How to Have a Gentle C-Sectionby Elizabeth MacDonald
Times have changed and surgeons are realizing that it is possible for a mother to experience a gentle and kind surgical birth.
So you are going to have a cesarean section, a surgical birth, something very few women desire. You may be feeling anxious, scared, and frustrated with your options – or lack of them. All of your emotions are justified. But there is something you should know: This is still YOUR birth. You have a say in how it plays out. Whether your hospital is seasoned on gentle c-sections, or you are the one who pioneers the change, your wants and needs will be heard, and your wishes should all be met.
A gentle cesarean section is still an abdominal surgery. The surgery is still the same as always, as is the recovery – physically speaking; however, when mothers experience a peaceful birth in an operating room, they are less likely to suffer from postpartum depression and breastfeeding struggles. There is a peace that comes with having a say in your birth.
What is a Gentle C-Section?
A gentle, or family-centered c-section occurs by allowing a mother to see her baby be born. She has immediate skin-to-skin contact, creating a calm and peaceful birthing environment and mimicking the postpartum interactions that occur after vaginal birth.
If your doctor is not receptive to your desires, it is not too late to interview other birth teams. Read and understand your hospital’s procedures and policies so that you can have an educated conversation with your doctor.
What should you include in your birth plan?
It is extremely important to talk to your doctor and birth team about your desires; much of what is needed to achieve a gentle c-section should be set up prior to you entering the operating room. Do not be afraid to voice everything you want, as no one can read your mind.
According to MamaNatural the following should be included in your birth plan:
- Request an epidural or spinal block; general anesthesia should be avoided at all costs, barring any emergencies.
- Request that anesthesiologists do not automatically give you extra drugs to relax so that you can be fully present for the experience.
- If you cannot be conscious, your partner should be allowed to hold your baby skin-to-skin immediately after birth, barring any medical complications with the baby.
- EKG or monitoring devices should be placed in areas that don’t infringe your ability to see, hold or breastfeed your baby.
- You can watch your baby lifted from your belly through a clear drape; if this makes you squeamish, the traditional drape can be lowered and baby can be lifted above it.
- Your gown can be lowered and your baby can be placed on your chest while you are being sutured. For this to occur, you must ask that your arms are not strapped down.
- Your baby can breastfeed immediately after birth while still in the operating room, and a lactation consultant can be present.
- Request cord clamp/cut delay until cord stops pulsing.
- Request that the placenta be saved and/or frozen until discharge from the hospital (if desired).
- Music of your choice can play in the operating room.
- Doctors and nurses are asked to refrain from “shop talk” or their weekend plans.
- Request vaginal swabbing to give your baby the best microbiome possible.
- You can hold your baby while being wheeled into recovery.
- Any and all usual post-birth procedures such as cleaning the baby and weighing the baby are delayed until you are ready.
- A doula, grandparent, or friend should be permitted to photograph or videotape the birth.