By Hannah Schenker
You have probably heard the term ‘gentle c-section’ by now. But what is it, exactly?
For mothers who wanted an unassisted, natural homebirth, finding out they need a c-section can be extremely disappointing. The downsides of birth via c-section have been well documented and talked about (recovery time and trauma for starters), but for many babies it is the only way they can be born safely. If you know you have to have a c-section in advance, you can now plan for a gentle c-section, giving you more control and involvement in the birth of your baby.
A gentle cesarean, or family-centred c-section, is when a few changes are made to the traditional c-section methods, making it more inclusive of the parents and gentle for the baby.
Typically in a c-section, you lie flat on your back with a screen between you and the surgery area, so you do not see the incisions being made. You may not be able to have contact with your baby immediately, missing out on that super important skin-to-skin time. Studies have shown that to result in higher risk of difficulty bonding, postpartum depression and breastfeeding problems.
In a gentle c-section, you can request that the screen be taken down/lowered so that you can see what is going on, or that they use a clear screen. You may be able to request less drugs so that you are more awake and able to be present to what is happening.
You can even change how the baby is physically birthed, by having the surgeon allow the baby to emerge in their own time, rather than being tugged and pulled out quickly.