Labor and Delivery: Did You Have a Belly Birth?


When moms-to-be imagine the day their child will be born, they experience a range of emotions. They might be excited to meet their little one. Maybe nervous about the pain of birth. And scared of all the changes that parenthood will bring. All at the same time. What they don’t often imagine is how they’ll feel if their birth doesn’t go according to plan. 

In the United States, almost 1/3 of babies are born via cesarean section. And while a large percentage of these births are planned due to complications with the pregnancy, previous c-section births, or the preferences of the mother, a great number occur after a mom has already gone into labor or been induced and was planning for a vaginal delivery. While all moms who end up with unplanned c-sections are grateful that their baby was able to be brought into this world healthy, many feel disappointment or regret that they did not have the birth experience they were hoping for.

belly birth
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For moms who are struggling to come to terms with their unplanned c-sections talking about their experience and sharing with other moms or trusted friends can help them begin to process the event; so too can reframing the way their child was born. Many moms who experienced c-sections have started to use a new term to describe how their child was born. Instead of referring to their delivery as a cesarean section, a c-section, or a surgical birth, some moms are now describing their child’s birth as a belly birth.

Elizabeth Eschete, a birth and postpartum doula from Charlotte, NC has attended births in birth centers and hospitals and been present to support moms through both vaginal and cesarean deliveries. Elizabeth has used the term belly birth and is glad that it’s becoming more popular. “So many birthing parents feel like they need to fit a certain mold in order to have had a successful birth but, in fact, this isn’t true. There are so many variations of normal and I believe that all of those variations need to be celebrated,” says Elizabeth. “Parents make the best decisions they can when they’re giving birth and should be proud of how they brought their babies into the world!

So, if you’re a c-section mama, don’t be surprised if you soon start hearing others refer to your baby's birth as a belly birth!

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Labor and Delivery: Did You Have a Belly Birth?

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. Julia lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. You can find more of her work at ... More

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