A new option for a better birth experience
For women wanting a natural childbirth, ending up having a Caesarean can be disheartening, or even traumatic. The baby is quickly delivered and umbilical cord cut immediately and the baby handed to a midwife.
Caesareans are an incredibly common surgical procedure in Australia (and around the world). Although the majority of Australian births occur vaginally, the trend toward caesareans has been increasing over the last 10 years, with over 33% of births happening via caesearean today.
Although they are often the only choice for mothers experiencing an emergency situation, or when vaginal birth is not possible, caesarean births are not without their drawbacks. They are associated with many negatives for both mothers and babies – including a longer hospital stay, weeks of recovery time, risk of infection, and delayed skin-to-skin contact after birth.
In addition to the physical impediments, caesareans can have unwelcome emotional consequences for new mothers. Women may not feel that her birth experience was what they were hoping it would be, or what the media portrays it to be for other new mums.
Fortunately, requiring a caesarean no longer means women have to give up their preferred birth experience.
Women are now opting for a new method of caesarean that can occur under controlled conditions, giving them more options in how they bring their baby into the world.
This new method is called a Gentle Caesarean.
What is a Gentle Caesarean?
A Gentle Caesarean is not actually a change in the procedure itself, but rather a change in the attitudes towards caesareans. Gentle Caesareans aim to invoke an atmosphere that more closely mimics what happens during and after a vaginal childbirth.
With a Gentle Caesarean, the focus is on the mother and her baby getting a physical and emotional experience as close to a natural birth as possible.
What makes a Gentle Caesarean different?
In a traditional caesarean, the baby is quickly delivered and handed to the attending medical staff. The mother is left waiting to hold and breastfeed her child for some time as she is stitched up, and her baby is cleaned and assessed in another part of the room. She may even be unconscious, and not actually meet her baby until hours later.
But in a Gentle Caesarean, the baby’s head is delivered, and then the rest of the delivery takes place slowly, with the baby being placed on the mother’s chest directly afterward. Delayed umbilical cord cutting is performed to allow precious blood supply flow to the baby.
Additional considerations for a Gentle Caesarean include:
- The option of selecting calming music during the procedure
- The operating table is raised so mum can see her baby come out, while the details of the surgery are kept from her visibility via a surgical drape
- The baby’s body remains in utero for a few minutes, allowing the pressure to help push fluid from his or her lungs
These things, while seemingly small, can make a big difference in both mum and bub’s experience of childbirth.
Is a Gentle Caesarean right for you?
A vaginal birth is the safest way to deliver a child. But if an emergency situation occurs (such as the baby is in distress or there is a danger to the mother), or if a vaginal delivery is deemed too dangerous (for example the baby is in breech or the labour isn’t progressing), a Caesarean birth may be required.
However, a Gentle Caesarean can be a safe and preferred option for mothers who are unable to deliver their child vaginally.
Where to find more information
Expecting the birth of a baby is an exciting, yet uncertain time in a woman’s life. Most women don’t realise they have the option of planning a Gentle Caesarean while creating their birth plan. That’s why Dr Ljiljana ensures all her patients understand their options when it comes to the delivery of their child.
Dr Ljiljana is the only Obstetrician in the Newcastle area that performs the Gentle Caesarean.
Making plans for a Gentle Caesarean doesn’t necessarily mean you will need a caesarean. But should a situation occur when a caesarean is necessary, having a plan in place is well worthwhile.