A 'Gentle C-Section' Is More Like Natural Birth Than Surgery
While some women opt to have a C-section, studies show that many women who undergo a C-section are more prone to postnatal depression, bonding difficulties, and unsuccessful breastfeeding. Many women feel cheated or guilty that they couldn’t deliver vaginally. The “gentle C-section”, or “natural C-section” as some professionals call it, is gaining popularity among health care professionals and pregnant women.
A Gentle C-Section?
Gentle cesarean sections are a relatively new option for moms expecting to have a C-section. In 2013, Dr. William Camann, director of obstetric anesthesiology at Brigham and Women’s hospital in Boston helped pioneer this new approach. It is a much calmer and peaceful way to welcome your baby, mirroring much of the same features of what happens before and after natural childbirth.
Surgery with a Gentle Touch
Usually, a blue screen is in place for sterile reasons, and often the mom’s arms are fastened down during a normal C-section. During a natural C-section, the blue screen is still present, but taken down after the incision is made. As the baby’s head enters the abdominal incision, the area is cleaned of blood and the partner may watch the birth process. After the head is delivered, the baby is supported by the surgeon, and mom can see what sex the baby is, right along with everyone else, like in vaginal birth. When the baby is fully born, the partner may have the opportunity to cut the cord. Next, treasured skin-to-skin contact with mom, and if she chooses, she may start to nurse her newborn.
Will I Be Able to Have a Gentle C-Section?
Talk with your doctor as soon as you know if you will be having a planned C-section. More doctors are recognizing the benefits of a natural C-section as it is more conducive to providing a calmer and nurturing setting for baby and mom.
Usually, a mom can wait 10 minutes or more to see her baby with a standard C-section. Some situations that may not be suitable for a natural C-section are preterm birth, or babies with a low Apgar score risk. Some C-sections are unexpected. Depending on the nature of the emergency, a natural C-section may still be an option. Create a birth plan with a natural C-section in mind, but talk to your doctor about the possibilities that could still be available if an emergency C-section is needed.
How Do I Plan Mine?
The operating room won’t seem so intimidating and cold when you have a natural C-section. The goal is to make the experience more like a natural delivery. During a standard C-section, monitoring devices and wires are usually on your arms, secured to the table, leaving you unable to move your arms or hands. Natural C-sections allow for at least one arm to be free to hold your baby and allow skin-to-skin contact after delivery. A tilted pillow or mirrors can be used if you would like to watch the delivery. The blue screen may be dropped or a clear one will be put in place for viewing purposes. Newborn tests may also be conducted while your baby is resting on your chest. Some hospitals may even allow a third person to photograph the birth. All these considerations should be discussed with your doctor.
Transferring Good Bacteria
When a baby is delivered vaginally, the trip through the birth canal exposes her to a slew of microbes, which enter through the mouth or on her skin. These bacteria can help build a healthy microbiome, which recent research shows can reduce the risk of inflammatory illnesses like Crohn’s disease, heart disease, eczema, celiac disease, and other gastrointestinal conditions.
C-section babies can now reap these benefits too. The vaginal swab procedure can be done to collect these bacteria by placing gauze in the vagina shortly before the operation. Once the baby is born, it can be wiped on your baby’s skin and in their mouth. Some mothers have also wiped the gauze on the nipples before breastfeeding.
Will you consider the “gentler C-section” for delivering your baby? Share your thoughts with us.