There’s a birth video going around the internet that is unlike anything most people have ever seen. It shows a baby being slowly, gently delivered via C-section, and it is both surreal and touching. It is truly a testament to the amazing power of womankind and the childbirth process.
And yes, I said a “slow” and “gentle” C-section birth. Bet you weren’t expecting that, were you?
We often think of C-sections as clinical, rushed and impersonal, but this video of a “gentle C-section” will completely change the way you think about Caesareans.
Check it out. (Note: If you are sensitive to blood, the black and white filter on the video helps. Or just don’t click on the video at all and keep reading below.)
About a third of all American births are via C-section these days. For many women, giving birth by C-section can be an upsetting experience. Some mothers who were planning to deliver vaginally confess that they feel guilty, depressed and empty after the experience, as though they were cheated out of a “real” birth. This can lead to increased rates of postpartum depression, as well as hamper a mom’s ability to connect with her new baby.
Luckily, for women who have to undergo a non-emergency C-section, there may be a better option. Gentle C-sections, also known as family-centered C-sections, or natural caesarean sections, allow women to be more involved during the child’s birth.
How? In performing a gentle C-section, doctors strive to make the experience as similar to a vaginal delivery as possible. As shown in the video above, the doctor guides the infant gently from the mother’s uterus rather than pulling him out as quickly as possible. This gives the baby a gentler introduction to the world, and it allows fluid to be pressed out of the baby’s lungs, which is one of the benefits of a vaginal delivery.
There are many things that differentiate a gentle C-section from a traditional C-section (though not all of these factors are in place for every woman who undergoes the procedure):
- The woman’s arms are not tied down.
- Instead of being pulled out of the womb, the baby is often permitted to “wriggle” himself out with the assistance of the doctor.
- The mom can view the birth as it occurs. (In traditional C-sections, a drape prevents the woman from seeing past her upper torso.)
- The I.V. is inserted into her non-dominant hand, so she can easily hold the baby after birth.
- The baby is not immediately whisked away by pediatricians, but rather is handed directly to the mother.
- Skin-to-skin contact is then initiated, along with nursing if the mother desires.
- The umbilical cord is not cut right away, allowing more blood to flow from the placenta to the baby.
While gentle C-sections are slowly catching on in America, they are still rare, and many medical professionals might not even know what they are. According to NPR, “Family-centered cesareans are a relatively new idea in the U.S., and many doctors and hospitals have no experience with them.”
If you desire a gentle C-section, you should speak to your doctor as soon as possible about your goals, as well as write out a birth plan noting your wishes. (Motherlove has a good template for helping you to write out a family-centered C-section birth plan.) Even if you are planning on having a vaginal delivery, medical professionals advise you to speak with your doctor about gentle C-sections. You never know what could happen on the day of the birth, and there may not be time to discuss these options. You might also consider having a consultation with the anesthesiologist, as they may also play a large role in the delivery room.
People tell moms that, at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that the baby is healthy and delivered into this world safely. That’s true, to an extent. But that doesn’t negate the fact that women have the right to enjoy bodily autonomy and dignity during labor and delivery.
When moms give birth in a way that is connective and empowering, both they and their babies benefit. Gentle C-sections are just one more way for babies to enter this world safely and lovingly, and it’s a new trend that will hopefully become a staple in hospitals across America very soon.