There is a new buzz word in the birth world when it comes to Cesarean sections or births. With Cesarean birth on the rise, nearly 1 out of every 3 women will birth their babies through their abdomen. Currently the CDC estimates the numbers are around 33% of women nationally birthing this way. Some hospitals have lower or higher statistics depending on where you are birthing. A great resources to investigate your specific place of birth is: www.cesareanrates.com. There has been a movement by the Joint commission to lower c-section rates nationwide.
Europe has pioneered this new move towards “gentle cesarean or family-centered cesarean.” “Increasing evidence shows that women undergoing cesareans have a less satisfactory childbirth experience than those delivering vaginally and are more prone to postnatal depression, bonding difficulties and unsuccessful breastfeeding” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2613254/) This movement towards a gentler and kinder surgery is a great change in birth.
While we know there is an epidemic of “un-nessecareans” we also know that there are very real reasons that people require surgery for the birth of their baby. Many families end up feeling like they don’t deserve the same medal that other receive when they don’t have a vaginal birth. As a doula this breaks my heart. I often feel like the families who end up in cesarean are the strongest, as they never wanted to be there and have to make some very difficult decisions throughout the process. A few things things that may warrant a c-section are:
Some of these conditions are very hard to diagnosis and are often given, even when there is no proof of diagnosis. In any cases, sometimes, cesarean births are medically necessary and even life-saving. The movement towards family-centered or gentle cesarean birth is wonderful.
What is a gentle cesarean?
In a gentle cesarean the environment is important to consider. There is a move away from the stark, white, walls of the OR towards a more intimate environment for birth. Music, aromatherapy, the woman’s own clothing are all part of this. Making sure the woman’s hands are free and the EKG monitors are out of the way for immediate skin to skin contact. After the initial cut has been done some ORs are even allowing the drape to be lowered so that mom and dad are able to watch closely the birth of their baby. Baby is brought out of the uterus and then allowed to “birth” themselves out of the abdominal cavity, this pressure helps expel fluid from the lungs- much like a vaginal birth. Once baby is born, and the cord has been cut, baby is placed directly on mom for immediate skin to skin contact. Breastfeeding can be established and bonding begins while the surgeons sew mom up.
While this is the “gold standard” for cesarean birth, many hospitals are only doing pieces of this. They will allow skin to skin, after baby has been assessed and checked over on the warmer. A lot of facilities keep a drape as they are concerned about the sterility of the environment. Europe is allowing this in some places, to the full. The hope is, that eventually the US will as well! Did you have a cesarean birth? What was your experience like?