Asking Questions About Cesarean Birth (Spanish)

A cesarean birth can be a life-saving procedure, but it can also impact your health for the rest of your life. Every person needs information and support to decide if it’s the right choice for them.

  • C-sections may have both benefits and risks.
  • How techniques traditionally used by midwives and doulas can help safely reduce c-section rates.
  • How to start making a birth plan that supports you to achieve the birth that is right for you.
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Terms in this Chapter

the region of the body between the chest and the pelvis (also known as the belly)

Advocate (verb)

to speak up or ask questions on behalf of yourself or someone else

Birth plan

a plan listing the birthing individual’s preferences during labor, such as medical interventions, options for pain relief, and labor positions

Birth worker

someone who is professionally trained to be a resource for information about pregnancy and childbirth who also cares for the well-being of pregnant people; a general term that usually includes midwives, doctors, and nurses who care for birthing people as well as supportive team members such as doulas or lactation consultants

Birthing person

the person who will give birth to the baby. See also birthing person; pregnant person

Cesarean birth

a surgical procedure (used instead of vaginal birth) to deliver a baby by cutting into the abdomen and the uterus. Also known as a C-section

Cord clamping

putting a clamp on the baby’s umbilical cord after birth before cutting the cord to separate the baby from the placenta. Also known as umbilical cord clamping.

Culturally aligned care

care that honors and integrates a person’s cultural identity and preferences, provided by people who share the culture or are knowledgeable and respectful of the culture


to open. Typically the birthing person’s cervix will begin dilating in the last weeks of pregnancy; in labor the cervix will dilate to about 10 cm to let the baby out.


a trained professional who provides physical, emotional and informational support before, during and shortly after birth (birth doula) or in the postpartum period (postpartum doula). Doulas with full-spectrum training may also support people during and after pregnancy loss or abortion. Doulas do not have medical training, are not medically licensed, and do not provide medical advice.


a medicine injected through the birthing person’s back into a space near the spine to numb the pain of childbirth. Once an epidural is given, the birthing individual generally does not have feeling in the lower half of their body.


to intentionally start the birthing process by using medications or devices instead of your body’s and baby’s physiological processes, to begin labor. An induced labor is also called induction.

Informed consent

a process where the birthing individual gives permission or chooses a decision based on the principle that they have all the information they need from their healthcare provider prior to making that decision. Informed consent involves a discussion around the benefits, risks and alternatives of procedures or medical actions you are asked to agree to.

Informed refusal

a process where the birthing individual refuses treatment or services based on the principle that they have all the information they need from their healthcare provider prior to making that decision


IV is short for “intravenous” which means in your veins. Tubes or needles can be put into your veins at medical facilities to provide food, fluids or medicine when needed.

Labor position

a way to position yourself during labor or to give birth, such as standing, side-lying, squatting, and kneeling


a licensed healthcare professional trained to provide reproductive and primary care including care during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period. Midwives specialize in low-risk pregnancies and well-person care, and may collaborate with physicians and other healthcare providers in the care of people who need advanced medical care or surgery.


illness, injury, or poor health


an acronym that stands for Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, a location in some hospitals where babies who need special medical attention can receive it


OB is short for obstetrician and GYN is short for gynecologist. An obstetrician is a healthcare professional who delivers babies and provides pregnancy-related care, while a gynecologist is a healthcare professional who specializes in vaginal care and reproductive health

Nitrous oxide

medicine you breathe in for pain relief and relaxation. Also known as “laughing gas”


strong medication offered for pain relief


the hormone produced by your body that helps labor progress, reduces blood loss after birth, and is involved in bonding and lactation after birth


around the time of birth


a medication, chemically the same as the hormone oxytocin, used to cause or strengthen contractions at the time of childbirth


after childbirth


a trained healthcare professional who diagnoses patients and provides treatment. Includes doctors, midwives, nurse practitioners, and physicians assistants.


speaking up for yourself, your needs and your desires so you can make informed decisions and have your decisions respected


a process where you enter a relaxed and focused state and give yourself positive suggestions to help power through a difficult situation

Shared decision making

when a provider and a patient work together to make a health care decision that is best for the patient. The optimal decision takes into account evidence-based information about options, the provider’s knowledge and experience, and the patient’s values and preferences.

Skin-to-skin contact

a practice where the newborn baby is dried and placed on the birthing individual’s chest right after labor, without clothing or a blanket in-between


an acronym that is short for “vaginal birth after cesarean”

Support people

anyone in the pregnant person’s life whose purpose is to physically or emotionally support them