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What Happens During a Gentle C-Section?

What Happens During a Gentle C-Section?

A gentle or natural cesarean, or gentle c-section is an emerging trend in childbirth because of its benefits for both mother and baby.

The procedure, also known as natural cesarean, is less like an abdominal surgery, and more like a natural way of giving birth.

Delivery is still by cesarean method, and surgery is still required. But women who give birth by gentle c-section report feeling more satisfied upon giving birth. The couple can witness the baby being born and have the baby brought close to the mother immediately after birth. The experience is somewhat similar to vaginal birth.

What is the difference between a traditional and a gentle c-section?

A gentle c-section checklist for parents interested in the procedure includes checking in with your hospital if they allow it, and consulting with your doctor.

Let this gentle c-section checklist guide you. A gentle c-section:

Gives you a better view of childbirth

You can ask the nurses to prop you up a bit so you can see what is happening through a clear plastic curtain.

Or you can ask that the curtain be lowered earlier and further down to see what is going on. Having a clear view of the birth should be on your gentle c-section checklist. The medical team also cleans up the baby right there and then as the surgery continues.

Delivery is slower

Your baby will emerge from your uterine incision more slowly. This will allow time to equalize with that of the environment and the lungs to be cleared of fluid.

Skin-to-skin contact happens sooner

You will find your baby, swathed in a warm towel, on your chest right after being born. This promotes early breastfeeding. Your newborn may even be with you during the remaining moments of surgery, and go with you to the recovery room. Having immediate skin contact with your baby should be part of your gentle c-section checklist.

Gentle c-section checklist

Less equipment restrictions

Your hands are free from straps. The IV line, blood pressure cuff and oximeter are in your non-dominant hand so you can hold your newborn well. Electrocardiogram (EKG) leads (which checks your heartbeat during the operation) are on your back or lower chest. It is not on your upper chest, so you can move more freely.

Reduced sedation

Because a gentle c-section involves less sedation, it allows the mother to be more alert. This allows them to look after the baby, through skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding soon the procedure.

Less distractions

A gentle c-section can involve less lighting, reduced noise, or your choice of background music for easier childbirth. Include what song you’d like to be listening to as part of your gentle c-section checklist.

Immediate clean-up

The baby is cleaned up right there and then while the rest of the procedure is carried out.

Gentle C-Section Checklist: What are the benefits?

This gentle c-section checklist of advantages includes:

  • The feeling of greater participation in childbirth. Many women who experience the usual c-section feel helpless and out-of-touch when giving birth. Not so in a gentle c-section, where interaction between mother and child is the key.
  • Stronger bond with your newborn. The usual c-section keeps you from holding your baby until you reach the recovery room. You may still be sedated when lying next to your baby. A gentle c-section allows you to hold and soothe the baby soon after delivery.
  • Higher chances of a more satisfying birth experience. Research shows that moms who had traditional c-sections are less happy with the experience than those who had gentle c-sections. A study of 205 women in Germany shows a spike in satisfaction after they went through gentle c-section.
  • A healthier baby. A study shows that immediate skin-to-skin contact aids in controlling the baby’s temperature and heart rate. It also promotes bonding and effective breastfeeding.
  • Happier mom. Your childbirth experience affects your postpartum mindset. Therefore a gentle c-section, which can be more fulfilling to a mom, can prevent postpartum depression.

How do I ask for a gentle c-section?

Your gentle c-section checklist of things to do should include:

  • A look into hospital facilities. Does the operating room allow for a gentle c-section
  • A talk with your obstetrician and attending nurse. Ask them about the conditions required in a gentle c-section weeks ahead of the surgery.

How do I prepare for a gentle c-section?

The procedure requires planning so you and your partner can fully enjoy the journey. Let this gentle c-section checklist of things to prepare help you:

  • Research hospital policies regarding the procedure to avoid any problems. Choose a hospital that is open to gentle c-sections.
  • Talk to your attending doctor about your plan to have a gentle c-section. He or she can give you pieces of advice and manage your list of gentle c-section expectations.
  • Ask for a spinal block or epidural. Unless you need an emergency surgery, avoid general anesthesia which will keep you from viewing the entire experience.
  • Ask your anesthesiologists to refrain from giving extra drugs as needed so you are not sedated and you miss the experience.
  • If the mother is unconscious, the father can hold the baby for early skin-to-skin contact Request for your preferred music while the gentle c-section is being done
  • Most post-birth activities, like, bathingand weighing the baby can be postponed until the parents are ready.

Though gentle, this type of c-section can still be considered a type of surgery. So as with any type of surgery, it’s important to make the necessary preparations. By creating a gentle c-section checklist and consulting with a trusted OB-Gyne, you can better prepare, should this type of birth method be right for you.

Learn more about pregnancy and giving birth, here.

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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

A Gentler C-Section https://www.muhealth.org/our-stories/gentler-c-section Accessed June 28, 2020

Gentle Cesarean Delivery https://www.nursingcenter.com/journalarticle?Article_ID=3229842&Journal_ID=54008&Issue_ID=3229836 Accessed June 28, 2020

The Gentle Cesarean: More Like A Birth Than An Operation https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/03/09/390977656/the-gentle-cesarean-more-like-a-birth-than-an-operation Accessed June 28, 2020

Tips for a “Gentle” Cesarean or “Family-Centered” Cesarean https://www.lamaze.org/Giving-Birth-with-Confidence/GBWC-Post/tips-for-a-gentle-cesarean-or-family-centered-cesarean Accessed June 28, 2020

Early Skin-To-Skin Contact for Mothers and Their Healthy Newborn Infants https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22592691/ Accessed June 28, 2020

‘Gentle C-sections’: Bringing a traditional birth experience to the OR https://utswmed.org/medblog/gentle-c-section/ Accessed June 28, 2020

The natural caesarean: a woman-centred technique https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2613254/ Accessed June 28, 2020

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Written by Maridol Ranoa-Bismark Updated Jul 02
Medically reviewed by Mary Rani Cadiz, M.D.
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