want to learn more about this topic? Check out this awesome site: http://www.spinningbabies.com/

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Miriam KatzMiriam J. Katz is co-author of The Other Baby Book: A Natural Approach to Baby’s First Year, where you can learn best baby-care practices from time immemorial. Miriam is a career and life coach whose passion is to help women realize their life purpose. She lives in Boston with her husband and daughter.

 

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