There are many reasons why a cesarean has its place. Life-saving reasons such as placenta previa, placental abruption, eclampsia, uterine rupture, or obvious fetal distress are necessary  reasons to have a cesarean. What isn’t a necessary reason is an elective cesarean, and maybe that isn’t popular opinion as everyone seems to feel each person has their own reasons and therefore deserves the right to choose. I agree women have the right to choose, but what I don’t agree with is how they are not fully informed of the full scope of how cesareans impact a baby and its future. 

This is because OB doctors aren’t trained in psychology and they are only looking at it from a surgical point of view.  They see a cesarean as a safe surgery and if the patient wants it then it is well within their right. What doesn’t seem to get addressed is really helping a woman through the reason she wants a c-section because most  elective cesareans stem from fear. Most of our fears stem from the unknown. But what if a mother was counseled on the future problems her baby could have in the future, not just immediately after birth. What if before a woman makes her final decision she gets more information and more help with her anxiety and fears besides pills? What if there is a paradigm that keeps her from believing in herself and believing that birth is empowering, not traumatic? Wouldn’t it be better to help her shift her paradigm to become more confident in herself and her own capability to give birth in a way that is most beneficial for her baby?

When it comes to birth vaginal deliveries are the most optimal way to deliver. The Invisible Process at Birth sets up mom and baby for bonding and breastfeeding. But what you may not know is it also sets up your baby for their future characteristics and personalities. If you knew about this possibility would you think twice before opting for this so-called “safe” surgery? There are many other risks involved with surgeries themselves - regardless of what type, but in no other surgery is there another human being involved as an innocent bystander. So what can having a cesarean cause to your baby?

The most common immediate risks of a cesarean born baby are respiratory (breathing) problems or fetal injury from the surgery, and difficulty latching for breastfeeding to name a few. Long term risks are increased rates of diseases such as asthma, type 1 diabetes, allergies, obesity, and even lower academic performance. However, there are more than just physical problems, there are potential psychological problems that will show up later in their life. Because these problems show up so far into the future, it is hard to recognize it as something that may have started at birth. 

The fetus can hear and feel while in the womb, much of how a mother is feeling or experiencing is transferred to the fetus. This means many feelings are established before a baby is even born. The mothers patterns of feelings and behaviors  will be the chief stimuli that shapes her baby. The main means of communication of maternal attitudes and feelings are the neurotransmitters that the mother releases which cross the placenta easily  and they are increased when she is under stress. What the newborn experiences in the womb creates predispositions, expectations, and vulnerabilities. 

While a mother is pregnant she needs to be cared for and supported. Getting the right support to help her through her fears of birth is truly paramount in helping her believe in herself and her body’s capabilities to birth her baby as well as how she feels about becoming a mother.  No matter how a baby is born the more traumatic the birth experience- the higher the correlation with physical and psychological problems which can include serious disorders such as schizophrenia and psychosis. The birth community, especially hospitals, must get better at protecting the vulnerable mother during her pregnancy and birth experience. There have become too many stories of a new mother feeling traumatized by her birth and this has to stop for the well-being of our future offspring. 

However, what doesn’t get talked about enough is how cesarean secretions are very traumatic to the newborn. The newborn is not given the chance to navigate through the birth canal, which helps the baby release their own endorphins (our body’s natural opioids) and release fluid from their lungs. The baby also doesn’t receive the large surge of naturally occurring oxytocin (our body’s love and bonding hormone). These are processes in which a baby born by vaginal delivery gets to have and experience. By missing these two important hormones the cesarean baby doesn’t get to feel prepared for birth, instead they are unexpectedly and traumatically ripped away from the only source of life and security they have ever known. 

We seem to make the mistake of projecting our feelings on the  newborn  such as understanding that all the doctors and nurses in the OR are there to help. Just because the surgeon raises the baby up so the mother and father can see, doesn’t mean the newborn understands this as a joyous moment. To the newborn their warm security has instantly been exchanged for a cold and loud environment with aggressive touching, rubbing, “stimulating”. They are brought to the warmer to be poked, prodded, lifted, put back down, rolled over, touched by multiple hands covered in synthetic materials they are not familiar with. Then jabbed with needles, wrapped in a blanket and taken further away from the one source of life they have only known. So maybe it won’t surprise you to read how this can have a lasting impact. 

Newborns experience fear, confusion, separation, and maybe even rejection because it can’t find its mother. Psychologically, these early feelings can set a baby up for  feelings of “I’m unworthy.” because of the feelings a baby internalized during gestation or experienced at birth. These feelings can lead a baby to grow up and throughout their lifetime unconsciously setting up situations that cause more feelings of rejection.  This is because from those first feelings of the baby’s perception subconsciously established the belief in their mind and body that “being rejected” was their lot they were given in life. So each time the opportunity arises and in order to stay on the belief of being rejected, behaviors will continue to make sure they stay on this road of life they were given and prove it right each and every time. 

Consequently , most of us go through life continually driven to prove our beliefs when we don’t even know what they are most of the time. Going unchecked, our beliefs may become our self-fulfilling prophecies. We won’t feel comfortable if we don’t experience the validation of them and oddly enough, having that validation makes us feel that we are right on task, even if it hurts like hell. Even if it means we must set ourselves up for rejection time and time again, because when the mind is validated as being right and justified it is interpreted on the inside that we are in our place of comfort and peace. This leaves us continually frustrated as we struggle throughout our lives to find feelings of joy, fulfillment, success… all those things that were meant for other people… or so our subconscious tells us.

If you knew a cesarean could set your child up for lifelong physical and psychological problems, would you want to do what you could to help avoid that? Start with yourself and why you want a cesarean, then explore if there is a way you can heal past the fear and give yourself the power of birth and your baby the power of a secure beginning of life. Read How To Have A Good VBAC if you have had a cesarean birth and desire a VBAC, also check out Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Doctor if you are planning a VBAC.  Many of my clients couldn’t see the power within themselves but through my program The Natural Birth and Beyond Method they were able to see themselves capable and even excited to embark on their birth journey not with fear but with confidence. 

If you want to heal from past birth trauma or fears of birth connect with me today at or message me on Facebook at Marya Eddaifi to learn more on how to embrace birth not fear it. 

About the Author

Hi, I'm Marya Eddaifi

I was only 22 when I had my son. It wasn't the best experience but I didn't know better.

It wasn’t until after I became a Labor and Delivery nurse did I realize how badly I was treated and grieved over my birth. Did I tell you this was 15 years later?

After realizing how nurses and medical providers impact such a huge life event, it became my mission to change the world through beautiful birth experiences!