33% of babies are born via cesarean section. In some areas, that number creeps as high as 45%.
66% of women who have a vaginal birth receive epidural anesthesia during labor; in some areas, that number is closer to 78%. Individual hospitals report rates as high as 95%.
Now, I am a huge advocate of making an informed choice about your birth. You must know that getting an epidural increases the likelihood of a C-section. You need to know that it is really challenging to have a natural birth in a hospital setting if the environment isn’t designed to support this option.
You need to know that making the choice to birth in a birth center rather than a hospital means your likelihood of having a C-section is significantly lower.
But, when you are told this:
You may feel like having a natural birth is the cornerstone to successful breastfeeding.
It isn’t. It helps, but it isn’t everything.
The truth is that you can make all the birth plans you want, but once your body takes over, you have little to no control over the outcome of your birth.
Sure, you can avoid a lot of unnecessary interventions by birthing with a midwife, but that doesn’t change the fact that there is a time and a place for epidurals, pitocin, and cesareans.
If you choose to have a medicated birth, or you end up with a medicated birth, then there is no reason to believe breastfeeding won’t work. And certainly, you should not feel guilty for having a birth that was ultimately out of your control.
Whether you have a natural birth or a medicated birth, whether you have a vaginal birth or a cesarean, it doesn’t change the fact that you need to be ready to breastfeed. You need to plan while you are pregnant and you need to know exactly where to get support when you are discharged from the hospital or birth center.
You have very little control over the outcome of your birth. You have much more (although not total) control over the outcome of breastfeeding.
So, stop making your birth choices around breastfeeding. Make whatever birth choice feels best to you.
Then, focus on making breastfeeding work no matter what.
If you aren’t able to join me live, check out the online education program I created- The Pregnant Mama’s Guide to Breastfeeding Success