The Gentle Cesarean – A New Trend For C-Sections

gentle cesareanThere’s a new trend for moms having a C-Section called the Gentle Cesarean. It’s quickly becoming an accepted, more “natural” approach to having a C-Section.

What women love about this new trend in Cesarean births is that it feels more like a birth and less like surgery.

A new mom won’t merely be treated like a thing, being  pushed through an assembly line for anesthesia, catheters and procedures.  She’s presented with pleasing options helping her feel more relaxed, less stressed in an environment that is gentle, inviting and informative.

What mom doesn’t want that?

You may be wondering how having a C-Section could be natural, or even gentle.  Certainly surgery is not natural, but by adjusting some of the surgical birth procedures, having a C-Section can be less stressful for mom and much less traumatizing for baby.

Here’s What’s Different About The Gentle Cesarean

  • Birth is not rushed.  
  •  More Focus and attention is on the mom and her birthing partner.  
  • Your birthing room is quiet and filled with calming music or music a mother chooses. 
  • Mom can see baby being born via mirrors.  Unlike standard C-Sections, there are no sheets placed in front of mom, she is invited to view the birth through mirrors and doctor’s are encouraged to communicate what is happening at each step of the process.
  • Slowing down of the actual birth. To simulate a vaginal birth the doctor may slow down the process of pulling the baby through the abdominal opening.  For instance, once the head is out, the baby’s body is left inside the uterus for a few moments longer which helps squeeze the lung fluids through the baby’s nose. This squeezing happens naturally during a vaginal birth and is what helps a newborn avoid infant respiratory distress syndrome, something that can be problematic with C-Section births.

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  • The umbilical cord is not immediately clamped and cut. The cord is left in tact until after mom and baby have made skin to skin contact. With a traditional Cesareans the baby is lifted out quickly and the umbilical cord is clamped and cut immediately.
  • Baby is taken to moms chest immediately for skin to skin contact on the table and the cord is cut there.  This skin-to-skin contact is especially important to the gentle Cesarean as it has shown that babies are less likely to cry, they’re better able to regulate their own breathing, they reach a more stable body temperature sooner, and have better blood sugar levels.  It also important for mom as it enhances her emotional bonding which can help reduce rates of postpartum depression.
  • Immediate breast feeding if mom desires.  

Not every C-Section mom will make all of these choices, however the beauty of this approach is that you have choices.  You have the ability to make your C-Section birth as pleasing and every bit as magical and memorable as a vaginal birth.

Unfortunately the gentle Cesarean is only being practiced in a handful of hospitals around the world, but the idea is catching on and many doctors and hospitals are open to these new ideas.   To help ensure these ideas become the norm,  new moms should educate themselves on the C-Section procedure, encourage discussions with their doctors and hospitals and ask for the options they want.

Additionally medical care providers, birth supporters and Doulas must also educate themselves and accept the Gentle Cesarean as a mode of birthing option.

But is there a downside to the Gentle Cesarean?

For the woman that needs a C-Section, the Gentle Cesarean is about as close as you’ll get to a more natural feeling birth and who can argue with giving birth in a friendlier more natural setting with the ability to bond immediately with baby?   But there may be a slight downside.

Will this appealing process encourage more women to choose having a C-Section?  After all if we can make a Cesarean more appealing, we could  be encouraging women, especially those who do not want a vaginal birth, to make the C-Section decision.

No one is more pro ‘Gentle Cesarean’ that me. I’ve even referenced many of the options in my C-Section guide.  We need this for all the moms who have struggled with bonding fears and fears in general with having a surgical birth.  However, I want to stress that a cesarean section, whether gentle or conventional, is  still full blown abdominal surgery and with that comes several risks, as well as a long, painful recovery.  Careful thought and consideration needs to be made before deciding to have a C-Section, particularly if it’s not medically necessary.

How You Can Have a Gentle Cesarean

Even though there are not many hospitals practicing ‘The Gentle Cesarean’ in full swing, there IS a trend.  In fact many hospitals want to accommodate C-Section moms as much as they can to make their birth as relaxed and as natural as possible, however until doctors and  hospitals fully embrace this concept, it’s really up to you, as a new mom, to think ahead, make inquiries and specific requests.

To start, add a C-Section Birth plan to your original birth plan.  Discuss with your doctor things like skin to skin contact, slow birthing and delayed cord clamping.  Even if you don’t expect to have a C-Section, I highly suggest you research what having a C-Section means and be prepared for the possibility.  This in no way predestines you to having a C-Section, but if a C-Section should become necessary, you’ll be prepared for it.  And that can mean the difference between having a birth that YOU want rather than how someone else wants it.

Here are some words of wisdom from a woman who narrowly escaped having a C-Section:

Yes, it’s true that I was able to dodge this bullet by the skin of my teeth, but in hindsight, I think this kind of willful denial was really not the best thing to do. Now, I’m not talking about turning it into a fixation that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, investing your energy into fear and anxiety. And as I said, I can relate. I understand not wanting to think about it too much. But I have read enough birth stories now where the mothers, in their admirable preparation for a natural or low-intervention birth, wind up heading into surgery for one reason or another, having absolutely no idea what was in store for them.

Read the full article here:   http://dou-la-la.blogspot.com/2010/01/c-section-birth-plan-oxymoron-not-even.html

A few last words…

Many C-Sections have saved lives, but they are still an unnatural form of birth, and because of this it takes its toll on mother and baby.

A Gentle Cesarean won’t eliminate surgical risks or possible complications for baby, and it won’t eliminate the hours of pain following surgery, but if we’ve found a way to increase bonding with baby, help mom feel more a part of the birthing process, lessen postpartum depression and anxieties, I think this is a positive trend.  It’s also likely to help moms heal faster, enjoy their baby’s birth more and have healthier babies.

What are  your thoughts on the Gentle Cesarean?

Photo courtesy of “Stuart Miles” and freedigitalphotos.net

Mother, author, Cesarean researcher and C-Section mom herself, Elizabeth supports and helps educate women on C-Section birth, planning, making informed choices and recovering well.

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