Labor & Birth

Birth & Family Photographers

Here are some AMAZING birth and family photographers!

Vuefinder Photography - San Diego

Birth Blessings Photography- Temecula

Birth Stories

Here are some sites that post birth stories regularly:


Nurturing Hearts Birth Services

Navelgazing Midwife



Things You Can Do to Avoid an Unnecessary Cesarean

Things You Can Do to Avoid an Unnecessary Cesarean


The Public Citizen Health Research Group in Washington, D.C. has estimated that half of the nearly 1 million cesareans performed every year are medically unnecessary. With more appropriate care during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, half of the cesareans could have been avoided. Clearly, there are times when cesareans are necessary. However, cesareans increase the risk to both mothers and babies. These are suggestions of things you can do to avoid an unnecessary cesarean and can help insure that your birth experience is as healthy and positive as possible.



  • Read and educate yourself, attend classes and workshops inside and outside the hospital.
  • Research and prepare a birth plan. Discuss your birth plan with your midwife or doctor and submit copies to your hospital or birth center.
  • Interview more than one care provider. Ask key questions and see how your probing influences their attitude. Are they defensive or are they pleased by your interest?
  • Ask your care provider if there is a set time limit for labor and second stage pushing. See what s/he feels can interfere with the normal process of labor.
  • Tour more than one birth facility. Note their differences and ask about their cesarean rate, VBAC protocol, etc.
  • Become aware of your rights as a pregnant woman.
  • Find a labor support person. Interview more than one. A recent medical journal article showed that labor support can significantly reduce the risk of cesarean.
  • Help ensure a healthy baby and mother by eating a well-balanced diet.
  • If your baby is breech, ask your care provider about exercises to turn the baby, external version (turning the baby with hands), and vaginal breech delivery. You may want to seek a second opinion.
  • If you had a cesarean, seriously consider VBAC. According to the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologist, VBAC is safer in most cases than a scheduled repeat cesarean and up to 80% of woman with prior cesareans can go on to birth their subsequent babies vaginally.



  • Stay at home as long as possible. Walk and change positions frequently. Labor in the position most comfortable for you.
  • Continue to eat and drink lightly, especially during early labor, to provide energy.
  • Avoid pitocin augmentation for a slow labor. As an alternative, you may want to try nipple stimulation.
  • If your bag of water breaks, don't let anyone do a vaginal examination unless medically indicated for a specific reason. The risk of infection increases with each examination. Discuss with your care provider how to monitor for signs of infection.
  • Request intermittent electronic fetal monitoring or the use of a fetoscope. Medical research has shown that continuous electronic fetal monitoring can increase the risk of cesarean without related improvement in outcome for the baby.
  • Avoid using an epidural. Medical research has shown that epidurals can slow down labor and cause complications for the mother and baby. If you do have an epidural and have trouble pushing, ask to take a break from pushing until the epidural has worn off some and then resume pushing.
  • Do not arrive at the hospital too early. If you are still in the early stages of labor when you get to the hospital, instead of being admitted, walk around the hospital or go home and rest.
  • Find out the risks and benefits of routine and emergency procedures before you are faced with them. When faced with any procedure, find out why it is being used in your case, what are the short and long term effects on you and your baby, and what are your other options.
  • Remember, nothing is absolute. If you have doubts, trust your instincts. Do not be afraid to assert yourself. Accept responsibility for your requests and decisions.


This may be copied and distributed with retained copyright. 
© International Cesarean Awareness Network, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


wp_uncs.doc                                                                          8/20/2002
©2002 ICAN, Inc.

Things a Careprovider Can Do to Avoid Unnecessary Cesareans

Things a Careprovider Can Do to Avoid Unnecessary Cesareans


by Pamela Udy


With the emphasis on a woman's desire to choose how she gives birth, how does an OB empower women with the knowledge to make responsible decisions? By encouraging a woman to prepare for her labor and delivery, you are helping to ensure she has a healthy and positive birth experience. Birthing women should be aware of the benefits and possible risks of each intervention and should be informed of the cascade effect that often accompanies interventions. Women have the right to informed consent, as well as informed refusal.


Before Labor

  • When a woman comes to you for care the first time, or is pregnant for the first time, sit with her (fully clothed) in your office and discuss any concerns, expectations, and questions.
  • Provide her with a reading list.
  • Provide her with a birth plan to be filled out and discussed. Sign and submit copy to birth place. Be sure she is realistic and optimistic.
  • Provide her with a copy of International Childbirth Education Association's "The Pregnant Patient's Bill of Rights and The Pregnant Patient's Responsibilities".
  • Provide her with a doula or provide a referral list so she can hire one herself.
  • Discuss nutrition with the pregnant woman. Encourage her to eat a well-balanced diet. Provide her with guidelines on eating foods rich in protein and vitamins.
  • If her baby is breech, discuss vaginal breech delivery. Discuss ways of turning the baby.
  • Discuss when to arrive at the birthplace. Discuss what she can do in early labor, to encourage labor without overly tiring herself (walking, light eating, rocking, tub).
  • If she has had a prior cesarean, sincerely encourage her to have a vaginal birth after cesarean. It is important to dispel any doubt she has that she could not have a vaginal birth. Play an active role in encouraging her.


During Labor

  • Encourage her to walk and labor in the position most comfortable for her. Remember that squatting can help bring her baby down. Laboring or/and birthing flat on her back is not recommended. It can decrease blood and oxygen supply to baby and the mother has to work harder to push her baby uphill.
  • Encourage her to continue to eat and drink lightly, even during labor. The uterus is a muscle and like all muscles, it must be nourished to work effectively.
  • Avoid Pitocin for a slow labor. If her labor is progressing slowly, you may want to encourage her to try nipple stimulation and loving caresses.
  • To avoid risk of infection, limit the number of vaginal exams done after her water breaks. Discuss with her how to avoid an infection and how to monitor for signs of infection.
  • After an initial monitoring strip upon admission, only occasional monitoring is necessary. Continual monitoring contributes to an increase in cesareans without related improvements in fetal outcome.
  • Epidurals and other anesthesia can slow labor and can cause complications for the mother and baby. Educate the mother about the risks involved and all the interventions that come with anesthesia. If the mother is having trouble pushing effectively, let the epidural wear off and then resume pushing.
  • Discuss with your patients natural pain relief measures such as: massage, reflexology, relaxation, guided imagery, hot/cold packs, shower or tub, birth ball, positioning, hypo birthing, and other comfort measures.
  • Discuss risks and benefits of routine and emergency procedures before they are encountered. When faced with the possibility of any procedure, discuss with the patient why it is being offered, what the short and long term effects are on the baby and herself and what the other options are.
  • If a cesarean is necessary, explain things that are happening, focus on the mother, reassure her.
  • A woman should first hear about the option for VBAC even before the first cesarean is done -- "I am sorry that things aren't going as we had planned. A cesarean seems to be what needs to be done for this birth because____ . You have every reason to believe that you can have a vaginal birth next time. I plan to do a low transverse incision because that will be strongest and safest for future births. We'll talk more about this at your postpartum visit. "
  • Remember birth is your job, but this birth will be a life-changing event for the mother.


This may be copied and distributed with retained copyright. 
© International Cesarean Awareness Network, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


wp_carepro.doc                                                                            9/21/2004
©2004 ICAN, Inc.



There are SO many benefits to having a doula to support you during your pregnancy, labor and birth. A doula will be beneficial in any labor setting but if you are planning a hospsital birth I say that a doula is 100% required. Not because Coach can't handle it, but because a doula will know the ins and outs of hospital protocol and can be very reassuring along the way. They will also be there postpartum so if a situation occurs and baby and mom need to be separated, Coach can go with baby and the doula can stay with mom. There is NO down side to having a doula. So set yourself up for success and start interviewing!


More info on Labor Support



We have SO many amazing doulas here in SD! Here is a list of some that I love:

Dawn Thompson

Becky Gonzales

Rosie Peterson & Robin Baker

Annely Allen

Linda Goldsmith


San Diego Birth Resource Network

DONA certified doulas





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