Cesarean or labor? Surgery or nature? Women today are far too often told that a cesarean is the safest option for them. In fact, surgical births are becoming so common that it can be a challenge to discern if the surgery is medically necessary for an individual person or not.


Have you been offered or advised to have a cesarean for this pregnancy?

Find out if there is any reason why you couldn’t give labor a chance. Will mother and baby’s health allow for the start of spontaneous labor, whether at 39 or 42 weeks gestation?

If labor doesn’t begin on its own, induction at 42 weeks or more has been the most common course. Going for a cesarean at 40 weeks fits into the new obstetrical model for which hospital administrators demand a high cesarean rate from their doctors. Even when labor begins on its own, it often ends with a cesarean.

What many people don’t realize is that a spontaneous labor offers several benefits to the baby. If you are healthy, then the ethical response is to let labor begin spontaneously.

Whatever you decide, I hope you look back a year from now and feel listened to, empowered, and satisfied with your choices. Don’t forget that you are the mama—you get to choose!

One thing I really appreciate about your site is that you speak with an attitude that allows for all birth outcomes. I have to say, part of my emotional healing has been to deal with some of the more radical birth empowerment literature that promises women that any and all of us can have vaginal births if we simply try hard enough. I believe that sometimes, in our quest to lower the shockingly high c-section rate, we seem to want to behave as though no c-sections are necessary. And that is simply not true. In many cases, they are the only option left when everything else has failed. I feel like your site leaves room for this possibility, and I really appreciate that. ~ AJ, mother (after a necessary cesarean)

Have you already had a cesarean before this pregnancy?

Every vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) begins with balance. If you need more of it, get your body to work and do some daily activities.

Your pelvis has a good chance of coming into better symmetry with professional body work combined with exercises. Second babies come more readily as well, and the exercises seem to work better, especially if you start now.

I’ve helped several women who had cesareans for a slow descent or a tight fit and even had the same problem in their second labors. We did the Side-lying Release, lunges, and vertical pushing to help the baby fit.

Are you planning a cesarean?

There are ways to make your cesarean more family-focused.

Talk to the anesthesia department at your hospital to discuss personal adaptations to your needs. For instance, do you want your doula to be present with your significant other during the surgery?

Do you want to give your baby the benefits of skin-to-skin contact? If you know ahead of time that you will—or may likely—need a cesarean you can “shop around” for more physiological accommodations, such as delayed cord clamping, skin-to-skin contact in the operating room, breast feeding in the recovery room, etc.

After the cesarean, you can create an intimate skin-to-skin welcome for your new baby or babies. This is a wonderful way to reestablish a calm environment and go for an extra hormonal “bonding” surge after a busy beginning in the operating room. Ask your doula, partner, another family member, or a nurse to help you.

Daily Essentials
Daily Essentials can be practiced daily throughout pregnancy to help bring balance and comfort — and an easier, shorter birth.
Spinning Babies® Parent Class
Spinning Babies® Parent Class provides clear instructions on how to use Spinning Babies® for a more comfortable and confident pregnancy and labor.