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There are conditions under which a normal delivery is not possible and for women who have always wanted to have a normal childbirth, it can be disheartening to have a cesarean section. To ease this process and make it feel more natural, the option of a gentle cesarean was developed. Read on to know all about it – how it’s done and who can opt for it.
What is a Gentle C-section?
A gentle C-section, also known as a natural cesarean is a procedure where the cesarean seems less like an abdominal surgery and more like a vaginal delivery for the mothers. Although the basic procedure is the same, women going through a natural C-section have a more fulfilling experience of the childbirth. They are numbed from below the rib cage and the doctor makes an incision through the abdomen and the uterus as in the traditional procedure and the baby is born. The difference is more of an attitude change towards the procedure.
In a traditional C-section, the mother has to wait for about half an hour before the OB stitches the incision and the baby is all cleaned and assessed before the mother can hold him. This can be an emotionally demanding experience for most women. In a gentle C-section, the focus is to get the mother to hold her baby as soon as possible so it feels more like a normal delivery. The mother can view the delivery through a transparent drape or one that is slightly adjusted so that she can see the baby coming out and hold it to her chest soon after.
Difference Between Gentle C-section and Traditional C- section
Although natural delivery is an ideal way to deliver the baby, one in three babies is delivered by C-section. So, a c-section cannot be avoided but you can opt for a gentle c-section. However, you must know the differences between the traditional and gentle C-section to understand why the latter is being preferred more:
- A regular C-section is a protocol under times of emergency, such as placenta previa, the baby is in distress, the baby is in the breech position or the labour stops progressing. Going for a vaginal birth under these conditions is highly risky.
- A gentle C-section might take about five minutes longer than a traditional C-section and costs about the same.
- Instead of an opaque drape, gentle C-section uses a transparent drape through which the mother can get a glimpse of her baby.
- The IV catheter, blood pressure cuff, and oximeter are positioned on the mother’s non-dominant arm, and the electrocardiographic leads are positioned on her back so her chest is clear to hold her baby supported by the other arm.
- When it is not an emergency and the mother and baby are healthy, a gentle C-section can be performed with the full participation of the mother in the presence of her partner, which is not possible in case of a traditional C-section delivery.
- The major difference is that the mother is sedated in a traditional C-section and the baby is carried to another part of the room to be cleaned and assessed while the mother is being stitched back up. In a gentle C-section, the baby is placed on the mother’s chest within a few minutes so she can snuggle him and breastfeed, if possible. The baby is also cleaned up right there while the remainder of the cesarean procedure is carried out.
Benefits of Natural Cesarean
Some of the benefits of a natural C-section include:
- Women who have had a natural C-section report a more fulfilling childbirth experience than those who had a traditional C-section delivery.
- There is a reduced chance of postpartum depression and the bonding between the mother and baby is stronger. They also have lesser difficulties with breastfeeding.
- Studies show that gentle C-sections were healthy for both mother and the child, and the babies were less likely to have an infection or end up in the NICU.
- Immediate skin contact is essential for bonding between mother and baby. It also has a calming effect on both while it regulates the body temperature and heart rate of the baby.
How to Prepare Your Gentle Cesarean Birth Plan
Here are a few things to consider if you wish to have a gentle cesarean:
- Discuss with your doctor about the gentle cesarean you look forward to having and the changes in the procedure.
- Request for a spinal block or an epidural. A general anaesthesia would make you miss the whole experience and it is best avoided unless there’s an emergency.
- Request the anesthesiologists to not administer any more extra drugs than necessary to sedate you, so you can witness the procedure.
- If the mother is not conscious, the father can be allowed to hold the baby for skin-to-skin contact, immediately after birth, unless there are any existing complications.
- Ask for the music of your choice to be played during the procedure.
- Most of the post-birth procedures such as cleaning and weighing the baby can be delayed until the parents are ready.
Steps to Prepare for a Gentle Cesarean
Here are four ways to plan for your natural C-section:
1. Do a thorough research
Read up on the policies of the hospitals on the procedures carried out so that you can be aware of everything ahead of time to avoid any impediments to your plan. Hospital policies can be different from your doctor’s practices and take precedence in all the procedures performed. So, choose a hospital that is more in accordance with what you need.
2. Consult a doctor who is open to the idea
Find a doctor who is open to the idea of a gentle cesarean and ideally familiar with it can make all the difference. Be sure to let the doctor know of your expectations and take his advice on what’s best.
3. Implement the birth plan
Even if you are planning a natural childbirth, include your plans for a gentle cesarean if the scenario permits. Make several copies of it and ensure everyone involved has one and is willing to abide by it.
4. Don’t hold back
The day when your child is born is one of the most important days of your life. So, do not compromise for anything less. If gentle c-section is possible, then ask for it.
Can All Moms Opt for This Procedure?
Women who need to have an emergency C-section cannot have this procedure as time is of the essence and there’s a high risk to both the mother and the baby. A gentle C-section needs some prior planning and is done so both the parents feel more involved in the birthing process like they do in a normal delivery.
A gentle cesarean is a great way to combine the best of both the worlds and give mothers the experience of a natural childbirth.
Also Read: Benefits and Risks of C-section