The Gentle Cesarean Birth

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Eli birthI received another request for writing a new post and this time it was about ideas for having a “gentle cesarean.” A friend of mine from college actually wrote a lovely piece about it for Twiniversity

For those that need or want a cesarean section, the option to have a gentle cesarean birth – or certain aspects of it – is quite appealing to many moms-to-be. The gentle cesarean birth is one that encourages immediate skin-to-skin and/or breastfeeding and a more personal, or "natural," experience for the mother and partner.

I’ve put together a bullet-point list after gathering these suggestions shared by other women about how they made their cesarean births a more peaceful, personal experience:

  • While you are being prepped before you go in the OR, it may help to browse our list of things to bring to the hospital to make you feel more like home. You may want to bring something to help keep you feel calm and content while you are waiting or after the birth.
  • Listening to your favorite type of music in the O.R. — or even your own playlist, if possible (iPod or CD?) — may help you relax.
  • Simple requests like using quiet voices or asking the doctor or nurse to tell you what is happening each step along the way can help mother feel more at ease.
  • Using two different drapes: clear and solid, during the cesarean. The solid drape would be lowered right before birth, while the clear drape stays up, so mother can see her baby’s birth.
  • Have the partner announce the baby's sex, if unknown before birth.
  • Have the partner cut the umbilical cord, if possible. 
  • Having one arm free for mother will allow her to hold her baby immediately after birth for skin-to-skin in the O.R.
  • Attaching monitors on the mother’s back (instead of having them attached on her chest) will also help for skin-to-skin.
  • If immediate skin-to-skin is not possible, have the partner take the baby immediately after birth (and possible skin-to-skin for partner as well). 
  • Delaying certain nerborn procedures until after mother has had skin-to-skin time.
  • Have baby stay with mother (or partner, if not mother) during recovery.

Talk to your doctor or nurse-midwife beforehand about any of these ideas you may want to incorporate into your cesarean birth experience, as certain things may take coordination amongst different care providers that will assist in your cesarean.

Have anything to add? Feel free to share your ideas!

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