Aug. 19, 2022

Quick Tips 2: C-Section Options/Gentle C-Section

Quick Tips 2: C-Section Options/Gentle C-Section

Do you know what a "gentle c-section" is? Gentle c-sections, also called  "family centered c-sections" are being offered at more and more hospitals. They are less traumatic and have better outcomes for both mom and baby. 

Listen, and find out what some of the options are during a gentle c-section. 


Welcome to Friday’s quick tip. If you listened to my interview with April this week, you know that for all of her 4 c-sections, she didn’t get to hold her babies until she was back in the recovery room. So for today’s quick tip, I’m going to talk about what some of your options are during a c-section. 


In a typical c-section, the mother lays on the operating table, her arms are strapped down, and a blue curtain covers her from the waist down. She is numb from the waist down. She cannot see what is happening, and in most cases, is not told what is happening. After being born, the baby is cleaned up, weighed, examined by the doctors, and wrapped burrito style in a blanket. At this point the father, if present, may be offered to hold the baby while the mother is stitched up. It used to be that babies were taken to the nursery and the mother wouldn’t get to see or hold her baby until much later. Now, I think the mother is given the baby after she is transferred to a bed to be wheeled to the recovery room. That is my experience.


Many hospitals will now offer what’s called a “gentle c-section”. It is sometimes also called a “family-centered c-section”. It is designed to be as close to a vaginal birth as possible, to mimic what happens in the delivery room.


 The mother can choose the music she would like played while her baby is being born. The lights may be somewhat dimmed, and the doctors and nurses will speak quietly to create a calm environment.  Instead of a blue curtain, a clear curtain or a blue curtain with a clear window is hung, so that the mother is able to see what is happening, and watch her baby be born. 


She may have the option of having one or both arms free to hold her baby immediately after being born, and skin-to-skin is offered. She may also be able to begin breastfeeding while she is being stitched up. There may also be a delay in cutting the umbilical cord. All of these things are choices that a mother should have when delivering vaginally, and these are choices she should have when having a c-section.


If you are planning a c-section, you should definitely discuss these options with your provider.

Because the vast majority of c-sections are unplanned, it is always a good idea to have a conversation with your provider about a gentle c-section should the need arrive, and you can always include it in your birth plan. 


If your provider denies your requests or they aren’t available at your hospital, you always have the option to switch providers or hospitals. It’s not ideal, but it is important that you and your baby have the best birth possible.  


I don’t know how many women know about this, so if you know someone who would benefit from this episode, please share it with them. Thank you for listening.