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The Gentle Cesarean

April 13th, 2015  |  The Blog

Cesarean sections represent 1 in 3 births in the US. C-sections are the most common surgery performed in the United States.

Some new moms that have delivered via C-section feel as though they have missed out on a very important moment in their pregnancy and have somehow failed because they could not experience a vaginal delivery. In an effort to personalize and lessen the harshness of a C-section, there is a new trend afoot to create a gentle cesarean experience.

Why Have a C-Section?

There are many reasons that a woman needs to deliver a baby via C-section instead of a vaginal delivery. Some of them include, but are not limited to:

  • Labor is not progressing fast enough
  • A life-threatening medical condition
  • Breech presentation of the baby

The decision about a C-section versus a vaginal delivery is one that is made with the guidance and expertise of a healthcare professional. The safety and wellness of both the baby and mother are taken into consideration.

Traditional C-Section

Sedation is often administered to the mom, who is actually undergoing major abdominal surgery. Most women doze on and off into a twilight sleep during a traditional C-section.

New C-section moms often feel as if they have missed the birth of their baby due to their more medical entrance into the world.

Traditionally, a sterile drape blocks the mom’s view of the operating field. She does not see the actual birth and then the newborn is whisked away at least one-half hour (30 minutes) for medical care.

The Gentle Cesarean

The changes in cesarean delivery practice are somewhat minor but they are significant for the new mom and baby. The focus is on making a C-section feel more like a birth than a major surgical procedure.

Here are some changes:

The gentle C-section allows moms, if they choose to, to watch the birth. A clear sterile drape is often used so the mom can see the baby being born.

The newborn is then immediately, before the umbilical cord is cut, placed on the mom’s chest for skin-to-skin contact. This helps to stimulate immediate bonding and breast-feeding. This is a standard procedure in most vaginal births.

The newborns often remain on the mom?s chest during the remainder of the C-section, when the wound is being closed. She can talk and bond with the newborn.

Simple changes like moving an EKG monitor from the mom’s chest to the side helps her to visualize the birth. Moms are not strapped onto the operating table. Intravenous lines are specifically placed in the non-dominant hand so the dominant hand is free to hold the baby.

Will It Catch On?

The trend towards gentle cesarean is slowly evolving. Cost is not a factor in its popularity as only minor logistical adjustments are made. The basic procedure remains the same.

Clinical studies and scientific outcomes will be the driving force for the transition from the traditional cesarean to the gentle cesarean.

It is important to note that a gentle cesarean is not a new replacement for a vaginal birth. It is a means by which a traditional and necessary cesarean section birth can be an enhanced surgical experience.

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