As I’ve talked about in previous blog posts, my oldest daughter was a planned C-Section for being in the breech position, despite our best efforts (we even did a formal attempt at flipping her in the hospital, but she was stubborn from the start!). I did not have a birth plan that was being shattered or anything – my only birth plan was for our daughter to make her entrance safely when the time came. But for many women, being told you need a C-Section can be really upsetting, particularly when you had a certain vision of how you wanted your child to enter the world that is now being flipped upside down.
Gentle C-Sections help take some of the sterile, surgical nature out of having to have this procedure. While there is no set protocol nationwide, many doctors and hospitals have options to help moms in this position be more involved in the birth of their child. Some hospitals have clear surgical curtains so that once the incision is made through the abdomen and uterus you can see your child being born – this may be a little much for some people and is certainly not a requirement of a gentle C-Section, although I know my husband loved watching the surgical part of my C-Section both times.
One of the bigger elements of gentle C-Section is what is done with the baby immediately after they are born. While traditionally they where whisked away for evaluation by the nurses, now, as long as the baby is doing ok they are brought right over to have skin to skin time with mom, and can breastfeed right away as well. I was able to do this with my oldest (she had her first poop and pee right across my chest!), but my newest baby needed a little help immediately after she came out so unfortunately, I didn’t get to with her until she was breathing a little better. There are other small things that can be a component of these, such as having a doula present with your partner, choosing the music playing, etc. It’s really all about making the birthing experience more personal when women are in this situation.
So if you know you have to have aC-Section (this is not something that is usually available in emergency C-Section for many reasons), it’s worth talking to your doctor about some of these options to help meet both your goals- a well bonded, healthy baby and mom.