The increase in the rate of cesarean deliveries means that any woman who is pregnant has more than a one in four chance of having her baby by cesarean. In some cases it can be possible to avoid a cesarean, if you really want to have a vaginal birth.

Key Factors

There are some factors that can affect your chances of having a vaginal delivery versus a cesarean:

  • Selection of health care provider and their philosophy on cesarean delivery
  • Birth setting
  • Labor support availability
  • Access to medical interventions

Ways to Avoid a Cesarean:

  • Ensure your health care provider and chosen birth setting has low rates of medical intervention
  • Inquire as to your health care provider’s philosophy on cesareans
  • Put together a flexible birth plan and cover it off with your health care provider
  • Learn as much as you can about birth, take classes and read books
  • Hire a doula or other labor support (this gives you a 26% less chance of having a cesarean)
  • Learn natural pain management techniques
  • Find out how long you can wait to go to the hospital once labor begins (a long hospital labor increases chances of cesarean)
  • Try to avoid continuous fetal monitoring, as it increases chances of cesarean by 30%
  • Try to avoid an epidural if you can
  • Learn methods to turn a breech baby
  • Try to avoid an induced labor
  • Learn all the different labor positions and find a few that help you progress labor