For those mothers and babies that medically require delivery by cesarean I argue that we should explore the option of a mother/baby friendly experience. The Natural Cesarean: A Woman-Centred Technique (pdf file) is an article published in the BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology exploring the option of the parents being active participants in the birth of their baby.
What would a mother/baby friendly cesarean look like? According to the authors of the article:
- The drape would be lowered and the mother's headed elevated so that she may witness the birth.
- The partner would be allowed to observe as well
- Baby would be allowed to slowly emerge helping to expel liquid from its lungs as it would during a vaginal birth
- Rest of delivery is allowed to occur passively as the uterus continues to contract
- Clamping of the cord is done in front of both parents and the partner is permitted to cut if desired
- Baby is brought between the mother's breasts for immediate skin to skin contact and offered a chance to suckle
- Baby is allowed to remain on mother's chest until the surgery is complete. Procedures (labeling, Vitamin K, etc.) that can be completed in this position are.
- Once surgery is complete, partner accompanies baby for weighing and remaining procedures
- Upon completion of procedures, baby is immediately returned to mother for skin-to-skin contact
A cesarean section is major abdominal surgery. This birth experience is not suitable for all cesarean births, but I think, as suggested by the authors of the article, this option can be explored for non emergent situations. The International Cesarean Awareness Network has also written details about how to have a family centered cesarean.
If your medical situation dictates that a cesarean is the safest way to deliver your baby discuss your options with your doctor.