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The growing trend of “gentle” caesareans

Gentle or natural C-sections are becoming an increasingly popular option for mums who require a surgical birth but prefer more traditional experience.

*Warning* some readers may find the below content graphic.**

The growing trend of “gentle” caesareans

Increasing evidence shows that women undergoing caesareans have a less satisfactory childbirth experience than those delivering vaginally and are more inclined to develop postnatal depression, bonding difficulties and have issues with breastfeeding.

To improve the experience of women having uncomplicated caesareans, obstetric, midwifery and anaesthetic practices have evolved over the past 6 years to emulate as closely as practicable the aspects of ‘natural’ vaginal birth.

“Too often, women who deliver via cesarean section feel like they didn’t actually ‘give birth’ … and sometimes they struggle with the belief that they missed the childbirth experience,” Dr. Pamela Berens told the University of Texas Health Science Center’s Health Leader.

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.”

Jenny Smith, a senior midwife at the Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital, said: ‘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.’

Dr Warren Kennedy an obstetrician and gynaecologist from Tasmania, tells The Healthy Mummy “There’s nothing terribly “natural” about caesareans but we try and make it an empowering and positive event particularly when it is an elective procedure.

“We involve the parents if they are keen. Watching their baby emerge can be pretty exciting. Also, we try to do delayed cord clamping just as we would with a vaginal delivery. If the baby is healthy then we also try to do skin-to-skin as soon as possible after delivery.”

What is a natural (or gentle) caesarean?

• It is described as a ‘natural’ approach that mimics a vaginal birth by allowing the parents to watch the birth of their child as active participants
• Slow delivery with physiological autoresuscitation
• The baby is transferred directly onto the mother’s chest for early skin-to-skin contact

This gentle caesarean was carried out by consultant Andy Simm at Nottingham hospital UK. Video shared with permission from Jody Deacon-Viney.

Did you have a gentle caesarean?

Read more – Viral photo reveals what cervical dilation during childbirth looks like

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