Gentle C-sections – Familycentered C-Section


Family Centered C-Section

Just because you find yourself delivering in an operating room doesn’t mean you can’t have the family-centered birth you want.

Dressed in a thin paper gown, you nervously look up at your partner, who squeezes your hand as your doula leads you through calming breaths. Your playlist switches over to a Katy Perry song and you think, Yes—bring it. I am a firework. Next thing you know, you see your sweet, scrunched-up baby emerging and then her wet little body is placed on your chest. Your heartbeat and hers, seemingly one again. Think this kind of experience is only for women having vaginal births? Think again.

The “gentle C-section,” also called a “familycentered C-section,” is bringing a better birth experience to the operating table—one that focuses on making the delivery both safe and special for the family.

When I first found out that I was going to have a C-section, I thought, They are just going to take her out of me, and I don’t get to be a part of the birth experience. But with the familycentered
C-section, I was a part of it, and I got to see her, touch her and know her.

Going gentle
When William Camann, MD, director of obstetric anesthesiology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, observed clear drapes being used in other types surgeries (to enhance communication between the anesthesiologist and the surgeon), it sparked an idea: Why not use them in cesareans, so women can see their babies being born?

For some expectant moms, C-sections can make them feel cheated out of the puffing, pushing, seeing-my-baby-take her- first-breath moments or getting the chance to bond right after delivery. So
Camann and his colleagues started incorporating not only the clear drapes, but also other ways to make the surgery more like natural childbirth.

While the surgery itself is the same, the procedures around it are tweaked to make the environment less intimidating and more family-friendly. For example, in a standard C-section you are separated from your child right away, and it usually takes 45 minutes to an hour before you can hold your baby in the recovery room. With a gentle C-section, Once the pediatrician checks the newborn, the little one can be on mom’s skin immediately or within minutes rather than being whisked away.

What a difference
Although the actual operation in a gentle C-section is the same as a traditional one, your OB, nurses
and anesthesiologist will need to do things a bit differently.

Here’s how it varies from the standard protocol:

  1. Music of your choice can be played during the surgery.
  2. Sometimes an extra support person, in addition to your partner, is also allowed in.
  3. A clear drape can be used to watch your baby emerge.
  4. EKG electrodes can be placed toward your back and side to leave room on your chest for the baby.
  5. The blood pressure cuff, IV and other monitors can be placed on one arm so the other is free to
    hold your child.
  6. Your baby can rest on your chest during the remainder of the C-section.
  7. You can breastfeed in the operating room.
  8. Weighing, measuring and any other routine procedures needed for your newborn can be postponed
    until after the first feeding session.
  9. Any necessary newborn procedures can be carried out while your baby rests in your arms.
  10. Your baby can stay in your arms while you are transported to the recovery room.
  11. If you aren’t available for some reason, your partner can provide skin-to-skin contact.

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