Some Hospitals Are Now Using Clear Drapes During C-Sections To Let Moms See Their Babies Sooner

With C-section rates rising, some hospitals are now shifting their practices around the procedure. More are engaging in “gentle C-sections,” which differ from traditional C-sections in that the doctor will try to emulate a vaginal birth by pulling the baby out slowly and directly transferring the baby to the mother’s chest for skin-to-skin contact. Some hospitals are also starting to use clear drapes instead of opaque drapes so that mothers can immediately see their child after they’re born via C-section.

“A gentle C-section is a change in the attitudes toward C-sections, where the care team aims to make the C-section experience in the operating room as similar as possible to the labor and delivery room,” David Garfinkel, M.D., told Parents.

In 2018, Alabama-based doula and birth photographer Tracy Abney photographed a gentle C-section, and the photos, like the one below, show just how moving it can be:

“Watching my client see her baby as it was being born was such a sweet, sweet gift,” she writes.

Typically, women who undergo cesareans are able to hear their babies immediately after born, but not see them. The drape that separates the mother’s upper and lower body blocks the view. For some, this can be a disappointing experience, especially since many C-sections are not planned.

Abney underwent a typical C-section with an opaque drape and said she felt “disconnected” from the process.

“Everyone saw my daughter before I did,” she told Parents. “I could hear her, but not see her. I didn’t see her until she was cleaned up and wrapped in a blanket, then she was taken away and I didn’t see her for a long time.”

That’s why Abney is such as an advocate of clear drapes. With clear drapes, there’s typically something solid to block the mom’s view from below the bust line so she can’t see herself being operated upon. The upper part, meanwhile, is clear so she can see when the doctor pulls the baby out.

“Clear drapes help the mother feel like she is part of the birthing process,” says Abney. “She can see her baby before it is taken to the warmer. She can see the baby when everyone else does, the moment the baby is born. She can match the sound of the baby’s cries while watching the quiver of the baby’s little chin.”

Here’s another photo from her client’s gentle C-section:

And this sweet photo shows the doctor giving both parents a look at their newborn:

Hopefully, the trend will grow and more hospitals will embrace the use of clear drapes and gentle C-sections.