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Episode 2: The Importance of Learning About Cesarean Birth: (even if you're planning to birth unmedicated!)

cesarean birth May 21, 2021

Hello and welcome to the Brave Journey Weekly Birth Preparation Video! Today we're talking about the importance of learning about cesarean birth, even if you're planning to birth unmedicated. Cesarean birth is birth and birth is beautiful. We'll discuss why people might not want to teach about cesarean ("love and light" culture) and we'll talk about how being brave means preparing for different possible births. Many birth workers and expectant parents don't want to teach / learn about cesarean birth even though, REAL TALK: 25% of low risk pregnant people birthed their baby via cesarean in 2020. Let's learn about cesarean birth so that if a baby is born via cesarean, expectant parents are prepared and prepared to advocate for "family centered" or "gentle" practices in the birth operating room.
This video is part of my ongoing weekly Brave Journey birth preparation videos where I pick a birth topic and talk about it! What do you want to know or wish you'd known about childbirth and birth preparation or postpartum?


Hi, I'm Cara Lee of Brave Journey. And I am here with your weekly birth preparation video. The topic for today is why I think that all people should learn about cesarean birth when they're preparing to birth their baby. Even if they are planning an unmedicated birth. Surprisingly, this is a little bit controversial, especially amongst birth workers.

There are some birth workers who are, have a strong aversion to talking about cesarean and, and it's a little bit of symptom of the "love and light" and wellness culture, which is not wanting to think about things that are uncomfortable. But, uh, first I'm going to talk today about semantics, the words we use matter around cesarean birth. Then, um, why it's a little bit controversial and why I think it's important that you learned about cesarean birth, even if you're planning an unmedicated birth. So, uh, this came about because when I asked people what they wished they'd known before they birth their baby, as I've been trying to get ideas for these videos, one of my friends wrote that she wished - and I've heard this from many people - she wished she'd learned more about cesarean birth. Because she birthed her baby via cesarean and she wasn't prepared. She hadn't learned anything about cesarean birth before having her baby via cesarean. So that's one of the reasons why I think it's important for everybody to learn about cesarean birth.

Semantics: the words we use really matter. They influence the way that we think and feel about something. So close your eyes for a sec and envision what comes to your mind when I say the word 'C-section' or 'section them'. Or 'they ended up with a C-section'. Now envision what comes to mind when I say things like 'cesarean birth', or 'they were born via cesarean' or 'they gave birth via cesarean'. To me, those phrases evoke very different imagery.

And for people who've birthed their babies via cesarean they evoke very different feelings and imagery. And I think it's important that we watch our language to honor those who birth their babies via cesarean birth. So controversial. It's.. To me it's well... I shouldn't be dismissive folks who do not think it's important to learn about cesarean birth, feel that it is a problem to think about something that is... that they don't want. So some people think that by not thinking about it, by not introducing the idea of cesarean to the people who they're teaching birth education classes to, that that will somehow, um, keep them from, keep it from happening. And the other side of that is that they want their clients to think about what they want, to envision what they want as if they can make that happen just by thinking about it.

And this is really, um, this is a product of a bigger, larger problem in the "love and light" culture and the wellness culture, which is not wanting to look at difficult truths. And thinking that by not thinking about something or by not learning about something that we can somehow imagine it away. So obviously I disagree with that.

I think that it's important to learn about cesarean birth because, in my view, avoiding thinking about something gives it way too much power. It gives it, makes it stronger and scarier, and also keeps us from looking bravely at what could potentially be something that we need to address either in our community or in our lives.

This is just generally, this is my life view: that we need to look bravely, look in the eyes of something that scares us rather than looking away or avoiding thinking about it. And I know it's hard, but I think it's important.

There are lots of reasons why a baby might be born via cesarean that have absolutely nothing to do with the individual who is birthing their baby.

Um, to be really pragmatic. I just looked up the stats for 2020 and the CDC stats for 2020 cesarean rate in the United States was 25% of low-risk pregnancies. So that means that one out of four low risk pregnant people preparing for birth via the online program I'm building will be birthing their baby via cesarean and I want them to be prepared.

I want them to be prepared also to have what's called a gentle cesarean or a family centered cesarean. And these are becoming more popular, more cesareans are offering them. And I want families to be prepared to advocate for that if the baby is going to be born and be necessary. And now I'm going to do an cesarean video about family centered and gentle cesareans and what those can look like and what options might be the in the birth operation room.

Uh, so there are evidence-based practices that can help lower a person's likelihood of birthing their baby via cesarean and these include prenatal care, birth education, quality labor support, birthing in an institution that values vaginal birth, and an institution that values the birthing families values.

And then just generally higher privileged people are more likely to have access to higher quality medical care. But many of the most impactful ways to lower rates are going to be achieved by changing the system. And advocating for change at a policy level, not by making expectant families feel afraid of their baby being born by a cesarean and not by minimizing that experience.

Birth is birth and cesarean birth is a transformational experience for parents and for babies who are born via cesarean. Avoiding learning about or teaching about cesarean birth is setting one out of every four low- risk birthing family for a scary experience that does not have to be scary.

Learning about gentle cesareans and family centered cesareans and birthing families options in the operating room as they birth their baby via cesarean can ensure that cesarean births are honored as the transformative experiences that they are. Birth is birth.

📍 So feel free to DM me and argue with me.

That would be fine with me. I really am appreciating some of the dialogue that we're starting to get going here. And also, uh, go to and give me your email address if you want to be notified when I opened registration for my birth preparation coaching program I am still working on it. It's going to be an online program with birthing classes and, um, And coaching from me. And I really would love to be able to let you know when that's going to be available. If it's something you or someone, you know, in love would be interested in. So Thank you for listening. DM me, message me.

Let me know if there are other topics you want to hear about. I am loving hearing from you and I certainly take what you say into account. Thank you.

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