A new kind of c-section could give moms the “natural” birth they desire
Doctors in the UK are starting trials this summer to see if a new kind of c-section could be healthier for infants and a better experience for parents. The so-called “slow” c-section removes many of the barriers a traditional c-section places between moms and their new babies making for a birth that’s a lot closer to “natural.” And while this idea is very progressive and could certainly help a number of mothers who feel robbed of a natural birth, it might not be for every mom.
According to The Daily Mail, this more natural version of surgical birth involves the baby partly emerging from the womb and taking several minutes to come out rather than being immediately removed by an obstetrician. After the “slow” birth, the infant is placed on the mother’s chest, which is thought to help bonding. Also, the slower emergence from the womb might be better for the child, as c-section babies sometimes have respiratory issues as a result of being born too fast and struggling to breathe after such an abrupt exit from their mother’s uterus.
Here is a video of a “natural” c-section performed at Torbay hospital in London. Be warned — as joyful and happy as it is, it’s definitely a bit graphic.
The procedure will be tested this summer at the University College Hospital in Central London and is already available in a few private clinics as it was pioneered about a decade ago at two other London hospitals. While trying to reduce the rising c-section rate among women is a large part of the push for the trial, the reasoning for wanting to promote this kind of birth has other roots as well.
Consultant midwife Belinda Green says, “So many women say the bond with their baby is stronger after a skin-to-skin cesarean, and there is evidence to suggest it reduces a number of complications after birth. The demand for this type of birth continues to increase and I am constantly being contacted by women who want it.”
Midwife Jenny Smith notes other benefits of the slower c-section saying, “It is about the mother. After the incision is made the mother is able to see her little baby wriggle out. It is a special moment that is missed otherwise. The baby remains in the abdomen for up to four minutes and the mother can look at it, see its little face and when it wriggles out it is the parents that first determine the sex.”
Ok. This all sounds awesome. And seeing that video, doesn’t the mom look relaxed and…gleeful? It’s hard to deny that this could be an incredible option for moms who might feel robbed of the more natural vaginal birth experience. If a mom can handle seeing what goes on during a surgical birth, this could become a viable choice for women who want more out of their c-section.
That said — it might not be for every mom.
I had two c-sections, both planned, easy and uneventful. My husband was with me and has a very strong stomach (and healthy, scientific curiosity), so he eagerly stood up and peered over the curtain both times. And took photos of my exposed abdominal cavity that I have yet to look at save for one that made me realize I really didn’t want to see the others.
While it’s incredible that this kind of procedure could be available for women who can handle it, it’s likely not something that all c-section moms would want. I liked the curtain. I liked the surgeons doing everything. I liked my baby being scooped up immediately rather than lying in my open stomach slithering around for a few minutes while I helplessly watch like some kind of sci-fi experiment. It might be more natural, but it can also be a little scary to some women. And as we all have our own idea of the right kind of birth, that’s totally OK.
That said, more power to the women that see this as a preferable alternative. This is, without a doubt, one of the most “you do you” decisions a parent could make. It’s encouraging that medical science is working toward births that are both safe for mom and baby and satisfying for all involved.
This is amazing as a choice for any woman who wants it. I hope the trials are successful and the idea spreads like wildfire. A bad birth experience can take years to get over and if this kind of gentler c-section could help avoid a mom feeling depressed or inadequate over her surgical birth? Fantastic. Let’s do it.