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For some women, a cesarean birth may be needed. In this type of delivery, the baby is born through an incision in the abdomen and uterus. Some women may know during their pregnancy that they will be having a cesarean delivery. This may be because:

  • The position of the baby makes vaginal delivery impossible.
  • You or your baby have a medical condition that would make it harmful to have a vaginal delivery.
  • You have had a certain type of cesarean delivery with a past birth.

It may be necessary to have a cesarean birth if:

  • Your baby is too large for you to deliver vaginally.
  • Your cervix has not opened completely.
  • The baby is showing signs of not tolerating labor, which is determined by the baby's heart rate during labor.

Your health care provider and nurse will monitor you and your baby (with a machine that checks your baby's heart beat). They will explain what they are doing and answer your questions.

Making C-sections better for moms and babies.

A cesarean delivery can be difficult for women who were hoping for a low-risk birth. So Strong Beginnings is helping to make cesarean deliveries more fulfilling with two major innovations.

A blue surgical drape with an option to uncover a clear panel for a better view of birth.

Strong Beginnings has introduced a special surgical drape with a clear panel behind the standard blue drape. This clear drape window lets parents see their baby emerge into the world from the moment of birth.

In the past, women having cesareans were draped with a solid blue surgical drape. They could only see their baby after it was lifted above the drape. With our new drape, the mother and her support person can see through the drape to watch the baby’s birth. 

This is a very new practice—only a few hospitals across the nation have adopted it. But the clear surgical drape has already earned very positive feedback from our patients. Families feel more connected to their baby’s birth by viewing it in real time, together.

For families that don’t desire this option, the panel can remain covered for the surgery to prevent viewing of the operative field.

Immediate skin-to-skin contact between mom and baby after a cesarean.

“Skin-to-skin” is the practice of placing baby directly on mom’s chest after birth. The direct contact with mother reassures the baby, helps regulate body temperature blood sugar, breathing, and heart rate while also helping with initiating breastfeeding. 

Skin-to-skin contact was not usually offered to cesarean delivery moms in the past. Hospitals have traditionally required that the baby to be taken from the mom and placed under a warmer. 

Strong Beginnings has changed its cesarean protocols to make skin-to-skin contact a priority. These new protocols enable moms and babies to stay together right from birth—provided both mom and baby are stable.

Cesarean deliveries will always be necessary for some moms and babies. But these changes are an exciting way to improve the experience of birth for thousands of women and families each year.

Vaginal Birth after Cesarean (VBAC)

It is possible for many women who had a previous cesarean birth to have a vaginal birth with the next child. Discuss this with your health care provider. VBAC classes are available to assist you with the decision about what type of delivery to choose with your next pregnancy, and how to prepare for it.