Placenta Previa: Are You Disappointed You Can’t Have A Natural Childbirth?

by ADMIN - Tracey Rose on May 15, 2012

I just had another email today from an expectant mother who’s so disappointed she can’t have a natural childbirth :(

She has been following this blog for months now and has even been attending local natural birthing classes, but has just been told she will have to have a cesarean. She has placenta previa and her placenta is lying dangerously low.

Placenta previa means “placenta first” and it’s a rare condition affecting approximately 0.5% of pregnancies. It’s when the placenta implants partly or wholly over the cervix, instead of on the side or upper part of the uterine wall. This can block the cervix and your baby’s descent into the vagina for birth.

If you are at risk of a low-lying placenta early in your pregnancy (before 20 weeks) there’s still a a good chance the placenta will grow with the uterine wall and stretch up further, so it’s no longer a risk. However, your care providers will be able to tell more accurately at around 36 weeks if placenta previa still poses a risk to your natural birth aspirations.

Anyway, I was disappointed for this woman and wanted to give her some advice as to what she can still do to help her have a satisfying birth, so I thought I’d share it with you too.

If you have been taking a natural childbirth class, there are many aspects of the training that can still assist you in a cesarean delivery:

  • BABY BONDING – There are many techniques in natural childbirth classes that will help you bond with your unborn baby. Just because you are having a cesarean doesn’t mean you stop these. Utilize the exercises such as massage and talking to your baby in the bath or shower.Meditation with relaxing music will also help you be present and calm during your pregnancy and c-section.
  • BREATHING – I know this sounds silly but using the breathing techniques you practiced in your classes can help your body during your cesarean delivery. Conscious relaxation and breathing can help de-stress the body enabling your body to accept the anesthesia properly. Relaxed breathing can also lower your heart rate when it is usually higher during certain stages of a c-section.
  • HYPNOSIS – Have you ever heard of people who used hypnosis for surgery or even the dentist? While, it’s known to help alleviate pain, did you know that hypnosis is used to assist in recovery too? Used effectively, it can help cut down recovery times from surgery significantly. Hypnosis can also help with pain after a cesarean delivery. Mothers are often on strong pain medication for weeks, but the need for this can also be reduced with hypnosis. Speak with a qualified hypnotherapist about this.
  •  BIRTH PREFERENCES - Birth preferences? What could I possibly mean when you’re having a cesarean? Well, a birth plan covers more than just vaginal delivery of a baby. It also includes 
  1. Pre-Admission
  2. Admission
  3. Prior to Surgery
  4. Surgery
  5. Recovery
  6. Baby

For example, you may request that epidural anaesthesia will be used if possible and no pre-operative medications, especially sedative drugs. You may also state that you want the father to remain with the mother at all times. Also that you nurse your baby while your incision is closed up and that your baby not be put in the nursery.You may also want to look at a gentle c-section procedure that was developed in the UK, where obstetricians can perform a cesarean with special care that mimics some of the sensations experienced in a vaginal birth.

  • FEAR RELEASE – This is specific to hypnosis and hypnobirthing where you do a healing exercise to release any fears coming up about having a baby or a surgical birth. Fear release sessions can open comminication between couples and allow an opporunity to resolve issues before they arise. This assists parents to approach the the birth of their baby calmly and with confidence.

As you can see just because you have placenta previa or are booked in for a cesarean delivery for another reason, it doesn’t mean you lose all control and input to your baby’s birth – far from it!

Your approach to this unexpected circumstance is important to you and your baby, so embrace this opportunity to grow and learn from this wonderful experience.

Much Love … xo


Tracey Rose is a journalist, natural childbirth educator and mother of two. Her story of safe, natural and pain-free birthing has inspired thousands of women all around the world to get educated about ALL the options in childbirth. Get your Top 6 Tips on how to experience the birth you’ve always dreamed of HERE.


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