The “new” c-section is a much better experience for both mom and baby.
In recent years, hospitals have started to focus on making the experience of a cesarean section more relaxing and meaningful for both mothers and their partners. After all, the surgical environment is sterile by nature, making the overall vibe in the room not exactly what mothers dream of when it comes to the first moment they’ll see their baby. That’s why more and more doctors are increasingly focused on making c-sections a better experience for the whole family.
In an interview with The Huffington Post, mom Jasmine Patel describes her experience with a “softer” c-section recalling the moment her daughter was born. Of the way her doctor handled it, she recalls, “He said, ‘OK everybody, this is what we’ve been waiting for. Quiet down.’” Within the chaos, he managed to create a quiet moment.” Rather than the surgeons and nurses chattering and going about their business, the significance of that moment was recognized. And that’s a huge deal for the parents.
Patel’s doctor, Peter Gearhart, also delayed the clamping of the umbilical cord, a benefit typically afforded in the past only to moms having a vaginal birth. But not anymore. Dr. Gearhart even made it possible for Patel’s husband, Apu Gupta, to cut the cord himself by way of a sterile surgical sleeve he slipped his arm through to get to the baby. When recounting the experience, Gupta says, “It’s a really magical moment. This new life has just entered the world, and she’s, just, next to you. A C-section can feel so much more functional [than a vaginal birth], but they did a really great job of trying to bring that emotion back to the process.”
At Dr. Gearhart’s practice of doctors and midwives, patients have a choice in matters such as delayed cord clamping, dimmer lights and even the option to play music. He notes that it’s all case-by-case and depends on medical factors but acknowledges the very real importance of improving c-sections for moms saying, “Sterility and infection control are paramount in any surgical procedure. But at the same time you’ve got this patient who is having this pivotal moment… and we’re trying to bridge that gap.”
As a mother who’s undergone two c-sections, I appreciate this kind of innovation. In addition to Gearhart’s consideration for the birth atmosphere, there’s also a special surgical drape available now created by a trio of nurses that allows a sterile environment to be maintained while still enabling skin-to-skin contact for a c-section mom and her infant, immediately after birth. These are the little things mothers having a vaginal birth are usually allowed to do but weren’t possible for surgical births until recently.
All parents want a healthy baby and a healthy mother first and foremost, but when all is going predictably and the c-section is routine, it would be wonderful for more parents to have these options so they can start off life with their new baby in a less technical way. The changes may seem small, but to a nervous mother on an operating table, they can provide great comfort and a far better memory of the first minutes of their child’s life than the typical surgical birth experience.
Hopefully these ideas will gain traction and more doctors will adapt them into their surgical births, giving patients more control over the way their baby enters the world.