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.
While it is completely normal to feel stress or fear around pregnancy, labor, and parenthood, remember that hope and joy are important parts of your journey too. Take this time to ask the questions on your mind, create a birth plan, and prepare for the newest addition to your family — you got this!
All people deserve a safe and positive birth experience, but all too often that is not the case for Black people. Meet doulas and midwives who reflect on how to center Black birthing people and ensure that every person has respectful, culturally aligned care that meets their needs and keeps them safe.
The care you receive after birth is just as important as during your pregnancy. Meet doctors, midwives, doulas, lactation consultants and new parents who share what the postpartum period is really like and how to find the support and care you need.
All people deserve a safe and positive birth experience, but all too often that is not the case for people who have language barriers. Meet doulas and midwives who reflect on how to ensure that every person has respectful, culturally aligned care that meets their needs and keeps them safe.
the region of the body between the chest and the pelvis (also known as the belly)
to speak up or ask questions on behalf of yourself or someone else
a plan listing the birthing individual’s preferences during labor, such as medical interventions, options for pain relief, and labor positions
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
the person who will give birth to the baby. See also birthing person; pregnant person
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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”
anyone in the pregnant person’s life whose purpose is to physically or emotionally support them