By Dr. Kelly Kennedy
Preparing for a cesarean section (C-section) can be a nerve-wracking experience. That’s why, here at Women’s Health Specialists, we make it our goal to make our patients as comfortable as possible throughout the process with what we call a “gentle C-section.” Wondering what a gentle C-section is? A gentle C-section is aimed to help parents feel more in control over their baby’s birth by giving them more options in the operating room, doing what we are able to do to honor their wishes and provide them with a more customized experience. Here’s a guide that explains the basics:
Before the operation
To start off, many operating rooms can feel cold and harsh. At Women’s Health Specialists, we can work with parents to make the room warmer and play soft music. This can give the operating room a homier feel and help provide a sense of calm and control during a stressful experience. Some women find it’s comforting to have conversation throughout the operation, but others prefer less conversation. We want our patient to speak up and let us know of her wishes.
Another way we try to accommodate our moms is by providing them with more mobility. We are able to put the IV on the mom’s non-dominant arm and in a spot that will allow her to have more movement as well as alternate positions of ECG pads and monitors. Again, we simply want to make her as comfortable as possible.
During the operation
Some moms are uncomfortable seeing what’s taking place or have a queasy stomach during their C-section and prefer a colored drape. If the mom wants to see the very moment her baby arrives into the world, we are happy to provide a clear drape during the procedure. Whoever is in the operating room to support the mom, whether it be a dad, a family member or friend can be the person to cut the baby’s umbilical cord when the baby is on the warmer. Also, we are able to delay cord clamping and milk the cord before clamping it. This is something that many moms ask for today. Pictures are allowed during this time, as well as after, to capture these precious first moments of life.
After the operation
We know that skin to skin contact is so important between the parents and baby so during a gentle C-section, we can place the baby on the mom’s chest, just as would be done during a vaginal birth. We keep mom and baby together from delivery into a postpartum room. She may even be able to begin the breastfeeding process in the operating room.
C-sections don’t need to be an uncomfortable, scary experience. Having your baby should be the best day of your life regardless of how he or she is brought into this world. We are here to make that process as smooth as possible and celebrate the miracle of birth with you! If you would like to discuss your gentle C-section options and how to incorporate it into your birth plan, your doctor will be happy to help figure out the best plan for you.
The most important part of this process is to provide a safe delivery for mom and baby. Every patient has their own pregnancy experience and not all circumstances allow for all of these wishes to occur. It is best to make your wishes known to your doctor and anesthesiologist so we can create the best possible experience for you.