Resources For Expectant Mothers

Birth by cesarean can be a life saving procedure for mother or baby. But a cesarean can also put both at risk for serious health complications. Healthy pregnant women can end up having a cesarean because birth interventions such as elective inductions, continuous electronic monitoring, or epidurals were used routinely rather than for a medical indication.

Hospital routines such as not allowing women to change positions in bed or walk in labor, expecting them to give birth on their back, or directing them to push when their body is not ready increase the odds for a cesarean. However, low risk women who choose to give birth at home or in a birth center, choose midwifery care, or have a doula at their hospital birth lower their odds for a cesarean birth. Many women are not aware of their right to receive accurate and comprehensive information regarding their medical care, their right to informed consent and their right to informed refusal. The right to make an informed medical decision based on their knowledge and their own values and preferences.   

As this book reveals, finding accurate and comprehensive information on the risks of cesarean birth and how to reduce the odds of having one is a challenge. The  resources on this page will help to increase your awareness about the many birth options available to you and provide you with information regarding your rights as a patient. As the evidence in this book shows, they are also likely to reduce your odds for a cesarean delivery.

Nicette Jukelevics and Henci Goer: The Risks of Cesarean Section - A Coalition for Improving Maternity Services Fact Sheet &
A Checklist For Expectant Mothers.
Fact Sheet (PDF)        

A Guide to Effective Care in Pregnancy and Childbirth

Alameda County Public Health Commission, CA: Informed Consent (PDF)

American Association of Birth Centers    

American College of Nurse Midwives 

American College of Nurse Midwives: Share With Women, from Journal of Midwifery and Women's Health

American Academy of Family Physicians: Breech Babies: What Can I do if My Baby is Breech?

Arkansas -

Association for Improvements in Maternity Services, UK: Midwifery for the 20th Century, Article

Australian College of Midwives: Research Supports Midwifery Care 

BBC News, Emma Wilkinson Health reporter: "Needless" birth induction fears  

Birth Network National

The Birth Survey

BOLD the Play, by Karen Brody

Boston University School of Public Health, Health Law Department: Patient Rights at Your Fingertips

Breech Birth: Stories of normal breech births 

Business of Being Born: A documentary film

Childbirth Connection: VBAC or Repeat C-section?

Childbirth Connection: What Every Mother Needs to Know About Cesarean Section

Childbirth Connection: The Rights of Childbearing Women

Choices in Childbirth

Citizens for Midwifery: What Does Good Maternity Care Look Like? (PDF)

Citizens for Midwifery: What "Are" Our Rights in Childbirth? (PDF)

Coalition for Improving Maternity Services: Having a Baby? Ten Questions to Ask

Cochrane Library Plain Language Reviews: Pregnancy and Childbirth

Consumer Reports, Health: Take the Maternity Care Quiz

DONA International: What is a Doula?

Henci Goer, Author: Articles on Pregnancy and Childbirth What is Optimal Fetal Positioning?

Informed Choices: Evidence-based pamphlets from the UK

International Cesarean Awareness Network: What To Do if Your Hospital Has Banned VBAC

Intramountain Healthcare: Elective Labor Induction, When Is It Okay? (PDF)

Everyday Miracles: A Celebration of Birth, video

Laboring Under An Illusion: Mass Media Childbirth vs. The Real Thing: A documentary by Vicki Elson

Lamaze Institute for Normal Birth: Six Care Practices That Support Normal Birth

Lamaze Institute for Normal Birth: Why Transparency Matters: A Fact Sheet for Birth Advocates

Lamaze International: Making Tough Decisions Without All the Facts-How Inadequate Informed Consent Puts Childbearing Families at Risk

Larsen, Jess: Midwifery & Feminism: A Case for Common Ground
Article (PDF)

Mamacampaign to Promote Midwifery Care

March of Dimes: Induction by Request

March of Dimes: Cesarean by Request

Medscape OB/GYN and Women's Health: The Real Risks for Cesareans, Interview with Lamaze President 

Midwives Alliance of North America: Find a Midwife

MotherBaby International Film Festival: Films about normal birth

Mothering Magazine: Once A Cesarean, Always A Cesarean-The Sorry State of Birth Choices in America

Mothering Magazine: Cesarean Birth in A Culture of Fear (PDF)

Mother's Advocate: How To Have a Better Birth

Mothers Naturally-Discover the safe, personal care of a midwife  

National Institute for Clinical Excellence: Care of Women and Their Babies During Labor (DOC)

National Institute for Clinical Excellence: Monitoring Your Baby's Heartbeat in Labor

National Women's Health Alliance: Your Right To Your Medical Records

Ohio State University, University Medical Center: Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) (PDF)

Oklahoma Birth Network: VBAC Myths and Facts (PDF)

Our Bodies Ourselves

Orgasmic Birth: A Documentary Film

Ottawa Health Research Institute: Personal Decision Guide, A patient decision aid

Patchworks Films: Born in the USA, Childbirth and Women's Choices, a documentary film

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder After Childbirth

Rally to Save the North Shore Birth Center in Beverly, MA: Youtube video

Reuters News: Peru embraces vertical birth to save lives

Simkin, Penny: Comfort In Labor , Helpful Positions for Birth (PDF)

Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada: Elective C-Sections Add Risks During Pregnancy (PDF)

Solace After a Challenging Childbirth a woman-centered, evidence based, resource

Vermont/New Hampshire VBAC Project: Birth Choices After Cesarean

Where's My Midwife?

World Respected Childbirth Week, May 11-May 17